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13 Jun 2020 11:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

We recently discovered that when people write comments, they go to the blog but not to the editor—who has now returned to the 2020 issues and sifted through to find the comments that are listed below. Another discovery was that when commenters do not add their names to their comments, they show up as Anonymous. Thank you everyone who has taken the time to write us. Your comments are much appreciated!

Recipe of the Month: Salted Duck Eggs by Esther Louie

15 May 2020 12:07 PM | Recipe of the Month: Salted Duck Eggs by Esther Louie.  Chris Cartwright wrote:

Wonderful story & intriguing recipe page! Thanx for the new resource!

Craig Storti: Time Out

15 May 2020 1:53 PM | Marcella Simon wrote:

Thank you for these insightful thoughts Craig! I have read countless academic articles with models of cultural competence and intelligence. I have also observed through teaching and spending time in different cultural contexts that some people are just naturally more comfortable and astute working and living across cultures, no matter what their background or training. So what can we teach? If people are open to it (and some are not) framing their observations and experiences using a model (Context, Iceberg) can be very useful. Also, some of your excellent exercises I have employed (Observation/Interpretation for one) have sparked a note of recognition in those who have had those types of encounters. I have even seen "aha" moments from playing Barnga with a group during the debrief. So I don't believe one can learn "cultural competence" like one learns to play the piano or code software. However, a good teacher can encourage someone to continue down the path of exploration they may have already begun with new tools at their disposal. 

18 May 2020 8:15 PM | Carolyn Ryffel wrote:

This is a great conversation to get started, Craig. There are many entry points so I’ll start with competency in general and “comfortable.”

“Comfortable” really doesn’t fit with competency development, intercultural or otherwise. The knowledge, skills and attitude (attributes in some schema) that make up a competency are not static but evolve as a person’s environment changes. Sometimes competency development can even require unlearning behaviors (or at least diminishing importance), behaviors that made us very successful and now don’t, taking us into a transformational growth area which is a very messy and uncomfortable place to be. A place of ambiguity, uncertainly and hopefully curiosity where we don’t always recognize ourselves: “Who am I?” What happened to that friendly, trusted and trusting person that I used to be?” “Why isn’t this behavior working?” (Intercultural Competency: Self-Awareness)

Getting out of this messy, uncomfortable place isn’t mitigated by increasing knowledge and skills (horizontal development) but by transformational growth (vertical development), the result of “crucible” experiences (Osland), experiences that it is our responsibility to properly debrief and process.

So, back to the original question “Can we teach this stuff?” Yes, and we also facilitate and coach our way to providing Intercultural Competency development. We do this by utilizing activities or methods to provide experiences, debrief and process those experiences or others brought by our “students”, normalize their discomfort and support them in the messiness of their development of Intercultural Competence. It’s a process that takes time and usually not enough time with us. Therefore we have to plan carefully and use our shared time wisely to nurture the growth possible and leave our “students” in a safe but energized space for their ongoing development. AND we ourselves have to get comfortable with the discomfort of our own growth. (another topic for another day)

Now to “competency”: Currently in the Learning and Performance / Talent Development field there has been a shift from Competencies to Capabilities and many corporations are establishing Capability Academies. Some of the rationale is what I would call “wordsmithing” but there is a notable emphasis on “digital” and on capabilities that directly link to the business success of an organization.

Here is how ATD (Association of Talent Development) explains their shift: Competence has become a somewhat outdated and passive term. It refers to a person's current state and to them having the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a job. Capability is about integrating knowledge and skills and adapting and flexing to meet future needs.

Who knew?! SIETAR’s work has always been about “integrating,” “adapting,” and “flexing.” Seems to me that makes SIETAR a “Capability Thought-Leader” --from its beginning focused on developing Intercultural Competency.

March Bookmarks: Global Dexterity by Andy Molinsky   

Carolyn Ryffel wrote:

Global Dexterity has been my go-to resource since I discovered it about a year after publication. Recent work took me back into it in more depth and I was again reminded about how practical and down-to-earth Molinsky is in talking to the reader and anticipating their situation. The format of the book is as a workbook and as Craig characterizes it, an action plan, and the reader is more in an environment of being coached.

Although Molinsky introduces six dimensions, his process has the "coachee" choose 2-3 that seem most impactful of the situation. That allows for sharper focus and in Molinsky's ever practical approach diminishes feeling overwhelmed. The key is to identity and then try small steps which as with all behavior change doesn't have to be 100% to be effective. Up to this point his process is mostly cognitive.

Therefore, one enhancement to Molinsky's Four Phase Process that I use is to add a Centering Practice, even just a one-breath pause, that grounds the "coachee" in the present. Also, Molinsky's advice to assess how the new behavior "feels" in the rehearsal stages needs to be brought more into the body--identify where in the body the feeling resides, tap into the discomfort, sit with it and use it as a tool for staying with the practice. (The same works for positive emotions.) Becoming comfortable with the discomfort requires a somatic awareness to build on the cognitive. This follows a core tenet of somatic coaching that "the body always wins" and building on somatic awareness is as important as cognitive knowledge.

I can't recommend Global Dexterity highly enough and was absolutely delighted in my recent immersion to find it as practical, fresh and compelling as always.

February Bookmarks: Art inSight: Understanding Art and Why It Matters by Fanchon Silberstein.  Sandy Fowler wrote:

Fanchon is my friend too and I think you did a beautiful job of capturing both what she has to say and what the book offers to interculturalists (and the world). The genesis of the book was based on SIIC workshops that she and I did for several years in Forest Grove for SIIC. But Fanchon took the concepts much further than we did in the workshop. I hope that some of the people who took that workshop will take the opportunity to read the book. Even without the workshop, the book is amazing!


  • 15 Jun 2020 8:20 PM | Anonymous member
    from Carolyn Ryffel--to put my name to "anonymous" in the response to "Competency" and to Molinsky's book review.
    Link  •  Reply

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