INTERCULTURAL READINESS CHECK : 4 INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCIES
This topic has been so commonly mentioned these days, that it has become almost mundane. The current societal context has nonetheless placed the ability of mastering cultural differences at the heart of our private and professional lives.
There is no need to remind you that in diplomacy, knowledge of the deep rooted values linked to the culture of the people with whom you are negotiating (or trying to negotiate with) is vital. A simple misstep, a hasty interpretation, a misunderstanding of the values underlying certain attitudes and any hope of establishing a relationship is shattered.
In the professional sphere, even if the stakes are less crucial for world peace, it remains true that a good understanding of multicultural environments can work wonders and significantly improve the performance of a team or ensure the success of a project.
To do this, one must of course start by assessing where one is starting from in terms of intercultural skills. An initial assessment allows one to build on one’s strengths more effectively and to develop techniques to improve on those aspects that need strengthening.
This is precisely what the famous IRC (Intercultural Readiness Check) does! Think Manners tells you more with the following.
The IRC questionnaire aims to alert people within an organisation of potential gaps in their ‘cultural awareness’.
The IRC gives its participants an overview of their intercultural competencies at that given point in time, by examining different specific categories.
These categories have been selected as a result of extensive academic research which was undertaken on the subject of cultural differences. They are considered crucial for the effectiveness of individuals working in multicultural organizations.
Throughout the questionnaire, four intercultural competencies, which can be developed and strengthened throughout a professional career, are assessed:
How actively are you interested in others, their cultural backgrounds, needs, and perspectives? How much do you notice when interacting with people from other cultures?
How mindful are you when communicating with others? How effectively do you adjust your style to meet their expectations and needs?
How much do you invest into developing relationships and diverse networks? How creative are you in developing solutions that satisfy the interests of different stakeholders?
How well do you deal with the complexities of greater cultural diversity? How effectively do you use cultural diversity as a source of learning and innovation?
IRC in detail
The IRC is an online questionnaire (lasting 20min maximum) that is practical, simple and comprehensive. It is available in 8 languages.
The IRC database is one of the largest sources of information on intercultural competencies. More than 70,000 people around the world have already completed the questionnaire, which allows for continuous refinement and reliability of the results.
Below are some examples of the areas of analysis covered by the questionnaire:
– “How actively are you interested in other people and their cultural backgrounds?”
– “How effectively do you adapt your communication style to meet the needs of others in a culturally diverse work setting?”
– “How effectively do you invest in developing relationships between cultures and creating culturally diverse networks?”
– “How effectively do you draw on the cultural diversity of those around you as a source of learning and innovation?”
Each competence is divided into two facets to improve the quality of the feedback.
For example, the competency ‘building commitment’ is divided between building relationships and reconciling stakeholder needs.
Personalized debriefing session
After completing the IRC questionnaire, each participant receives written personal feedback with many development suggestions (with a full 11-page report).
Individual sessions can then be organized to discuss the results and generate tailored strategies with development goals and action plans.
Knowing where you are starting from makes it infinitely easier to assess how far you still have to go to become “bilingual” in “interculturality”.
The IRC is a very good tool for those who want to asses their intercultural skills and continue to progress.
To take the test and organise a full debriefing session with a personalised action plan, just follow this link to get in touch!