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  • 14 Jul 2019 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How do you respond when asked, “What should I do to get my intercultural career going?” This question can come from someone who has just earned a degree in intercultural communication so they are just starting out, or someone who already has a career and wants to add an intercultural element, or someone planning to leave what they were doing and transition to intercultural work.

    Having been asked that question a number of times over my long career, as well as quite recently, I am always unsure of what I can say that might really be helpful. Reasons for that abound. One is that those of us in the intercultural field have taken many different paths to get where we are, which means that there are as many ways to become an interculturalist as there are people in the field. A suggestion would be to certainly develop a game plan but don’t consider it the only game in town.

    Another reason is that whatever your game plan might be, opportunities come along that you need to grab. For example, an opportunity to work with someone you hadn’t expected to work with or an unexpected project you apply for and are invited to join. I certainly did not set out to be a trainer and the first few times I ran BaFa BaFa were rather pitiful as I look back. My advice would be that you need to be open to new opportunities so you recognize them when they come along and be ready to say yes.

    Make it easy for people to find you and give them a reason to look for you. The reason will be what you bring to the table. When a company or client wants someone who knows about working in Japan or Ghana or wherever you have expertise, they look to you. When they want someone who can do a session on re-entry or coping skills or cultural assessment, they think of you. Further, when they want someone who has worked in the hospitality industry or health or the military, they contact you. That is your niche. As far as accessibility in our technology-centric society, an active social media presence is becoming a must, especially for independent consultants—but really for every person or company. Blog regularly so that your website pops up closer to the top of a search when someone in your area is looking for the kind of skills and knowledge you have.

    Make direct contact with people or companies you’d like to work with or for. Send an article (get it published if you can) to the HR department that you’ve written on a subject of interest for the kind of company where you want to work. Arrange for an informational interview and ask if they know a company that might be a good fit for your talents. (Be sure to have researched their company and identified the reason why they might need you.)

    Network. Network. Network. Join and stay in touch with the intercultural network. If the intercultural piece is what you are interested in adding to your resume and your career, the best way to do that is through the SIETAR associations local, national, and/or regional. Attend the conferences; do a presentation; find someone to co-present with; volunteer for a committee, the conference, the Board of Directors. People need to know your name and that you are someone they can rely on to get things done. This will also help develop what you become known for—your niche

    My suggestions tend to be generic and based on either my own experience or that of others I know well. I’ve focused on the intercultural pieces because that is what I know, but I am quite sure that people in diversity and inclusion, and social justice have similar suggestions. I am hoping that someone in SIETAR USA who is more aligned with the D&I and social justice fields will write to tell us some of their ideas. And I look forward to some interculturalists sending their suggestions too. I would be happy to collate the ideas and make the resulting document available and easily accessible on our website! That way when someone asks The Question, you can point them toward our combined effort.

    Watch for the SIETAR USA 2019 conference registration that is right around the corner!!!

    Happy summer!

    Sandy Fowler

    President SIETAR USA

  • 14 Jul 2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Other Voices: Your humble book review editor has happily—and completely—dominated this space for seven straight months. All you’ve gotten in this column so far is my taste, my opinions, and my voice. Even my wife would tell you that’s a bit much. In our inaugural column back in January we wrote: “We welcome suggestions of titles from our readers and would also be happy to welcome guest reviewers to this column from time to time.” And we meant it. So this month we are reaching out to remind readers that you are cordially invited to submit to this space. If you’d like to occupy this space yourself one month or you’d merely like to suggest a book for me to review, kindly email me: craig@craigstorti.com to suggest a title.

    Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World, by Michele Gelfand, 2018, Scribner, 376 pages. Reviewed by Craig Storti

    This is a terrific book. To be honest, I never expected I’d have any need for that word in this column. After all, how often do you come across a book that is a genuine game-changer? When was the last time someone—anyone—introduced a whole new concept to our field, a significant new framework for examining and interpreting behavior and for comparing behavior across cultures? I’m guessing here, but I would suggest that it was back in 1995 or so with the publication of Riding the Waves of Culture where Fons Trompenaars presented his universalism/particularism dichotomy.

