Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Need for Cultural Dexterity

After writing an article about the Talents and Qualities Needed for teachers and speakers accepting short term teaching assignments I came across a phrase and a test that I want to add to the discussion.

In a forward-looking series of articles in this week’s Time magazine entitled The Future of Work, Janet Reid, managing partner at the Global Lead consulting firm speaks of this important quality:

"By 2019, every leader will have to be culturally dexterous on a global scale," says Reid. "A big part of that is knowing how to motivate and reward people who are very different from yourself."

‘Culturally dexterous’! Isn’t that a great phrase? Cultural dexterity is increasingly being a necessary quality for teachers in our multicultural communities. Cultural dexterity is a vital quality for theologians crossing borders into other cultures.

Cultural Dexterity Test
The following questions were asked recently in the UAE magazine TimeOut Dubai.

In China is it OK to belch and slurp your soup while eating?

Is it normal in Germany to use a knife and fork to eat sandwiches?

What happens if you turn up late for a meal in Germany but turn up on time in Spain?

Time Out Dubai has an interesting article on cultural differences, travel tips and how not to make too many faux pas.

Fancy Seeing the World but Afraid of Making Gaffes?, Time Out Dubai.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Time’s Cover Story.