MLP 065: How Leaders Can Improve Intercultural Competence In Their Organization with Dan Garcia

MLP 065: How Leaders Can Improve Intercultural Competence In Their Organization with Dan Garcia


Music: Music: – . Oh oh, oh oh oh oh. Oh oh, oh- Gordon Sheppard: Are you a professional who
wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach
with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership
Podcast with Gordon Sheppard Gordon Sheppard: Welcome to another episode
of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard and I just want
to say thank you so much for taking time out of your valuable day to join me here on the
podcast to pick up another practical tip, to pick up another strategy, something that
you can take out today, put into action, become a stronger leader, and learn how to run outstanding
meetings. Thank you so, so much. Gordon Sheppard: And if you’re the type of
leader who embraces diversity, you’re going to get a lot of value out of today’s episode
because today we’re going to talk about how leaders can improve intercultural competence
in their organization. And before we go any further, let me take
a moment to read the intercultural competence definition according to Wikipedia. It says, “intercultural competence is a range
of cognitive affective and behavioral skills that lead to effective and appropriate communication
with people of other cultures.” Gordon Sheppard: So if you think about it,
if you’re the leader who can get this right, if you’re the leader who can lead their team
with the most sensitivity in terms of intercultural issues, then there’s a good chance that your
team is going to function at the highest possible level. And one of the best ways to learn about this
topic is from expert Dan Garcia. Now Dan is the chief operating officer of
Principia Assessments and they do all kinds of evidence-based work to help organizations
really grow their overall competencies and become much, much stronger. Gordon Sheppard: Now many of you will remember
Dan from episode 39 on the podcast and it was called Why Intercultural Competence is
Critical for All Leaders. And that was part one of a two part series. And if you want to catch up with that one,
you’ll go to meetingleadershipinc.com/39. And of course once you understand the why,
then you can get into the how. And that is exactly what we’re going to do
in this episode. So without waiting any longer, here’s the
interview with Dan Garcia. Gordon Sheppard: Dan Garcia, welcome back
to the show. Dan Garcia: Thanks for coming back again,
Gordon. Gordon Sheppard: You knocked it out of the
park in episode 39 and I think leaders that have taken that one in are definitely chomping
at the bit to hear about you today. Now there’s some people that might be new
to you and they’ll want to know more about you. So take a moment to tell us about yourself. Dan Garcia: Sure. My name is Dan Garcia and I’m the chief operating
officer at Principia Assessments. And we work in a lot of different areas, particularly
in complex challenges in the area of professional competence. One of the key areas in professional competence
that we’re focusing in right now is intercultural competence. So, the ability to shift perspectives and
adapt behavior to cultural commonalities and differences. Gordon Sheppard: Well and that’s why this
episode is called, How Leaders Can Improve Intercultural Competence in their organization. I mean it’s just great to have you back on
expert wise and really give the folks some practical things that they can take away. And what’s the first thing that you want to
tell leaders when it comes to the practical aspect of tackling this issue? Dan Garcia: Use the diagnostic tool. It’s crazy, right now we use diagnostic tools
for all kinds of things. We get blood tests to understand our health. We track our steps. We have gauges in our cars. But when it comes to professional competence,
we’re pretty much mostly winging it. Dan Garcia: Now consider this scenario: If
someone wants to be a better runner, should just give them the training plan that has
them run a 5K tomorrow? The intervention might be useful, but only
if it’s appropriate for that runners current state of development. Are they already a competitive athlete? Or just starting out? Knowing matters. Dan Garcia: Now, while an improvement plan
might be helpful for some, for others it could be useless or worse, harmful. So before anybody invests their limited resources,
their time, energy, and money, it’s worthwhile to start with an assessment. Dan Garcia: Now, leaders that want to make
some meaningful progress in developing their organization’s intercultural competence need
to start by asking the real questions. For example, what do we know about the range
of differences in our group? How do we value and engage these differences? How do our people perceive and respond to
differences and commonality? What culturally-influenced conflict and communication
styles do we use? And what should we focus on right now? Dan Garcia: Many leaders struggle to answer
these five crucial questions but with the right tools, taking the next step is easier
than you think. Gordon Sheppard: Well and what you’re talking
about really makes me think about an example of an oil field executive that I ran into
in Alberta. This fella came from El Salvador and he came
as a new immigrant to Canada, highly competent, all kinds of degrees, really, really good
at his work. And in my area when I help people deal with
meetings and some of this aspect, he was talking about the difference in coming to meetings
in Canada when he first got started here professionally and versus in El Salvador. And he would say this, he would say, “In El
Salvador, if I walk into a meeting and I see a woman there and I don’t kiss her on both
cheeks and tell her that she looks great, I get in trouble. But if I come to Canada and I’m in a meeting
and I actually walk up to a woman and I try to kiss her on both cheeks and tell her she
looks great, they’re going to call the police.” Gordon Sheppard: Is this the kind of thing
that we’re getting at with your tool and your assessment? Dan Garcia: Absolutely. It’s trying to understand that people’s actions
and the way they operate in the world is not necessarily something that we can assume that
their motives or intention is clear to us, especially when we have cultural differences. Dan Garcia: See typically when we’re trying
to understand how people deal with things and trying to assess intercultural competence,
we often rely on self-assessment. Now the most common form, in large part, is
because it’s the easiest. The problem is that it’s also notoriously
ineffective. People are terrible at self-assessing, especially