    Gelfand’s dichotomy is between what she calls tight cultures and loose cultures. “Tight cultures,” she writes,

    have strong social norms and little tolerance for deviance, while loose cultures have weak social norms and are highly permissive. The former are rule makers; the latter, rule breakers. In the United States, a relatively loose culture, a person can’t get far down the street without witnessing a slew of casual norm violations, from littering to jaywalking to dog waste. By contrast, in Singapore, where norm violations are rare, pavements are pristine, and jaywalkers are nowhere to be found. Or consider Brazil where clocks on city streets all read a different time and arriving late for business meetings is more the rule than the exception…. Meanwhile in Japan, a tight country, there’s a huge emphasis on punctuality—trains almost never arrive late. On the rare days that delays do occur, some train companies will hand out cards to passengers that they can submit to their bosses to excuse a tardy arrival at work.

    Citing numerous studies and experiments, Gelfand goes on to construct an extremely impressive list of differences in values, behaviors, and expectations between tight and loose cultures, a list that any interculturalist will love. But not just love; these differences are often at the core of the cross-cultural misunderstandings and frustrations that it is our job to explain. Here is a very random sample of some of the characteristics of the two types of societies:

    • Formality, titles are important
    • Punishment for deviance from norms
    • Less crime, fewer police
    • Less debt (think Germany)
    • Conformity
    • Not open to change
    • More self-regulation
    • More ethnocentric, our culture is better
    • Highly organized
    • More disciplined
    • Risk aversion
    • Autocratic government
    • Less open to people who are “different”
    • Don’t challenge the status quo
    • Informality, eschewing titles
    • Live and let live
    • More crime, more police
    • More debt (think Greece)
    • Individualism
    • Open to change
    • More persona freedom
    • Less ethnocentrism
    • More disorganized
    • More creative
    • Risk takers
    • Democratic government
    • More acceptance of difference
    • Regularly challenge the status quo

    As the two lists above suggest, Gelfand’s tight/loose framework overlaps here and there with other frameworks that we have in our field, but her point of departure puts many of those familiar differences in a new context, offering, in short, a new way of thinking about and ultimately accounting for cultural differences we may have thought we understood.

    Naturally, there are the expected trade-offs; both tight and loose cultures have their assets and their liabilities:

    • Loose cultures foster tolerance, creativity, and adaptability at the expense of social disorder, lack of coordination, and impulsivity.
    • Tight cultures foster conscientiousness, social order, and self-control at the expense of closed-mindedness, conventionality, and cultural inertia.

    Gelfand’s chapter entitled “Disaster, Disease, and Diversity” looks for the origins of tightness and looseness in cultures, explaining that “groups that deal with many ecological and historical threats need to do everything they can to create order in the face of chaos.” Groups that were not threatened by natural or historical disruption did not have to develop mechanisms to defend themselves against them. Defend against what?

    Moreover, as Gelfand explains, the tight/loose distinction is everywhere, not just at the level of national culture. Organizations are tight or loose, different social classes tend to be tight or loose, and individuals are as well. One of the more fascinating chapters in the book, “The War between America’s States,” is a brilliant analysis of the red-blue political divide in our country in terms of tightness and looseness. Gelfand also makes it clear that societies that are mostly tight or mostly loose permit or even encourage the opposite quality in certain contexts. Finally, in a chapter titled “Goldilocks Had It Right,” she makes a compelling case for moderation, that neither extreme tightness nor extreme looseness is conducive to a healthy society.

    At the risk of redundancy, let me stress again that new paradigms like this don't come along very often, yet they are central to what we do in our profession. When one does come our way, we should all take note.

    Michele Gelfand was a student of Harry Triandis who gave us the indispensable individualism/collectivism framework. Harry passed away a few weeks ago, but not before this book came out. How proud he must have been to have seen this book in print. And what a lovely tribute it is from Michele to her mentor.

  • 14 Jul 2019 10:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Interview with Michele Gelfand about her book  Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

    1. Why did you write this book?

    I wanted to write this book to introduce the concepts of tightness-looseness to a broad audience. My research team, involving people from psychology, anthropology, computer science, and neuroscience has been studying many cultures, from Sparta to Singapore, Athens to Alabama and Tech to the Military to understand how the strength of social norms evolves and its consequences for human groups. I wanted to make this research, which has been published primarily in scientific journals like Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, among others, accessible to a general audience. I dedicated the book to Dad who is an engineer, who always encouraged me to explore the world, and Harry Triandis, my mentor, who gave me the scientific tools to understand it!

