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Transcript – Cultural Intelligence And Why We Need To Understand It

Transcript: Cultural Intelligence And Why We Need To Understand It


Gerry Fernandez [00:00:02] Welcome to a Seat at the Table, a podcast dedicated to highlighting the importance of cultural intelligence in the workplace and brought to you by MFHA, the multicultural foodservice and hospitality alliance. We believe an inclusive business is a profitable business. So join us as we dive into practical advice on how you can communicate effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds. I’m your host. Gerry Fernandez, founder and president of MFHA.

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:32] This week, we’ll be talking to Dr. Sandra Upton of a cultural intelligence center. Sandra, how are you doing?

Sandra Upton [00:00:39] I am doing fantastic. Gerry, so glad to be here.

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:42] It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen you. But with all the craziness going on in our world today, the work that you do is really important.

Sandra Upton [00:00:51] I would agree. I think it’s always been important. But I think for such a time as this, it is more important than ever.

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:57] Tell us a little bit about yourself so that the audience kind of knows who you are, what you do.

Sandra Upton [00:01:01] Sure. So, as you said, I am Sandra Upton. I’m with the Cultural Intelligence Center and my title is vice president of Educational Initiatives. So what that means is a number of things. But my primary role at the Cultural Intelligence Center is to oversee all of the work that we do in the education space. So we have the privilege of working with universities and schools across the country and across the globe. And I oversee all of the work related to that. But I’ve also got my footprint in a number of other spaces in the organization, including a lot of the work that we do in the corporate space.

Gerry Fernandez [00:01:37] Right. Right. You did some work- you did a training on unconscious bias for us a number of years ago. Do you still do that kind of work?

Sandra Upton [00:01:43] Absolutely. We are doing it more than ever. And like you said, with the changing times or the challenging times that we are having, the need and demand for this work has exploded. So lots of unconscious bias training. And training programs now.

Gerry Fernandez [00:01:58] Unconscious bias and cultural intelligence, or CQ, as we call it, affectionately, they go together. Why don’t you start by giving us a definition of what cultural intelligence is?

Sandra Upton [00:02:08] Sure. Absolutely. So cultural intelligence. The most simple definition is it’s the capability to function effectively in multicultural situations. And I like to, although it’s a very simple definition, I like to break it down a bit because I think some of the words there are really important for people to understand. The first being capability so often when we talk about, you know, diversity and inclusion and equity and even unconscious bias, you know, we spend a lot of energy on improving an awareness that an individual might have or sensitivity that an individual might have in terms of working across cultures. But we know based on our research, that it requires a skill. So when we talk about cultural intelligence, it’s the capability or the skill. And once you develop that skill, then it allows you to work effectively in any cross-cultural context.

Gerry Fernandez [00:02:57] So give me an example of the skills that are required to become culturally intelligent.

Sandra Upton [00:03:02] Sure. So when we think about cultural intelligence, it’s really based on a framework that includes four key capabilities that we’re able to actually measure. And we know that an individual can also improve those capabilities. The first is what we call CQ Drive, and that’s all about your motivation and confidence in persistence when working across cultures. So if you’re not even interested or you’re not persistent or you don’t have a certain level of confidence, you’re going to struggle when it comes to interacting across cultures. The second capability is what we call CQ Knowledge, and that’s all about your understanding of how cultures are similar and how they’re different. So I can be motivated, I can be confident and even persistent, but I finally have an understanding around perhaps some of the cultural differences in values that may be reflected in that exchange. I’m still going to be limited. So any both of those capabilities. But then that third one is what we call CQ strategy, and that’s all about our ability to plan for those interactions. So, again, if I start back at the top with drive, I can be motivated. I can even develop some knowledge. But if I don’t know how to use that information to be effective in that situation, again, I’m going to be limited. And then that last capability is what we call CQ Action, and that’s all about behavior change. And so it’s this framework that is inclusive for very specific capabilities, each of which can be measured and improved and all are needed in order for us to be effective when we engage across cultures.

Gerry Fernandez [00:04:25] Well, that’s excellent. That’s you know, that four point strategy kind of fits nicely with MFHA four points at the dinner table where we talk about customer, community, supplier and workforce. And so this drive, knowledge, strategy and action all fit together. So, Dr. Upton, what are the benefits of having high levels of cultural intelligence?

