Cultural Intelligence

by | Feb 12, 2021 | Blog Post | 0 comments

Today, we experience our only palindrome of the year. ( From Wikipedia – A palindrome is a word, number, phrase, or other sequence of characters which reads the same backwards as forwards)

The date 12022021 or 12th FEB 2021 would have been my late fathers 79th birthday, but it is a date the I am celebrating for two reasons. It is the unofficial birth of my latest ‘child’


The name explains the company very clearly. In the middle of 2020, it became very clear to me that, with my health deteriorating and the world confused as to how long CORONA would go on for, I had an epiphany : it was time for me to use my experience of the past 3 decades in the workforce and give back.

This does involve certain sacrifices….so, with much sadness – drowned in my excitement – I am announcing my RETIREMENT FROM ACTIVE DUTY (:) in the décor/tile industry.

While I will continue to consult designers and architects when I can as well as assist with (my online décor sales ‘first child’ ) I thank all of you for teaching me over the past 25 years or so. It is time for my next chapter in life to begin….


That said, please find below the first copy, yet to be filmed and launched, of a BONUS lesson that will be included into our SALES CLASSMASTER series – which you can sign up for, AT NO CHARGE for the first 50 delegates, at….you guessed it :


Following on from lesson 2 on emotional intelligence, which emphasised the importance of your ability to continually improve your skills of




with your client, It is worth noting that, while emotional intelligence is relatively easy to perfect over time, CULTUAL INTELLIGENCE is far more difficult to understand and master for so many individuals. CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE starts with an ingrained MORAL BELIEF that every human being deserves to be treated


JUSTLY …. and


The ability to interact effectively in societies with multiple cultures is not a skill possessed by all;yet, it is becoming more important in today’s global business world.

I would like to point out that every single one of us are salespeople in one way or another. So this BONUS lesson is NOT solely designed for the salesperson. It is in fact a message for the world to hear.

In South Africa we have been through the worst of the worst when it comes to the abuse of ones individual human rights. YET (and I hope you agree with me here) post the turn of the century, we have indeed improved as a collective and harmonious society.

Maybe we are not yet the true epitome of a RAINBOW NATION and it is all too obvious that we still have a long way to go to heal the past hurt of so many. The past has taught us so much of the one word identified in both EMOTIONAL and CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE.


A 7-letter word that is critical for all of us to understand and constantly work on.

{The one practice that boggles my mind is XENOPHOBIA. The rationale behind it makes no sense!}

MOVING FORWARD, let me unveil


There are many ways to visualise the concept of culture, but one of the most popular models is based on an onion. The Onion Model of Culture explains how culture has four layers.

The outer layer represents cultural artefacts or symbols such as flags, architecture or traditional clothing. These are extremely easy for us to identify simply by walking past an individual of another culture.

Heroes make up the second layer and ICONS such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi are good examples.

The third layer is composed of common rituals and traditions. This could include how people greet each other.

Finally, in the centre of the onion are the underlying values and cultural assumptions which influence all the other layers. These beliefs, norms and attitudes are much harder to recognise without a deeper analysis and thorough understanding of each of the outer layers and how they interact.

What we need to do is start with CULTURAL AWARENESS

Here is an example to explain this kind of awareness better.

When doing business in Japan, people will avoid making direct eye contact with anyone more senior than them. A culturally aware individual will understand, or at least sense, that this is because of important Japanese values such as honour, respect, and hierarchy.

Here are a few simple notes of be aware of in the Xhosa culture…

it is important to greet everyone immediately upon seeing them and people from rural villages may use two hands to greet each other. Also, when shaking hands with a person of the opposite gender, men usually wait for women to extend their hand first.

While one person cannot be expected to change the way an entire community, country or even continent see and embrace EVERYONE they connect with, I would like to end this bonus lesson with my absolute favourite PARABLE of how to make a difference on a planet with 8 billion people.

The Star Thrower


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