    2. What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from this book?

    I hope that the tight versus loose distinction will ultimately change the way readers look at the world and themselves. It illuminates differences we see across nations, states, social classes, and households all through the same lens; it helps unlock clashes that we experience with our spouses, kids, friends, and co-workers on a daily basis; and it enables us to understand puzzling dynamics that we see happening around the world, from the rise of populism to the assent of ISIS. Most importantly, by understanding this hidden dimension of our lives, we can use it to better our relationships, organizations, and the world at large. Culture isn’t destiny. By tightening norms when we they are too loose, and loosening norms when they are too tight, we can build a better planet. 

    3. Name one or two books in our field that influenced you the most, that you think all interculturalists should be familiar with? Why?

    Harry Triandis’ (1972) book The Analysis of Subjective Culture, it provides a very comprehensive theory about culture, and I was inspired by his ecological approach which informed my work on tightness-looseness.

    Herodotus, The Histories, written around 440 BC. It’s really one of the first texts on cross-cultural psychology!

    4. What is one of the most significant, most memorable cross-cultural experiences you have had?

    When I was a junior in college, I ventured off to London for a semester, my first experience abroad. A sheltered kid from Long Island, I was the classic New Yorker who didn’t know life existed outside the Big Apple, as depicted in the famous New Yorker cartoon. Overwhelmed by the strange accents, the cars driving on the left side of the road, and the British jokes I didn’t quite understand, I experienced a quintessential case of culture shock. I remember phoning my father and telling him how strange it was that other members of my study-abroad group would just pick up and go to places like Paris, Amsterdam, and Scotland for the weekend. In his thick Brooklyn accent, my father responded, “Well, imagine that it’s like going from New Yawk to Pennsylvania!” That metaphor gave me so much comfort, that the very next day, I booked a low-budget tour to Egypt. It was just like going from New York to California, I reasoned (much to my father’s dismay!). That fortuitous phone call with my dad sparked a lifelong passion for exploring cultures around the globe, and caused me to pivot from a career in medicine to one in cross-cultural psychology.

    5. If you could pass on only one insight/one lesson learned to others about crossing cultures, what would you say?

    In a recent paper that we published in Psychological Science, entitled “A Tight Spot: How Personality Moderates the Impact of Social Norms on Sojourner Adjustment” we show that the match between one’s personality and the features of the culture one goes to is a key predictor of adjustment. This opens up a lot of interesting ways to think about how we can increase our adaptation to different cultures and be more strategic about recruitment and selection for international assignments!

    6. This newsletter goes to nearly 1,000 readers, folks who are either in or interested in the field of intercultural communications. Is there anything else you’d like to say to these folks?

    If the audience is interested, I did a Ted talk on my research and they can listen here:


    I also have a place on my website for people to send in tight-loose stories to me and would love to hear from your readers! https://www.michelegelfand.com/

  • 14 Jul 2019 10:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A workshop presented by Elmer Dixon, President of Executive Diversity Services at the SIETAR Europa Congress in Leuven, Belgium.

    [Interculturalists around the globe gathered in Belgium in early June for the SIETAR Europa Congress 2019 in Leuven Belgium. I was once again a presenter at the conference. This year I facilitated a workshop that looked at Engaging in Dialogue in a Global Polarized Environment.]

    Interculturalists have dedicated their life’s work to building bridges across cultural differences. As such they strive to soften barriers to living life with cultural others. Companies and organizations have recognized that cultural differences can have a positive impact on the organization’s success. Intercultural trainers are providing teams with a broader understanding of the value of cultural differences. And they teach tools for adapting styles and behaviors to enable culturally different colleagues to work effectively together.


    Human movement and relocation in the 21st century is growing. This may be by choice or in response to human-made or natural disasters. This has ignited a trend where many people and in fact nations have taken defensive lines.  They’ve adopted divisive discourse as a means to protect their national and cultural identities. We’ve seen in multiple elections across Europe a rise in far-right white nationalists. These entities have forged closer links with like-minded groups in the U.S, where they’ve benefited from a perceived sympathy from elected governments for strands of their extremist politics.

