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  • 17 Apr 2020 8:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As with other organizations around the world, SIETAR USA Board of Directors is closely following the conditions and restrictions for public meetings. The safety and well-being of our membership and conference attendees is of vital concern as we consider whether or not we should proceed or if we may need to postpone or reformat the 2020 National Conference.  

    At this time, considering both the vital need for our work and the rather hefty penalties for cancelling, we are continuing to plan for the conference as though it will be held in October 2020 in Omaha.  We encourage you all to save the date, plan to attend, and submit proposals.  Should we later need to change our format or change the dates of the conference you will be advised and provided guidance to reformat your presentations. You would also be able to withdraw your proposal without penalty at that time if the new time or format does not work for you.  However, we do strongly urge you to consider participating in the conference at this time. As always, our presenters are critical to the success of the conference!

    With all the turmoil and stress involved in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a great need for global diversity work in our communities in the United States and internationally.  We truly are all in this together and just as viruses recognize no borders, ethnicities, or racial and personal identities our work must continue to be pan-national and inclusive as well.

    We will keep you all informed as things progress and look forward to connecting with you all at the conference.

    Karen Lokkesmoe

    SIETAR USA Board of Directors

    Conference Oversight


  • 17 Apr 2020 8:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Offered to you by Mari Alexander

    Below are some basic issues we are all dealing with during these times along with ideas of how to deal with them.   The intent is to calm our nervous systems and restore our balance.

    1. Predictability allows us to plan and anticipate our days and right now there is a lot we just don’t know.  Our lives are not predictable.  So:

    • Make a schedule: when you’ll get up and ease into the day with a mindfulness practice (meditation, yoga, Qigong, journaling, drawing etc.)  Get dressed!
    • Set when you’ll eat your meals, and what activities you’ll do
    • Sunday evenings look at the week and create a plan for the week.
    • Your plans will give you something to look forward to doing in specific time frames.

    2. Find ways to activate your body – Moving your body helps you physically & emotionally!

    • Live Streaming fitness, dance, yoga, tai chi, NIA, Zumba classes.
    • Walks, runs, skipping, bicycling, dancing, hopscotch – gardening . . .

    3. Connection – We are meant to be collective – and wired for connection! 

    • We need to be seen, to be heard and paid attention to and engaged with others. 
    • Create ways to connect daily with people you are close with:  live stream gatherings, make or eat meals with other people in their kitchens doing the same; story-telling, read books aloud to another, make music (sing-alongs or jams) together with friends …virtually. Feel the joys of seeing others’ expressions, hearing their responses; share tears and laughter with your friends and family.

    4. Check in with yourself periodically during the day.  Take note: are you numb inside?  Is your body contracted, your breathing shallow …get to know the difference between being present with yourself and being numb.  Numbness isn’t selective: all of you gets numb making connection with yourself and others difficult. 

    Mindfulness can be grounding and bring you back to yourself.   Breathing is one way: breathing into your belly, holding your breath for a few counts then emptying your belly of the air– holding and doing it again for 10 breaths, following your breath with your minds’ eye.  A few minutes of this can ground you and bring you back to yourself (to being present).  Can also sit on a bouncing ball, gently rhythmically counting the bounces; choose a color and count how often it shows up in your home listen to music and count the rhythm…: all create mindfulness and presence.

    5. Time can feel like it’s standing still:  uncertainty in the future skews our sense of time.  Having a schedule with definite things you will be doing each day and week will help put time back in view for us.  Having sense of time is comforting.

    6. Sense of safety can feel threatened.  Notice what makes you feel calm and include it in your day.  Touch is vitally important.  People you’re with or animals in your home can be very consoling.  If you’re alone, get the sense of touch inside your own body: remember times when you have been held, cuddled, touched:  visualize those times and remember the sensation of that touch in your body,  

    Privacy is also an aspect of safety.  Identify a place where you can withdraw from others and be with yourself.  Journal how you’re feeling and know that you may have an array of feelings surfacing at the same time…some fears right alongside feelings of faith and comfort that you and yours will be alright.  Let all your feelings be there: one doesn’t have to take over for other feelings.

    Media:  Social Media can consume you just as the news can.  You probably will stay abreast of all you need to in 5-15 minutes of news a day.  Best not to look at news first thing in the morning or last thing at night.  Put your phone away so you can be present with yourself as it can easily hijack you.

