It's an Inside Job

The Power of Cultural Intelligence in Today's Workplace with Loren Rosario Maldonado.

February 19, 2024 Season 5 Episode 8
The Power of Cultural Intelligence in Today's Workplace with Loren Rosario Maldonado.
It's an Inside Job
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It's an Inside Job
The Power of Cultural Intelligence in Today's Workplace with Loren Rosario Maldonado.
Feb 19, 2024 Season 5 Episode 8

In this episode, we explore the power of cultural intelligence with guest Loren Rosario Maldonado. Discover how cultural intelligence goes beyond race and ethnicity, encompassing curiosity, understanding, and connection. Gain insights into its importance for leaders in creating inclusive environments and fostering collaboration. Learn practical strategies and the significance of taking action for personal and professional growth. Don't miss this enlightening conversation on embracing discomfort as a pathway to understanding.

Loren's journey spans 25 years as a global People Strategist, refining expertise in HR, leadership coaching, and change management. Her passion for cultivating high-performing teams and human-centered experiences defines her career. As a respected thought leader, she sets standards for excellence across industries, yet felt a missing link in her connections until discovering the transformative power of cultural intelligence.

In her latest book, "Becoming the Change: The Power of Cultural Intelligence," Loren delves into how embracing cultural understanding fuels self-discovery. With a wealth of multicultural experiences and thorough research, she offers a profound perspective on unlocking personal growth and global comprehension. Loren's narratives resonate universally, inviting others to join her on this extraordinary odyssey through her book, speaking engagements, or coaching, fostering empathy and deep connections.

Connect with Loren

episode, Inside Job, cultural intelligence, race, ethnicity, curiosity, understanding, connection, leaders, inclusive environments, collaboration, practical strategies, taking action, personal growth, professional growth, embracing discomfort, pathway to understanding

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we explore the power of cultural intelligence with guest Loren Rosario Maldonado. Discover how cultural intelligence goes beyond race and ethnicity, encompassing curiosity, understanding, and connection. Gain insights into its importance for leaders in creating inclusive environments and fostering collaboration. Learn practical strategies and the significance of taking action for personal and professional growth. Don't miss this enlightening conversation on embracing discomfort as a pathway to understanding.

Loren's journey spans 25 years as a global People Strategist, refining expertise in HR, leadership coaching, and change management. Her passion for cultivating high-performing teams and human-centered experiences defines her career. As a respected thought leader, she sets standards for excellence across industries, yet felt a missing link in her connections until discovering the transformative power of cultural intelligence.

In her latest book, "Becoming the Change: The Power of Cultural Intelligence," Loren delves into how embracing cultural understanding fuels self-discovery. With a wealth of multicultural experiences and thorough research, she offers a profound perspective on unlocking personal growth and global comprehension. Loren's narratives resonate universally, inviting others to join her on this extraordinary odyssey through her book, speaking engagements, or coaching, fostering empathy and deep connections.

Connect with Loren

episode, Inside Job, cultural intelligence, race, ethnicity, curiosity, understanding, connection, leaders, inclusive environments, collaboration, practical strategies, taking action, personal growth, professional growth, embracing discomfort, pathway to understanding

Support the Show.

Sign up for the weekly IT'S AN INSIDE JOB NEWSLETTER

  • takes 5 seconds to fill out
  • receive a fresh update every Wednesday


[0:00] Music. 

Introducing "It's an Inside Job" podcast on resilience.

[0:09] Back to It's an Inside Job podcast. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
Now, this podcast is dedicated to helping you to help yourself and others to become more mentally and emotionallyresilient so you can be better at bouncing back from life's inevitable setbacks.
Now, on It's an Inside Job, we decode the science and stories of resilience into practical advice, skills, and strategies thatyou can use to impact your life and those around you.
Now, with that said, let's slip into the stream.

[0:37] Music. 

Introducing Lauren Rosario Maldonado and her unconventional journey

[0:44] But welcome back to the top of the week in a fresh new episode of It's an Inside Job. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
This week, I'm joined by Lauren Rosario Maldonado.
She's a seasoned people strategist whose path has been anything but conventional.
For a quarter century, Lauren's expedition across the globe has been a masterclass in human resources, leadershipcoaching, and change management.
And at each destination, she's absorbed invaluable lessons in crafting, nurturing, and amplifying high-performing teams.
As a revered thought leader, Lauren has dedicated her life to intertwining profound insights with a commitment to craftinghuman-centered experiences.
Her mission extends far beyond the confines of the workplace.
It encompasses a holistic approach to enriching lives both professionally and personally.
Yet, amidst her remarkable voyage, Lauren sensed the void. It wasn't until she unearthed the transformative force ofcultural intelligence that she realized her connections had been superficial.

