Strategies for Success in Intercultural Interactions, Lesson 1. The objective of this lesson is to implement a mindset of success when dealing with intercultural conflict. The staircase you see here is a common model that is widely used. This visual is meant to represent our ability to learn as human beings. At the bottom of the staircase is Unconscious Incompetence. As you would guess this means that we don't know whatever that we are doing is wrong. We are unable to access the fact that we are acting incorrectly, or thinking incorrectly. From that stage, we ascend to Conscious Incompetence. In other words, we know we are doing something, and we know it's wrong. We can move from Unconscious Incompetence to Conscious Incompetence by someone telling us that we are doing something incorrectly or getting educated about it in some other way. We would be incompetent not out of lack of knowledge, but through lack of execution. We then ascend to Conscious Competence. This is where we have learned what we’re doing wrong and have corrected the behavior, and we think about each step in the execution. And as we think about it, we’re able to achieve our objective. And finally, we move to Unconscious Competence. This is where you know something so deeply and so well, it happens naturally. In the context of intercultural communication and conflict, if we can strive to be the perfect global citizen, we could have a vision to incorporate all the frameworks that we're learning in the lessons on intercultural conflict in communication. So deeply that we can seamlessly operate in different countries with different people, to get the outcomes we want, it would be second nature. This means we would be able to adjust to local culture or convince others to adapt to a shared culture of the team that we are leading. Some points to remember in having a mindset of success, I feel it is fundamental to first have a belief. That belief is that the other party in my interaction has our best interests at heart. I will enter into an interaction with the most abundant feeling of joy and flexibility, and be open to handling the unknown and the ambiguous. And possibly prepare, at my optimal level, to believe this deeply. Because ultimately, as we covered in prior lessons, our biology will react sometimes inadvertently, however negatively, to new stimuli. And by keeping the right mindset and having a clean slate of my interaction, it prepares my mind well. This is particularly hard when I don't know the culture of the other party. And in such cases, my mind is defending and protecting me from a perceived fear. A fear of being hurt, rejected. And therefore I'm ready, on the defensive, because I feel threatened and don't feel I can predict the needs of the other party or my own outcomes. And therefore, I can't predictably control the interaction's outcome. When this occurs, I have to remember that, as a human being, we ultimately, at the most fundamental level, have the same human needs. To start there is the bare minimum mindset I must be at or I should pause the interaction or step away from the action until I'm ready. Especially in the context of a very important outcome that I'm looking for, or if I only have one chance to get the outcome correct. I think another great reminder in setting up for success is to use my brain. In the middle of a transaction where intercultural dimensions are at play, when I start feeling like I'm losing control of how I'm feeling about the interaction and losing hope that the outcome will achieve a shared meeting and a shared outcome. I then want to reflect, after that pause, on what I've learned, what I've become educated about in terms of intercultural communication and conflict. Prior to those important moments, and during those important moments, there really is an importance to have curiosity about those that are not like me. I often, in these times, use the concept that I must believe that there's a reason that the other party's behaving the way they're behaving. And more than judging them, and quickly becoming to conclusions, to become curious about why they're behaving the way they're behaving. Gives me another lens upon which to enter the interaction. A good question I ask myself is, how does their behavior make sense to them? In entering high stakes intercultural interactions, it's important to remember we are all fallible. We all can make mistakes. So when another party impacts me in a way I would not expect they would want to, I then pause the conversation and ask, is this what you meant to occur? Is this how you meant for me to approach this interaction? It's far better to ask the question than to assume. Especially when the other party may not have intended so and had made a mistake. Something that comes to me only after I've begun interacting is looking for inflexible thinking in myself and others. When this occurs, I again pause the conversation and talk about the reason behind how I'm thinking, when it appears that I'm the one that's perceived as inflexible. I do the same when I feel the other party is being inflexible. And I often that that inflexibility was only a reaction to another feeling that they had that I caused in them. I often find, when we have a shared outcome we're trying to achieve, both parties can begin to discuss their inflexible thinking and the reasons behind it, and attach them to cultural learning. And when both parties share the meaning of those interactions with each other, relative to the culture they came from, laughter begins to occur through acceptance and awareness. That is how we look for strategies for success in intercultural interactions.