Cultural Differences vs. Common Ground

One of the most common debates I structure into my training sessions is the value of identifying cultural differences if what we really should be doing is find common ground.

The reality is that these concepts are not diametrically opposed. It is not an “either/or” scenario.  There is plenty of room for finding common ground while recognizing and celebrating cultural differences.

The key issue in intercultural interactions is the ability to move forward like two friends taking a hike through the mountains. We both love to walk, we love nature and we love each other.  Nevertheless, we may observe different things.  My friend will notice the wildflowers to each side of the path and I will point out the mountains in the distance.  We converse about the impressions these objects have on us and what they make us think about.  We may disagree and ask for help in understanding why the other thinks in such a way.  All the time, we keep moving forward and by the end of the hike we have thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company and have felt personally satisfied in taking a vigorous energetic walk through God’s creations having spent valuable time with a friend learning more about someone else and ourselves in the process.

 

...like a walk in the mountains
…like a walk in the mountains

This exemplifies Broad Imagination’s approach to intercultural communication.  The common ground is valued and appreciated as a foundation to discuss differences and learn more about one another in order to accomplish the task at hand.  Just as we do not look out upon a monochromatic world, diversity is what brings spice to our lives. No matter the culture, no matter the country, no matter the individual, these principles have proven to be effective in helping people come together and achieve success.

If what you read here is what you would like to achieve in your organization, contact Benjamin Smith to discuss a communication game plan.