WHAT IS CULTURAL PROFICIENCY?
Please join us at the 6th Annual Cultural Proficiency Institute, August 1-2, 2012, at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance. I will be presenting Culturally Proficient Learning Communities: Confronting Inequities Through Collaborative Curiosity. This will be a hands-on, interactive session that provides insights into how to reframe learning community conversations that are stuck or shut down, when the team wants to ignore the elephant in the room. Learn to craft Breakthrough Questions that open the conversation for new possibilities! Below are some of my thoughts/insights about What is Cultural Proficiency, and the Four Tools that support individuals and organizations to ground their work with (1) Guiding Principals, the values that support culturally proficient organizations; (2) the Essential Elements, standards for behaviors, policies, and practices; (3) the Continuum, a tool for describing harmful and positive behaviors within organizations; and (4) Barriers to be aware of when moving a culture and an organization forward in their Cultural Proficiency journey.

CULTURAL PROFICIENCY:
It’s PERSONAL
• It is an inside-out approach
• It is about being aware of how we think and work with others
• It is about being aware of how we react to those different from us
• It is a mind set; a way of being; a paradigm shift for some

It’s ORGANIZATIONAL
• It is the use of specific tools for effectively describing, responding to, and planning for issues that emerge in diverse environments
• It is the policies and practices at the organizational level, and values and behaviors of the leader that enable effective cross cultural interactions among staff, community, and those we serve

THE TOOLS OF CULTURAL PROFICIENCY

Cultural Proficiency—Guiding Principles
The Guiding Principles are the core values–the foundation upon which cultural proficiency is built.
• Culture is a predominant force; you cannot NOT be influenced by culture.
• People are served in varying degrees by the dominant culture.
• People have group and individual identities.
• There is diversity within and between cultures.
• The unique cultural needs may not be met, but must be respected.

Cultural Proficiency—The Essential Elements
The Essential Elements set the standards that guide our work.
• Name the differences: Assess your own culture.
• Claim the differences: Value diversity.
• Reframe the differences: Manage the dynamics of difference.
• Train about differences: Adapt to diversity.
• Change for differences: Institutionalize cultural knowledge.

Cultural Proficiency—Continuum
Six points along the Cultural Proficiency Continuum indicate unique ways of perceiving and responding to differences and to assess the current state of one’s culture.

Continuum

Some questions I might ask myself for each point along the Continuum include:

Cultural Destructiveness – In what ways am I and/or the organization seeking to eliminate the cultures of “others” in all aspects of the school and in relationship with their communities?

Cultural Incapacity – In what ways am I and/or the organization trivializing other cultures and seeking to make the culture of others appear to be wrong?

Cultural Blindness – In what ways am I and/or the organization not seeing or pretending not to see or acknowledge the culture of others, choosing to ignore the experiences of cultural groups within the school and community?

Cultural Precompetence – In what ways am I and/or the organization increasingly aware of what is known about working in diverse settings and identifying the needs of those whom we serve? It is at this key level of development that we and the school as an organization can move in a positive, constructive direction or we can vacillate, stop and possibly regress.

Cultural Competence – In what ways am I and/or the organization manifesting personal values and behaviors and the school’s policies and practices in a manner that is inclusive with cultures that are new or different from us and the school?

Cultural Proficiency – In what ways am I and/or the organization advocating for life-long learning for the purpose of being increasingly effective in serving the educational needs of cultural groups? In what ways are we and the school serving as instruments for holding the vision for creating a socially just democracy?

Cultural Proficiency—The Barriers
• The presumption of entitlement and unearned privilege
• Systems of oppression and privilege, perpetuating the domination/victimization of individuals and groups
• Unawareness of the need to adapt
• Resistance to change, not recognizing need to change/adapt, believing only others need to adapt to you

Source: Culturally Proficient Learning Communities: Confronting Inequities Through Collaborative Curiosity, by Delores Lindsey, Linda Jungwirth, Jarvis Pahl, and Randall Lindsey (A Corwin Press Best Seller)
To begin or sustain your work in Cultural Proficiency, please feel free to email me at ljungwirth@ConveningConversations.com

28. June 2012 · Comments Off on Cultural Proficiency: The Essential Elements · Categories: Collaboration, Cultural Proficiency, Leadership · Tags: , , , , ,

Cultural Proficiency: The Essential Elements

The Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency are just that—ESSENTIAL. The Essential Elements are the standards of behavior and organizational practices that lead to Culturally Proficient organizations. We use the Essential Elements to create rubrics for holding ourselves accountable. Some of the rubrics include: Curriculum and Instruction; Assessment; Family and Community; and Professional Development. One of my favorite rubrics, as I describe below, is Culturally Proficient Level 5 Leaders, where teams have combined the work of Cultural Proficiency and Jim Collins, Good to Great. The Essential Elements form the backbone (standards) for the rubric.

What is Cultural Proficiency?

It’s PERSONAL
• It is an inside-out approach
• It is about being aware of how we think and work with others
• It is about being aware of how we react to those different from us
• It is a mind set; a way of being; a paradigm shift for some

It’s ORGANIZATIONAL

• It is the use of specific tools for effectively describing, responding to, and planning for issues that emerge in diverse environments
• It is the policies and practices at the organizational level, and values and behaviors of the leader that enable effective cross cultural interactions among staff, community, and those we serve

The Essential Elements
One of the four tools of Cultural Proficiency is the Essential Elements.