[1:42] In her latest literary offering, Becoming the Change, the Power of Cultural Intelligence, Lauren uncovers thepotential of forced self-discovery through embracing cultural intelligence.
This book, a culmination of multicultural experiences and extensive research, well, it illuminates the transformativeprowess of cultural intelligence and fostering personal growth and understanding.
Both within ourselves and in the broader world. And so in today's episode, we are going to do a deep exploration of whatcultural intelligence is, why it's important, and well, how does it show up day to day?
How can we pragmatically intertwine the skills and knowledge of cultural intelligence in both our private andprofessional lives?
So without further ado, let's slip into it.

[2:25] Music. 

Introducing Lauren Rosario Marlonado, a Cultural Enthusiast

[2:37] I'm excited to get this chat going. Definitely, definitely.
I would like to begin like I do most interviews. Could you please introduce who you are and what you're about?
Sure. I'm Lauren Rosario Marlonado. I am a cultural enthusiast.
I am a leadership development consultant and coach.
And I most recently relaunched my consulting practice based on this on this concept called Cultura Inc.
And most recently, I also published my book called Becoming the Change, the Power of Cultural Intelligence, justresulting from my many years as a global HR executive and the experiences that I faced during the times when I was, youknow, culturally naive.
What is cultural intelligence as you perceive it?
Oh, that's a great question. The way that I perceive cultural intelligence is this toolkit that helps you develop capabilitiesto navigate diverse situations more effectively.

[3:52] You know, the academic term relates to understanding, adapting, and engaging with diverse cultures moreeffectively.
But what I have found is that the culture in and of itself is often misunderstood.
Many times people attribute culture to ethnic or national geographic attributes, right?
But there's a whole different dimension or a wider dimension that applies to culture that many times we don't think about,right?
You have functional area culture, you have family and familial culture, you have team-based culture, You have, you know,all these other aspects of culture, subcultures that are unseen, yet impact the way that we interact, both in our professionaland our personal lives.
And so I am on a mission to not only demystify that, but expand perspectives around this notion of culture and how wecan navigate it more effectively through understanding.

[5:04] What inspired you to write the book? Was it a certain incident?
Was it a general ignorance as to other cultures like the minority culture versus the majority culture, depending upon wherewe are in the world or what region?
I mean, what inspired you to kind of put pen to paper?

The Inspiration Behind Writing the Book and Identity Crisis

[5:24] Yeah, five years ago, I was in the middle of my master's program, actually towards the end.
This one particular class I was taking at the time was focused around counseling diverse communities.
And in this class, we were tasked with immersing ourselves in different cultures so that we could understand thesenuances that often go unseen.
Seen because when it comes to counseling and honestly any other interpersonal craft, that requires connecting with othersand helping them thrive whether it be coaching counseling so forth and so on you need to have a general understanding ofdifferent cultures in order to to help your clients navigate better.

[6:16] But what started as an academic exercise led to a really profound awakening for me that led to an identity crisis.
You know, I am and was at the time the head of a global HR practice for a multinational organization.
And I always considered myself, you know, a learned, well-versed individual when it came to this regard.
I mean, service is part of my moral code, right?
So I didn't think anything of it until I navigated all the research required for this class.
And up until that point, I felt like my culturally agnostic outlook on life was a benefit because I often felt like Ichameleoned my way you know, through society and through my lived experiences without necessarily ascribing orfeeling like I belong to any of them.

Identity Crisis: Understanding Cultural Values and Biases

[7:21] It led to an identity crisis because part of being culturally intelligent, culturally competent, and both in this lifetime,requires for you to have a fundamental understanding of your own history, your own cultural values, and how that playsinto your beliefs and how that shapes the way you prefer to exist in the world.
And what I found was that this agnostic state was contributing, you know, unbeknownst to me, to biases that I didn't evenknow existed.
And so I was forced to, for the first time, look in the mirror and really dig deep and understand, A, where do I come from?
How do these experiences, how does my history shape my cultural values?
And how does that contribute in any way, shape, or form to biases that I am not only harboring, but perpetuating throughmy actions?
And, you know, that led to a period of a lot of shame. I remember talking to my professor about it at the time because...

Empowered to Spread Awareness on History and Identity

[8:46] You know, it was a very profound experience to understand that I was complicit in those ways.
And when I wrote my paper, you know, she propelled me and encouraged me to continue my studies, continue on to thedoctorate level and really spread the word about this message, because not a lot of people talk about it in this way.
And a lot of people don't understand how a lack of understanding of their own history, you know shows up in these inthese ways and the more people i told this story to even though it took me a long long time to be able to talk about it um,the more i was encouraged to write about it the more i was encouraged to.