Sandra Upton [00:04:47] Yeah. So, again, we’ve done a lot of research around this and we know that not only does cultural intelligence predict your ability to work effectively across cultures. So big picture, we know that. But we also know that there are other very specific performance outcomes that are tied to cultural intelligence. So if we think about, again, someone in the hospitality industry, let’s say a chef. Right. Let’s just use that as an example. We know that not only would it predict their ability to overall work effectively across cultures, but we know that it gets very specific in terms of impacting their ability to make high quality decisions when engaging across cultures. We know that it predicts the ability to build trust and cooperation and even negotiation effectiveness when working with others from other cultures, we know it predicts creativity and innovation. We know that it predicts workplace performance and leadership effectiveness. And we also know that it impacts the bottom line. So we’ve seen the research that ties CQ to profitability and cost savings. So there are numerous performance outcomes that are tied to cultural intelligence that can make all the difference in terms of your effectiveness and bottom line success.

Gerry Fernandez [00:05:59] That’s excellent. I think you clarified that really well for all the audience to understand that there are multiple benefits of being culturally intelligent, and one that really is the takeaway for me as it goes right to the bottom line. So how do you get introduced to CQ to begin with? Sandra Upton [00:06:15] Sure. So, you know, but part of why I am in the role of V.P. of educational initiatives is because education is a big part of my background. I have over 25 years in higher education, both working as faculty and also as an administrator. And then I also had my own consulting firm for many years prior to joining the Cultural Intelligence Center. But even back then, when I worked directly in higher education, I was over our global experiences and our MBA program, which took students all over the world to explore business practices outside of the U.S. And even back then, I understood, especially with business students, that in order for them to be successful when working in business, that it wasn’t enough for them to have the technical knowledge or the business acumen, so to speak. But I knew that it was important for them to understand how to work effectively across cultures, how to work effectively in cross-cultural business teams. And so as an educator, I actually built the CQ Framework into my program and our MBA program at the university that I was at. And I had students take a pre and post assessment so that we could measure the impact that global business experience had on their CQ. So even back then, it was really important for me to make sure that those students were developing that skill along with the other business acumen that was necessary for them to be successful. And then I also built it into my consulting firm. And I also, way back when before I joined the firm, had a great relationship with Dave Livermore. So we began to work together on various projects as well. So long history.

Gerry Fernandez [00:07:48] Yeah. I met David a number of years ago. I got introduced to Culture Intelligence after reading an article in the Harvard Business Review back in 2004, and they talked about David’s work but also two other professors, one from the London School of Economics, who I’m sure you’re familiar with. And the whole concept of thinking intelligently about how you engage the cultural groups made total sense to me. But when I saw that that time was much of the culture, intelligence orientation was for business people going abroad. What do you think the applications are for us looking inward inside the four walls of the U.S., if you will? What are the opportunities for cultural intelligence with businesses here in the U.S.?

Sandra Upton [00:08:29] Yeah, that’s a fantastic question, Jerry, and a very important one, because you’re absolutely right. A lot of people assume that they only need cultural intelligence when they are traveling internationally or studying abroad. And I would argue that that is one of the biggest myths out there. All of us need cultural intelligence. All of us on a pretty regular basis are interacting with people who are different from us. Whether that difference be race, ethnicity, age, gender, you know, socioeconomic status, disability, you’re from the south versus the north. I live here in Michigan. I’m in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If I go over to the east side of the state in Detroit. It’s a different culture, right? So everywhere we set our foot, we are very likely to engage with someone that is different from us. Therefore, we all need to develop this skill set. And then you add this whole layer of really what I call this national pandemic. We’ve got the COVID19 pandemic, but we also have the racial issue pandemic here in the U.S. and are all the more reason why cultural intelligence is so critical at the domestic level.

Gerry Fernandez [00:09:37] So I know you’ve talked a little bit about college and university. What schools are using CQ as part of the educational process? I think there’s some graduate schools doing it. And I’m curious about if there’s any interest in the hospitality side, if any of the schools that teach hospitality or hotel or even culinary arts, for that matter, are interested in what’s happening in the CQ space.

