Relationship Matters

Ep.12 Cultural Learner vs. Cultural Critic

September 15, 2021 CRR Global Season 3 Episode 12
Relationship Matters
Ep.12 Cultural Learner vs. Cultural Critic
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Linda Berlot is back on the show discussing what it means to be a cultural learner vs. a cultural critic. A Cultural Critic is an individual who only looks at the world through his or her own culture whereas a Cultural Learner is someone who accepts and engages with other cultures through a healthy dose of curiosity. Across the episode Linda and Katie discuss what it means to live in a globalized world, changing our perception of that which is different, the attitudes and behaviors of a cultural learner, different cultural structures, and understanding culture like an operating system.

Linda Berlot is a human development specialist with more than 19 years of experience in the fields of learning and development,  strategic organizational change and team dynamics with a focus on creating alignment in the organizations she works with.  She is of Italian origin and has been living in the United Arab Emirates and working in the Middle East since 2004. Linda is a Director of Faculty Development at CRR Global. She is the ORSC Partner for the UAE and is currently one of only 19 people globally to hold the license to train and deliver the RSI@work material in-house to corporations.

For over 18 years, CRR Global has accompanied leaders, teams, and practitioners on their journey to build stronger relationships by focusing on the relationship itself, not only the individuals occupying it. This leads to a community of changemakers around the world. Supported by a global network of Faculty and Partners, we connect, inspire, and equip change agents to shift systems, one relationship at a time

 We believe Relationship Matters, from humanity to nature, to the larger whole.

Relationship Matters Season 3 Episode 12




KC – Katie Churchman 

LB - Linda Berlot


[Intro 00:00 00:06] 


KC – Hello and welcome back to the Relationship Matters podcast. We believe Relationship Matters, from humanity, to nature, to the larger whole. I’m your host, Katie Churchman, and in this episode I’m excited to be welcoming back Linda Berlot to the Relationship Matters podcast, to discuss being a cultural learner vs a cultural critic. A cultural critic is an individual who looks at the world through his or her culture whereas a cultural learner is someone who accepts and engages with other cultures through a healthy dose of curiosity. Across the episode we discuss what it means to live in a globalized world, changing our perceptions to that which is different, the attitudes and behaviors of a cultural learner, different cultural structures and understanding culture like an operating system. Linda Berlot is director of faculty development at CRR Global and ORSC Partner for the UAE. Linda is a human development specialist with more than 19 years of experience in the fields of learning and development, strategic organizational change and team dynamics. She’s of Italian origin and has been living in the United Arab Emirates and working in the Middle East since 2004. So, without further ado I bring you Linda Berlot talking about being a cultural learner vs being a cultural critic. 


KC – Linda, welcome back to the Relationship Matters podcast. 


LB – Hello Katie, it’s great to be back here with you. 


KC – Great to have you back on the show talking about this very important topic that I know is very close to your heart. So, I’m wondering if we can kick it off with quite a big question. What does it mean to be living in a globalized world? 


LB – I think it’s an important question because the more travel there is, the more expat placements there are, the more our world is becoming globalized and the impact on that is that we don’t have any commonly understood norms in terms of culture and so we move into multicultural teams, we move into globalized teams and we bump up against each other, we create misunderstanding. And so it’s important to know, when we visit new cultures, when we move across and live in new cultures, how to behave and how to be curious rather than critical. 


KC – Yeah, you mentioned some of them already but I’m wondering what are some of the other challenges and, perhaps, opportunities of this multicultural landscape. 


LB – Well, if you think about now there are over 240 million expats living abroad and this number is growing 10% every year. There is, so we have more globalization but countries are becoming more nationalistic. We are more globally connected in terms of markets and opportunities but there is protectionism. We’re wanting to expand markets and we have new global players in the market but at the same time we’re also becoming more restrictive. So these are some of the challenges and it’s important to know how to navigate in a globalized world. 


KC – So I’m wondering, with all those stats, what does this new generation expect in terms of travel with regards to this multicultural landscape? 


LB – Let me start with the older generation who were more than happy to, you know, have one job or two jobs throughout their lives and they got the golden Rolex at the end of it, and that was how it was done. Now younger people are expecting global placements, even first off in their first jobs. They want to travel, they’re looking for positions that take them to other countries where they can explore in their own time there, travelling more than we’ve ever travelled before. 


KC – Mmm. I’m certainly an example of that as a Brit in the USA right now. But I’m wondering, I don’t know all that much about this, do you know much about the percentage of expats in the world right now? 