[9:33] To educate others on this because there was not one person that I've told the story to that has not replied with, huh, Ididn't even think about that.
Or I didn't even know that. I didn't realize that that was always the reaction.
And then it came down to to not understanding our history enough to understand how it plays a role in ourmultidimensional identity, that we are more than what you see. We are more than what you hear.
Right. That there's more to us that shows up in the way we communicate, the way we we approach authority, authority,the way we manage time, the way we raise our children, and these values, whether we grew up locally or not, are passedon from generation to generation.

Writing as a Cathartic Experience for Healing

[10:35] And so that's where the idea behind this book came about. I, you know, it's, I took...
A while to really grapple with this finding but at the same time writing helped me connect and heal at the same time sowould you say through the act of exploring and writing the book itself it was actually a cathartic experience for you to asyou said heal to to move away from the identity crisis to find more I don't know stable ground in your identity is that whatI understand understand you're saying yes absolutely you understood perfectly the what started as a a journey ofinforming led to a journey of healing because you know when i started writing i was very heavily focused on on my raceand ethnic background i for example through this process realized that I've always identified as white for example andwhen I you know throughout this process throughout the the the course I remember taking the 23 and me other DNA testmystery yes yeah and.

[12:00] I remember thinking, you know, my results came back almost 60% Black, African, West African.
And I remember feeling, you know, this deep inertia, you know, all of a sudden that coupled from, you know, with all theresearch that I was uncovering about, you know, unearned privilege and how that impacts your, you know, your diversitywheel in society, all of a sudden I started questioning whether the color of my skin was the reason why I had achievedwhat I had.
Whether, you know, all the hard work that I had put into my career, my education was overshadowed and facilitated bythe color of my skin.
So all of these these questions surfaced that really forced me to question my overall existence.

[13:03] Um and so when I started the process it was it was mainly focused on that on my race on my ethnic background onmy you know my ancestry I know I knew uh uh anecdotally about the slave trade.
I knew that on both sides of my family.
I knew a little bit about colonization, but I did not understand the deeper side of that.

[13:34] Along the way, though, as I immersed myself in diversity, in the diversity of of my history you know I came tounderstand that race my race my ethnicity my history is one part of me and that there are other shapes other aspects of myidentity that also play into all of this.

Cultural Intelligence: Navigating Identity and Educating Others

[14:03] And so what started as a very myopic view of what my identity is and was at that time, or lack thereof, the more Isaw cultural intelligence being that kind of compass that helped me navigate all these nuances and how they shaped notonly my identity, but how I prefer to exist.

[14:35] And so I call it a healing journey because through writing and gathering all this perspective myself, I was able toeducate others along the way and demystify some of these things along the way.
But in a way that was more, you know, less emotional and more educational, more neutral.
And what I found was that coming from a place of understanding helped neutralize these conversations as opposed tocoming at this from, you know, the holy crap on black lens, you know, from the race lens, expanding race beyond all partsof me.
The complexity in that and the different layering in that, maybe this is a too general a question, but how would you definesomeone who is culturally intelligent?
Considering the complexity of what you're talking about and the different layers of values and backgrounds and ethnicityand neighborhoods, countries, what have you?
I mean, if we were to look at it sort of at a corporate level where it's multinational and there's a number of people workingthere, I mean, how would you define a culturally intelligent person?

[15:59] Fantastic question. You know, from a practitioner, I would say that culturally intelligent person is an explorer.
It's somebody that is highly inquisitive and curious not only about their own history but also about others and how youknow they they're always using that curiosity to understand and so they use that understanding to connect better with theperson so in the workplace place, you know, you have these varying, these varying perspectives on, let's say, how, howyou view achievement.
This was a big one for me. I come from a very individualistic, high achievement culture, right?
And I was conditioned that way.
And working with cultures that were highly collective, I often clashed when I was, you know, pushing for thatachievement above and beyond the collective achievement.
So pushing for individualized achievement without giving enough attention to the overall cohesiveness of the team.
And I want to preface that by saying that it didn't mean that I didn't care about the team, but I didn't understand how...

[17:27] When I was pushing for achievement on an individual level without regard to how people perceive that from me asa leader, I often, what it did was it disconnected me from them as a leader unbeknownst to me.
It was more demotivating to the individual. individual but because sometimes depending on the culture they had a higherregard for authority let's say they wouldn't say anything right would just they wouldn't question me on it they would justyou know follow so you know thinking back to those moments I think I was not really motivating in the way i sought toso organizations that are looking to you know kind of simplify this this complexity i would say to start with leadershipdevelopment in that regard to equip leaders to understand not only their own cultural values but how those cultural valuespermeate their leadership style so that they're more effective motivators.
They can help their employees feel more engaged, particularly around this virtual world that we live in today.

Understanding Cultural Nuances in Communication

[18:50] Communication, help them understand how varying communication styles, help kind of bridge all of this togetherif you are aware of these cultural nuances.
To understand that that individual you're motivating, right, they may not speak up, but not because they're not assertive,but because they respect you and they hold your position in higher regard.
And so you connecting with that individual requires a different type of check in.