Sandra Upton [00:09:59] Sure, yeah. So we’re very grateful and privileged to work with a lot of universities, and many of those are some of the Ivy League schools across the country and globe. So we have a phenomenal partnership with Harvard University. We do work with Stanford University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, UCLA. I mean, I could go to Duke University, Purdue University. I can go on and on and on. And I work with these different schools very in terms of the different disciplines that are engaged. But one school that jumps out at particular when you talk about hospitality is the work that we do at Cornell University. So we work with their school of business and specifically their school of hospitality, which, as you know, is one of the top hospitality schools, not in the country, not only in the country, but across the globe. So there absolutely is interest and a clear understanding by that discipline and industry that I mean, that is what you do. It’s all about the customer and the reality that customers come in so many diverse forms. And so if you don’t have the skill to be able to to work effectively with them, you’re going to be challenged in that industry for sure.

Gerry Fernandez [00:11:06] So how about we represent mostly restaurants, but still there’s a lot of distribution manufacturers and a few hotels involved. And more and more particularly as you look at all the change going on in this country right now, the anti-racism protests and the anti-racism movement in general has got people asking the question, what can I do? What should I be doing? Are you working with any off fatality companies that we would know? What do you think the opportunities are for MFHA and the Culture Intelligence Center to kind of help the industry and hospitality in general move in the right direction in response to all this racial inequity conversation?

[00:11:46] Yeah, sure. Yeah. And we have worked with a number of different organizations, I mean, ranging from Starbucks to McDonald’s. But I would say that when they ask the question, my response is, one, do something and, you know, many of them fortunately do have chief diversity officers in a position there. But the big challenge is for them to think about addressing this issue. When we talk about race and racial equity, it has to be addressed at two levels, both the individual level. And so we would argue that you need to make sure that all of your employees from the top all the way throughout the entire organization, that they are working to develop their cultural intelligence as individuals. And because all of them are either touching the customer directly and or just working with peers or like, you know, whether it’s a vendor or supplier, you’re connecting with someone in some role that’s from a different culture. So there’s that commitment to develop the cultural intelligence at the individual level and that that can include training and in a host of other ways to do that development. And then the other really big piece to it, of course, is systems right in and recognizing that real sustainable change will not happen if we don’t tackle this issue at both the individual, a systemic level. So that involves them making a commitment to look at their policies and practices, you know, things like do we have a supplier diversity program in place? Are we making sure that if so, is it equitable? So looking at those policies and practices that really guide how we have decided to do business and engage with others is critical to helping to move the needle.

Gerry Fernandez [00:13:28] That’s very interesting. Dr. Upton Systems, you know, that’s one of the things MFHA is trying to look at going forward is what are the systems, the systemic elements of how we attract, develop, retain, coach, teach, train our employees. And the same, frankly, would apply to all our guests. How do we treat guests with culturally intelligent care and feeding? And so the systems are definitely something we look at. So when you think about how training would benefit our industry, how would it benefit society? Where else do you think cultural intelligence, education and training should be put out there? Are there ways that CQ could have helped with this community policing, this policing conversation we are having in the community right now? What are your thoughts on that?

Sandra Upton [00:14:15] Yeah, I think cultural intelligence needs to be everywhere. I think we all need to make a commitment to improve our CQ. So that includes every possible discipline or industry that you can think of, and certainly including when we look at our justice system and when we look at our police force, you know, I think that’s where it you know, CQ an unconscious bias meetup as well, because so much of the challenges that we have in this in spaces like our criminal justice system, our biases that that show up. And unfortunately, what we’ve seen is that those biases literally can be deadly. And so it is really important. And that’s. And I would also argue that that is the first part of the process. I think training is needed everywhere. I think we all need it. But I think we also need to recognize that we can’t it can’t just be training, right. That it cannot be this one off training mindset, but it has to be a more of a comprehensive approach. And that’s where, again, that commitment to look at our systems and our policies and practices are really important.

Gerry Fernandez [00:15:18] Can you say a little bit more about that intersection of where CQ and Unconscious Bias come together when it comes before the other? I know when I went through the training class with you on unconscious bias, we talked a little bit about that. So we’ve been doing the last few years a lot with unconscious bias. There’s a big initiative, the CEO action for diversity is as one of the elements is to implement unconscious bias training connect it for the people is to know what is unconscious bias versus culture intelligence. How do they connect?

