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.