LB – I think that there are over 240 million expats living in the world and this number is growing by 10% every year. 


KC – Wow. Gosh, that’s massive. So, I guess that leads me then too why is it important then to change our perception of what’s different? Because I guess right now we’ve got a lot of these cultures coming up against one another and we’ve got this multicultural landscape as you say, so why’s it important? Perhaps that’s obvious but why is it important that we change this perception? 


LB – Katie, I live in Dubai and in Dubai we’ve got, I don’t know, it’s a melting pot of nationalities. There are way over 270 different cultures here. Every team that you work with, every team that you belong too is a multicultural team and so it’s really important to know how to navigate this environment. You know, when we live outside out comfort zone we cannot express ourselves in the way we want too, we can’t behave in the ways that we’re used to because it may not, it may be offensive to somebody else. So, it’s important to learn about the best way to behave, the best way to communicate, to create connection and to create a divisive culture. 


KC – Yeah, it sounds like you’re sort of leading in with learning and curiosity and it sounds like you exude that, Linda. And I’m wondering, for someone who perhaps isn’t that way inclined, how can they step into more of a space of cultural learning, being a cultural learner? 


LB – It’s true, my parents travelled throughout my childhood so I’m so passionate about learning about different cultures and seeing how can I stretch and how can I grow, and it doesn’t mean I never experienced culture shock, for example, when going to a very foreign country. I think the first time I went to the Far East I locked myself in a hotel room for three days until I had the courage again to peek out and be with so much diversity, it can be quite uncomfortable. I think it’s important because,  you know, my way is only my way and difference is not wrong, so when we are in multicultural settings and a globalized world very often there is a tendency to see my culture or my belief or my way as the right way and then be a cultural critic to that which is different and we can’t exist in a globalized world like that, we would be in perpetual conflict. And that doesn’t work if you want to live in a globalized situation or a multicultural team, it’s really important that we shift from being cultural critics to becoming cultural learners, and in doing so expand ourselves, we grow. 


KC – And I guess it’s not always easy to be a cultural learner. Occasionally I catch myself living in the US and saying to myself oh, well, in the UK we do it like this and I’m like oh god, very much in that cultural critic space. So, I guess I’m wondering what attitudes and behaviors can I step into to start being more of a cultural learner. 


LB – That’s a really great question. So, maybe we start by talking about what are the behaviors of a cultural critics, what might you see in somebody who is a cultural critic or what might I even find myself doing when I’m uncomfortable, when I’m out of my comfort zone. Some of the attitudes are that I express or I expect that my culture is the only real one. You know, the only right one. I avoid really being in contact with other cultures because it’s just too difficult to continue to explain myself. I’m generally disinterested in the diversity between us in terms of culture and I may be threatened by these differences and act aggressively or act in a way that eliminates these differences from my environment. I may experience my culture as the only good culture and maybe I see myself as we are superior to them. You know, how can they behave in such a way? And correct other people’s behavior or judge other people’s behavior. I may trivialize other cultures or maybe even romanticize other cultures and so, you know, I’m marginalizing my own culture in some ways. There are lots of these behaviors that pop up when I’m a cultural critic. I may be super critical of what I see, you know. So, you can maybe identify with some of these behaviors and also see how hard it would be in a multicultural setting to be around someone like that.


KC – Mmm. I’m sure at times it’s really hard to step out of those behaviors. Because you know what you know and if that’s what you’ve been brought up with. For example, I’m used to free healthcare so health insurance over here was a big shock to the system that I still find quite hard to process. But you know what you know and I think it’s the sort of owning that experience of this is my experience, it’s one piece of a massive global puzzle. 


LB – Yes, that’s true. That’s true. And it’s important to know that we’re cultural critics at some point because we become a liability. If a company has hired us and we don’t shift to becoming a cultural learner we become a liability because our actions, so our attitudes and our actions will result in low trust, high fear, I might be selective about the information that I share, I will not create stable teams where diversity is accepted and there is no right or wrong, I may be continuously firefighting and having to find that I am doing a lot of damage control and therefore I start to limit my own potential and the potential of the team, either that I’m leading or I belong too. 


KC – Mmm. And it seems like some of these examples are quite strong but I’m sure we can be cultural critics in quite subtle ways, just in terms of the communication styles or patterns that we favor because our ways are the right way or the highway, and I guess becoming aware of those things, how can we start to sort of be our more subtle cultural critic behaviors and attitudes? 


