Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is a life-long journey towards understanding, communicating and collaborating effectively with others of different cultural backgrounds. It requires personal awareness, cultural knowledge and interpersonal skills.

Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity.

Robert Alan Aurthur

The Cultural Competency for Mission program enhances cultural awareness and adaptability in communication and leadership, especially for those continually involved in relationship management and in multicultural situations. The program provides critical interpersonal and cultural knowledge and skills.

Australia is the second most multicultural nation on the planet after Luxembourg, according to the OECD. Those born overseas or whose parents were born overseas (51.5%), now outnumber those with both parents born here. 29.5% of Australian residents were born overseas, or 7 million out of our 25 million (2022 Census ABS).

In this nation of such fast-growing cultural diversity, the challenge is to acquire cultural competency – gaining the cultural knowledge, skills and attitudes to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively in a multicultural environment, leveraging diversity, valuing and celebrating difference.

Cultural competency formation enables participants:

  • Apply key cultural skills in interpersonal relationships, from one-on-one through to managing the broader organisation,
  • Operate more effectively in multicultural environments, working across cultures and geographies,
  • Scan your organisation to identify potential cultural issues and proactively mitigate them,
  • Develop cultural competence in effective communication when building teams, partnerships and networks.

The program utilises the Cultural Orientations Model™, developed by the international language and cultural training organization Berlitz, to facilitate understanding cultural differences via a framework of three dimensions; Interaction – how we interact with others, Thinking – how we receive, process and give back information, and Sense of Self – how we view ourselves, our identity and what motivates us. Each dimension comprises of a further sub-set of orientations, found to be common across all human cultures.

This helps the participant understand the influence of their original culture, be more conscious of their personal cultural preferences and how they affect interactions, especially where cultural gaps exist with others. Cultural skills and strategies are taught to bridge the gaps, to communicate more effectively in relationships, improve teamwork and collegiality, and work across a diversity of cultures, celebrating differences, creating an authentic enculturated community of faith. Training modules are tailored to the context and needs of each group.

Further Information

The full workshop is covered in two days face to face and can be run consecutively. The first day consists of modules 1 – 4, dedicated to learning and becoming familiar with this particular cultural model, concepts and language. The second day, modules 5 – 8, is dedicated to applying the understanding in concrete scenarios and learning the cultural skills.

The two days can be separated by a few weeks. This allows the participant time to observe life experiences through the cultural lens. Then in the second session the cultural understandings are applied to the concrete cultural challenges that the participants bring to the workshop, to learn and apply the cultural skills.

Training Modules

  • Initial adjustment process and stages
  • Processing major life stressors and coping strategies
  • Milton Bennett’s cultural journey from ethnocentric to ethno-relative

  • Correlation between culture, values and behaviours
  • Practical working definition of culture
  • Stereotypes and generalisations

  • Exploring cultural dimensions; Interaction Style, Thinking Style and Sense of Self
  • Understanding one’s personal preferences
  • Identifying cultural challenges

    • The Cultural Orientations Model™ is a trade mark and intellectual property of Berlitz.

  • Developing Cultural Competency
  • Cultural Gap Analysis
  • Introduction to the Four Key Cultural Skills
  • Practising First Skill - Recognising & Respecting Cultural Differences
  • Valuing differences, pre-empting & minimising misunderstandings.

  • Practising Second Skill – Adapting immediately to cultural gaps,
  • Responding in the face of diversity and difference
  • Strategies and tactics
  • Specific challenges relating to participants’ strong preferences

  • Practising Third Skill - Resolving Ongoing Cultural Differences
  • Reconciling differences and leveraging diversity through conversation
  • Dialogue Case Studies – neutral nonjudgmental language

  • Exploring Fourth Skill - Modelling and Leading in Cultural Competency
  • Leading teams and mentoring individuals
  • Australian mainstream cultural norms; Time, Conflict Resolution, Formality, Applying Rules, Low Context Communication, Empowerment, Egalitarianism, Decision Making, Privacy, Individualism

    1. A must for multicultural environments

      The study of cultural orientations opened my eyes to the strength of the influence of a person’s culture on their understanding of faith. I highly recommend the program for anyone working in a multicultural context.
      Priest, Perth Archdiocese
    2. Very informative and realistic

      Overall, I found it to be very interesting and it gave me more insight, not only in ministry but in my working life. The examples given were very informative and realistic. It was brilliant.
      Permanent Deacon, Parramatta Diocese

    For further information please contact:

    Patrick Fox

    Cultural Competency Consultant

    PH: 02 9919 7800

    Direct: 02 9919 7825