Sandra Upton [00:15:48] Sure. Well, I would first argue that we actually agree with the research out there that says that unconscious bias training doesn’t work. So people can listen to that and they say, what? What do you mean by that? We agree with the research, there’s a lot of research that argues that unconscious bias training doesn’t work. And in fact, there’s some research that takes it to the next step that says it actually undermines your work. And we agree with that. And the reason we agree with that. And then I’ll tell you what our alternative is. The reason that we agree with that is because so often when people go through unconscious bias training, it can be powerful, it can be an opportunity and a space to create those courageous conversations. But often what happens is when people leave the experience, they still don’t know what to do. Right. So they all were awesome. I learned some things, perhaps, and many people may even get emotional and they might even sing kumbaya at the end. But when they walk away, they still don’t know the how or the what and the how or what specifically as it relates to change behavior. And so we have taken that and said, OK. Even when we made the decision to get into the unconscious bias conversation in space, we knew that we had to take a different approach and we knew we had to be true to what is important to us, and that is research. And so we realized and developed a program that is focused on helping people understand that the way you manage your biases is through cultural intelligence. So you have to have the skill. It’s not just about feeling better or even just understanding your biases. But now that I understand them, here’s what. Right. So our approach is that the way you manage unconscious bias is through cultural intelligence. So when we facilitate training is our own unconscious bias. From the very beginning, we lay the stage and share with them that approach and model that says the more you improve your cultural intelligence, the more you reduce the potential for what we call biased decision making. And that’s ultimately what it is. We have biased thoughts. And if we don’t stop those thoughts, they make their way into biased decisions, actions and behaviors and ultimately systems and policies and practices. So in order to stop that, you have to develop a set of skills to be able to do it.

Gerry Fernandez [00:18:09] Okay. You have me a little scared there from it. Yeah. We’ve been working so hard all this time. Went to the training with you on unconscious bias and now you’re going to say it doesn’t work. Oh my God. All these people are going to say Gerry what have you been doing the last few years. So that’s a good point. You know, you need that, this and that. So you need an understanding of unconscious bias. And to manage those biases. You have to become culturally intelligent, which means work those muscles. So as we think about this work that the research that’s out there says you need the follow up training, what have you seen people doing out there to address how they build their cultural intelligence on their own, their things? Are there other resources? Do they have to go through a formalized training that the Culture Intelligence Center provides?

Sandra Upton [00:18:58] We recommend formalized training for a couple of reasons. One, they get the opportunity to complete the assessment so they can see what their own cultural intelligence is. Again, it’s a skill that can be measured. It’s a form of intelligence. So just like we have IQ, just like we had EQ, emotional and intelligence, CQ as a form of intelligence, that we know it can be measured and we know that it predicts your ability to perform effectively when working across cultures. So when they go through formal training, first of all, they get to take the assessment so they can see in real time what my level of cultural intelligence is. They can also see then where is there an opportunity for me to improve? So am I strong in all four capabilities. Maybe I’m strong and drive. Maybe I’m very motivated and very confident, but my knowledge level is low, or maybe my knowledge is high, but my behavior changes aren’t quite what they need to be. So it allows for them to reflect on where they are. And then the training typically includes a lot of strategies. So wherever you’re low, here’s some ways that you can improve and then they are expected to create a development plan. So an action plan that says I want to commit, you know, it’s not going to be anything that’s overwhelming, that’s going to require the, you know, the creation of a dissertation. But can I commit to two or three things, two or three proven strategies that I know will improve my cultural intelligence when I’m interacting with X customers or X suppliers and they walk away with that commitment. So it builds in some action. It builds in some accountability. And then it also allows the opportunity to at some point measure them again to assess whether or not they’ve actually improved. So I think those are some really critical parts. So, again, we’ll meet and see training often. We go through, you know, it could be a positive experience. But where do we find spaces to actually assess and measure and then be able to track growth?

Gerry Fernandez [00:20:56] Let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

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Gerry Fernandez [00:21:34] So which brings me to another important element, if I’m listening to this podcast and now I’m interested in cultural intelligence. Where do you recommend a company start their efforts, you know, and then what would that what would that look like if a company really ultimately says, I want all my people to get trained, where do they start? You know, how does this work? Is it limited in terms of the number of people you can put to the training? What are your thoughts on that?

