Advance your diversity and inclusion initiatives
What is intercultural competence?
Intercultural competence is the capability to accurately understand and adapt behaviour to cultural differences and commonality.
Differences may stem from gender, age or generation, ancestry, ethnicity, nationality, geographic roots, religion, sexual orientation, family background, educational background, work experience, ability or disability, socioeconomic status, and other cultural factors.
What we learn and internalize from the groups to which we belong shapes the way we experience the world and conduct ourselves in it. We can embrace diverse perspectives, connect with others, and achieve a healthy and strong group or organization.
Why assess intercultural competence?
When it comes to diversity, intercultural competence, and inclusion, we are at different points in our journeys. The key to meaningful development lies in targeting opportunities that fit our own individual, group, or organizational stage of development. Otherwise, the activities we invest in could be useless (or, worse, stunting).
Assessments can help define a starting point (or establish a baseline), diagnose development opportunities, and help choose optimal interventions. Not only do assessments prime people for learning, they can also help develop intercultural competence by helping distinguish positive and negative aspects of our thinking and behaviour.
Who needs intercultural competence?
Here are 5 questions to self-assess your need for assessing intercultural competence:
What do I know about the range of differences in our group or organization?
How do I (or my group) value and engage these differences?
How do I (or our people) perceive and respond to differences and commonality?
What culturally influenced conflict and communication styles do I/we use?
What should I/we focus on right now?
If you are struggling to answer any of these 5 crucial questions, this suggests that you could benefit from an intercultural competence assessment.