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Suspending Judgment: A Key to Being Culturally Competent

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Presentation on theme: "Suspending Judgment: A Key to Being Culturally Competent"— Presentation transcript:

1 Suspending Judgment: A Key to Being Culturally Competent
Presented by Tinisha L. Agramonte Director, Outreach and Retention Office of Diversity and Inclusion U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES Briefly explore the concepts and definitions of culture and cultural competency Briefly discuss the benefits of a culturally competent organization (effective Diversity Management) Identify personal biases and judgments Discuss and Practice strategies to suspend judgment Increase participants’ ability to effectively communicate across cultural lines WORKSHOP GUIDING PRINCIPLE You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know! WORKSHOP METHODOLOGY Lecture, small group discussions, and role plays 1 2

3 Culture What is Culture?
Definition: the sum total of the way of living; includes values, beliefs, standards, language, thinking patterns, behavioral norms, communications styles, etc. Guides decisions and actions of a group through time.

4 Cultural Competency Cultural Competence Definition
A set of congruent behaviors, practices, attitudes and policies that come together in a system or agency or among professionals, enabling effective work to be done in cross-cultural situations

The shifting demographics in this country require VA’s employees to be CULTURALLY COMPETENT to effectively accomplish its mission and to realize its vision 5

6 Department of Veterans Affairs’ Mission— To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise – “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans. What changes has the VA seen w/regards to its veteran demographic population? What is required/ will be required as a result of the changing demographics?

7 Diversity Data PROJECTIONS:
By 2050, Latino and Asian populations will double, and the Black population will grow by 71%. The US will attract 1 million immigrants a year, most of Latino or Asian origin. By 2030, 1 in 4 US residents will be Latino or Asian.

8 Cultural Competence, Effective Diversity Management, Mission Accomplishment— The Connection & Benefits Diversity Management Goes beyond legalistic and moral approaches to EEO to develop a workplace that allows all employees to perform at their individual best Focuses on mission effectiveness—removing attitudinal, physical, and/or institutional barriers, with regards to diversity, that compromise the organization’s ability to meet its mission. Employs tactics to leverage strengths, talents, competencies, etc.

9 The issue sold out in the US and UK in 72 hours, and was immediately rushed to reprint 30,000 extra copies for American newsstands, another 10,000 for Britain and 20,000 more in Italy. I guess black models can sell magazines after all, right? African-American women shell out 80 percent more money on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care products than the general market.

10 VA Mission and Diversity Management
How are they related? VA’s Diversity Management program is committed to building a workplace collaboration of cultures to enhance the support provided to veterans. Differences in experience, education, geography, language and perspective are treated as value-added contributions rather than distractions. Diversity programs may include outreach to the community and affinity groups to find how better to serve veterans of various demographics and how better to find qualified employment candidates and address a wide range of employee workplace concerns and workforce trends.


12 What is Diversity To You?

13 Diversity Dimensions Secondary Primary Digital Competence Language
Communication Styles Religion Age Gender Income Education Military Experience Sexual Orientation Ethnic Heritage Parental Status Work Experience Race Size Marital Status Mental Abilities Physical Abilities Geographic Location Work Styles Appearance Occupations VALUES Primary Secondary

14 Socialization—Who and what established your ruler???
All encompassing educational process through which Values, Goals, Beliefs, Attitudes, and Gender roles are acquired Primary method of learning culture; That framework of shared designs for living—determines boundaries around what is right/wrong, good/bad, etc.

15 Our Perception is Based On:
Life experiences (Pleasure vs. Pain) Parental Influence Peer-group influence Media influence Education vs. Socialization

16 The Cultural Competence Continuum
Where Am I Now? Where Could I Be?

17 The Cultural Competence Continuum
Positive Cultural Proficiency Cultural Competence Cultural Precompetence Cultural Blindness Negative Cultural Incapacity Cultural Destructiveness

18 Cultural Competence Definitions
Cultural Destructiveness: forced assimilation, subjugation, rights and privileges for dominant groups only Cultural Incapacity: racism, maintain stereotypes, unfair hiring practices Cultural Blindness: differences ignored, “treat everyone the same”, only meet needs of dominant groups

19 Cultural Competence Definitions, cont.
Cultural Pre-competence: explore cultural issues, are committed, assess needs of organization and individuals Cultural Competence: recognize individual and cultural differences, seek advice from diverse groups, hire culturally unbiased staff Cultural Proficiency: implement changes to improve services based upon cultural needs, do research and teach

20 When Cultural Incompetence Occurs…
Conflicts arise, leading to — Discrimination allegations/Grievances Low morale, productivity, tense working relationships Mishaps, terminations, resignations, retention issues Bullying or workplace violence Ineffective mission accomplishment (honoring veterans as heroes by providing outstanding care)

21 Benefits of Workforce Diversity & Inclusion (Cultural Competence, Effective Diversity Mgt)
Improved understanding of those you work for, with, and around. Creates a work environment that allows everyone to reach their full potential. Provides multiple perspectives on problem solving. Better performance outcomes. Increases employee productivity. Increased retention rates. Boosts employee morale. Improved customer relations. Reduces complaints and grievances. It’s the right thing to do!

22 Acquiring Cultural Competence
Starts with Awareness Grows with Knowledge Enhanced with Specific Skills Polished through Cross-Cultural Encounters

23 To Suspend Judgment One Must:
Seek first to understand before being understood Observe and Actively listen without judging-remember listening does not equate to agreeing Be willing to allow people to feel what they feel Be willing to commit to future actions—way ahead

24 Questions

25 Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Tinisha Agramonte Director, Outreach and Retention

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