One of the most fascinating elements of living in and communicating about other cultures is the discovery that our approaches to identical or similar challenges may result in quite different policies or practices on both sides of the divide. If we remember that culture is largely an inner narrative that tells us who we are and what the preferred solutions are for succeeding and surviving in the environment and the ecology that surrounds our group, it will not come as a surprise that prescriptions for behavior may differ substantially or even contradict each other given the differences that contexts, geography, and history have used to define our our differing surroundings.
diversiSHARE cards help us to realize not only how differently we may address the challenges of life and work, but also, by encouraging us to compare our approaches and solutions, discover communalities and even new possibilities, as we learn about other ways of doing things and thinking about them. Quite often, considering another person's approach to a problem or issue, if we resist becoming defensive, allows us to better understand the dynamics of our own approach, in ways that we may not have reflected upon beforehand.
Comparing different understandings and approaches can be a rich source of social and workplace synergies and stimulate creative new solutions for the tasks and challenges we face together. The declaration, "My way or the highway," is all too often based on a limited consciousness of possible realities and approaches, and thus rarely has place in diverse and collaborative situations. Understanding each other's perspectives allows us to build a highway to take us inclusively to the destinations we want to reach.
Image: We don't always share the same bowl of porridge