Subject: Centre Quarterly

Centre Quarterly 
a newsletter update on
strengthening effectiveness across
the borders of culture
in a borderless world
November 2018
Are soft skills fluffy?
Sometimes non-technical skills (like CQ - cultural intelligence) are called soft skills, while direct functional components of one's specific profession are called hard skills. 

My observation about people in the workplace is that soft skills usually gets developed only up to a level of certain proficiency. Once at that level, those in the workplace will often stop their active learning on their soft skills and then move their on-going energy back onto their primary technical area of expertise. 

The heavier lean into the technical "must-have" competencies called hard skills often results in soft skills being viewed as only fluffy "nice-to-have" but not "must-have" capabilities.   
Locking Down is Risky
I do understand the reasons behind why people in the workplace will lock down development on soft skills at a certain point. However, as respects culture, I also know that locking down professional development on multicultural effectiveness at a point in time carries risk in at least three ways.
Risk #1
Many people, even very experienced people, are instinctively stuck on national cultures as the primary cause for multicultural problems. My sense is it is because nationality is one of the easier cultural contexts to observe. 

For sure, nationality-based cultural dynamics are always present. However, the first risk faced is that the most obvious is not always the primary underlying cause to a dilemma. 

From what I have seen with my clients, their primary underlying cause of many cross-cultural dilemmas are not nationalistic. 

Rather their primary problem was more often from the cultural aspects of teams & organizations. Then followed race & ethnicity, faith groups, ideology, and clashes across different vocational expertises. 
Risk #2
The second risk from locking down personal development on cultural effectiveness is that it makes culture predominantly an information game. In other words, once one can work at a certain level of fixed cross-cultural information, then continuing to learn more about culture will appear to have a diminishing return. 

However, in reality culture is less of an information game and is actually more of a thinking game. 

That is, cultural behavior is learned from one's on-going inter-relational social experience. Therefore cultural behavior is always evolving based upon the inter-personal learning that happens over time. 

Since cultural behavior is always changing, "locked down information" from the past is not always the most helpful for being effective with today's current dilemma from your cross-cultural context.
Centre for Leadership Effectiveness LLC
Dedicated to strengthening performance of individuals, teams, and organizations through building deeper competencies to reconcile dilemmas faced in our culturally complex world for the following contexts:
cross-cultural operations of public, private  & non-profit organizations
advanced level university  contexts
domestic & international Christian multicultural ministries
Frank Zauflik MA, MBA
Executive Director
Frank has an unique combinattion of for-profit, not-for-profit & faith-based professional experiences, advanced academics & certifications, with 
extensive trans-national living.
Building up your return on investment through integrating research based Cultural Intelligence (CQ) &  Everything DiSC Personality assessments + training + coaching + consulting to leverage your soft skills into hard results.

Risk #3
Culture is multi-context in nature. That means people carry a cultural identity that is made up from the integration of many ingredients - nations, race, gender, age, faith and more. 

So, having many ingredients to our collective cultural identity seems to work OK for people most of the time. 

However, what happens when an individual is faced with a cross-cultural situation where the various ingredients of one's cultural identity are in conflict as to which is the best behavioral choice for that situation? 

The research evidence suggest that when faced with such moments of internal conflict over choices of behavior, the cultural context you hang most heavily with for that specific situation will most likely be the way you swing on behavior. Your behavioral choice is not automatically based upon your cultural identity ingredient of nationality
People are faced with many opportunities and challenges due to our culturally complex world. That complexity comes from the overlapping cultural dynamics of nations & cities, organizations & teams, gender, race & ethnicities, faith, generations, ideology, occupational & academic backgrounds, and more.

There exists a question: How to effectively build cross-cultural competencies into they can remain true to their organizational, faith and personal convictions.....while also simultaneously being able to adjust to and learn from those who come from other overlapping cultural systems and beliefs? 

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is an individual or group ability to be effective across various cultural contexts - including nations, teams, race, generational, ethnicity, faith, and more.

CQ assessment & coaching can be your helper for the good work of being more effective across overlapping borders in our borderless world. 
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