    7. Who are you during this period of unpredictability and changes in time and priorities?  What is your purpose during this time?  Remember that this is temporary.  Remember that your purpose lives on inside you and you will have the opportunity to live it.  Remember experiences that you have lived already that have felt purposeful and resonated with your value and your desires.  Picture those experiences in your minds’ eye and feel your heart open and your body relax into the memories.  You are the person who is experiencing this now AND you’re the person who has experienced many other things in your life. All are you. 

    By Mari Alexander, SIETAR USA member.                  April 5, 2020


  • 17 Apr 2020 8:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SIETAR USA members in good standing will be featured in The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA from time to time in articles based on an interview. You can self-nominate or suggest someone you think is an interesting person you’d like to know more about. Send your suggestions to info@sietarusa.org.

    April 2020 marks the 1-year anniversary of the publication of her recent book, so it is fitting that we are highlighting Fiona Citkin. We are all familiar with the advice to writers that they should write about what they know. Fiona did just that in How They Made It in America: Success Stories and Strategies of Immigrant Women: from Isabel Allende to Ivana Trump, to Fashion Designer Natori, Plus More. Rarely when you are living something, do you have much perspective on the process or the experience. And yet, Arianna Huffington, an immigrant herself, told Fiona about the importance of describing how immigrant women do in America—so that “those who come after us will have support.”

                In her 25 years in the United States, Fiona had reached a point in her life when she knew she had something to say to immigrant—and other—women about becoming successful in America. But how did she reach that point? She had a successful academic career in her native Ukraine: earned two doctorate degrees and reached the position of full professor and chair of the English Department at the Uzhgorod National University. After publishing Terminology and Translation, she was frequently invited to speak in European universities, which introduced her to the quality of life in the West. As a result, she wanted for her daughter Helen to “grow up in a country where she could fulfil her potential through her own efforts—not because of bribery, conformism, or her parents’ connections.”  When a Fulbright Scholarship she had applied for was granted, Fiona started research at Kent State University in Ohio. After being selected as a lead interpreter for 3 Russian-American Artificial Intelligence conferences, she realized that whatever you learn is not wasted—it makes you prepared for the next step. This realization made her more confident about reframing her experience, and when her husband obtained work in New York, she followed him—and her academic career became history. But she never looked back.

                In her first year in America, Fiona felt like she was walking in the dark not knowing where to step. She decided to try something different: she used the PR skills she learned on the job at CSI (Complex Systems, Inc.). These led to Director positions at Berlitz and then FGI, a Toronto-based company. All these moves were possible because she was well-prepared with her managerial, multicultural and multi-language competencies and Fiona accumulated enough experience to start her own intercultural consulting, to train and coach for global multinationals. You can see a pattern emerging of her willingness to try something new, something that was a stretch, something that would prepare her even better for what might come next. She said, “do not be afraid to put yourself in difficult situations, for it builds your character.”

                In 2011, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) published Fiona’s first book in America: Transformational Diversity: Why and How Intercultural Competencies Can Help Organization to Survive and Thrive. Rooted in her consulting practice, the book became popular with corporate Diversity Directors. Still, Fiona knew she could do more, something for a broader audience and for a bigger impact. After Arianna Huffington invited her to cover the hot topics of immigration and women for the Huffpost blogs, the idea struck her to write a book based on the immigrant women experiences. She interviewed and researched over 100 prominent women. Her interviews were conducted in a conversational style with many follow-up contacts, supported by research and an extensive 18-page Questionnaire. The initial write-up of the stories of selected women had over 700 pages. She had to tighten that up too, and the resulting book is 288 pages in which she met her goal: scores of immigrant women as well as native-born can now benefit from the accumulated know-how of her subjects.

                As Fiona analyzed her material, she looked for shared patterns, and distilled 7 success values, such as Character Building; Communication Skills and Creativity; Perseverance, etc. The last part of her book, which she called “The Achiever’s Handbook” includes her success takeaways. Her empirical analysis of the experiences of successful immigrant women led her to recommend strategies such as mapping opportunities, developing open-mindedness and creativity, tapping into your passion, turning differences into assets.

                When asked what her own greatest insight was from writing the book she said it was that her data confirmed her instincts. Hearing the women’s stories, she realized that character building is the key and it happens step by step throughout your life. And it is perhaps her own greatest strength.

                You can visit Fiona at http://fionacitkin.com/. You can also access her ideas and join in a conversation on her soon-to-go-live video-blog (available live and on her YouTube channel, called WWW Bridge (meaning WomenWorldWide Bridge).

    Portions of this article are based on an interview with Fiona Citkin as well as her book.