[19:27] So a cultural intelligent person is obviously someone who has to be quite self-aware of, first of all, maybe of theirown implicit biases.

[19:37] Because, I mean, anyone who says they don't have biases, well, I don't think they really are aware of themselves.
They don't have too much self-insight. And so we all have sort of biases towards people that may be different from us,however we want to define that.
And so that self-awareness is understanding that sometimes a limitation in our own beliefs may be the roadblock toculturally connecting with someone and i i can see the complexity of this and in the leadership development and youmentioned sort of communication is that when it comes to a culturally intelligent person to define someone as a culturallyintelligent person does that mean someone who as you said explores and so that means asking questions based oncuriosity and intrigue to try to understand why maybe move it from position to more needs or wants understanding sort ofthe drivers behind why they hold a certain position or why they communicate in a certain way absolutely they they're notonly curious and self-aware but they're also highly humble the the framework in the in the book highlights culturalhumility for a reason you know it is it is a theory grounded on intersectionality it's grounded on critical critical self-reflection and awareness.

[20:58] But it's also grounded on this.
This requires a continuous effort to develop these skills and to continue to not only explore our impact on others and ourability to respect and connect through all these different intersectionalities, but to commit to a lifelong journey ofevolving, of educating ourselves, of learning.
And that cultural explorer that I see is culturally intelligent embodies that.
You're humble enough to know you'll never have all the answers.
Because to your point, we as a society are always evolving.

[21:50] And the values we observe today may look differently tomorrow.
They may reference, you know, the 10 cultural value dimensions, but those dimensions and the impact of those will shiftover time.
We are in the midst of a huge technological disruption phase, right?
So how will that play into our cultural values in the future?
And so that leader in that organization that's looking to be culturally intelligent is not only aware of their biases and awareof their shortcomings, if you will, but they're committed to taking action on that journey towards understanding and usingthat with their teams in order to help their teams collaborate better.

[22:42] Because just to challenge you i think i brought this up with another guest a little while back it's um in starbucks ican't remember where exactly in the states there were two african american gentlemen sitting in starbucks doing whateverthey're doing one of the starbucks employees thought they were up to something and made a big hoo-ha about this thepolice had to come and and and these black gentlemen weren't doing anything wrong as i understand they were were justsitting there as anyone else, any other patron.
But then Starbucks thought, okay, we need to do some sort of cultural training.
And so they, I think they closed down a bunch of Starbucks. I don't know if it was nationwide. I can't remember.
So forgive my ignorance, but it was something. Yeah, it was something like that.
But for me, when you drive that kind of, you know, okay, let's have a workshop on cultural sensitivities and such andunderstand, for me.

[23:37] I see that's almost, I understand the intention is noble.
The intention is good, but I see it as almost creating even more tensions.
Now we become even more awkward, even more uncomfortable.
It's like, okay, I don't want to say anything. Cause if I say something to this person, though, they're going to take, think I'ma racist or I'm a chauvinist or I'm an ist of something.
And it just, I think it just widens the gap.
Again, that's my perspective. I was wondering with your your deep knowledge and experience, can you maybe educateme?
Am I wrong or am I completely off?
No, no, you're not wrong. And this is why they say, you know, the road to hell was paved with good intentions, right?
Because they wanted to be, they wanted to address the issue.

[24:24] Acted quickly, in my opinion, too quickly, without understanding the, you know, the context in which we foundourselves, Particularly at that time.
And this is what happens when organizations try to try to address complex issues, whether it be sociopolitical,environmental or all of the above, using blanket approaches like a workshop, one training. training.
This is a continuous journey, right?
This is understanding how your organization is positioned to understand these nuances and equipping the employees, notonly with the awareness, but the actionable and practical tools to use to navigate those situations.
And that requires a continuous approach towards developing these skills in employees because guess what?

[25:36] We have been conditioned to avoid the uncomfortable, especially in the workplace.
We have been conditioned to not talk about it.
You know, and this is not this goes above and beyond race, which is in Starbucks case was the issue at hand.
But disability is another one. Ableism is another one. Ageism is another one. All the isms.
Right. Right. We have been conditioned in the workplace to avoid talking about these subjects as opposed to doing theopposite. Right.
Driving awareness and providing the actionable resources and tools that helps employees have these uncomfortableconversations in a very humble, honest and transparent way.
It doesn't mean that because I have psychological safety, I'm free to offend you, right? No.

[26:42] But it does mean that I have to understand a little bit more about your lived experience so that I can coexist whilepreserving my own authenticity.
And that's where the complexity comes from. It's unraveling all these years of, you know, not talking about it to reallyopening the door to more candid conversations that are respectful, honest and humble.

