“Now that’s what I’m talking about with Intercultural Communications,” I thought when I read this story about acceptance of bomb sniffing dogs in Iraq. The good is clear and measurable–it’s a known, effective defense against bomb attacks.
The cultural implications are readily definable: dogs are considered unclean, getting in the way of the important bond between trainer and dog.
An action plan is already underway, with a specific person working to recruit and train people to build the practice in Iraq.
This seemed so clear and measurable, when much of conflicts in intercultural communications seems to stem from unconscious bias or ignorance of other cultures. But what would happen if we tried to break things down into a 3 step analysis:
1. What’s the common good to be had by all (the driving vision)?
2. What is/are the obstacle(s) to achieving the vision?
3. What are three action steps I/we can take today to start moving toward the vision?
It’s easy to wallow in Number 2 (ha ha), or to substitute “you” for “I/we” in Number 3, as in “you could do this…”
But what happens when we focus on a common vision, and commit to taking specific, measurable actions, no matter how small, to get the ball rolling? What’s been your experience?
Photo credit Nishant Dahiya/NPR