    Join Fiona Citkin for the 2020 May Webinar



  • 17 Apr 2020 7:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Editor’s Note: This is a new feature that will appear from time to time. Many SIETAR USA members are doing more cooking as we are staying home during the time of the pandemic. As would be expected, recipes and/or cooking utensils often derive our international inclinations. In this case the Tangine (originally from Morocco) lends an international touch to an American staple: stew. Please consider submitting one of your favorite recipes with a picture of how it should look.

    Turkey Stew (COVID Comfort Cooking)

    By Chris Cartwright

    Turkey Stew (COVID Comfort Cooking) I made this after going to the grocery store & finding most shelves bare. The whole turkeys were still well stocked & the shock of Pandemic caused me to want a warm stew, comfort food. This is an exercise in patience, revisiting my early training in SLOW Cooking. I’m in no rush to put a meal on the table in minutes, & by chunking the work down into separate, definable tasks, I can make the stew in stages over 2-3 days. The flavor is rich and simple. This is NOT a traditional Moroccan recipe … I wanted a simple dish we could savor for many days.

    I used a large Moroccan Tagine because I own one. For those of you with ties to ICI, you might know that Christmas was a special holiday there, esp. for our Director, Janet Bennett; my Tagine was a present from her.

    Ingredients:

    1 Whole Turkey (@8-10 lbs)
    2 Onions
    1 Bunch Carrots
    1 Head Celery
    2 Cups Chopped Boiling Potatoes (4-6 depending in size, Red or Yukon gold)
    3 Bay Leaves
    1 Tbs Dried Sage (or 3 leaves fresh)
    2 Tsp Salt
    1 Tsp Whole Black Pepper corns  (we substitute with Paprika as my wife doesn’t eat black pepper)
    12 Cups Water
    1 Cup Chopped Greens (Flatleaf Parsley, or Sorrel, or Arugula, or Romaine leaves, etc)

    Step 1: Make the Stock (1-2 days before you plan to serve the Stew)

    Cut the backbone/spine out of the Turkey (I find partially thawed bird easier to handle). Start at either side of the neck/upper back with a cleaver & cut down through to the tail. Hips/low back may take some wiggling of the cleaver to get through. Repeat on the other side of the spine. (Some people clip the last section/pointed tip of the wing & add it to the stock, I like to eat it & don’t add it to my stock)

    Place the back & any parts from the Turkey cavity (neck, heart, livers, giblets, etc.) in a large Dutch Oven, or slow cooker that can hold all of the ingredients (@ 8 Quart). Put the remaining Turkey back in the refrigerator.

    Add

    12 cups of water
    1 Tsp. salt
    2 bay leaves,
    the sage
    1 Onion, quartered
    Tops & ends of the Carrots (@ 1 inch from both ends)
    Tops & bottoms of the Celery head (@ 1 inch from both ends)
    The ends of whatever green you are using (parsley stems, end of Romaine or Sorrel, etc.)

    Place remaining vegetables back in the refrigerator)

    Cover pot & set for 9 hours (overnight) is using slow cooker. If using Dutch Oven, bring to boil on stove top, place in a low over (2500) & leave overnight. If making on Stove top, bring to boil, then turn down to simmer & leave for 3 hours.

    When Stock is cooked through:
    Using tongs, remove Turkey parts to a platter & let cool to room temperature.
    Pour Stock through a colander into a large pot or bowl
    Press cooked vegetables with the back of a large spoon to render all of their juices. Discard cooked vegetables.
    Pour stock through fine sieve to remove floating veg or meat.
    Set aside 5 cups for the Stew.
    Freeze remaining stock, (I use 2 cup freezer bags; just the right size for most recipes & they stack nicely in the freezer)

    Once Turkey is cool enough to handle:
    Pick meat off bones & reserve for Turkey salad or Pot Pie.
    Reserve skin & fatty bits to cook down for Schmaltz
    Cooked organs are good for pet treats

    Step 2: Make Stew (The day or even the day before you plan to serve it)

    NOTE: I used a large Tagine because I own one, but a large Dutch Over, or covered casserole dish is fine.