[27:11] I like that, what you said. It's respectable. I mean, it's being firm, but fair. It's being diplomatic, but direct.
But because, you know, mainly this is a North American.
I come from Canada originally, and you can see it across the Canadian society where you have this, for lack of a betterterm, this wokeness.
I understand when it first started, it had positive intentions, but it's gone way off the rails.
I mean, it's completely gone crazy.
And just because someone says something, they get offended.

[27:40] And then it becomes this, I don't know, a tumultuous storm.
And then nobody, it just divides people. And I think cultural intelligence, what you're talking about, this is the connectivetissue to bring us back to have dialogue.
But in organizations i don't see it so much here in in in scandinavia but it's coming it's coming but i think more of this thesensitivity is even more in uh north america and if we can't have if we're constantly worried about someone saying youare an ist or this that means we can't have frank conversations as you said respectful conversations but to have those hardconversations conversations and what does that create well that creates teams and organizations that are fragile and brittlebecause we can't address because we're afraid we're going to be labeled something and then everyone's going to shun usright right and so and i can understand the complexity of what you talk about and the training that is needed because whati hear is it's not just a one workshop kind of thing but it has to be embedded it literally into the culture right Right.
Cultural intelligence has to be built into the strategy.
Yeah, exactly. And the culture, it has to be part of your business strategy because it's not just your employees.
It's your customers. Right. It's your vendors.

[29:04] It's your supply chain providers, right? Because sometimes the offense is coming from that side.
So it's important to, you know, make sure that, yes, we're having these conversations, but they are for the purpose ofgrowing the organization, not for the purpose of, you know, enabling the wokeness.
Because to your point, it can go to extremes.
We have a continuum for a reason.
And the point is to remain as, you know, essential as possible along this continuum.
We're never going to cover everything. That's unrealistic.
And we're never going to fix this, but we can mitigate.
There's a difference. You know, the approach should be not to change people, to allow the safe space without beingreactionary.
While at the same time, you know, once the knowledge is provided, you have to tell people how to use it.

[30:17] You have to educate them on how to use it effectively.
And that's where the work comes. You know, one of the things that I like about cultural intelligence is exactly that.
It provides, you know, this neutral space where you have this framework and you're almost applying, you're almostapplying like a design thinking approach to all these situations, right? Right.
How is that end user going to feel or experience?
What will they experience once I have this exchange, once I release this solution, product or conversation or context? Andthen work back from that.
It's not going to solve the world's problems. It's not a magic wand, but it's certainly a tool that helps people understand.
And one thing I've learned from all my years, particularly in human resources, is that conflict is many times.

[31:22] Music. 

Cultural Intelligence: Exploring and Connecting with Others

[31:33] Of my conversation with Lauren, she delves into the essence of cultural intelligent individuals, defining them asexplorers driven by curiosity to deeply understand and connect with others.
She emphasizes their ability to balance the individual and collective perspectives, recognizing how cultural valuesinfluence leadership styles and the ability to motivate others.
Cultural intelligence devolves a keen awareness of one's biases coupled with the humility to continually learn and evolvebeyond preconceptions an essential aspect highlighted is the varied communication styles a culturally intelligent personemploys understanding their impact and effectiveness however lauren notes the shortcomings of traditional culturalsensitive training she views it as counterproductive often oversimplified and lacking context leading to discomfort andavoidance rather than construct the dialogue instead she advocates for more nuanced approach, equipping individuals withnot just awareness, but the practical tools to navigate these complex cultural situations.
Our discussion confronts the tendency to invade uncomfortable conversations and stresses the need for actionableresource and tools to facilitate these discussions.

[32:47] Lauren underscores the importance of creating safe spaces for dialogue.
She emphasized the necessity for education on how to effectively utilize these spaces without reactionary responses.
The focus is on fostering an environment of humility, respect, honesty, and transparency in order to enable constructiveengagement.

[33:09] Music. 

Creating Team Norms for Constructive Conflict and Harmony

[33:21] Years of experience working in multinational companies and obviously the multicultural companies.
When I don't have as much experience, I don't have the depth and PhD such as yourself, but from my own practicalexperience working in multinational companies as a consultant or as a coach coming in and trying to get teams to work, Ifound one of the easier, easier, Take that with quotes.
But one of the more easier ways of creating harmony, but still having constructive conflict and psychological safety andall those elements, of course, is to move from cultural norms to find that particular team's bespoke team norms.
Like how are we going to engage you know the reason i i i find this so interesting because my father's chinese and youknow obviously the eastern and and all the hierarchy and everything there but then my mom's from the western world youknow caucasian and very driven for an individual and so growing up there was this you know the clash of different valuesbut at home we had a.