Sandra Upton [00:21:59] There are no limitations necessarily. It may need to be structured in a certain way if it’s a large organization that has lots of people that need to get trained there. A lot of different approaches that we can take to help them with that. But I would say the ideal starting point, especially if it’s a brand new concept at the organization, is to get in front of leadership. Right. And whether that’s as a small team of leaders of 10 people or maybe it’s as a larger team of leaders of 40 people, whatever that number is. Because it’s important to get their buy in. It’s important, to- so part of that, I always call it sort of a pilot training where we get in front of leadership and we can really help them understand what is cultural intelligence, what is your cultural intelligence as a leader of this organization? And most importantly, why does it matter? Why is CQ important for McDonald’s? Why is CQ important? You know, for whatever restaurant or organization it might be, why is it important? And then what does it look like to develop a culturally intelligent organization? So the ideal scenario would be to get in front of leadership, have them complete the assessment where they can touch and feel. CQ really gets a deep understanding of what it is, the research basis behind it, and then how it can be implemented in their organization and talk through some of the results that we can see based on the plan that we put together.

Gerry Fernandez [00:23:22] Very good. So I’m always one of those people that likes to determine who’s  true North. Who am I following? What companies do you think do it well, domestically or globally? Any particular brands and why?

Sandra Upton [00:23:35] Great question. I think we’ve got some folks both in the education and in the corporate space that are doing a good job. We have a few of those noted on our Web site and highlighted through case studies. The ones that I’m thinking about that really are jumping to the front of my mind. And in the corporate space, one is actually the healthcare space is a pretty large health care system here in the Midwest. They’ve been integrating CQ into their work for the last couple of years, and they’ve done it in a very integrated way. So, again, it’s not the sort of one off CQ training and then we’re done. But it is not only making sure that their employees are all going through both CQ and their case, both CQ and unconscious bias training. But they’ve also done a number of train the trainers so that they can be sustainable so they don’t have to be dependent on us long term, that down the road they will have their own internal team of what I call ambassadors who can facilitate those trainings with others. So they’ve set themselves up for long term success. But they’ve also taken a look at their policies and their practices and identified, you know, always ask the question. When we talk about trying to create a more culturally intelligent organization or diverse and inclusive and equitable, you know, look, when you look at the policies and practices, you’re really asking a simple question. Does this policy serve as a benefit or a barrier to our work? And if it serves as a benefit, we’re in good shape. Then let’s keep it and let’s keep moving. But if it’s a barrier to our work, to our claimed commitment to diversity, race diversity, then we need to revisit it and talk about tweaking it. So the spectrum is a very large hospital health care system. But they, I think, have done a phenomenal job of integrating it, both at the end of, you know, the commitment to develop the CQ and look at biases at the individual level. But they’ve also cracked open the whole system side of the work. And I think you’re making some good progress there.

Gerry Fernandez [00:25:36] Well, so what kind of results is why you picked this? What would problems of these be solved in the healthcare sector?

Sandra Upton [00:25:41] Yeah, I think two… So one, they’ve definitely seen an improvement in the scores of individual scores of their employees. All right. So they’ve seen that that’s a big deal, right? They take the assessment, they go through training, they develop a plan. And then the goal is to see them improve their cultural intelligence. So they have been doing pre and post assessments. They’ve been able to see that progress. And I think they would also argue that they have seen some bottom line impact. Right. They’ve seen an impact on, in this case, patient service. Right. But they’ve seen an improvement in serving patients as a result of the work that they’ve been doing. And that’s at the end of the day, what is ultimately most important.

Gerry Fernandez [00:26:22] So for hospitality, we want to take care of the guests. But our customers are our employees and the guests are the patrons who stay in hotels or eat restaurants. Dr. Upton I have a question in my experience is people sometimes make the assumption because I’m black. I’m a man of color, that somehow my level of CQ must be higher than somebody else’s. Is that a myth? Do people of color have any more level of culture intelligence than our white brothers and sisters? What’s the story with that?

Sandra Upton [00:26:53] Yeah, the data does not prove that, that just because you are a person of color. I am. I’m an African-American woman. The data does not prove our database does not prove out that argument that just because I am a person of color or perhaps from a historically marginalized group, that I’m more culturally intelligent than other groups so that the data confirms for us that we all need cultural intelligence. With that said, I would build in the qualifier that we clearly know that there are inequities. Right. And that there is racism. And so we don’t want to minimize or dismiss those realities and in need for the dominant culture to make a big commitment to improving their CQ and being allies in addressing issues around race and gender discrimination, because that’s very real and they absolutely disproportionately impact people of color. And so we don’t we have to have that balanced understanding of that. I think that’s really important.