    Cut Turkey into parts (2 each, breasts, thighs, legs, & wings)
    Freeze ½ of the turkey for later (1 each breast, thigh, leg, & wing)
    Chop (into bite sized pieces) remaining Onion
    Place 2-thirds of the Onion in the Pot
    Lay the Turkey pieces over it
    Add remaining salt & herbs to the 5 cups stock
    Pour over the Turkey & cover pot

    If using a Tagine or Covered Casserole, place is a pre-heated 385 deg oven & lower heat to 325 deg & leave for 3 hours.If using a Dutch Oven, bring to boil on stove top, & then place into a pre-heated 325 deg oven & leave for 3 hours

    While the stew is stewing:
    Chop into 2 cups of bite sized pieces
    Carrots
    Celery
    Potatoes
    Pull Pot form oven at 3 hour time
    Remove Turkey parts with tongs & place on a platter
    Add chopped vegetables (plus 1/3rd cup reserved onion)
    Return to the oven for 20 minutes

    While vegetables stew:

    Put Thigh, Wing, & Leg in refrigerator for eating later (you can freeze if you like)
    Remove breast skin & again reserve for schmaltz (or snacking)
    Pull breast meat from the bones & shred.
    Discard bones
    Cut greens into ribbons (chiffonade)

    At 20 minute mark, remove stew from oven:
    Add the shredded Turkey Breast meat back in
    Stir in Greens
    Taste & adjust seasoning.
    Return to oven for @ 10-15 minutes to heat through, or turn oven down to 1750 to keep warm until you are ready to serve. (You can also cool is for serving the next day at this time too)

    Serve with crusty bread & butter & a green salad of your choice.

    Recipe provided by Chris Cartwright April 2020




  • 17 Apr 2020 7:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join SIETAR Europa for their April and May Webinars
    (Click the links below for additional information on each webinar and to register)

    April 21, 2020: Successful Teams & Businesses: Building Trust and Engagement with India & China

    May 20, 2020:  Dealing with Accent, Identity and Culture When Using English as a Lingua Franca in International Business

  • 17 Apr 2020 7:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COMING EVENTS

    April 14, 2020 – SIETAR USA WEBINAR: “Change Management with Insight from Brain Science” with Dr. Mai Nguyen-Phuong, Associate Professor at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Visit SIETAR USA April Webinar to register!

    April 21, 2020 – SIETAR Europa WEBINAR: “Successful Teams & Businesses: Building Trust and Engagement with India & China” with Cecilia Lui and Mithun Mridha. Visit SIETAR Europa April Webinar to register!

    October 7-11, 2020 – SIETAR USA Nation Conference: “Mind, Culture, Society” Join us in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, for SIETAR USA’s National Conference!

    • CFP COMING SOON!
    • The SIETAR USA room block is OPEN! Make your reservations today; visit Hilton Omaha to book your room(s).
    • Visit the SIETAR USA website for conference logistics: 2020 Conference


    April

    April is Diversity MonthApril is Celebrate Diversity Month, started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will get a deeper understanding of each other.

    April is Autism Awareness MonthApril is also Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children’s normal development of social and communication skills.

    April 17: The Day of Silence, during which students take a daylong vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment.

    April 21: Yom HaShoah, Israel’s day of remembrance for the approximately 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

    April 22: Earth Day promotes world peace and sustainability of the planet. Events are held globally to show support of environmental protection of the Earth.

    April 23-May 23 (sundown to sundown): Ramadan, an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer and devotion to Islam.

    April 28-29 (sundown to sundown): Yom Ha’Atzmaut, national Independence Day in Israel

     

    May

    May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

    May is Older Americans Month May is Older Americans Month, established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.

    May is Jewish American Heritage Month May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.

     

    May 1: Beltane, an ancient Celtic festival celebrated on May Day, signifying the beginning of summer.

    May 5: Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). This day celebrates Mexican culture and heritage, including parades and mariachi music performances.

    May 7: National Day of Prayer, a day of observance in the United States when people are asked to “turn to God in prayer and meditation.”

    May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a global celebration of sexual-orientation and gender diversities.

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


  • 17 Apr 2020 7:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CILMAR The Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR) is introducing a new webinar series: Intercultural Learning and Inclusive Teaching for the New Virtual Paradigm (Virtual ICL). The series supports faculty and staff by showcasing strategies for inclusion and examples of intercultural learning adapted to the virtual learning environment. The webinar is offered at no cost to participants. To learn more about the series, please go to www.purdue.edu/ippu/cilmar/learning/virtualicl

    The webinar is at no cost to participants.


  • 20 Mar 2020 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SIETAR USA seems to be running like clockwork, that is, it’s going well. I thought you might like to know a bit about how that happens. My favorite Russian-aphorism, resource says that when things get done, people tend not to pay attention to how they got done so the Russians say, “tea comes in a cup.” When people ask for tea and someone brings them a cup of tea, it’s there. They don’t think about what went into getting it there. To some extent I think that is true for SIETAR USA—the conference, the newsletter, the webinars are all currently there. And to some extent, that is the way it should be. On the other hand, learning more about what we do as a working Board will give you some insight into what goes on behind the scenes.