[34:26] Family norm of how we engaged right and it would be different on how if i was with a chinese family celebratingwhatever celebrations or if it was with the British and the Scottish side of the family it'd be different right we'd bring outdifferent norms right but finding team norms is that some way of kind of bridging or trying to encourage culturalintelligence absolutely I could not agree with you more and that's a great example right because family is a great analogyfor how to form teams in the workplace.

[34:59] And, you know, I not only witnessed that, but also sought to cultivate teams that were.

[35:11] Culturally intelligent, even before I knew what the term was, you know, to come from a place of understanding andbe people centered in that regard.
Clashes came, of course, when, you know, confronted with teams who didn't necessarily have those team norms.
But but you're right. You know, leaders can cultivate this within their own teams, particularly in a multinationalorganizations.
And I would go as far as to say that this extends beyond the multinational organization because we have organizationsthat are local and regional that also face this phenomenon.

[36:02] And the same would apply there. I always go back to leadership because they are the drivers.
They're the drivers of this, you know, of these norms, of this cohesiveness.
And above and beyond what the organization does to cultivate culture, leaders are steering the ship.
How does a leader begin launching a cultural intelligence amongst his or her leadership so they can cascade it down? Imean, is it a very complex process?

The First Step in Launching Cultural Intelligence: Self-Reflection

[36:35] Is it some easy baby steps we can take?
I mean, from your experience working with corporations, what would you suggest?

[36:44] That's a great question because it's tough, isn't it?
And it's about to get tougher. And I would say it starts with the leader themselves.
Before they can get to the team, it starts with them understanding their own CQ, right?
Looking in the mirror first. Yeah.
Before you can mention it to your team, before you focus on your team, start with yourself.
Understand your own cultural values and how that shows up for you and how you prefer to, you know, to live andapproach work and family life and everything in between.
And once you really understand that, then you can move towards creating that understanding with your team. If you don'tdo that within yourself first, you can never cultivate it in your team.

[37:37] And then connecting it with your team once that prerequisite is done, understand how you can continue to integratethis with your team. Right.
If you're looking at this from a change management perspective, who will be impacted?
How will they need for you to communicate?
What are the cultural influences that show up for your team when you are communicating?
And what do they need to understand how important this is for them as they interact themselves and with other areas?
And these are these three steps can be followed, reiterated over, over, over and over again, as long as it's it's combinedwith action.
Right. You can be aware and understand your cultural values.
But if you don't apply that knowledge.

[38:31] By taking action with yourself and by integrating it with your team, it's just going to stay here.
It's never going to help you make an impact in any way. and that takes a choice right because what's the alternative whywhy lead teams in the first place, Yeah, I think at the end of the day, we are judged by our actions and not by our thoughts.
We can have all the great thoughts, but if they're not put into, as you said, applied knowledge, then, you know, it's justgreat ideas collecting dust.
But it's the actions that we get measured upon.
You know, your book is it goes into great depth in multiple chapters and such.
But if I was to force you and said, OK, Lauren, you have these clients here.
You can only give them one chapter. chapter, and that's all they have time to read in your book, and you had to pull outone chapter, what would be the most important chapter you'd say, read this, understand this, and why would that be themost important chapter for a leader or a team or whoever to absorb?

The Importance of Making Choices in Leadership

[39:38] That's a tough question. I would say if you're that leader who has zero time, just go straight to the playbook.
I explain there why the choice framework is there and why it's important, not only in leadership, but in everyday life.
And the reason why, you know, this chapter is important is because it breaks down the different actions you need to takein order to, you know, to make that choice, to make that choice to use cultural intelligence in your life, both personallyand professionally so that's the one chapter i would say uh highlights the entire playbook go to the playbook yeah andagain that's very nuts and bolts very action oriented and when we're judged on it's applied knowledge as you said veryinteresting very and you know leaders there's no time you know i've been there i am there there's no time you're pressuredfrom the top from the bottom from the side from outside from inside from all sides and it always comes back to thatchoice always.

[40:47] There's a lot of, obviously, like any generation, there's a lot of young leaders coming up through the game, and theyjust have a natural motivation to want to improve, to want to do something, especially when they move into their firstleadership role.
They're looking at psychological safety and how to give feedback culture and all those elements.
If a young leader's looking at thinking you know what lauren's saying is really resonating with me and i see there's arecertain tensions that i'm inheriting from this group because i haven't hired them they're legacy people they're people i'vejust got from another manager and i want to create some score some early wins i want to create more connective tissueand cohesiveness in my team how long i mean as you said they would have to have some sort of personal coaching byyou or someone with cultural intelligence to to reflect but for that leader him or her how long would it does it generallytake from your experience for them to kind of get the foundational stones in place so they can start a process of workingwith their team.