Gerry Fernandez [00:27:56] Yeah. So I might know more about my own cultural biases and how people have projected bias on me, but that doesn’t necessarily make me smart about any other group. So that brings to mind Dr. Upton can you give us an example of your cultural intelligence or your unconscious bias expertise in play?

Sandra Upton [00:28:14] Yeah. And I’ll give you an example of when there is a lack of it and of both a lack of cultural intelligence and a bias that that’s at play. So a very real and a very personal example. About a year or so back, I attended my colleague and dear friend, Dr. David Livermore, his house for an open house that he was hosting for his daughter, who was graduating from high school. And my husband joined me for the event. We got there, we sat down at a table, and there happened to be an older Caucasian woman sitting at the table as well. And so we began introductions. And so she said to me, So how do you know Dave? And I said, well, I work with him. And she said, Oh, are you his scheduler? And interesting. Right. And so I know, I looked at her and I met where first my husband I looked at each other and, you know, and I actually wrote a blog about this just recently. And we know, we weren’t completely surprised, again, just the reality of the world that we’re in. But we know, it did. It was a bit frustrating and we were a bit angered, but not completely surprised. And so my response to her was actually I’m one of the vice presidents at the company, but I’m curious to know why you assumed that I was his scheduler. And I hear that story very often, even in my trainings, because I, first of all, wanted to make sure my cultural background always demands respect of our elderly population. So I would never, ever disrespect her, even though her comment was very biased and inappropriate. But I did see the need to create an opportunity to turn it into a teachable moment for her. And so I went back to her and I said, you know, are set back to her. I’m curious to know why you assumed that I was his scheduler. And to be honest, I don’t remember her response. I do remember her changing a shade, a little shade of red. But it was the lesson that the whole thing was always asked the question, OK, do you think her comment to me was biased? Absolutely. Yes. Right. And why? We don’t know exactly. It could have been a tie to my color. Could have been tied to my gender, could’ve been tied to both. But it was a biased statement. And when we talk about it in managing our biases, the idea that her situation was if she didn’t have an assumption attached, so she had made some assumptions about me attaching that to either, again, my race or my gender, because if she did not have those assumptions that came from somewhere, either how she was socialized or raised or perhaps what she’s experienced or seen in this world. But a more appropriate, unbiased question would have been. So what do you do at the Cultural Intelligence Center? Because there are no assumptions that are tied to that. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a scheduler. But what she did but in terms of my role, I could be a scheduler or I could be the president of the company. So that was a really interesting example in Dr. Livermore. And I talk about that a lot because, you know, that’s real. It happens. And those are really kind of micro-aggressions. And I don’t have time to talk about all of that, but- and I talk about it and we talk about this in the blog that we did just last month. We talked about if he were standing there and he heard that that would’ve been a phenomenal opportunity for him to step up as an ally and and play a key role as a white male in addressing that, because there is a level of fatigue that comes with that when you are part of the underrepresented group. So that’s a really good example.

Gerry Fernandez [00:31:44] Well, there’s an opportunity. It was an opportunity to use your cultural intelligence where you understand culturally she may come from a group who hasn’t been exposed to educated women of color leading. And so you’ve brought assumptions with those. And again, when you understand the cultural background, when people say, how y’all doing? If you’re from the south, that’s pretty normal up here. If I were to do it, somebody would look at me as, what are you trying to do? So again, that’s a really good example. And I appreciate you sharing that with us. So, Sandra, now we’ve made the connection between cultural intelligence and unconscious bias. Are there some practical things that people can do when they leave here to kind of get started and to make some progress on how they connect the two between unconscious bias and cultural intelligence?

