Kicking Goals with Cultural Competency

This week the governing body of English football (soccer) has announced it is considering the introduction of cultural training to try to combat racism within the sport. Working well in a cross cultural setting is not always as easy as it seems it should be. Even when there is goodwill on both sides communicating effectively across different cultures can be a difficult task, An array of issues that people may be unaware of can make working with others from diverse backgrounds difficult.

As human beings we generally take our own culture and worldview for granted. We interpret the words of others through our own cultural understandings, assuming (often incorrectly) that these understandings are shared. When working with people from other cultures it is important to recognise and understand cultural differences. If we ignore these cultural differences then we misread each other’s words and actions, which can lead to frustration and inappropriate responses. We communicate poorly because we don’t know how to speak and relate to each other across this cultural divide.

Cultural competence training aims to bridge these issues by increasing your awareness of your own culture and worldview, the way other cultures view the world, and develop a set of skills to be able to communicate effectively in cross cultural environments.

In the heritage and native title industry, and more broadly any professional area that works directly with Indigenous people, cross cultural competency is a critical skill set. Indigenous Australia, with some 250 languages and more than 600 different groups, is extremely diverse both culturally and linguistically. Aboriginal peoples collectively have the oldest living knowledge systems in the world, representing different worldviews in different languages underpinned by common understandings, shared stories, ceremony, and kinship.  It is a unique, holistic, living, interconnected system of knowledge based upon relationships.

We work collaboratively with companies and Traditional Owners to deliver cultural competence training programs to improve mutual understanding and respect. If you’re interested in finding out more about cultural competency training and how it could benefit your organisiton, please get in touch.