Cultural difference in any organization can show up many ways. National culture, segment populations and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, physical and generation are a few examples of differences that can make a difference in how we lead. Culture, diversity, equity and inclusion are elements every organization needs to address. All of these facets of culture bring an opportunity to knowingly create an equitable organization if the leader is culturally proficient. To be proficient a leader has to have a strong grasp of what best practice is with respect to difference within their organization. How does a leader become culturally proficient?
Understanding one's own worldview, cultural values, bias and beliefs with regard to difference is the first step in developing cultural proficiency as a leader. Our cultural values and beliefs drive how we interact and respond every day to people and situations. They shape how we expect others to act and what we expect them to do. Awareness of self, and our cultural values is the necessary step to becoming aware of others and to the distinct differences that exist in the cultural fabric of our organizations.
In addition to beliefs and values, learning and applying the universal tenets of culture is vital in order to understand behavior and expectations of employees, customers or colleagues who have differing backgrounds and needs. How others view time, individuals and groups, power, task orientation and communication messaging are tenets which affect individual viewpoints, processes and people on a daily basis. The astute leader comprehends how these tenets are demonstrated across a continuum and uses that information to serve well and proactively mitigate concerns.
To assist in understanding one’s own world view with regard to difference and the implications of worldview organizationally, the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI) can assist. The IDI assessment illustrates how we react to and manage difference. It also provides a plan and platform for moving toward increased cultural sensitivity in order to positively influence business relationships and outcomes.
What is the IDI?
Intercultural competence is the capability to accurately understand and adapt behavior to cultural difference and commonality. Intercultural competence reflects the degree to which cultural differences and commonalities in values, expectations, beliefs, and practices are effectively understood and leveraged so an inclusive environment is achieved. To be effective in communicating, recognizing and appealing to diverse groups, as well as to bring our organization forward as an inclusive thought leader, a leader will benefit from knowing what their general awareness and orientation to difference is.
The Intercultural Developmental Inventory will identify our specific orientation to difference, and provides a roadmap for further growth. Our success in achieving our goals is better served if we are able to more deeply understand culturally learned differences, recognize commonalities between business community members, and act on this increased insight in culturally appropriate ways. This will facilitate for better business awareness and performance, as well as learning and personal growth among diverse organizational groups. The IDI, which meets the standard scientific criteria for a valid and reliable psychometric instrument, can aid leaders in this understanding.
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