Awhile back, I wrote about the need to cultivate cultural competence in our ever more diverse world. Several people asked me for specific how-to’s so this is the first in a series sharing some resources and information for increasing CQ* (cultural intelligence).
A good first step when embarking on self-development is to see if there is a way to gauge perceptions of our current selves. For example, when doing leadership and management development, 360 degree feedback assessment is used for that purpose.
In the case of cultural competence, information on how non-Americans perceive us can be helpful in the same way and a good starting point. Once, a well-traveled New Zealander said to me he thought it strange and insincere the way Americans tell everyone they meet to ‘have a nice day’. It had never occurred to me that anyone would take offense to that statement.
I found this post, which summarizes information shared via AskReddit rather enlightening as to how we Americans are perceived. (warning: some of the language is a bit strong.) A top 10 version of this same info was going around facebook recently but now I can’t seem to find it. If you know of it, please share the link in the comments below.
Do you find any of these observations surprising?
The perceptions of non-Americans are interesting but really just the beginning. Consider the many cultures within this country, your state, your community, your workplace. How do you think you are perceived within those various contexts?
*I use cultural fluency, cultural competence, and cultural intelligence interchangeably.