The Process of Hiring a Consultant for Leadership Development

[41:56] Yeah you know they're they're in that different stage where you're so full of uncertainty certainty right you'restarting out and you're eager and motivated yet you have all these forces that are you know seemingly working againstyou so I would say that leader assuming they don't have much time either give me 30 days and we'll get you somewherebecause at the end of the day.

[42:24] You're already motivated. You just need practical insights to help you navigate those differences.
And so, okay, let's say I'm that leader. I'm curious. I was like, you know, Lauren could really help me here with herknowledge.
And she's got a PhD. She's written a book about this.
I mean, what would the process look like if I was to hire you, to bring you in as a consultant, to really speed things up, toact as a catalyst, to get things really going?
And I'm really motivated because I know my team could really come together and to stop all this sort of infighting,however it is.
And I know some of it's cultural because some may be of engineers or some may be this or that.

[43:05] Can you walk us briefly through a process that you might take someone through?

[43:10] Sure, of course. We start by assessing your leadership skills.
That's very important. assessing you know how others view your leadership skills so that 360 and individual leadershipskill is the first step from there we extract your top three goals that will make the maximum impact whether it's improvingcommunication team engagement or motivating others whatever your top three are is what we'll focus on and then wecraft an action plan around those top three goals.

[43:44] Creating what I call moments that matter.
What are these moments that matter that you need to cultivate in order to drive the impact you want to have?
And so we check in regularly, but we always go back to tying it to those top three goals.
And then at the end of the 30 days, we assess where we started from and go from there.
And so would that require me as a personal leader having you as a coach where i would meet you so many times a weekor i mean would we be discussing some of the day-to-day challenges i have yeah we can meet uh it's best to meet once aweek because you have to give person an opportunity to apply the these things in in the middle of sessions any more thanonce a week is much um sometimes they'll choose to meet every every other week, those are longer engagements.

[44:41] But typically, when I coach an individual, it is once a week.
If it is an organization and it's a longer engagement, then we meet every other week.
And in between, they can choose to check in.

[44:56] You know, I really do believe that people are, not only are they multidimensional, but they really are, naturallycreative resourceful and whole so the whole point is not to tell them what to do the whole point is to bring awareness toyou know their their values and and how they lead best so that they themselves can apply this and drive their you knowtheir achievement of their top three goals and so in between the check-ins are more clarifying questions if they need andonce we meet for our sessions, then we go into the learnings that happen in between or any clarification that they need.
Sometimes they'll need what I call process check-ins, where they're trying to process new learning as it's beingcontextualized.
Yes, yes. Those are more, you know, clarification sessions that drives the learning for the individual.
But once they go out there and apply, now you're creating, I create more of an experiential learning approach, if you will.
So the the process is the same the length of time differs whether it's individual coaching or.

[46:25] Coaching for organizations okay okay that that's that's brilliant because sometimes you know people want to knowthe nuts and bolts and what the process is right and how long it's going to take commitment-wise so i think you'vearticulated that very well because i have a lot of listeners so we'll be kind of grinding and thinking about this i have a littlemore of a this is a little, little of a weirder question but if if you could talk to someone about your book you know alive ordead who would that be and why would you want to talk to him or her about it oh great question.

[47:03] You know, I love going back in history, and there's a few people in history that I would love to talk culturalintelligence with.
For example, I would love to talk to Socrates all day, every day, you know, especially about something so complex that hesaw so simply.
Right. What do you think about cultural intelligence? I'm pretty sure that conversation will be quite interesting for me.
I think any of the great philosophers marcus aurelius would have been a good one to speak to any of the stoics i think a lotof the stoics i've come to learn that i am a stoic i i didn't think so in the beginning but i am you know and i uh henry davidthoreau is another one.

[47:49] Um you know gosh i would love to hear what he has to say probably tell me don't get lost in the weeds, no but i iyou know i know the book's being launched the idea of cultural intelligence could have been you know used in the 70s the80s the 90s the early 2000s and the decades to come but do you see how can i phrase this question do you see there willbe any more evolution to cultural intelligence that you may have not addressed that may come due to ai or anythinganything like that?
I know it's a very vague and open question, but I was wondering, it's true.
Yeah. I mean, are there aspects that you feel that, Oh, I should have covered that more in the book or my next edition?

[48:36] Absolutely, because, you know, the book was never meant to be an expert book for academics by any means.
It was really highlighting how how multidimensional we are, how our cultural values influence everything.

[49:00] Everything that we do, you know, and how not just myself, but people who were using the power of culturalintelligence, even without knowing what cultural intelligence was.
So I do think there'll be other, not only other additions, particularly as we have these younger generations joining theworkforce, but you mentioned AI, right?
We're constantly evolving this.
I just completed a fellowship with a group of fellows who also have additional insight to add.
So I 100% believe that this will continue evolving and it will mirror society, right?
Because we are constantly evolving.
And I do agree with you. I wish I would have had CQ, gosh, early in my career.
You know, my husband and I talk about this all the time.
We wish we would have had this in the beginning of our relationship.
Relationship um but yes i think it will continue to evolve evolve and even this book it will morph into more um moreexperiential stories uh from people who you know are living it from myself and other different um applications that i'vebeen playing around with particularly particularly in my dissertation.