LB – That’s a really good question, it happens so subtly and one of the simplest examples I can give you is I coach leadership teams, assist leadership teams, and although the business language is English, everybody speaks English, not everybody has the right grammar, not everybody spells correctly no matter how high up in the organization they are. A very simple thing is to correct somebody’s English. Meanwhile that person might speak seven other languages and I might not speak any other language other than English and yet we’re just correcting someone’s English, or getting frustrated when someone isn’t expressing themselves well in English. These are subtle forms, for me, of cultural criticism. 


KC – So, I guess I’m wondering, sort of turn it to the cultural learner, what are some of the attitudes and behaviors I’d be expressing if I was very much in this state of a cultural learner? 


LB – Well, the very first one is that I accept that my culture is one of a number of equally complex other cultures, and I don’t see my culture as the right way. It may be right for me or for a group of people and it may not be right for a whole group of other people. I also, I’m comfortable in accepting that even though I accept other cultures it doesn’t mean I agree with them. I can disagree with you and still accept you. Now we can still have a great conversation, we can still debate, we can sit on different sides of a fence and I can still, you know, accept that your culture is as valid as mine. I find that my judgements are not ethnocentric, so I don’t make judgements because of someone’s culture or ethnicity, I am more curious about the diversity that lives between us and I’m respectful about the differences, I am respectful of maybe your religious differences, our cultural differences, all of the differences that live between us. 


KC – I just want to ask you there, with regards to those differences, what are sort of a fundamental belief system or value that’s differing, how do we help ourselves and our clients lean into that cultural learner space, even then when it’s like I don’t agree with this at all, it goes against my beliefs. 


LB – That’s a really good question. Curiosity is the antidote to judgment and fear, I read it somewhere and I really, truly believe that. If I can be curious about you and hold respect, so be respectful, we can sit in the same room and have conversations about the fundamental differences between us. For me that’s the key, be as curious as you want, ask questions, educate yourself and also explain how it is for you. It’s almost like we live in two different lands, so if I step into your land, do you know what? What’s a value here, what are the values, what’s important, how do you do things in your land? And I know that when I step into your land I don’t always have to live there, I certainly don’t have to agree. I can always step back into my land but it’s important for me to be able to step into your land and to get curious. And for you, to encourage you to do the same. But, if I hold judgement, that doesn’t draw anybody too me so it won’t create curiosity about who I am. 


KC – So it really is the ultimate in terms of a systemic view because you’re really zooming out and seeing that big mosaic that makes up our planet and is not always easy to hold. 


LB – It’s really not and you can become better at it and the more you travel, the more you are placed in situations where there is diversity, the more informed and the more you grow. I think that the most important thing though is to just keep challenging yourself and challenging your own perceptions because our perceptions are almost like a pair of sunglasses, we look through them and they become our reality. It doesn’t mean it’s the reality that exists for everybody. So I always think about, you know those 3D pictures, you look at one picture and the longer you look at it you see something else, that’s exactly our own perceptions, you know, my view may not be the same for you, you may see something totally different. 


KC – Mmm, and there’s that depth there that probably leads to there are pros and cons to each of these different cultural styles. But unless we lean in we’re not going to see any of that. 


LB – No, absolutely not and I think what’s important is, particularly when you’re working with a multicultural group or even for yourself, is when you have a relationship with somebody, it could be a friendship or a partnership or a business arrangement, it’s less about my land and your land. It’s what the land do we want to create together? What’s the third cultural space that will work for us? You know, I’m Italian, I express myself with my hands, my voice goes up when I’m excited, this does not mean anger! But in your land maybe a raised voice means anger so given that we are so different, how do we want to be together? What will work for us? What will work for us? So you might say, you know, I’m OK with you raising your voice as long as every now and again you smile, then I know that you’re not angry. So there are agreements that it is important to create, for the teams that we work with and for ourselves when we’re working in a multicultural environment. 


KC – You just made me think, I’m sure a lot of teams never even acknowledged the differences in play and I know so many teams these days are, they’re multicultural, there’s people from different continents and dialing in from different time zones and those differences are never acknowledged upfront. There’s different languages on the call and different communication styles and patterns and yeah, if that’s never put up front as this is who we are, how do they expect to be successful in navigating that, I guess it’s probably very challenging.