in this area. And there is both general and specific research
that confirms this. Dan Garcia: So using an instrument is really
critical in terms of getting some objective, validated data to give you a point of start
and some understanding so you can measure progress, know where you’re going, and know
when you’ve reached your milestones. Gordon Sheppard: Yeah but you know what? I get along with everybody, according to me. Dan Garcia: Now getting along with everybody
is different than understanding those cultural nuances and taking into account how you say
things or, whether it’s verbal, nonverbal, paraverbal, all those types of things that
really come into play when you’re communicating with somebody, how it’s being received by
your audience. It’s easy to assume, “Well, that’s what it
means to me, so that’s what it must mean to somebody else.” It’s like thinking that what I, the strategies
that I use in communicating with people is going to work for everybody else. It’s not like that. And that’s because all these different facets
of our culture really come into play. Dan Garcia: And first of all, in the way we
perceive differences, and also the way we adapt to them. If we are not even perceiving those differences,
there’s no way for us to adapt them. And as soon as that’s happening, there’s an
immediate barrier in terms of reaching your audience. Whether it’s an a sales position, you’re dealing
with customers that are foreign-trained or foreign-born, whether you’re dealing with
multiple generations in one office, it’s all about adjusting to your audience. And that comes from more of the sales principle
than it is about intercultural competence, but it comes into play so strongly in all
their interactions. Dan Garcia: You can be standing in the lineup
at Tim Horton’s and it’s easy to see how close or how far apart people stand from each other. That is culturally influenced, many times. For example, I was talking to somebody recently
who is from China and she was explaining to me there’s no understanding of personal space,
it’s easy to talk you three inches from somebody else’s face. Where people, for example in North America,
may feel like that’s violation of personal space. Gordon Sheppard: This is absolutely true in
my own experience. I can hear the way that you’re able to illustrate
this for people and for the leaders who are listening to this right now, the value in
is super, super high and you can hear, worth an investment not only in listening to you
on this podcast, but probably in reaching out to you in some capacity. Gordon Sheppard: So Dan if anybody needs to
get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that? Dan Garcia: Through our website, that’s probably
the best. It’s knowprincipia.Com. K-N-O-W-P-R-I-N-C-I-P-I-A.com. There’s many ways to connect with us through
there and of course you can get in touch with me, send me some information, happy to go
for a coffee and talk about this. This is such a critical information. Dan Garcia: But if I could give your leaders
just one tip, is use a tool that is designed to assess intercultural competence. That is one of the most critical things and
there is a great resources where they can do their own research and find out what’s
best. It’s a report called “Assessing Intercultural
Competence in Higher Education.” Now, they did a study on a lot of different
instruments, there are a couple of instruments of those that we actually regularly use, particularly
the intercultural development inventory. Dan Garcia: That’s an excellent tool in terms
of helping people, first of all create that cultural self-awareness and get started in
terms of understanding how to adapt their behavior and shift perspectives. But there are Lots of tools out there, it’s
trying to understand what’s the right thing for your context. Dan Garcia: The problem is though it’s that
you need to make sure that whatever tool you decide to use, it’s actually practical. Now that same report that I just mentioned,
it does propose this really, really great assessment scheme or model if you had limitless
resources. The problem is in practicality, you need to
do something that is easy to administer for your internal team and anybody else who’s
participating in this process because there is some fatigue and if you aren’t sure about
what context that you have and what people are actually ready for and probably the change
management, that readiness piece in terms of being able to start any diversity and inclusion
initiatives, you need to know where to start and then you can select the tool. Dan Garcia: We are very cautious about just
implementing any tool for any of our clients. We always start asking, “What is your current
situation?” And we go through a needs and readiness assessment
and really a more fulsome context assessment. Gordon Sheppard: This makes total sense. Select the right tool, work with an expert,
and there’s a good chance that you’re going to turn your intercultural competence journey
into something that will ultimately be profitable for your entire organization. Gordon Sheppard: Dan, thank you so much for
your expertise. Thanks for being on the show, really appreciate
it. Dan Garcia: Thanks for having me Gordon, it
was a real pleasure. Gordon Sheppard: Now one of my biggest takeaways
from listening to that interview is to imagine that somebody might go out and try to run
a marathon without first assessing where they are at. You can see that by choosing the right instrument,
the right approach, working with the right expert, getting a feel for your current state
is absolutely critical when it comes to measuring and taking advantage of intercultural competence. Gordon Sheppard: And with that in mind, don’t
hesitate to reach out to Dan Garcia, and you’ll find his contact information right here in
the show notes. And also don’t forget to check out episode
39 on the podcast and there you’ll hear Dan Garcia talk about why intercultural competence
is critical for all leaders. And you can get that episode on your favorite
podcast app or by visiting meetingleadershipinc.com/39. Gordon Sheppard: And I also want to let you
know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership
Academy. If you want practical skills, things that
you can apply right away to become a stronger leader, things that you can apply right away
to have outstanding meetings, then check out the great live and online training options
by visiting meetingleadershipinc.com/academy. Gordon Sheppard: And as always, thank you
so much for listening and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Music: Music: – . Oh oh, oh oh oh oh. Oh oh, oh- Announcer: Thanks for listening to the Meeting
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