Sandra Upton [00:32:31] Yeah, I think the first thing that they could do if they were interested is actually take the assessment, because that is the foundation. Right. Understanding what their own cultural intelligence is and where there’s opportunity for them to improve is, I think the first step. I think the second step that they can take, we actually have if they don’t if they’re not in a position or place to go through our formal face to face training, which actually right now they’re all virtual, but we have an e-learning and unconscious bias. E-learning is just a one hour course. It’s called my U.B. and it’s designed to just give them, again, one hour of what is unconscious bias, what is its relationship to cultural intelligence, and then what are some cultural intelligence strategies that you can put in place to manage your biases using cultural intelligence. So I think at the individual level, taking the assessment, which includes the development plan so they can see what their results are and then commit to making a couple of action steps to improve and then taking the unconscious bias e-learning. And even with that there, it gives them opportunity. It provides them with some strategies, but then provides them with an opportunity to say, okay, which of these strategies might I look to implement in the next couple of weeks or months? So those can be some first easy steps to just help them think about it at the individual level. Again, if we think about it at the organizational level, then that’s where, you know, the training is one piece. But we can also talk to them about what a big picture strategy looks like for integrating CQ and moving them towards becoming a culturally intelligent organization? And that would require, you know, some conversation and some consulting time.

Gerry Fernandez [00:34:11] Well, we are on top of that. We encourage people to go online and look at what you can find on YouTube. There’s so many great videos on YouTube, just type in unconscious bias, cultural intelligence. Some of them are short, some of them are longer. The CEO Action for Diversity Initiative also has some best practices online. You can look at some of those things, some really good stuff and a lot of that stuff, believe it or not is free. So we know that formal training is important. I love the thought that we’ve talked about train the trainer, which, you know, I went through with the trainer with you. So I got my unconscious bias education. And so we know the value of that. But I also think, again, as I said earlier, these things that you can do online and what things to source on the MFH website, we have a number of resources you can go to where you can download some of the video podcasts that we’ve done. Actually, they’re more Zoom cast than anything else. But also we’ve got some other downloadable resources. So I understand that the CQC has a new product coming up. What does that look like? Tell us a little bit about that.

Sandra Upton [00:35:12] Yes, we have several new products that have come out since you and I probably last spoke. But one of the newer ones that I’m really excited about is our new e-learning called CQ Talent. And it is a program designed to help employers, including those in the you know, in the hospitality industry for sure. But ways to make sure that they are managing bias in the hiring process and and really making sure that they are creating an equitable experience to get the best candidate for a particular job. So it’s a phenomenal tool because it’s on the front end and it helps, you know, the organization assess, you know, who might be the best candidate. But doing it in a way where I always get nervous when we say culture fits, because to me, I wrote an article a while back talking about how culture fits, sometimes can be called a word for affinity bias, meaning we want people that are just like us. And that’s not what we mean by culture fit, but culture fit, meaning we do want people that have a commitment to cultural intelligence. We do want people on our team that have the skills to. Being able to work effectively across cultures, so it helps the tool, helps us identify candidates that have some cultural intelligence, but it also helps us as the person on the receiving end of recruiting to make sure that we don’t have bias in our process as well. So it’s a phenomenal tool that we are very excited about.

Gerry Fernandez [00:36:38] Excellent. Excellent. Well, I have one more question for you, Dr. Upton. What is the future of culture intelligence and how can the audience here get involved?

Sandra Upton [00:36:47] Cultural intelligence is the future. We’ve known for a long time, based on the research that we’ve done and the research that others have done, is that technical skills alone will not be sufficient. They’re not sufficient today and they certainly won’t be sufficient in the future. And what I mean by that is, you know, if we take the restaurant industry as an example, you can be the best chef in the world or the best host in the world. And if you don’t have the skill, the ability to work effectively across cultures, you are going to struggle in terms of being successful. And so it is a skill that is necessary for everyone, regardless of their role, regardless of the industry. And it is not an optional thing. It is an expectation. And it will be the deal breaker in terms of our success moving forward.

Gerry Fernandez [00:37:36] Well, excellent. I’m going to. We’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you again, Sandra, for being with us today. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us. And I look forward to having you back maybe on another show in the future.

Sandra Upton [00:37:47] I love that.

Gerry Fernandez [00:37:48] So thank you.

Sandra Upton [00:37:48] Thank you.

Gerry Fernandez [00:37:51] That’s our show for today. Special thanks to our listeners. And thank you for taking a seat at the table with us today. If you found our show to be valuable, please share with your network and leave us a five star review on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. As that helps more people find the show, you can also subscribe for free so that you never miss an episode. A seat at the table is brought to you by the Multicultural FoodService and Hospitality Alliance. And it’s produced by Danti, 32.

[00:38:24] MFHA appreciates the generous sponsorship of Cintas ready for the work day in supporting this. A Seat at the Table podcast episode.