Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0162| July 20, 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

This week's article, "
How Culturally Competent Are You?" was contributed by my friend Kaveh Nayeri, a business and personal coach who grew up in Iran and has lived and worked in America for 27 years. Kaveh draws on his life experience living in Iran and the United States, his professional experiences counseling majority, minority, and immigrant clients, his marriage to a Lithuanian, his many experiences in European countries, writing books in two languages, and his current work with English-speaking and Farsi-speaking media in the U.S.

On a personal note, I'm leaving today to drive to Colorado for a bit of a vacation, to visit and play with a couple of close friends, and hopefully to meet with Ken Wilber who has invited me to discuss a model of Integral Facilitation I've been working on. I'll keep you posted on how all this turns out and will be sharing more with you about the integral model as I flesh it out.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: How Culturally Competent Are You?

Resource: Cultural Competency in Health, Social & Human Services: Directions for the 21st Century.

New 5-Day Teleclass: Growing Through Conflict.

If any of you have any interesting stories or experiences about facilitation, group process, work groups, team building, training, etc. that might interest our readers, please send them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis

Self-Mastery Skill
How Culturally Competent Are You?
Building your skills in inter-cultural relations.
The Point

I once assigned an exercise for a class of students at a Los Angeles high school. The objective was to determine the number of different cultural backgrounds that existed in this class. I was surprised to find that this class of 29 students came from 21 different cultural backgrounds, a much higher number than I had expected.

Of all the countries that I have visited, the United States is the most culturally diverse. Our wealth of cultures presents us with many opportunities not available to more culturally homogeneous nations.

In this article we'll explore the benefits of realizing our cultural potential, the consequences of not achieving this goal, and some tips on improving your cultural competency, an imminent concern for group workers exposed to a growing cultural mix.


Benefits of Embracing Diverse Cultures. Embracing the many cultures that make up America bring many benefits to our organizations, families, and society. Here are just a few:

  • Releasing and employing the unique knowledge and skills inherent in each culture.
  • Creating cultural synergy by joining cultures.
  • Enhancing productivity and loyalty by recognizing and supporting employee cultural needs.
  • Enhancing the image of American organizations by demonstrating cultural capability.
  • Improving the ability of American professionals to successfully conduct business in foreign countries.
  • Validating and strengthening the American cultural self esteem and identity.

What we miss when we fail to embrace diversity. The consequences of failing to understand and validate our many cultures are also significant. Here are a few consequences:

  • Loss of cultural and individual skills and talent.
  • Cultural divisions, barriers, tension, and conflict in our organizations, families, schools, and society.
  • Poor productivity, unemployment, high turnover, crime, and various emotional problems associated with cultural confusion and weakness.
  • Difficulty in doing business successfully in foreign countries.
  • Poor cultural image and reputation.

Realizing our individual and organizational cultural potential requires that we do the related cultural work at different levels of society.

How do I expand my inter-cultural competence? Here are a few suggestions around cultural work you can do:

  • Develop an understanding of the values and unique skills inherent in each culture. In each culture there are certain core values that have been revered for generations. These values often define the cultural interests and skills of the majority of people from that culture. By knowing, supporting, and employing these values and skills you can provide cultural empowerment to someone from that culture. For example art and creativity are highly valued in the Persian culture. So a Persian individual might have skills in some form of creative work This creative potential can be assessed and employed to benefit the individual and his/her employer.
  • Develop an understanding of key differences among cultures. One of the key differences between current cultures is that some tend to be more cognitive-behavioral while others are more emotional-spiritual. Cognitive-behavioral cultures promote logical thinking, problem solving, and external results. Emotional-spiritual cultures promote emotional awareness and expression, spirituality, and inner results. Each culture could be positioned on a continuum from cognitive-behavioral at one end and emotional-spiritual at the other. For example the Mexican culture is primarily emotional-spiritual while the Russian culture is primarily cognitive-behavioral.
  • Validate all cultures within individuals, organizations, and families. In multi-cultural settings give sufficient attention and support to all cultures present as opposed to only the dominant or majority culture.
  • When cultures are in conflict learn ways to determine the hidden growth opportunity for each culture and create the necessary cultural changes to achieve this growth. For example when a primarily cognitive-behavioral culture is in conflict with a primarily emotional-spiritual culture the hidden opportunity is for the former is to learn more emotional and spiritual skills and for the latter to learn more scientific skills and attain more physical results.
  • Identify and value your own cultural strengths. This can be done by studying one’s history and determining the primary values and skills of one’s culture. For example one of the values and strengths in the American culture is freedom.
  • Identify and accept your own cultural weaknesses. It is also helpful to objectively compare one’s culture with other cultures and ask trusted individuals from others culture to candidly share how they see your culture and why.
  • Embrace opportunities to spend time with other cultures. Travel to other countries or visit different multi-cultural areas of your city and country. You could also invite people of other cultures to your home and social events, become curious about their cultural backgrounds, and ask them to share about their cultural values.
  • Create opportunities for cultural dialog and education within organizations. Have speakers discuss the values of various cultures, creating cross-cultural discussion groups, and teaching classes on cultural awareness.
  • See the beauty in each culture. Each culture has its own beauty. You can see this beauty by understanding the values of that culture. Their values defines what they strive for and what they consider beautiful. Your cultural values and opinion about beauty may be different from theirs and should not necessarily be the gauge of measuring the beauty in another culture.
  • Overcome mental, emotional, and relational barriers that keep cultures apart. Examples of these include cultural fear, insecurity, anger, misinformation, unawareness, isolation, separation, etc. We need to face and resolve the emotions and attitudes that keep us from embracing other cultures. Otherwise they will continue to act as obstacles in our relationship with other cultures.
  • Recognize the value of cultural heritage for the individual and society. Most cultures have a need to learn about their own cultural heritage and to teach their cultural values to the next generation. This is a basic cultural need and interest.
  • Employ the services of cross-cultural coaches and educators. Cross-cultural speakers, coaches, and facilitators can help enhance our cultural knowledge and cross-cultural relationships.