These Essential Elements set the standards for our work both personally and organizationally. The Essential Elements are:

• Name the differences: Assess your own culture.
• Claim the differences: Value diversity.
• Reframe the differences: Manage the dynamics of difference.
• Train about differences: Adapt to diversity.
• Change for differences: Institutionalize cultural knowledge.

Culturally Proficient Level 5 Leadership
Again, one example of how I’ve used the Essential Elements in my work is to create a Culturally Proficient Level 5 Leadership Portrait along with a rubric for Culturally Proficient Level 5 Leaders, combining the work of Cultural Proficiency and the leadership work of Jim Collins, Good to Great. The Leadership Portrait and the rubric guide the behaviors, policies, and practices of individuals and organizations, and also serve as a means of accountability to accelerate the cultural shift to building relationships, valuing others, and individual, team, and organizational success.

Another example of applying the Essential Elements as standards for Culturally Proficient teams is found within our best seller: Culturally Proficient Learning Communities: Confronting Inequities Through Collaborative Curiosity.

Source: Culturally Proficient Learning Communities: Confronting Inequities Through Collaborative Curiosity, Corwin Press Best Seller

To learn more about how to develop Culturally Proficient Level 5 Leaders or Culturally Proficient Learning Communities within your organization, please feel free to email me at ljungwirth@ConveningConversations.com.

Trust, Transparency, Inclusion in a Culture of Excellence. Living these elements builds ownership, not buy-in…a big difference when you desire engagement, excellence, and sustainability of innovation and change.

Some Benefits of Trust
• Infuses systems with positive energy
• Makes for more adaptive, agile organizations
• Makes one more competitive–one can more quickly engage in change. Without trust, people usually hunker down and do things “by the book” and resist any change from the status quo, even if they know what they are doing is not getting the desired results.
• Utilizes resources to the greatest advantage–for the good of the whole

A Common Understanding
Trust may be different things to different people. Having a common language and understanding of trust is essential in building and sustaining trust. Megan Tschannen-Moran, in Trust Matters: Leadership in Successful Schools, identifies five elements of trust through a meta-analysis of the trust research. These five elements are:

• Benevolence
• Honesty
• Openness
• Competence
• Reliability

What’s going on when we’re in a trusting relationship? We have a willingness to be vulnerable. When we are in a trusting relationship, we are in a situation of interdependence; we are dependent on someone else to come through the way we need them to support us. No one can accomplish systems transformation work alone. When we’re doing solo activities, trust is not relevant. When we become interdependent, we’re paying attention to: Are these people I can trust? We base the answer to this question on the five areas listed above and in more detail below.

Benevolence: The Bedrock of Trust and Relationships

– Unfailing good will: they will not do me dirty, even if they can enhance their own outcomes. They won’t try to get ahead at my expense.
– Empathy and caring
– Offering encouragement-bolstering other’s courage
– Expressing appreciation and acknowledgment
– Being fair
– If life is not fair and out of one’s control, then being responsive to another’s hurt, and their knowing they can count on you

Honesty

– Telling the truth
– Integrity: unity and alignment between words and deeds
– Self-awareness and consciousness: not deluding oneself
– Authenticity: not just playing a role–know what you stand for–adhering to guiding principles
– Accepting responsibility: don’t blame others–use an inside out approach for how am I contributing to the current situation

These first two dimensions of trust count the most. If these two elements of trust are violated, trust is severely and negatively impacted. The next three elements of trust are extensions of benevolence and honesty.

Openness
– Open communication
– Transparency
– Sharing important information–hidden agendas erode trust
– Sharing power
– Delegation
– Shared decision-making–extends trust. People who don’t extend trust, destroy trust

Reliability
– Keeping promises
– Honoring agreements
– Being consistent
– Predictability–living out of core values/principles–knowing what you stand for
– Diligence
– Dedication
* these are all indicators of benevolence

Competence
– Inspiring a shared vision
– Co-creating possibilities
– Striving for results
– Problem solving
– Conflict resolution
– Elevate energy
– Collective Efficacy–collectively and interdependently need to believe that you can do this work

If you compromise these last three elements of trust, you may or may not have problems sustaining trust. Struggles in openness, reliability, and competence may result through possible over-commitment, lack of confidence, and/or communication mix-ups.

As a coach, leader, and/or colleague, paraphrasing and asking clarifying and/or reflective questions in these five areas of trust helps to diagnose levels of trust and intervene before trust is broken (i.e. If a person is over-committed, asking “What might be some possible resources that could support you and your work?” If a person lacks competence, asking “What new learning might support you in increasing your craftsmanship/expertise in this area?” If a person is unreliable, asking “What might be some reasons for your challenges in meeting all of your commitments?”

If there are some INCIDENCES of mess-ups, trust is probably not compromised.
A PATTERN of mess-ups becomes indicators of a lack of benevolence, honesty, competence, openness, and/or reliability. Providing non-judgmental feedback in the form of data rather than judgment, and asking reflective questions to understand what is behind the mess-ups, are important leadership, collaborative, and/or coaching functions.

For more information, training and/or a self and organizational assessment based on these five elements of trust, please email me at: ljungwirth@ConveningConversations.com.

Another excellent resource on trust is Stephen Covey’s The Speed of Trust. I’ll save that for another blog.