LB – I think so, I’ve been working, there’s been a flurry of activity and coaching teams at the moment because, you know, we’re virtual, people are burnt out, the teams are burnt out, so teams are looking for how do we stay connected in a virtual environment? How do we stay connected given that we’re expected to perform more, we’ve got less resources, we’re all exhausted? And so, in a multicultural team sometimes it’s easier just to groan and roll my eyes and not address it because it’s too difficult, so there’s this misunderstanding. One of the teams I was working with yesterday I asked them how do you communicate when you’re angry across cultures. And they said no, we don’t, we just stop talking and we revert to emails. And that’s a great example! Unless you’ve designed communication and conflict protocols that work for the team as a whole, we don’t know what the ground rules are for communicating when it’s challenging. 


KC – Yeah, so we go in sort of pretending that we’re all working from the same blueprint, looking through the same goggles as you were mentioning, and we’re not and that’s how it gets so, so challenging when there’s challenges and conflict. 


LB – Yes. It’s easier than to just speak to one person or two people who are most like me and then I can vent and complain there, it doesn’t resolve the issue but then at least it makes me feel better because now I have a few people who are more like me, close to me, and we’re aligned. 


KC – Yeah, my people, my tribe, but it’s not necessarily helping people with the issue or the wider team work together. 


LB – Exactly. 


KC – So, as someone striving to be more of a cultural learner, I’m wondering how I can better understand my innate prejudices and biases that perhaps block me when it comes to connecting with people from different cultures. 


LB – That’s a really good question and it’s a huge question. I would say keep challenging your perceptions, keep challenging your thoughts and your beliefs and trust that when you ask a question that that is the truth for someone else. So believe that what they’re saying is not wrong just because you believe you are right. Believe that over there there’s an element of truth for them too, so keep challenging yourself, trust that that’s the truth for them and keep asking questions, I think. Even when we think that we are comfortable, maybe I think wow, I’ve got this nailed. I’m good at this intercultural stuff. Ask those people who are most different to you how am I doing. Are there any things that I am doing that are disrespectful or you’d like to see done differently? And create environments where there’s high levels of trust so that you can have these kind of conversations, create an environment where there’s a high level of information shared. 


KC – Mmm. That’s such a good point because I think it’s very easy to fall into the oh well, I’ve travelled a lot now, I’ve lived in quite a few countries, China, The Philippines, India, and so I came to America and I was like oh this is going to be a doddle. And you go notice those sort of judgements and that sense of oh this is different, this isn’t how we do it in the UK, at home, whatever home means, and it’s sort of then curious actually, as we mention the more subtle ways that we show up as a cultural critic because it definitely creates a block for yourself and also for the community that you might create for yourself. 


LB – Absolutely, I’m very aware of language, both because of the work that I do but also I am Italian and I grew up in a society that was not Italian. And so I’m very aware of prejudice when it was spoken to me, things like you people. So language is very important. Language can sometimes demonstrate prejudice so it’s very important that we are mindful of the language that we are using and that we’re not marginalizing in the language that we’re using. 


KC – Mmm, it’s so true. Yeah, and also painting someone just from a, just because they’re from a certain country with the same cultural brush because as we know there are so many micro cultures and somewhere like America or China, they’re massive, they’re so big and just within that there’s like a Europe in itself, there’s all these different states and each one has its own identity and I’m sure within smaller countries there’s that same sense, but when we’re sort of outside it we sort of tend to tarnish everyone with that same brush, the same brush, the same culture. 


LB – Absolutely. I love what you’re saying because over and above within the country there are different groups and diversity exists in, is so multilayered and we cannot paint, for example, every Italian with the same brush. I love the work of KnowledgeWorkx and

Marco Blankenburgh because they look at culture as an interpersonal issue, just like personality. So if you take me, an Italian who hasn’t lived in Italy since I was 16 and that’s like a lifetime ago, and I’ve travelled and lived in so many different countries, I am sure Italian, my blood is Italian and when I go to Italy I recognize my behaviors in the groups that I meet, and they call me ‘la straniera’, the stranger, because I am not Italian from Italy, so that becomes even more apparent when you have, in a globalized world, where people are away from the country of origin and living, the more they live in different cultures the more they grow and expand, so we each have our own cultural map, so it’s important when you look at somebody, not necessarily, although it plays into it from a national standpoint, but who is this person in front of me? What is this person’s culture? 


KC – Mmm, so what is their land in particular. So yours is like a bit of Italy, a bit of Dubai, a bit of this and that and yours is so unique to you, Linda. How we work with that. 


