March Meeting - Managing Your Blind Spots

  • Thursday, March 05, 2015
  • 5:30 PM - 8:15 PM
  • University of Phoenix - Cypress Creek [Broward | Ft Lauderdale]

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Cultural Competency Discussion in March

Once again, our March 2015 meeting proved to be thought provoking on a topic that affects all at some point in their careers and within their organizations. In the presentation “Workplace cultural competence – managing your blind spots”, Mercedes Martin and Dr. Helen Turnbull gave a very interesting and interactive discussion on understanding the impacts of not paying attention to cultural competency.

Demonstrating the power of good storytelling, Ms. Martin shared her difficulties in making a connection with Brazilian executives of an American multinational corporation. Mercedes spoke of the surprising perspective of these international colleagues who live in the Brazilian culture and work in the American business culture. She described how this is forcing her to re-think methods to create a more trusting business relationship. Ms. Martin candidly informed us that this is a work in progress, and was keen to hear the perspectives of the attendees. She was not disappointed by the response from the audience: a number of perspectives and suggestions came from the floor on this. By the volume of interest and interactive stories shared by the audience, it was clear cultural differences during interactions and the potential ‘misfires’ are a continuous challenge faced in the workplace.


Dr.Turnbull discussed how cultural differences are coded into human nature causing us to “pattern recognize” those who belong to ‘our tribe’ or group, thus effectively putting others into boxes and sometimes excluding them, in deference to our own kind. Helen encouraged the audience to realize this and to correct these tendencies by a practice of becoming "an empty vessel" and ‘making space’ for new collaborations. Dr. Turnbull went on to talk about the disconnect between hiring for diversity and managing for similarity. An individual who is hired for diversity tends to not highlight their differences with the culture of the organization, and stand out from the pack.

Original Posting

Managing Your Blind Spots

by Dr. Helen Turnbull, Human Facets and Mercedes Martin, Ernst & Young

Workplace Cultural Competence: Managing Your Blind Spots

An open conversation about how our blind spots can limit our ability to be more fully inclusive in the workplace.

  • Understand the importance of cultural identity and cultural competence as applied to coaching
  • Provide participants with an organizing framework that will prepare them to coach and  develop  effective approaches and strategies for conducting critical coaching conversations with a cross cultural lens
  • Practice applying the concepts and framework in coaching scenarios

What happens when those micro moments, micro inequities or well-intended throwaway lines have unintended consequences.  

Are you able to talk openly about diversity topics or are there some topics you unconsciously or consciously avoid?

  • In today’s complex, dynamic and diverse work teams, there is a realization that cultural classifications and understandings (COI, Globe smart, Hofstede) can be incomplete and prescriptive.
  • The cross cultural coaching framework proposes that understanding another culture is done through observing how cultural values are interrelated in a specific context, which becomes the roadmap in building high performing leaders, teams, clients and organizations.

What is Cultural Competence

Cultural competence applied to executive coaching refers to the integration of key dimensions of a client’s cultural identity into the various theories, tools, and practices that guide one’s coaching approach, with the intent of providing clients of all socio-demographic backgrounds with relevant services focused on achieving their desired results (Malta, 2013)

About our presenters

Dr. Turnbull is an internationally recognized Thought Leader on Global Inclusion and Unconscious Bias.

Mercedes Martin is an Ernst & Young Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Consultant for Latin America subject matter expert and thought leader in the areas of cross cultural coaching and storytelling.

About SFLODN Monthly Meetings

Our meetings occur on the first Thursday of every month.
Dinner is included!  Networking and dinner begin at 5:30.  
The program begins at approximately 6:15.

Please invite a guest! Share this great learning opportunity with your colleagues.

Location: University of Phoenix - Cypress Creek Campus, 550 W Cypress Creek Rd, 2nd Floor,Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309     Google Map

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