    Peggy Pusch realized many years ago that the Board needed to meet face-to-face more than one day before the conference. So she instituted an annual retreat meeting. The 2020 SIETAR USA Board of Directors held our annual Retreat early in March and this year we were at the Hilton Omaha to discuss the state of the association and to scout out the hotel and the city (both terrific venues for us). In addition to dealing with business issues such as the conference, the financial picture, membership levels, and vacancies on the Board, the retreat is a time for reflection, visioning, and tackling tough questions together.

    Two items on our agenda were:

    1. How can we make SIETAR USA relevant to People of Color, the new generation of interculturalists, and old timers? Those questions pushed some of the Board out of their comfort zones; not because we weren’t all supportive of increasingly integrating each of those groups into the association but because the ways to do it will likely change the SIETAR USA of the future.

    2. What do we want SIETAR USA to be known for? What do we want it to be? What are we capable of becoming? As we planned for our future, we needed a reality check. We are a working Board, which means that for the work of SIETAR USA to get done, Board members have to do it.  So we asked how the concept of the working board is working for us. The question then became how does our list of things we want SIETAR USA to do, get done with our limited resources? Professionalize and outsource? Increase our dependence on our Administrative Officer? How do we afford any of that?

    We also spent an afternoon reviewing plans for the 2020 conference. We want to bring Omaha into the conference by creating an opportunity for our conference participants to get to know some DEI and intercultural issues that are important in Omaha. This will be a conference to remember.

    We are monitoring the COVID-19 issues carefully as we go forward with conference plans. We are sensitive to everyone’s concerns, and we want those who attend the SIETAR USA conference in October to feel welcome and comfortable. For that reason, I will keep you updated on our thinking regarding decisions about the conference relative to the virus epidemic. I noticed that a major professional conference has re-scheduled for October, which is encouraging. We are confident that the situation will change and hopefully in a direction such that our October conference can take place. A good conference is a great antidote for a stressful year.

    It’s time to begin thinking ahead to the 2022 conference, which will be in the western region of the United States. Our conference location rotates from the Eastern region to the Midwest to the Western region. The Board is exploring possibilities so if you have a favorite city in the West that you’d like us to look into for the 2022 conference, please let Karen Fouts (info@sietarusa.org) know and she will pass it on for our consideration.


  • 20 Mar 2020 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process, by Andy Molinsky, Harvard Business Review Press, 2013, 198 pages. Reviewed by Craig Storti.

    I’m not aware of how well known this book is, but however well it is known, it deserves the widest possible readership, inside the intercultural field, to be sure, but even more so outside the field (the lay audience to whom it is in fact addressed). As its subtitle suggests, it tees up one of the central challenges of being an effective culture crosser: When professional success requires changing your behavior to adapt to cultural differences, how do you make those changes and still stay true to your self?

    “I wrote this book,” Molinsky observes, “because I believe there is a serious gap between what has been written and communicated about cross-cultural management and what people actually struggle with on the ground. Until now the vast majority of writing about culture in business has focused on educating people about differences across cultures…. The logic is that if people can learn about cultural differences, they can adapt their behaviors successfully. And for some people that’s true…. For [many] of us, however…cultural adaptation isn’t always so seamless. We might possess knowledge of cultural differences, but we can struggle as we attempt to put this knowledge into practice.”

    The forms that struggle often takes are at least threefold:

    • people feel anxious and embarrassed about not knowing exactly how to behave.
    • people are embarrassed and frustrated by how unnatural and awkward their behavior feels.
    • people resent having to make these changes to their behavior.

    Unless these altogether natural reactions can somehow be avoided or at least greatly mitigated, then you’re either going to be reluctant to engage across cultures or, if your circumstances require such engagement, then you’re not going to be very good at it. Either way, you will pay a steep price in an era when business has gone global.

    Molinksy says that at first he thought this was a problem without a real solution, a lesser-of-two-evils kind of choice—either grin and bear it or walk away—but after more than ten years of research and interviews, he has changed his mind and come up with a realistic and practical framework for how you can “have your cake and eat it too when adapting behavior in a foreign setting.”

    His framework has four steps:

    STEP I: Diagnose the new cultural code. Molinsky identifies six dimensions of engagement/interaction that differ across cultures: directness, enthusiasm, formality, assertiveness, self-promotion, and personal disclosure. In Step I you identify what the norms are for these six dimensions in the foreign setting you are operating in.

