Archives for posts with tag: Carol Hays

“You are your choices.” ~Seneca

Remember, before each conversation, set time aside not to create a plan for what you are going to talk with them about and how they may react, but instead to relax, rest and focus on words like “acceptance”, “appreciation” and “allowance.” Know your boundaries with clarity; and with curious sensitivity make room for the words like “engaging”, “enthusiasm” and “encouragement.”


Keep your blind spots in mind and make sure they lead you where you need to go and do not distract you unknowingly. As Annika Matins posed in a recent post “If I want clarity and connection in my relationships, what the heck do I expect to happen when I begin our conversations with restless, twitching unfocused-ness? What I bring to any interaction is (usually) what I receive from it. So it boils down to this: Before walking into tough conversations, we must get clear on who we want to be in that moment.”


For all of us it is not only who do I want to be, but how do I get my needs met while staying true to whom I am. Moreover all of us want what we want when we want it.


Matins writes:

“This doesn’t mean that your body language and words will be in permanent alignment with the qualities you’ve chosen to focus on. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll now morph into some super-human communicator deluxe. You will still mess up, somehow. That’s part of being human. But, I believe, you will mess up less.


I believe that when you get deliberate about the intention and energy you want to carry into a conversation or a room, you shift the dynamic.


The context moves from He-made-me-say-it to I choose these words. I choose these actions. You are no longer floundering around. You are no longer a victim or a puppet of the circumstances and people around you. You’re making clear, conscious choices about the person you want to be. That’s what true power is. That’s what it means to create your life.


So before you open your mouth or write the email or turn the doorknob, be clear as seawater about who you want to be in that moment. And then be that.”


These are powerful reminders of the Cultural Intuitiveness™ definition and that we are not striving to be perfect, we are striving to be real in a manner that is respectful, voice-giving, corporative and focused on building a peace-filled, productive environment. We choose to not be constantly tossed by the unpredictable sea of change but to chart a course and navigate with the winds of change, riding the waves and harnessing its power so that we arrive not just safely, but in a consistently healthier place.


To evolve in your ability to be culturally intuitive can ensure that you have the ability to navigate change in both your personal and professional lives. We celebrate with you your evolution to this point and look forward to continuing this journey with you.





Family Tree (photoart by Carol Hays)


Our progress forward is propelled by the most important of tools (wisdom, wit, and whimsy) and resources (strength, sympathy, and strategic thinking). These tools and resources are the gifts given to us from the people who surround us. These individuals are our super power. They are behind us (having our backs) and they are in front us (leading by removing possible barriers from our paths and helping us choose the path that we need to follow). They are beneath us (helping us move when we are tired and crestfallen), and they are above us (helping us see what we cannot see, hear what we cannot hear, so that we can see and hear what is around us).  These people, our family and friends, are within us every moment of every day. They prune the branches and mulch the roots of our shared tree of life, keeping our roots firmly planted in the red soil and our branches bravely reaching toward the blue sky.

Those we connect with experience them through our words and deeds as we evolve in our embedding of the Cultural Intuitiveness™ values and principles. These people fill our knowledge gaps; teach us to be both creative and tech savvy.  These people fill our knowledge gaps; teach us to be both creative and tech savvy. These people who we take with us in our every moment are essential to our creative growth and entrepreneurial practice: they are our inspiration. They shape us and help us be who others encounter.


A Journey’s Path (photoart by Carol Hays)

We began our journey of Cultural Intuitiveness™ when we concluded that the focus on being cultural competent—so talked about but rarely practiced–needed to be more than words or documented only through a paper process (in our by-laws, check; in our break room, check; in our personal manual, check; etc).

Our journey continued as we researched and tested different concepts, tools and processes to increase cultural competence among the groups of individuals with whom we worked.

Along the way, we hit barriers–prejudice about our company’s Kentucky home and that neither of us looks like people who others perceive should have such a deep passion for and a deep interest in cultural competency.

The biggest risks we took were to change the name of what we do from cultural competency to Cultural Intuitiveness™.  While it is a much better fit the process and the outcomes we were seeking, the name change put us in a place of needing explain what it is we do.  We also created two work books based on our research, our insights, and our experience; holding them up in the bright light for criticism, rejection and scorn.

We realized that at the core of our work, values and principles, we are asking others to risk their vulnerability, remove the walls that serve to protect them. This meant for us that we had to be vulnerable and remove our walls of protection; we had to be who we are and want to be–culturally intuitive individuals.

Throughout our journey, we have had to take the time to look at the information we receive with a critical eye, to reflect on our own wants and needs, to engage in communication where we are fed as well as are feeding others, to embrace the gift of patience with that context put before and around our best laid plans, and to always be aware that the choice is not whether or not to change (as we are always changing) but whether or not to harness the power of that change in a manner that strengthens us because we are vulnerable and sustains us because we are taking additional risks as our journey continues.