    Yet this is a trend that has been building for years. In July of 2011, a gunman opened fire at an island youth camp in Norway, targeting Muslim youth. The gunman was described as a right-wing Christian extremist with a hatred of Muslims and ties to right wing Neo-Nazis. More recently in the US there was the slaughter of Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. That was followed by another shooting at a synagogue near San Diego.


    The toxic combination of the most prolonged period of economic stagnation and the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II has seen the far-right surging across the European continent, from Athens to Amsterdam and in between. In the U.S. cries of “invasion” prompted by the aggressive stands on immigration affect the sensibility of an infected populace.

    Daniel Friberg, who attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, is a clean-cut, smooth-talking far-right activist. He is a prominent figure in the Swedish radical right and self-identifies as identitarian. This French-originated ideology, increasingly influential among European far-right youth, argues for the preservation of a white or European identity.  And, in theory, it attempts to decouple from the overt racism, violence, and fascist symbolism that have been a barrier to the far-right’s political acceptability in post-war Europe. Friberg, however, sees “identitarian” and “alt-right” as largely synonymous terms.


    I had proposed the workshop in response to the growing, critical need for dialogue across the political divide. It is needed now more than ever in such a polarized global environment.

    In this interactive workshop, participants learned a dialogue tool for having critical conversations. They then explored the mindset and philosophy of this new breed of smooth-talking far-right activist, or identitarian. They also looked at the European far-right who argues for the preservation of a white or European identity.

    During this interactive discussion participants broke into small groups to share stories and explore opportunities and strategies for bridging the gaps between polarized groups. They also were asked to identify training approaches and strategies specifying the most critical issues of identity xenophobia, and how to address them in the classroom.

    In the report out, each team shared their group’s ideas along with their own experiences facing these critical issues in the classroom. And they looked at how interculturalists can more effectively create dialogue.

    The overall goal of the session was to encourage intercultural trainers to engage in critical conversations such as right-wing isolationist philosophy and lessen the impact of polarizing opinions and beliefs.

  • 14 Jul 2019 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SIETAR USA conferences are designed to address the critical issues of the day from an intercultural perspective as well as important developments in the intercultural discipline and diversity and inclusion field. We’re interested in your thoughts and opinions and encourage you to add your voice to the conversations and expertise at the SIETAR USA 2019 conference.

    A review of today’s headline issues--globalization, race relations, refugees, immigration, equity, the political divide—underscores the need for improved cross-cultural communication. At the same time, the growing use of social media gives a sense of communicating without taking into consideration critical variables.

    The national SIETAR USA conference is a forum—as envisioned by our founders—for dialog, debate, difference and gathering to find commonality in the work we do, to learn from each other, and have the in-person interaction that sparks new ideas and ways of accomplishing our professional and personal goals.

    If you are planning to attend the conference, think also about participating in a Master Workshop. These half-day workshops are opportunities to sharpen skills and learn from experienced interculturalists. The Master Workshops are themed—you can choose two themed workshops to get a full day related to a certain topical area or select two non-themed workshops or take just one workshop, as you wish. Why might you want to take two, you ask? There is a discount for taking two Master Workshop and remember that these workshops are the intercultural and diversity & inclusion equivalent of “continuing education.” They are a way to refresh and receive.

    TRAINING. If you want a day of training for trainers, facilitators, and educators start in the morning on Wednesday with Daniel Yalowitz’s comprehensive look at how you make learning stick (The Game’s the Thing and It’s Meaning Is in the Debriefing). If you ever have questions about debriefing such as: How do I debrief a game with a multi-cultural group? Can you play and debrief a game designed for adults with children? Go to Daniel for the answers. Spend 4 hours with him for the gold nuggets of debriefing.

    And in the afternoon, you can join Basma Ibrahim DeVries and Jon DeVries for their workshop on Interactions and Intersections: Experiential Activities for Intercultural and Inclusion Work. If you are looking for a hands-on, interactive workshop with several unique intercultural learning activities (related to diverse communication styles, cultural values and dimensions, barriers to inclusion), this is the workshop for you. It includes discussion on adaptations for specific training goals. Workshop participants can expect to be creatively, experientially, and reflectively engaged.

