Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity Management
Diversity Management:
Sometime during the past 10 years, most managers have been on cultural sensitivity courses of the :'Let's all hold hands together and walk down the yellow-brick road" variety. However, few have been taught to actually manage diversity.

It is one thing to be culturally sensitive (and this is something all of us in this country and work at every day) but it is quite another to know how to manage diversity.

Performance Management, in all the audits we have done in organisations, is also the most poorly developed managerial skill. Most managers approach performance management as a once a year intervention, in order to set bonuses and raises. Filling out a complex form, they believe, absolves them of the responsibility to actually nurture and manage their staff. Good diversity management and good performance management principles are inextricably linked.

Did you know? 90% of all managers create IN and OUT groups according to one Harvard Business Review. This is even more marked in the South African context, where cultural lines are still marked and divided. We are not yet the forged Rainbow Nation that we profess proudly to be.

Come to our course and we teach:
  • Our socialisation process and how we become "us" and "them";
  • Culture, what it is and the underlying Values that underpin our culture;
  • How the decisions we make and how we act is defined by our culture and our value systems;
  • Creating IN and OUT groups , why we do it, how we do it and how we can overcome it;
  • Coaching, mentoring and avoiding narcissistic management;
  • Developing a personal Action Plan and one for our team, to become more culturally sensitive.
Our course is interactive and is designed to foster dialogue. We actively encourage a conversation between different groups and have some fun around stereoptyping and generalisations.

Delegates to our sessions have said that this course is a "life-changing experience".
Cultural Sensitivity
Marleen is currently involved with three major companies on training cultural sensitivity. ALL ARE GLOBAL companies. The issues involved are global, but many are spill-overs of the current political landscape in South Africa.

In the first few years of our democracy, we pussy-footed round issues which are currently being openly, but divisively discussed in South Africa. 10 years ago, in the halo of the NEW SOUTH AFRICA, we were all terribly PC, we all rallied around the idea of the Rainbow Nation, but in truth, we did nothing to actively create this harmonious Rainbow Nation - we only spoke about it as an ideal.

Consequently, many issues were driven underground.

Now, all hell has broken loose. The Free State reports a shocking racism issue, to universal condemnation, but the shocking reality that this is still alive and happening in our midst. This type of political event has unleashed the dialogue that should have taken place 10 years ago, but didn't. The xenophobia has exposed us as brutal and totally insensitive to others. It is time for all of us to examine ourselves.

AT LAST, we are now talking as a nation - even if the subject matter is sensitive, evokes emotion and anger, the boil is lanced - but how to heal the wounds is what we are now grappling with.

The workplace is no different - and what is happening in the greater political landscape happens as often in the workplace causing the potential to real conflict and polarisation. How to deal with the conflict in the workplace is crucial -and providing a platform for discussion, without affecting productivity is key.

Our cultural sensitivity sessions, provide such a platform. We encourage dialogue and facilitate sessions which allow employees to move closer to each other after gaining a better understanding of each other.

Our course:
  • Examines our socialisation process and how we got to be who we are in the first place;
  • Deals with culture, cultural differences - but also cultural similarities;
  • Examines corporate culture and the unifying factors in the workplace;
  • Looks at Stereotypes;
  • Lets you understand Values - yours and that of the company you work for;
  • Workshops how to continue the dialogue beyond the course;
  • Lets delegates design a 3 point Action Plan for their own commitment to cultural sensitivity in the workplace

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