Gaining Cultural Perspective

10/21/2014

Cultural perspective emerges from a process of self-discovery and mindfulness. This means being self-aware and identifying what our values and belief systems are and how they influence our cultural perspectives and preferences.

Understanding our own cultural preferences is important on the individual level and as a reflection point, but equally important is the ability to identify others’ cultural perspectives and the approaches that they may find more appropriate in their space based on their experiences, values and beliefs. This requires an open attitude, meaning that we observe what we experience with an open mind and without judgment. Being able to bring an open attitude to our own cultural preferences as well as others’ allows us to emerge with cultural insights and operate in our own work environments around the cultural dynamics of our organizations.

Self and other awareness is a complex concept. Our individual cultural profile is at the core, but there are so many other aspects that comprise who we are and how we show up in the workplace. Where we grew up, the size and makeup of our families, our ethnicity and socioeconomic status, our educational background, and any training we received are all factors that influence who we are now. Recognizing the complexity of culture helps us recognize why we, and those around us, have certain preferences, and lets us come up with solutions to gaps that could stall work with people who have different cultures.

Lynne Tarter