Strategies for Cultural Competence

Strategy I: Learn about Differences

The diversity comes from a lot of sources and there are a lot of different ways of being different: national origin, race, lifestyle and so on. An anagram given to me by someone studying case scenarios for his MFT license was:
S= Socio-Economic Status; C= Culture; A= Age; G= Gender; S= Spiritual; O= Other, there are lots of others and as the exercise suggested it is sort of an individual thing.
No matter what the source, culture affects how we relate to people, how we manage employees, how we work with children and how we do business. Learning about the specific values, manners (etiquette), needs and attitudes that come with diversity is one of the keys to helping us relate to others more successfully.

You don’t have to be an anthropologist or an expert on every group. We do need to learn and practice specific skills to gather the information necessary to understand each person we meet in spite of our differences.
While these skills may be simple to practice, many people resist them because of some misconceptions about the nature of cultural differences.


We guard against the temptation to stereotype, to be learned in strategy III, it is simple matter to apply our knowledge.

The opposite is true. By considering cultural differences, we honor people for who they are as individuals and aren’t.

Consider how many of your friends are very different than yourself. They may come from different countries.