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India Business Culture Competencies: Making of a Global Leader

by Brandi Moore on July 8, 2010

IndiaThink’s core mission is to develop global leaders for organizations that can lead effectively across business cultures.  We focus on Americans working with Indians but the skill sets we cultivate can be used across any culture pairing.  One of the complexities of developing global leaders is getting started with a baseline and developing the right curriculum to guide growth.  I set out to find an assessment tool that could measure existing competencies in an individual as well as provide ways to look at entire teams.  The search ended with the InterCultural Readiness Check or the IRC .

The IRC measures 4 specific competencies: Building Commitment, Managing Uncertainty, Intercultural Sensitivity, and Intercultural Communication.  It also measures action vs understanding, a key component to measuring cultural competencies.  If you do not have action, its difficult to lead a team or project to success. More on the test and how we offer it.

Here are the four pillars examined in the assessment:

Intercultural Sensitivity

The degree to which a persona takes an active interest in others – their cultural background, needs and perspectives and how they express themselves.  Scores capture to what extent people reflect about their own culture, how it may have included their values, norms and perspectives, and are willing to consider different cultural perspectives as equally valid.  They also indicate how actively people seek information about others’ thoughts and feelings, i.e., by paying attention to verbal and nonverbal signals when interacting with them.

Intercultural Communication

The degree to which a person actively monitors own communicative behaviors. Scores indicate to what extent people listen actively out of concern for how others may be affected by what they say, and how they say it.  People with high scores tend to be patient communicators, cautious in how they bring across difficult messages, and willing to take more time before responding if necessary.  This attitude makes it more likely that they will adjust their behavior to the needs of their listeners.

Building Commitment

The degree to which people actively try to influence their social environment, based on a concern for building relationships and integrating different people and concerns.  The scores indicate to what extent a person focuses on the different people with whom he or she is interacting; knows how to engage them and get them committed to a shared goal.  People with high scores invest into developing relationships and building strong and diverse networks.  They constantly seek to understand the needs and interest of different stakeholders, and feel confident that they can create flexible solutions to meet those needs.

Managing Uncertainty

The degree to which a person appreciates the uncertainty and complexity of culturally diverse environments as an opportunity for personal development.  Scores o this dimension indicate the degree to which a person is curious about cultural differences, and feels confident and motivated to deal with unfamiliar groups, and unexpected, changing requirements.  The scores also reflect how much a person is motivated to explore new approaches, and feels stimulated by diversity as a source for learning.

Outcome of an IRC Assessment

Participants receive personal feedback with constructive and practical suggestions on how to develop their competencies.  They are able to develop competence-specific action plans based on this feedback and are no longer unsure how to improve their cultural competencies.  The organization can use the results of these assessments as a framework for employee growth.

Organizations can receive group profiles if 20 or more participants are tested.  For larger groups data can be divided by teams.  Group feedback can illustrate areas of focus for an overall training program and can be used to develop benchmarks for the organization.

I am very excited to be offering the IRC to our clients and am confident the results will be valuable to all test takers.  If you are interested in trying the IRC please contact us at info@indiathink.com.  Soon we will have an application on line available to purchase the product.

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