Flowing Through a Perfect Year (photoart by Carol Hays)

The perfect year of creating our energy, our art, would be similar to slow movement down a flowing body of water, moving forward, touching and changing the shoreline and being changed by it. Sometimes it floods; sometimes there is not sufficient flow to move easily over the water’s bottom. Sometimes it is sunny and cool; and other times sunny and hot. Sometimes we are moved along by gentle winds, other times by blowing gales. The changes are welcomed, even embraced, as each presents new hopes, new challenges and new growth. Staying hope-filled, empowered by the energy, touching and being touched by what we encounter–that is a perfect year of practicing cultural intuitiveness™.

We want to take some time over the next few weeks to respond to some questions we have received recently regarding Cultural Intuitiveness and the practice of the 5 values. The first question concerns Value 1 Connectors.  

 Q: Why should I reflect on the value my connections, those people and organizations I am connected with that are sources of knowledge, information or feelings, including those I trust as well as those I may not agree with?  Why is it important for me to be more aware of these connections in my life? 


A:  In short, if you believe that you want to be able to see yourself and your place in the world with clarity, be creative, connected with your family, your co-workers, and your neighbors, then you need to reflect upon the connections you have because they are what provides you with the fuel to fill your engine.  By taking time to reflect on them, you are honoring and respecting their influence in guiding you in your decision-making, your choices, and your development. Each connection you have is a facet of you and meets the complex mix of your thoughts, feelings, wants and needs. 

As you become more attuned to your connections, asking questions or exploring the information they provide for greater clarity rather than just assuming you “get it” shows your connectors that you value and respect the information they convey that reveals their thoughts, feelings, needs and wants. If you feel that whatever position you hold, wherever you are on your life’s path, it is your right—perhaps even your responsibility–to ask questions, then you should question your connections and the information they provide.  Your exploration may also reveal personal blind spots you had overlooked. Acknowledging and exploring your blind spots—your biases, if you will—may lead you to greater openness to new, richer and deeper connections in your life.

Practice valuing connectors (Value 1 of Cultural Intuitiveness). Explore your connections, question for clarity, observe how they mirror your feelings, your values, your needs and your blind spots so that you can evolve to make new and stronger connections that can meet your needs for creativity, clarity and closeness with your family, co-workers and neighbors.–Carol and D.G.

Over the holidays I had coffee with a friend who, like me, is a very active volunteer in her community. She is a strong, skilled, experienced volunteer, whose assistance is no doubt of great value to the organizations she supports with her time and talents.  When we get together, we like to share stories about our volunteer work. During the past year she had served as Program Committee Chair for a longstanding organization.  The organization had provided regular programs at monthly membership meetings in the past, but had discontinued this practice a few years back when meeting attendance began to wane. The organization’s leadership had struggled to attract members to its events and needed to expand its membership base if it hoped to remain an active force in the community.

She believed that declining membership was due more to the organization’s practices to cultivate members and volunteers than to the relevance of its mission in the community.  She had hoped to increase community awareness of the group, its mission and opportunities for activism, in order to attract new, more active members starting with the planned  community panel discussion featuring several local experts on an important local issue that was also of interest to several allied community organizations.  Through her efforts more than 10 organizations agreed to co-sponsor the event and lead to an overflow crowd at the event.

She seemed very proud of the event and its success.  “It sounds like you put a lot of thoughtful planning into making this event a success,” I offered.

“Yes, I feel like I worked very hard to make this event a success and ensure a good turnout,” she reflected. “It was a lot of work to keep everyone involved in the communication loop, but I wanted to make sure that we could capitalize on this event. This could be a springboard to partner with these organizations in the future, so I wanted to build good relationships along the way. “

She told me she had sent out thank you notes to all who supported the event and had encouraged the group’s leadership to do the same as a first step building on the foundation for new member recruitment the event provided. However, the notes from the leadership had still not occurred and it had been weeks since the event.

“And does this bother you?” I asked.

“Perhaps there are some other practices the leadership needs to look at if we hope to get more folks involved in the group,” she mused.

We finished our coffees and said our goodbyes. As we parted, I was left with the nagging feeling that her organization had missed a tremendous opportunity to cultivate their volunteer energy and wondered how many other opportunities they had let slip by because they hadn’t expressed a sincere value of them. Although people who volunteer to participate in a group and give it their all may do so for personal reasons, everyone needs acknowledgement, everyone needs encouragement. Everyone needs to be thanked so that they feel their contributions and impacts are truly valued.

And the group should seize on the opportunity created by the success of the effort to cultivate even more volunteer participation in the group. But that is another blog post.

For now, be sure to consider how those who volunteer to support your work will most appreciate being acknowledged so that they will want to continue contributing their time and talents.  What information guides your choice of how to acknowledge and thank your supporters?  Do you close your communication loops by being certain that everyone receives words of thanks and acknowledgement for their work, even those who are responsible for an event?–Carol

We recently had the opportunity to introduce Turkish entrepreneurs seeking U.S. venture opportunities to the values of Cultural Intuitiveness. In this video presentation, Senior CSII Consultant, D.G. Mawn, describes the 4 principles and the 5 values of Cultural Intuitiveness and explores how employing the CI tools can help to strengthen important conversations that transcend cultural boundaries.