    When your passion is DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION start your morning with Farzana Nyani in her Master Workshop Deepening Impact: Encouraging an Equity Lens in Diversity, Inclusion, and Intercultural Work. As trainers and consultants we all want our work to have an impact. Her equity lens is one that we all are—or should be—concerned about having as we face the challenges of training or consulting. In your 4 hours with Farzana you will gain an understanding of how diversity, equity and inclusion and intercultural concepts can come together to make deeper impact on the people you work with.

    Then in the afternoon, join Malii Watts Carolyn for The “Reel-ality” of Race: Engaging with the 2020 U.S. Presidential Debates. Review video snippets of select learning moments from the 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign debates and other election-related news for a candid conversation on the deliberate and complex role of diversity and inclusion in this contemporary, political drama. Use a critical lens on the intercultural and D&I fields with which participants are associated in order to begin constructing relevant and resonant ways to practice your work without perpetuating the divisions we seek to interrupt.

    INTERCULTURAL CAREER AND BUSINESS SKILLS. In the morning join Randall Stieghorst to focus on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully manage the business side of (a) being a self-employed interculturalist or D&I practitioner and/or (b) running a small business that provides professional services. If you have your own business or are thinking of starting one, be sure to check out Business Skills for Independent Interculturalists and Small Business Owners because with his 18 years of experience, Randall is the one you want to hear from.

    In the afternoon, for career planning, Mary Meares’ Master Workshop Developing Your Intercultural Career is the place to go. With her advice you can examine what skills you have, what skills you want to develop, and how that fits within the range of intercultural work? What about your knowledge, needs, passions, complications, and constraints? This workshop is for both beginning and more experienced interculturalists to think about how to move forward in public, nonprofit, and private sector contexts, as an employee or as an independent consultant.

    WORDS FROM A SAGE. As a special treat this year, you can choose to spend a whole day with George Renwick. In his morning workshop, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King: Outstanding Examples of Intercultural Competence he asks: What enabled each of them to be uniquely effective? What were the sources of their courage, commitment, creativity, and profound impact? You will watch Mother Teresa and Dr. King, listen to them, learn from them, and learn from each other during a discussion to clarify the personal qualities and professional capabilities that were essential to their extraordinary effectiveness. Then you will consider the most important implications for your own professional development and intercultural practice.

    In the afternoon George invites you to Creative Coaching: An Advanced Workshop where you will consider creative, uniquely effective ways to conduct coaching in challenging situations. During recent years, George has been experimenting with a variety of new ways of coaching, ways that are situation specific and culturally competent. The results of these experiments have sometimes been surprising (and usually very positive). During this workshop, George will share actual situations where he has used new coaching methods that seemed exactly appropriate and uniquely effective. Countries in which these challenging situations have occurred include the U.S., China, Korea, India and Saudi Arabia.

  • 14 Jul 2019 10:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 18th National SIETAR Conference Chair
    welcomes you to the 2019 National Conference in
    Atlanta, Georgia

    October 30 – November 2, 2019.

    Meet The Conference Chairperson
    Karen J Lokkesmoe

    My first intercultural experience was at the age of three when my brother and I moved to Western Manitoba, Canada and lived for 1.5 years with my aunt and uncle while my mother went back to school to finish her degree. While still with family and many shared traditions, there was much that was different and later in life I found myself interpreting expressions and actions between my Manitoba cousins and my older Minnesota siblings, who had not shared that experience. These were small things but left a lasting impression on me and I always understood that words and actions are not always interpreted the same way.

    Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have been able to live, work, and study in four countries and to travel to 66 countries. I have always enjoyed studying languages and engaging with people who are different from me. Working in international education has been a excellent fit for me. I am blessed to be able to count as friends and colleagues over 250 international students and scholars from all corners of the world. These current and future world leaders inspire me every day.

    Working as a professor and consultant in global leadership and intercultural competence development has been a perfect combination of my two great passions. For me one cannot be an effective global leader without also being interculturally competent. The two are intrinsically linked. Developing the Integrated Global Leadership Model through my Ph.D. research puts intercultural competence at the very center of a set of global leadership skills.