LB – That’s right. I mean my sister and I were raised exactly the same but after a certain point we had certain experiences. She then spent most of her life in Switzerland, I’ve been here. So we’re from the same family but culturally we’re so different. When I go over there she always says to me goodness Linda, you’re more Arab than ever. And when she comes here I say to her goodness Lara, you’re so Swiss and it’s not a criticism, it’s just how much we’ve changed and adapted to our environments. Yeah. And it’s important to do so I think. 


KC – Yeah, it’s so true because we do take pieces from the people we meet and the places we go and to work with the people in front of us I guess. Because, like some of the assessments like Myers Briggs, you know, brings into account all the different thinking styles in play, I guess what we want to do is bring in all the different cultural styles in play, you know, does this person need a minute just to write down their thoughts before we ask for questions? That kind of thing? 


LB – Yes, I love that. I work with, well, KnowledgeWorkx have got a great group of tools and every multicultural team that I work with I will do a cultural assessment on them so that they know who’s in the group as individuals, but also, you know, they can see the individual map and the team map, and look at all sorts of behaviors, first from beliefs and different world views that live in the team, but also behaviors around time, for example, or communication or am I inclusive or exclusive when I’m holding a meeting? Do I have meetings based on my schedule or based on whoever walks into the room, you know, all of these things are very interesting. 


KC – Yeah, time’s an important one, I remember living in The Philippines and there was Filipino time and that was always about an hour or two after the set time, I was just like what, what is this time, I couldn’t get it initially! But it’s just so interesting that you can get that map of a team and look systemically at really what’s going on here, and what are our strengths as a team as well because I think when we talk about this difference it’s like oh there’s just so much going on in this team, how can we utilize each of those people an, I guess, empower them from their land to sort of step into our land and I guess to work for the collective. 


LB – Absolutely. So we, as systems coaches, we look at the team as one united system and every voice, every culture, belongs to the system, so we don’t make anybody wrong. We see it as a voice of the system and so how do I maximize the strengths of the system that I can see culturally, but also how do I minimize some of the challenges, how do I create more awareness so they can make different choices and decide on different behaviors so that they can work more collaboratively together? 


KC – So many questions off the back of this because I’m wondering, with some of your clients, say when you bring in that assessment, how do you help them to embrace the idea that different isn’t wrong, it’s just different. 


LB – Yeah, it’s over a period of time. It’s just, because, when they receive the assessment and the results, let’s say for the world view assessment, so we go and visit each other’s world views, create awareness about the different world views and conceptually we understand this, however it’s a little harder to put into practice when we’ve got different cultures and everything is going fine, that’s great. When we then come to conflict and then we start to see right/wrong perspectives vs more inclusive or direct speakers vs circular speakers, then that’s when you want to create an awareness and say ok, this is a cultural issue. Yes, it’s also valid too but this is a cultural issue. So, in that, how do you want to be together? So, it’s over time by continuously reinforcing the messages and looking for places to hook the material onto their team behaviors.


KC – Yeah, it’s such a good point, it’s very easy, I think, to say oh yeah of course I’m a cultural learner, I love the world, I’m a world citizen. But to actually live from that space is very different. Just a quick one around the cultural structures you see showing up in multicultural teams, I’m just wondering what are some of these types of structures you see. 


LB – So, one of the assessments that we run is for example the different world views. There are three different world views, there is no right or wrong, we are all a combination of these world views, but if we had to slice them in their individuality we have one of the world views is guilt innocence, for example. Most of the Western world has a guilt innocence, a predominantly guilt innocence world view and what that means is we are raised to be individual thinkers, we’re accountable to ourselves, we speak very directly. We really look at what’s right and wrong. If I’m playing football on the field and someone blows a whistle, I automatically think oop, was that me, am I right, am I wrong? And we’re taught as children to do the right thing, even when no one is looking, for example. Then we have unashamed cultures which are relational cultures, we don’t speak directly, we are more circular, we speak more circularly, everything that we do is because we want to support or up in service of the family, the clan, the company, the country, you know so it’s a relational culture. We look at trust very differently to how trust is done in the guilt innocence, and then the third world view is power fear. So power fear’s hierarchical. So we all look at how do I gain more power? How do I treat the person that is above me vs how do I treat people below? Our communication above is not direct but below is very direct and in its extremes, all of them have got blind spots. So we want to find ways to minimize the extremes and work with all of them because in any multicultural team they will all be present. A great example, I can give you a great example – in my part of the world, here, all three are present. You’ll have a manager coming from the Western world where we’re taught to take ownership and accountability for ourselves and so we are very empowering. We give power to the team members and maybe the team members come from a power fear dynamic where I’m used to being told what to do, I’m not used to taking accountability for myself. Now I have all this freedom I’m frozen. I don’t know what to do. But perhaps I also have an unashamed culture where I do not want to cause embarrassment to myself or my team members so I don’t say that I’m not used to be given much freedom and so although I’ll say yes, yes, the job will get done, a week later the job’s not been done which causes frustration in the innocence leader because now it’s like why didn’t you just tell me. Another great example is when you stop at the side of the road and you ask for directions and somebody from an unashamed culture, if I don’t know the directions, I’ll give you directions but they won’t be the right ones. I’m too embarrassed to say… it’ll cause me too much shame to say I don’t know, sorry. 


