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D & I Policies and Cultural Competency Training: No Longer Enough!

I had a conversation with a VP of a significant company recently about what I do and what Across Cultural Consulting offers. Her quick reaction was: “Our HR department has D & I policies in place.”


I had a conversation with a professor in a major university’s Pharmacology department recently about what I do and what Across Cultural Consulting offers. Her quick response was: “Cultural competency course is part of the curriculum.”


"I guess things are OK. D and I programs are on place, and students understand culture."

Then I watched the news, and wonder what is going on – what has gone wrong.

I will not get into the politics around the rhetoric: the media noise, the photo-ops and sound bites. In the news we hear about the “macro” – debates over "systemic racism", and the “micro” – shaky cell phone videos recording parking lot confrontations. So, what do we do now?

Back to the VP and her D&I policies. Both Harvard Business Review and Forbes (just to mention a couple) have published articles describing how D&I policies often accomplish very little. There seems to be little incentive to intentionally (my favourite word) make the facts of diversity and inclusion (for that is all they are: facts) into values that drive the innovation of the organization.

Back to the prof at the university. Cultural Competence has been around for years, but health care providers, and education groups are calling for Cultural Humility – an attitude fa beyond cultural competency. Competency, similar to D & I, is an acknowledgement and understanding of facts, not an initiative to do anything with the facts.

Here is where Across Cultural Consulting and Cultural Intelligence come in; we don’t let the facts be the end of the matter, we work with organizations to intentionally start at motivation, and move to knowledge then to strategy and on to action. Finally, continue the process through review, evaluation, new strategies and revised actions.

Step one of this whole process is understanding and articulating our own biases. Then learning to understand “the other” then, and this is the kicker, planning and acting differently. Together, we can make a better world!

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