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Leading with Cultural Competence - Never Stop Learning

Often times during sessions on cultural competence people are surprised to learn that their understanding of cultural dynamics or diversity is not as advanced as they believed.  This does not mean that a person is doomed to remain at that knowledge level forever and not able to grow their cultural competency skills.  It is actually quite the opposite.  When people are able to better understand where they are on their journey towards cultural competence they are better able to seek out new knowledge and experiences.  Today we offer for you five books that were recently recommended during June's Leading with Cultural Competence workshop. 

Facilitating Multicultural Groups by Christine Hogan
‘Facilitating Multicultural Groups’ is a good reference tool when preparing for meetings and workshops.  It gives tips on how to adapt materials and prepare for situations that may arise in intercultural settings.  According to Toby Spanier, Extension educator, with this book you are getting two for one because of all of the facilitation techniques and tools that are presented.

Driven by Difference by David Livermore
David Livermore is a thought leader on cultural intelligence and global leadership.  He is able to take research and make it understandable and applicable for community leaders.  In 'Driven By Difference,' Livermore presents strategies and practices that “guide multicultural teams to innovation” through the building of trust, creating a safe environment, and engaging multiple perspectives.   When asked why this book is useful for leaders Toby Spanier stated that it helps us see that “we shouldn’t view diversity as a problem to be solved, but rather as a treasure trove, rich with innovative solutions waiting to be mined.”

Leading with Cultural Intelligence by David Livermore
As the author of more than ten books on diversity and leadership it is not a surprise that Livermore has two books on our must read list.  In 'Leading with Cultural Intelligence,' Livermore offers a four step model to help us manage across cultures more effectively.  Spanier shared that this book brings alive the concept of cultural intelligence and applies it with practical how-tos.  It is grounded in cultural intelligence theory and research helping community leaders to understand the “whys” as they do their work.

Global Dexterity by Andy Molinsky
Andy Molinsky present us with a critical new skill, global dexterity.  He defines this as the ability to adapt our behavior to new cultural contexts while still being our true authentic selves.  He captures the six dimensions that set behavior expectations within a cultural setting: directness, enthusiasm, formality, assertiveness, self-promotion, and personal disclosure.  According to Spanier, “if you can master these expectations you have cracked the cultural code.”

Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling by Edgar Schein
Although this book is not specific to cultural competence it discusses an important skill that we need in order to improve our understanding of others.  The practice of humble inquiry moves us beyond telling people what they need to know and into discussions that help us learn about the individual and encourages building relationships based on curiosity and interest in the other person.  Catie Rasmussen, Extension educator, believes this book is important to community leaders because it shows how we benefit by three actions - telling less, listening more, and asking questions using humble inquiry.

Now that you have a few books to pick from, head over to your local library, bookstore, or find your favorite electronic reader and head out to enjoy the sunshine with a good book!

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