KC – That’s interesting. 


LB – You know, these are some of the ways that we kind of miss each other and there’s potential there for growth. 


KC – And so, I’m just wondering, are these cultural structures kind of like operating systems from which we live from. Kind of like how you’ve got Apple and you’ve got Mac and Android and all these different operating systems, would you say that these culture structures are sort of the human, the relationship equivalent?


LB – I would say so, yes, these are our beliefs, they are deeper than our values and they come from our religion, our background, how we were raised, the environment we were raised in, the society and how that was structured, so they’re very deep within us. 


KC – Yeah, I love the visual you created earlier with the glasses because I just wonder what it would be like for a moment if we all in a team, a multicultural team, could take off our glasses and see the other human beings in the room and what that might create. 


LB – I used to do this exercise where I’d have one group of people wear pink glasses, the other group wear blue and a third group wear yellow and I’d ask them what color is the world? And they’d vote for their color, right, so they were all right but they were also wrong because if you take your glasses off there are hundreds of other glasses available. And that was very illustrative and it’s really how, if we’re not aware, how we move and how we see the world. 


KC – That’s such a great example, what a colorful way of demonstrating the short sightedness of us, sometimes, because of course we see through a certain lens but what might it be like to be able to step back and be like there’s that lens, and there’s all these other experiences and different glasses and prescriptions as well. 


LB – And now, when I’m talking to people that I feel are being critical or judgmental, I reflect back, that’s a great point of view and it’s one point of view. One point of view, there are many others and they could equally all be right. 


KC – They’re holding one piece of that gigantic, complicated, ever-changing puzzle, right? 


LB – Yes. 


KC – Thank you so much Linda, this was such a useful conversation, I’ve become ever more aware of the glasses that I wear and I’m definitely going to try to, if not take them off, be more aware of at least how I’m seeing. 


LB – I love that you asked me to talk about a topic that I’m so passionate about, Katie, and you know, it’s not about giving up ourselves, it’s not about making my beliefs and my way wrong, it’s only about the ability that we have to take off our glasses every now and again and maybe put on somebody else’s glasses and then if I feel too uncomfortable, well at least I’ve experienced it and I can give them back to you. 


KC – I love that. Trying on someone else’s glasses, I’m going to try that, what a wonderful way of bringing a team into this kind of conversation. 


LB – Yes, I think so too. Thank you for asking me, Katie.


KC – Thank you Linda, this was wonderful, take care. 


LB – Thank you, you too. I love the conversation and I love that we’re talking about something so important. 


[Music outro begins 34:06] 


KC – Thanks to Linda for that incredibly informative discussion around what it means to be a cultural learner vs a cultural critic. My key takeaways are as follows. A cultural critic is someone who sees their culture of beliefs as the right way and criticizes that which is different. Cultural learners, on the other hand, are curious about the diversity that lives between them and others and are respectful of difference. To shift into being more of a cultural learner educate yourself, get curious, ask questions and encourage others to do the same. Keep challenging your own perceptions, these perceptions are like a pair of sunglasses, they become your reality but it doesn’t mean that everybody else sees the world in the same way. A cultural learner is less concerned by my land and your land, and more interested in that third cultural space – our land that we can create together. Given that we are so different, how do we want to work together? Agreements like this can help us to navigate complex multicultural environments. To find out more about Linda’s work do check out For over 18 years, CRR Global has accompanied leaders, teams, and practitioners on their journey to build stronger relationships by focusing on the relationship itself, not only the individuals occupying it. This leads to a community of changemakers around the world. Supported by a global network of Faculty and Partners, we connect, inspire, and equip change agents to shift systems, one relationship at a time. We believe Relationship Matters, from humanity to nature, to the larger whole.


[Outro 35:53 – End]