Monday, 18 January 2016

That's not right...

My 1 year old son received a book about the four seasons and this morning I decided to read it to him.
On the first page Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street say:

"Summer starts in December. It's a great time to go to the beach!"

I instantly stop reading out loud, thinking: That's not right...
Summer starts in June, not in December. December is wintertime.

Having lived in Europe for the first 35 years of my life, this is still my truth.
And after being in Australia for three years now, I'm still not used to the reversed seasons.

So my first impulse to that truth, that's different to mine, is with judgement...

The same thing can happen with cultural differences in the working place.
With so many people in Perth coming from different cultural backgrounds, there is a wide variety of truths. It's worthwhile to learn how to deal with these differences and avoid the judgement to become a more emotionally intelligent person.

As a simple start these three steps can help:

STEP 1. Become aware of your own judgement.
By knowing your own beliefs, values and personal biases you are able to reflect on how these traits might impact your understanding.

STEP 2. Remember that everyone is a person FIRST.
No matter their cultural background, all people have different opinions, habits and ways of life.

STEP 3. Learn about different cultures.
To create understanding engage in a bit of online research or talk to someone from a different cultural background.

And perhaps that way you will find that summer CAN both start in June and December.

Would you like to know more about InterACT WA's high impact Effective Intercultural Communication workshops? Contact us here.