Build Productivity, Innovation, and All The PICAS Factors© Through Intercultural Expertise
This section of the website is about using inclusion and intercultural expertise to build productivity, innovation, creativity, agility, and safety (The PICAS Factors©).
Business-Aligned® development of intercultural competence / expertise engages your executive team and helps grow your business with these types of results:
- See how mindset about diversity and cultural difference affects business results.
- Measure peoples' current mindset about diversity and cultural difference.
- Develop peoples' mindset to enable inclusive actions and results.
- Implement team building and development tailored to each diverse team's needs.
- Deliver high-impact executive coaching that builds individual effectiveness.
- Improve communication, effectiveness, and productivity for individuals, teams, and entire organizations.
- Design and deliver diversity training matched to the participants' readiness.
- Assess organization readiness for change.
Some Terminology Notes
We consider “intercultural” and “cultural” as interchangeable and inclusive of all aspects of human difference.
We use “competence”, “fluency”, “effectiveness”, and “expertise” interchangeably.
We tend to use "intercultural expertise" or "intercultural competence" while recognizing that "cultural competence" is also used widely.
Almost all organizations say they want a more-inclusive workplace. Some can define what this looks like. Very few organizations achieve anything close to “full inclusion". Why? Full inclusion requires cultural and behavioral change from the CEO to the newest employee. It requires intercultural expertise in pursuit of world-class PICAS.
While virtually any team or organization will benefit from achieving world-class PICAS through intercultural expertise, it is especially relevant if you have one or more of these needs:
- Create a D&I strategic plan that will help grow your business or organization.
- Diverse or cross-cultural teams need to leverage their differences to achieve great results.
- Leaders need outstanding results from domestic or global teams or organizations that are diverse or cross-cultural.
- Transform "conflict" into a source of competitive advantage to grow your organization.
- Expand into new untapped diverse, cross-cultural, or international markets.
- Work well with new business partners with different organizational cultures or that are located in different countries.
The figure below applies a "workforce and workplace lens" to an organization's key business goals. Organizations are frequently about sustained business growth. Typically, some unique mix of PICAS is needed to sustain the organization's growth. (For a more-detailed explanation, see growing your business through Business-Aligned D&I).
Achieving PICAS with an increasingly diverse, multicultural, or cross-cultural workforce and workplace requires strong intercultural expertise in the organization's key leaders.
This is essential to your organization’s growth and business success regardless of whether it is located and does business:
- In one country or part of one country.
- In 180+ countries around the world.
Depending upon your organization’s situation, it may be essential to work on intercultural competence / expertise at one or both of two levels - core intercultural competence and culturally-based preferences and tendencies.
Core intercultural competence
- What it is:
How individuals, teams, and entire organizations tend to think and feel about people from cultural backgrounds other than their own, or about diversity and cultural difference.
The extent to which diversity and cultural difference tend to be avoided, thought of in polarizing terms, acknowledged and minimized, or fully valued and understood for its full effect and potential.
A deep "culture-general" skill related to one's mindset regarding any and all dimensions of difference found in domestic and global workforces.
- Where it is relevant:
Virtually any organization with a diverse and/or cross-cultural workforce or customer base. This includes organizations whose customers are other organizations - bear in mind that your customer organizations also have a diverse and/or cross-cultural workforce making their purchase decisions!
- The primary tool we apply:
The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI, version 3) measures an individual's or group's perceived and developmental level of intercultural sensitivity / expertise in terms of the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC). IDI is a validated psychometric instrument.
Culturally-based preferences and tendencies (CBTs)
- What it is:
An individual's or group's culturally-dependent and culturally-influenced preferences and tendencies in patterns of thought and behavior. These span the five dimensions of Dr. Gert Hofstede's model of culture.
These CBTs affect how the individual or group communicates and works with, and understands the needs of, each other or colleagues and customers from specific other countries with different CBTs.
A deep "culture-specific" skill that provides insight into the differences between individual / group CBTs and those of specific other cultures. These insights become the basis for learning how to shift one's own thoughts and behaviors to be more effective working with people from the other culture(s).
- Where it is relevant:
In domestic organizations this helps members of a team with diverse communication and work styles become more effective and even leverage their different perspectives.
In multinational organizations this principle expands to helping parts of the organization in specific different countries become more effective. In both instances, this builds the organization’s PICAS.
- The primary tool we apply:
The Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ (CWQ) quantifies differences in culturally-based preferences and tendencies. CWQ measures individuals and teams on the five dimensions of Hofstede’s model of culture. It compares the individual's or team's tendencies to five selected sets of national norms.
We frequently hear these questions about developing intercultural competence:
Why bother working on intercultural competence? We're already good at it.
Research and experience show that all people over-estimate their skill. In terms of the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC), almost 90% of the population perceives that they have a well-developed multicultural level of expertise. The actual number is about 13% of the population. About two-thirds of the population are aware of diversity and cultural difference but tend to minimize its importance to human interaction by assuming that all people have the same core beliefs and values.
When is it important to focus on and measure both core cultural competence and culturally-based preferences? Do these two approaches overlap?
They are distinct and, depending upon your needs, may be complementary.
Culturally-based preferences and tendencies are the “how to” or the “application” for specific diverse or cross-cultural situations. The knowledge and skills developed by focusing on culturally-based tendencies build upon and make use of one’s core intercultural competence.
So, why work with MDB Group to develop our intercultural expertise?
To grow your team or organization and its business success.
PICAS of individuals, teams, and organizations depends upon people communicating and working well with colleagues and customers from different cultural backgrounds. This is what a truly inclusive workplace looks like. Most organizations consider this a critical success factor in today’s increasingly-diverse, globally-connected workplace. Intercultural expertise helps build PICAS through full inclusion.
We at MDB Group have integrated intercultural expertise into many aspects of our work on diversity and inclusion. We utilize world-class instruments such as the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ (CWQ). MDB Group can help you derive the full potential business benefits available from diversity, cultural difference, and inclusion.
MDB Group is pleased to work with you in any capacity needed. We provide complete coaching and developmental interventions based on the IDI and CWQ. We also provide administration and interpretation services to other consultants in support of their work with their clients.
Please call us; we will be happy to discuss how you may realize the full benefits available through PICAS.
The Intercultural Development Inventory and the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire are valuable diagnostic and development tools. They have applications in building individual and team effectiveness, improving cross-cultural communication and teamwork, conflict management, executive coaching, and general workplace assessments.
Building cross-cultural communication competence, or the ability to communicate with other people, helps build team effectiveness.
When an executive takes on new challenges, success frequently hinges upon developing new insights and building new abilities to communicate and work with people having different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.
Diagnosing and addressing ineffective communications is frequently at the heart of resolving workplace conflict and transforming these differences into a source of competitive advantage.
Workplace assessments diagnose individual, team, or organizational intercultural sensitivity and communications competence. These assessments enable designing strategies, action plans, development, and training matched to peoples’ current state of development. This helps ensure a successful business-related outcome.
Please call us so that together we can start growing your organization through PICAS.
Intercultural Expertise: Definitions, Business Value, Challenges
D&I Application Note (PDF): Fuel Productivity and Innovation: Build Intercultural Expertise
Spotlight on Building Inclusion
Almost all organizations say they want a more-inclusive workplace. Some can define what this looks like. Very few organizations achieve anything close to “full inclusion". Why? It takes a change in mindset about diversity and cultural difference.
Growing an organization and its business through full inclusion typically demands some mix of the PICAS factors (Productivity, Innovation, Creativity, Agility, and Safety). Full inclusion requires cultural and behavioral change from the CEO to the newest employee. To learn more visit these pages: