Embracing Multi-Cultural Environments – It’s Not About Diversity
Recently KPOST Company embarked upon a new type of training and coaching program – one of aligning the varying cultures that are a part of their every-day environment, namely the Latino and U.S. cultures. To ensure the process was handled with care, KPOST executives partnered with Ricardo Gonzalez, Founder and CEO of Bilingual America. The outcome was parallel training sessions with five KPOST executives and five Latino leaders identified by the KPOST executive team to begin the journey toward developing a properly functioning multi-cultural environment.
In this, our first post on the subject, we discussed the nuances and importance of this type of training and coaching with Bilingual America CEO and founder Ricardo Gonzalez.
“It isn’t about diversity. Diversity to me is inclusion, acceptance. It’s important, but this training is about the management of the culture. Understanding the nuances of the way people think and what motivates them. How do you leverage them for the good of the organization but also for the good of the people?”
Ricardo’s mantra is “You cannot lead people to the highest levels unless you understand them at their deepest levels.” This is the foundation for the training and coaching series he delivered to the KPOST team. By implementing their SuccesswithHispanics™ course, along with executive coaching sessions, Ricardo is able to educate on the Latino population beyond what is the basic diversity approach used for hiring. His system helps corporate leadership understand who the Latino people really are beyond just being workers. What are the trends? What and how do they think about American businesses? What are the nuances of the culture? Where is the culture going and how does this apply to business development? By answering these questions and understanding at a deeper level, companies like KPOST can be more effective at developing leadership programs.
“We learned a great deal about the differences between leadership roles in Latino cultures and the leadership and management styles used here in the U.S.,” said Steve Little, KPOST Company president. “Our new found understanding will certainly ensure we are able to create stronger development programs for all of our people.”
“Embarking upon this type of change is not always simple or easy, but it is transformative for the organization,” said Ricardo. “We always work with people in an open, honest manner that is still very respectful for their specific company culture.”
Ricardo went on to say that culture can be sensitive or confusing, and for many in this country it is an emotionally charged subject. What his organization does is not political, but rather creates an open dialogue so that relationships can be developed effectively and all can prosper.
In addition to providing language training for executives, Bilingual America has two primary training opportunities for organizations that wish to embrace multi-cultural awareness. This is the same training that KPOST Company executives and team members underwent in the Fall of 2013 – Success with Hispanics designed for company leaders to engage in a deep understanding of the Latino people and Lideres Exitosos (Successful Leaders), a leadership development course that teaches Latinos how to be effective leaders in a U.S.-based company.
“The leadership training for Latinos covers character and ethics, communication, organizational and negotiation skills while providing an introduction to classic leadership themes,” said Ricardo. “This is often an initial introduction of these themes for many Latinos.”
For the non-Latinos, the training leaves them with techniques to understand multi-cultural management. While every tool may not be used at once, when you need it, the tool is at your disposal supporting opportunities to improve relationships for both Latinos and non-Latinos.
Impact is Very Positive
Ricardo believes that companies that invest in developing positive multi-cultural environments will benefit immensely, particularly those with large numbers of Latino employees. Some of the reasons include:
- A better understanding of employees’ core values
- A magnet for talent
- Reducing accidents and improving safety
- Expanding leadership development
- Improving productivity
“When cultures are aligned correctly, retention is higher which positively impacts the bottom line,” said Ricardo. “When we can create positive change and are more profitable, it’s a good thing.”
He went on to say:
“For a business leader to care to the depth that KPOST has shown is impressive and necessary for the well-being of their company. Developing large numbers of Latino leaders who will be strong leaders in our companies and communities will only happen through business, not government initiatives. Businesses should have a vested interest in the success of the people who work for them. The ability to invest and hold people accountable is unique to a business environment and something that social initiatives cannot do.”
“Our teams are already excited about the additional possibilities this program brings to our business and are showing positive signs of renewed interest, collaboration and intent to help our organization grow,” said Steve. “A greater understanding of each other’s core values creates stronger sustainability for KPost. We are thrilled with the results so far and look forward to continuing this journey.”