    SIETAR, both nationally and locally in Minnesota, has been a wonderful organization where professionals, scholars, learners, and the curious can come together to share knowledge and engage in inquiries about how to do our work better. I was one of the founding members of SIETAR Minnesota and have long been on the planning board helping to keep our local organization relevant, vital, and sustainable. Having attended and presented at several past SIETAR USA conferences, I was honored to be asked to chair the 2019 National Conference. I believe that the work we do as interculturalists is perhaps more critical today than ever. The role we play today goes beyond education, training, and research. We must reach out to our coworkers, bosses, family members, community, state, and national leaders to facilitate the ongoing bridging and understanding of those who have values and beliefs different from our own. The SIETAR USA Conference is a great place to revitalize, renew, and support that work.

    I invite you to join us in Atlanta, October 30-November 2, 2019 when we will engage with the theme: From Adversity to Diversity: The Role of the Interculturalist.

    In addition to sessions of general intercultural interest that explore the conference theme, the conference program includes three tracks:

    • The Role of the Interculturalist: Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
    • The Role of the Interculturalist Working with Specific Cultures
    • The Role of the Interculturalist: Building Skills and Taking them to the Market Place

    The annual conference is a time of renewal of our commitment to the intercultural field. We return to our daily lives refreshed and energized to make a difference for the people who are our students, clients, colleagues. We work to bridge transformations caused by change. The system in which we live—boundaries, borders, nations—has accelerated change enormously, sometimes beyond human tolerance or comprehension. We are all involved somehow in this change: change of society, of organizations, of communities, of one person who wants to learn. And each change often puts into action unpredictable consequences, of which we may know little. Some changes amaze and delight; others, not so much.

    Please join me in Atlanta for a conference designed to support you with stimulating thinking, inspiring insights, expanding skills and renewing commitments—we will work together to explore important questions and seek avenues of human connection.

    Who Should Attend

    The SIETAR USA conference brings together professionals from many countries, ethnicities, occupations and industries for collaborative learning and stimulating exchange of ideas. The result is an increase in our own intercultural competency, along with support for our clients, trainees, and students as we all move forward in intercultural skills, awareness and knowledge.

    The conference is not only an event that allows people to learn about cutting-edge topics, but also a meeting place of people who care about how culture plays a role in daily life and the importance of finding avenues to effective relations across cultures.

    Whether you are a long-time SIETAR USA member, or this is your first experience with the organization, please plan to join us in Atlanta, GA this October!

    Conference attendees come from multiple fields, including:

    • Global Business and Multinational Corporations
    • Education
    • Health Services
    • Training and Coaching
    • Research
    • Government
    • Military
    • Refugee and Immigrant Support Services
    • Human Rights
    • Domestic Diversity
    • Global Diversity
    • Cultural Transitions
    • Peace and Conflict Resolution
    • Tourism
    • Communication and Dialogue Professions
    • Community Development

  • 14 Jul 2019 9:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Conference Scholarships

    Application deadline: August 15, 2019

    Apply now! Apply on-line


    First-time attendees who are registered students or employees and volunteers at a community-based non-profit, You must be willing to volunteer 4 - 7 hours at the conference, depending on award amount.


    Scholarships are sponsored by SIETAR USA as well as 3 independently financed Legacy Scholarships honoring former SIETAR members: Robin Bragge, Kyoung-Ah Nam, and R Michael Paige. Full details are available on the SUSA website as well at scholarships@sietarusa.org.

    Application links:

    • SIETAR USA Scholarships
    • Robin Bragge Minnesota LGBT Interculturalist Scholarship award
    • Kyoung-Ah Nam Scholarship award
    • R Michael Paige Scholarship award

  • 13 Jul 2019 5:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A jolt is an experiential learning activity that lasts for a brief period of time and illustrates one or more important learning points.

    My Swiss colleague Samuel van den Bergh recently facilitated this jolt in a diversity training workshop we conducted in Neftenbach, Switzerland. This jolt dramatically demonstrates the power of cooperation.

    Form groups. Ask the participants to organize themselves into groups of three. Appoint one person in each group to be the Referee. Give this person a blank sheet of paper.

    Brief the participants. Explain that there is a single rule for winning this simple game.

