Be Humble; Place Myself in Your Shoes
To create the multiplier effect, we believe that humility just has to be a part of it! There is no room for ‘star players’. Patrick Lencioni talks about that in one of his recent books “The Ideal Team Player” where he highlights the importance of humility. Lone stars might be incredibly talented, but they cannot create the multiplier effect on their own! In our team every person contributes key components to the success of the team, and we must acknowledge, celebrate and respect everybody’s roles and responsibilities. (e.g., our Office Manager coordinates our calendar. She is the boss when it comes to scheduling and we submit to her authority. Our webmaster is the boss when it comes to operationalizing our collective ideas on online content).
We also acknowledge that our ideas and thoughts must be presented in such a way that co-creation starts to happen in our conversations. Practicing humility includes practicing more ‘co-creation dialog’ and less ‘telling you what to do’ or ‘pitching my idea against yours to see who will win’… The three levels of conversational intelligence that were developed by the late Judith Fraser are incredibly helpful in fostering co-creation conversations on the team.
Humility is also part of being quick to ‘re-frame’. Learning to reframe more quickly is a powerful mechanism for absorbing constructive criticism and moving on to a better or more fine-tuned solution faster. Re-framing requires me to say: “You are adding an important perspective that I hadn’t thought of and I realize that it means we have to change our approach to this situation. Based on what you just said, how should we move forward?”
Be Conscious of and Intentional About the Intended Impact
The gap between intention and impact is a huge challenge in mono-cultural environments; it is an even bigger challenge in intercultural environments. It is hard to gauge how somebody will respond to a message even when you think you know that person well. How much harder is it when that person is also culturally very different from you?! This is why we have a lot of conversations in our team on the expected impact of our communication. We do not always get it right, but we often have two or three team members look over important pieces of communication to anticipate the possible impact and the response we might trigger. When we work on developing Cultural Agility we say to our practitioners: “The fastest way to grow and become more culturally agile yourself is when you take ownership of the response you trigger in others! You don’t control how people respond and you can’t take full responsibility for it, but if you own it, you will use that moment to reflect, adjust and grow. These small moments of ‘reflect, adjust, grow’ will have a cumulative multiplier effect in your life!”
Value & Celebrate Diversity
Our team is small but incredibly diverse. We have been a virtual team for the last 8 years and when the global pandemic hit, we continued our journey into virtual work.
Because our team members are situated in five countries we live in very different worlds and circumstances. We recognize that this shapes how we think about our work, about the issues we face at work and how we look at crafting solutions for our clients.
We purposefully try to create as big an age-gap on the team as possible! We believe that generational diversity brings freshness of thinking. It keeps the older team members more agile and also allows the younger team members to tap into the wisdom of those senior to them. It creates a healthy tension and ensures that we stay connected with what our customers need.
Another form of diversity that has been refreshing on our team is creating room for moms who want to re-enter the workforce! We celebrate family and recognize that moms are entrepreneurs in their own right when they take on a large part of the responsibilities of raising kids and running a household. It has been incredibly healthy for our team to have seasoned mom-trepreneurs become team members! They might need up-skilling in some of the technological areas, but that typically does not take a lot of time. The team is blessed by the balance, relational skills, communication skills and life wisdom they bring! Since we work globally across 22 time zones, and we are not focused on ‘clocking time’ but on excellent delivery, we have created a flexible work environment where both home and work responsibilities can be managed effectively.
Intentionally creating a diverse team has resulted in an environment where we need to continually work on our own Cultural Agility which ensures that we ‘practice what we preach’! There is nothing more powerful than working in an environment where acquiring Cultural Agility is essential for personal, team and company success! Many great Cultural Agility-oriented ideas were born on our team because we had to figure things out to ensure the ongoing health and growth of the team!
One of our ICI Practitioners recently commented that: “Over the past 8 or so years of working with KnowledgeWorkx I have been constantly amazed by your approachability, your ability to build authentic relationships, your commitment, professionalism and efficiency. You live and demonstrate Intercultural intelligence at its best in every single interaction! Keep doing what you're doing”.
Practice the “Three Colors of Worldview Litmus Test”
This last segment of the multiplier fruit is probably the hardest because it requires us to go against our default cultural wiring. The Three Colors of Worldview is a powerful tool to begin assessing your personal cultural preferences, but it is in the context of a team that the power of the Three Colors of Worldview truly comes alive!
We developed the “Three Colors of Worldview Litmus Test” to help teams ask the question: “Is how we behave going to result in building a healthy and Culturally Agile work culture?”
In short, the litmus test has three questions that need to be answered affirmatively for a behavior to be endorsed as being Culturally Agile. Of course, this is not a perfect test, but it will get you a LOT closer to conducting your thinking, speaking and acting in a Culturally Agile way.
So, on our team we ask ourselves the question: “Does this way of thinking, speaking or acting pass the 3C litmus test?”:
Am I doing right by you?
Am I honoring you, the team, your people, family?
Am I empowering and life-giving to you?
We try to challenge ourselves and each other to ask these questions as we engage with one another and as we engage with our clients. We sometimes get it wrong, but fortunately we see the growth in the level of cultural agility on our team. We also realize that the law of entropy is always at work on team-cultures, so we know we need to stay intentional and, on our toes, to continue to create the multiplier effect for ourselves, our team, our clients, our families and our loved ones.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.