Archives for posts with tag: CSII

“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.



The recent Earth Day celebration was an opportunity to celebrate our planet, connecting us with the beauty of the natural world, with which many of us now have increasingly limited experience. Yet, many media stories focused on the politics of climate change, seeking to reduce the Earth Day observance to another partisan clash. Communication about protecting the air, land, and water has been going on for over 50 years. Most Americans have given the issue of environmental protection and climate change some thought and have now chosen connectors and information sources they believe and those they distrust about the issue. The media portrays two entrenched sides on environmental issues who can no longer hear one another. And studies now suggest that additional information about environmental issues actually has a backfire effect with those disinclined to believe new information that doesn’t align with their already held beliefs.  This would seem to be an intractable debate. Yet, unlike other entrenched issues, this one can have long term, irreversible consequences on our natural resources and food supply. So how can two seemingly intractable positions find any common ground to start the conversation?

Context–Value 4 of Cultural Intuitiveness—asks this very question: How do you take your seemingly logically founded plan you have developed in communication with those you have come to agreement with and get others, who were not in your communication circle and may not be so like minded, to respond to it with support—or at least not serve as a barrier?

Considering the context of your plan can help you identify what may likely influence the perceptions of those who are not in your immediate communication and planning circle. Of those who have the ability to help you advance with your plan or halt you in your tracks, are they concerned about the immediate economic costs (especially theirs) associated with your great idea or plan? Will they have to share or give up some (or all) of their power if your plan moves forward? Will their social relationships be impacted negatively by your plan? Will they have to communicate or receive messages that may not be comfortable for them? Appreciating how these 4 conditions—economic, political, social, communication—create the context in which your plan will play out not only can help you anticipate how your plan will be received, but also help you find places where you can find commonality by framing your plan in a way that is important to those that you need to  hear you.


Using this approach, we were able to advance a very proactive approach to address substance abuse issues in Kentucky, a Commonwealth which did not have a history of investing state resources in this multi-generational social problem. We appreciated that the leaders both at the state and community level, whom we needed to support our efforts, were most concerned about the allocation of financial and time resources. Rather than approach these leaders with an appeal for resources to support substance abuse prevention programs for at risk youth from the perspective of values for mental health or public health (a more social frame), we therefore approached our appeal using an economic frame. We proposed that supporting effective prevention programs across the state was as “Easy as ABC: Accountability, Best Practices and Cost Savings.”  Effective prevention relied on evaluation of evidence based practices which if supported and widely implemented would save resources (both financial and time) that would have to be spent on the consequences of substance abuse including not only mental and public health, but the education and criminal justice systems as well. This frame was both simple to appreciate and persuasive with our audience. We were able to continue to secure the resources and support we needed to advance our plan because those who may have wanted to detour the plan found this to be difficult since our new supporters appreciated the advantages of long-term cost savings and the accountability in the plan (a language they appreciated and outcomes they valued).

Researchers are now beginning to look at the context surrounding the environmental debate in a similar way. Analyzing the values that each side holds about the environment helps to determine how to best frame the messages so that each side can hear information about the environment in a way that resonates with their values. We would suggest that this is in fact the only way to advance the creation of a critical mass necessary to develop sustainable solutions to environmental issues—or any difficult topic—beyond the current state of partisan rhetoric and move us towards meaningful conversations and action.



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.


Our work in Cultural Intuitiveness™ is to serve as the bridge built upon the principles of respect, voice, cooperating and building; a span of HOPE between what we know as our present and what we envision for our future. 


The Red Ocean, one side of the bridge, represents competition and rules.  Competition sharpens our skills, challenges our possible compliance.  Rules provide the structure and foundation needed to garner trust that we may all cross the bridge to our own Blue Ocean.  The other side, the Blue Ocean represents the freedom of the undiscovered, untested; both the potential and uncertainty that tomorrow holds.  To choose to live on the side of the undiscovered can be discomforting, challenging even. However, this discomfort is necessary fuel to embrace our own evolution to our potential. The undiscovered and untested along with the competition and rules are all needed and wanted for us to balance living in today and tomorrow simultaneously– known as the present.


To help individuals embrace the challenge of living in both oceans at the same time, Cultural Intuitiveness™ meets individuals where they are at, respectfully hearing their voice, working with them and building together their leadership skills, their communication skills, their cultural competency skills and empowering them to achieve their vision of contentment where their needs and wants are met. This is a purple world, a mix of both the red ocean shore and the blue ocean shore.



Purple Bridge  (Photoart by Carol Hays)

Our work, the work of being culturally intuitive, is not about disengaging from the present reality of rules and competition (the red ocean).  Our work is not about living in the limitless possibilities of tomorrow (the blue ocean).  Our work is about allowing the rules and competition to excite us, give us life.  Our work is about appreciating the possibilities and having the courage to create what we need and want.

The innovative perspective of Cultural Intuitiveness™ is an embrace of the strength and power of both the red ocean and the blue ocean, rejecting the aspects of each that take away our power, make us unsure of our position and make us feel stuck in place. Our CI work is about helping individuals start all conversations about themselves, how their world view shaped by their past interprets their present and either holds back or propels them to their future. This starting place provides them with the answers to questions about how their experience with the rules and competition either propels or drown them; as well as how their experience of the open sky and unlimited possibility excites them or frightens them.  


We help individuals better clarify their needs and wants, their capacity and readiness, their values and principles about their power and role to lead and communicate in a culturally competent manner, providing clear values and principles (red ocean) with the grace to apply them to be received well in each individual situation (blue ocean).  We focus on beckoning them onto and across the purple bridge of hope so that they can more readily transit between both sides of the ocean, receiving what they need and want to continue to evolve to their full potential. Our purpose for CI is to help those we work with to come to a place of comfort when they no longer need to reach back to the red ocean, letting go of the fear of letting go of what they know, the self imposed limitation of time and current skills. Those we work with to become certified in CI discover and strengthen the HOPE they need to move to and stay on the blue ocean side, a place of their limitless potential, where they no longer need the purple bridge or our presence to be their cultural intuitive authentic self alive in the blue ocean.


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.

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny” –Gandhi

This week D.G. and I will be introducing the power of Cultural Intuitiveness to a third cohort of members from a community team we have the pleasure to coach toward their shared vision. Cultural Intuitiveness provides a process and practical tools for the mindful practice of Gandhi’s words. Moving forward with others–family, colleagues and co-workers, or community members–toward a common vision is most productive and satisfying when we recognize and respect that we each bring value to the effort, when we use our voice in a manner that lets us hear each other’s words (even those we may not agree with), when our behaviors reflect a desire and need to respectfully cooperate so that we can continue our work to build what is needed to achieve our shared vision–our destiny. These behaviors become “positive habits” when we mindfully incorporate the 5 values of Cultural Intuitiveness–ConnectorsContemplationCommunicationContextContinuation–in all our daily conversations. As Gandhi advised, the path to your destiny begins with your thoughts, words, and deeds. Cultural Intuitiveness helps you “keep it positive” so that you can work with others to create your desired destiny.

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