    Explain the role of the Referee. Ask the Referee to place the blank sheet of paper in the middle of the table.

    Ask the players to get ready. Ask the two players in each group to extend their right index fingers and hold the fingers approximately six inches above the blank sheet of paper.

    Give the rule. Make this statement: You win if make the other player’s index finger touch the blank sheet of paper first.

    Conduct the game. Say, "Let the game begin!" Ask the Referee to watch the two players and determine who won.

    Conclude the game. After about 2 minutes, announce the end of the activity. Identify the winners and congratulate them.

    Explain the cooperative strategy. Repeat the rule of the game: You win if you get the other player’s index finger to touch the blank sheet first. Point out that both players could have won if they cooperated to touch the blank sheet at the same time.


    Conduct a debriefing discussion with this question:

    • How many of you won the game? How do you feel about it?
    • How many of you lost the game? How do you feel about it?
    • How many of you have not completed the game? How do you feel about it?
    • How many of you used the strategy of both players touching the blank sheet of paper at the same time? How do you feel about it?
    • How many of assumed that if you win, the other player has to lose?
    • How does the game reflect events in your workplace?

    Learning Points

    1. Activities that involve winning automatically encourage competitive behavior.
    2. If we are willing to think cooperatively, it is possible for everyone to win.

  • 13 Jul 2019 5:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Elmer Dixon, President
    Executive Diversity Services

    Whether you are a seasoned HR professional, advising a client or hiring your own first employee, these tips serve as good reminders of good practices to support diverse staffing... The secret is maintaining community relationships year round. Having a staff that represents a diversity of background and perspectives doesn’t happen by accident. It takes commitment, strategy and planning.

    Here are tips to support diverse staffing, to get you started or serve as a reminder in your work with clients or in your own business:

    • Use community resources including key individuals, organizations and campuses that target services and membership for women and ethnic populations.
    • Develop and maintain personal relationships and networks in target communities on an ongoing basis, not just when you want to fill job openings.
    • Identify individuals within your organization who might help recruit from specific target communities.
    • Examine your current workforce for recruiting potential, for example, individuals who can be developed through job training or position competencies.
    • Provide information to applicants about any organizational benefits that might be attractive to diverse populations, e.g., new employee orientation, professional and personal development opportunities, mentoring programs, employee support groups, buddy systems, etc.

  • 13 Jul 2019 5:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Coming Events

    October 30-November 2, 2019

    SIETAR USA National Conference, From Adversity to Diversity: The Role of the Interculturalist, Atlanta, GA


    July Holidays

    July 16: Asalha Puja, or Dharma Day, is a celebration of Buddha’s first teachings.

    July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day, launched on July 18, 2009, in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday via unanimous decision of the U.N. General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices: “It is in your hands now”. It is more than a celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to honor his life’s work and to change the world for the better.

    July 23: The birthday of Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia whom the Rastafarians consider to be their savior.

    July 24: Pioneer Day, observed by the Mormons to commemorate the arrival in 1847 of the first Latter Day Saints pioneer in Salt Lake Valley.

    July 26: Disability Independence Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    July 30: International Day of Friendship, proclaimed in 2011 by the U.N. General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.

    August Holidays

    August 10-11 (sundown to sundown): Waqf al Arafa, the second day of pilgrimage within the Islamic faith.

    August 10-11 (sundown to sundown): Waqf al Arafa, the second day of pilgrimage within the Islamic faith.

    August 12-15: Eid al-Adha, an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. Muslims around the world observe this event.

    August 13-15: Obon (Ulambana), a Buddhist festival and Japanese custom for honoring the spirits of ancestors.

    August 15: Hungry Ghost Festival, a Chinese holiday where street, market, and temple ceremonies take place to honor dead ancestors and appease other spirits.

    August 15: Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu holiday commemorating the loving kinship between a brother and sister. “Raksha” means “protection” in Hindi and symbolizes the longing a sister has to be protected by her brother. During the celebration, a sister ties a string around her brother’s (or brother-figure’s) wrist and asks him to protect her. The brother usually gives the sister a gift and agrees to protect her for life.

    Holidays list courtesy of: https://www.diversitybestpractices.com/2019-diversity-holidays

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