[50:28] So definitely, yes.

Expanding the Definition of Cultural Intelligence

[50:30] Definitely. Well, that sounds, because for me, I think it's an ever-evolving, it's an iterative process as more thingscome online, the more things we think about, and the more broadened the dynamics and the whole context of culturalintelligence, I think it'll just expand in its definition. mission.
But I think it's also important that we, as you've done in the book, it's identified the fundamentals, work on thefundamentals.
And then the end of the book, you have the playbook.
It's pragmatic, it's tools based.
And I think at the end of the day, if we can paint a picture, if we can see the picture in our heads of what we want to try toachieve, it becomes so much easier for us to make that sojourn, to cross that finishing line.
And I think your book has, Because, well, obviously, it's laid the foundation and the roadmap for that. So congrats forthat.
I'm just very respectful of your time, Lauren. As we come to the top of the hour, is there any last advice, suggestions, orcomments you would like to leave with my listeners today?
Yeah, I know it sounds complex. I'm not going to sit here and say it isn't.
But we can simplify it if we just make a choice.
Make a choice to look in the mirror, use what we learn, and apply it.
Sounds simple.

[51:54] It can be hard. But you can simplify it.
If you just start with yourself and understand the depths of you and use that understanding to understand others.
But Lauren, thank you very much for sharing your experience, your time and and, you know, opening up yourvulnerability with your identity crisis right in the book.
I think, you know, a lot of us will probably have that when we start doing a little deeper dive into ourselves andunderstanding the drivers of where we've come from.
Yeah, and I would encourage you not to let that crisis deter you from making the choice. I would encourage you to pushthrough it, use it and, you know, transmute it into the fuel you need to become the change.

[52:42] Music. 

Lauren Rosario Maldonado, Author of Becoming the Change

[52:52] Folks, that was the highly engaging and fascinating Lauren Rosario Maldonado.
And she is the author of the book, Becoming the Change, The Power of Cultural Intelligence.
So as we conclude this insightful conversation with Lauren, we've explored the depth of cultural intelligence and itsprofound impact on personal and professional interactions.

[53:12] You know, her perspective has shed light on the essence of being a culturally intelligent individual.
And that's someone driven by curiosity, capable of bridging the gap between individuals and the collective, the team, andacknowledging the pervasive influence of cultural values on leadership and communication styles.
You know, we've also learned about the limitations of conventional cultural sensitivity training and the necessity for amore nuanced and practical approach.
You know, Lauren emphasizes on providing actionable tools and creating safe spaces for uncomfortable conversations.You know, and this resonates deeply, highlighting the importance of what?
Fostering humility, respect, honesty, and transparency in our interactions, in our communications.
You know, folks, as we step away from this conversation, Lauren's wisdom prompts us to continuously strive for growth,embracing discomfort as a pathway to understanding and connecting.
And, Lauren, I'd like to send you my personal gratitude and thank you for sharing your knowledge and your wisdom andyour experience with us today.
I really enjoyed a conversation I pulled a lot from it, and I hope, folks, you found the same.
I would highly encourage you to pick up her book, Becoming the Change, The Power of Cultural Intelligence.
I will be sure to leave all the links to that book in the show notes and the contact information to Lauren.
Well, here we are, folks, crossing the finishing line of yet another episode.

[54:37] Well folks I'm always interested in hearing your feedback your comments, your questions what you've learned howthis episode or other episodes have helped you you can always reach me at well folks until we continue thisconversation next week thank you for allowing me to be part of your week until then keep well.

[54:58] Music. 

Introducing "It's an Inside Job" podcast on resilience.
Introducing Lauren Rosario Maldonado and her unconventional journey
Introducing Lauren Rosario Marlonado, a Cultural Enthusiast
The Inspiration Behind Writing the Book and Identity Crisis
Identity Crisis: Understanding Cultural Values and Biases
Empowered to Spread Awareness on History and Identity
Writing as a Cathartic Experience for Healing
Cultural Intelligence: Navigating Identity and Educating Others
Understanding Cultural Nuances in Communication
Cultural Intelligence: Exploring and Connecting with Others
Creating Team Norms for Constructive Conflict and Harmony
The First Step in Launching Cultural Intelligence: Self-Reflection
The Importance of Making Choices in Leadership
The Process of Hiring a Consultant for Leadership Development
Expanding the Definition of Cultural Intelligence
Lauren Rosario Maldonado, Author of Becoming the Change