    STEP II: Identify your own challenges with the new cultural code. In this step, you first identify the “zone of appropriateness,” the range of acceptable behaviors, for the six dimensions in the new setting, and then you identify “your personal comfort zone” for those dimensions/the expected behaviors. In some cases your comfort zone may overlap with the zone of appropriateness, and you’re good to go; in others, there will be a gap between the two zones, and the size of the gap represents the degree of the challenge you’ll face with any particular dimension/necessary behavior change.

    STEP III: Overcome challenges by customizing your cultural behavior. Now we are into the solution part of this model. Here Molinsky makes several suggestions which add up to start with small adaptations which while they may not put you squarely inside the zone of appropriateness, they do begin to move you outside your personal comfort zone. One of the things that can make doing this more palatable is to remind yourself of the rewards that await you once you get closer to the local norms. You may also be able to find a personal value, such as openness or tolerance, that is served or even strengthened by engaging in the uncomfortable new behavior. It may still feel inauthentic (a favorite Molinsky word), but at least it reflects a part of you.

    STEP IV: Integrate what you have learned through rehearsal and evaluation. The trick is how to make these new behaviors stick, to become second nature. Here Molinksy describes three phases: (1) familiarization (observing the behaviors in other people and then trying them in non-threatening circumstances, such as role-playing with a friend; (2) rehearsal which is more serious role-playing but not yet where there are real consequences; (3) dress rehearsal or more or less the real thing. (These three phases could be better distinguished.) The important point about this entire integration step is to be sure to get feedback about how you came across when you tried on the new behavior (and also to ponder how the behavior felt to you).

    For this reader the key take-aways from Global Dexterity are to start with small changes that are challenging but not intimidating or threatening, and especially to find genuine, legitimate justifications for the changes—a personal value, a personal goal, a cultural value, a business imperative—that puts the discomfort into a broader perspective that can very often take away some of the sting.

    I hasten to add here at the end that I fear I have done Global Dexterity a big disservice by implying it’s all dry theory and process. Far from it; the great strength of the book, apart from its practicality and non-academic prose, is in its many stories of real people facing real challenges you will immediately be able to relate to. It’s not a text book; it’s an action plan.


  • 20 Mar 2020 3:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    1. Why did you write this book?

    When I was doing my PhD, so much of the academic research I was reading was of the “cultural comparison” variety – about how cultures were different from each other.  But that wasn’t the main problem I saw out in the world when I was working with companies or coaching people to adapt behaviour across cultures. It wasn’t simply understanding differences that people were struggling with. Instead, it was being able to adapt and adjust their behaviour across cultures without losing themselves in the process.  This core insight inspired my academic research, which ultimately became the basis for Global Dexterity.

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

    Two main things:  First, that we’re not prisoners of culture or passive recipients of culture, but, instead, can be active, creative users of culture.  And second, that you can adapt and adjust your behaviour successfully across cultures without losing yourself in the process.

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

    I love Edward T Hall and his anthropological take on culture and cultural differences.  I remember reading his books in graduate school and being really inspired.  I also have to mention the book Lost in Translation by Eva Hoffman, that interculturalists may not know about, but which is a wonderful story of cultural adaptation.  Finally, in the pure academic realm, I was always very influenced by the sociologist Ann Swidler and her concept of culture as a toolkit.

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

    As a college student in the late 1980’s, I lived and studied in Spain and it was my very first experience abroad.  And this was the pre-internet era, so I didn’t have easy access to photos and videos and information about the experience I was about to have.  I have to admit that at the time I was terrified to step on that plane.  But the experience really changed my life.

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

    To think about cultural similarities in addition to cultural differences.  I think we’re almost programmed to think about differences when crossing cultures. But the key to being successful across cultures isn’t just focusing on differences. It’s to also focus on similarities- what you might have in common with someone else, which is essential for building trust and the building blocks of a potential relationship.

    6. This newsletter goes to nearly 1,000 readers, folks who are either in or interested in the field of intercultural communications. If you’d like to say something else to these folks, something we have not asked about in this questionnaire, feel free to add your brief comments here.

    Yes! If you are an experienced cross-cultural coach or trainer and are interested in becoming certified as a practitioner of the Global Dexterity method, please contact me directly at andy@andymolinsky.com to be placed on an information list to learn more.  I will be opening up the first certification cohort later in 2020.   You can find out more about me and my work at www.andymolinsky.com.  Thanks!

     

     


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