There is much cultural work to be done in a multi-cultural nation. And this work is more necessary and meaningful than ever before as the world community becomes more and more connected.

By Kaveh Nayeri, MS, Personal and Business Coach, (858) 459-8695.


Where might you improve your cultural competency? Choose from the actions above and practice it this week. Please
send us your questions and comments.

Facilitation Expert Series

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar:
"East Meets West....Discovering the gold in the embrace of Cultural Differences. Featuring Kaveh Nayeri, M.S., Business and Personal Coach, Speaker, and Author. Attend this one-hour tele-seminar on Thursday, July 29th at 1:00 PM EDT (NY Time).

"Just in Time" Learning

Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Kaveh Nayeri and Steve Davis and learn key differences between primarily Cognitive-Behavioral and Emotional-Spiritual Cultures; key differences and similarities between American and Iranian cultures as a real-life example of above culture types based on Kaveh’s years of experience with both cultures; skills and knowledge an American facilitator or any group worker should have to successfully relate to other cultures; and what Eastern and Western cultures can learn from each other and how they can grow from their relationship. Here are some of the questions we'll explore...

Explains your theory that cultures are primarily cognitive-behavioral or emotional-spiritual. What are key differences among them?
. What are some cultural example that demonstrate your theory? On a continuum with cognitive-behavioral at one end and emotional-spiritual at the other end, where would you place cultures such as: American, Mexican, Iranian, French, Russian?
What are typical strengths & limitations of cognitive-behavioral cultures? How about emotional-spiritual cultures?
Elaborate on key factors that come into play when someone from a dominant or majority culture is attempting to relate to someone from a sub-dominant or minority culture?
How can cognitive-behavioral and emotional-spiritual cultures learn from each other and grow from their relationship?
Please review and state a list of key skills and considerations needed when an American professional is attempting to relate to someone from a foreign culture.
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.

Two Free Bonuses!

1.Managing Diversity. An article about managing diversity using a Strategic Planned Change Approach.

2. Workplace Diversity Quiz. A simple 10-question quiz on workplace diversity complete with discussion questions for each point.

About Kaveh.
Kaveh Nayeri, MS is an innovative business and personal coach, author, and thinker. He grew up in Iran where he attended a French school. And he has lived and worked in America for 27 years. Kaveh draws from many sources to teach/coach cross-cultural topics. These include his insight into Eastern and Western cultures, his life experiences living in Iran and the United States, his professional experiences counseling majority, minority, and immigrant clients, his marriage to a Lithuanian, his many experiences in European countries, writing books in two languages, and his current work with English-speaking and Farsi-speaking media in the U.S.

Kaveh proposes a new way of seeing and understanding key differences between cultures. His theory places world cultures on a continuum that runs from cognitive-behavioral on one end and emotional-spiritual on the other. In addition Kaveh discusses the dynamics involved in the relationship between dominant/majority and sub-dominant/minority cultures. Kaveh teaches methods for people from different cultures to better understand and appreciate each other. And he teaches important skills needed to successfully relate to and work with people from foreign cultures. Visit his website at or contact him at or at (858) 459-8695 if you have any questions about this class or about Kaveh's work.

Click here for details about this interview, the bonuses, and registration.


Cultural Competency in Health, Social & Human Services: Directions for the 21st Century, by Pedro J. Lecca, Ivan Quervalu, Joao V. Nunes, Hector F. Gonzales

Cultural competency is an issue that is becoming increasingly more important as thousands of people come to this country every year. This pioneering volume presents the latest information and techniques for improving cultural competency in the delivery of health, social, and human services to ethnic and racial minority groups in the United States. Special attention is paid to the importance of understanding the social and culture backgrounds of clients when assessing diagnosis of policy and economic issues, which are rarely examined in this context. Notable for its combination of theory and practice, which will be invaluable for both professionals and students, this book also includes material on cultural competency within such special populations as the mentally ill, the elderly, children, and families.

In the Spotlight

©2009. Powered by All Rights Reserved.