Intercultural training is not always explicitly billed as “intercultural”. Sometimes, workers facing the challenges of emerging global markets will receive an ESQ training helping them to work across cultural boundaries. At the same time the training gives them the sense that they are learning more about their own cultural background.
For example, some training programs in the United States teach American workers about the religious and cultural pluralism of the Founding Fathers. So, trainees learn a crucial intercultural lesson: that being a good American requires being a good citizen of the world. Openness to other cultures, in other words, can be an authentic expression of one’s own cultural identity.
Less productive due to lack of cross-cultural communication abilities
One example of this implicit intercultural training comes from Indonesia. Indonesia is an internally diverse nation of 237 million inhabitants that has the 5th largest economy in Asia and a rapidly expanding industrial sector.
In Indonesia, workers increasingly need intercultural training to help them deal with the challenges of a global marketplace. Competition from India and China is becoming increasingly stiff, and demand for industrial products and commodities is slackening. As a result, workers who lack intercultural training are less productive, and many factories have shuttered due to a lack of cross-cultural communication abilities.
Despite the need for intercultural training and communication, however, many industrial workers in Indonesia still subscribe to traditionalism and conservative religious values. They may have a hard time communicating with people who do not share their cultural and religious background.
Embracing Science and Faith
“ESQ” stands for “Emotional and Spiritual Quotient” and is designed to be a counterpart to widespread “Intelligence Quotient” (“IQ”). Where IQ stands for scientific knowledge, technology, and Western culture, ESQ is believed to stand for spiritual knowledge, compassion, morals, and traditional culture.
ESQ Training dissolves the tension between the local and the global
But rather than an alternative to IQ, ESQ trainers present their ideas a complement to IQ. The two forms of intelligence fit together in a mutually reinforcing arrangement. Intercultural trainers in Indonesia can help industrial workers see their Islamic traditions as compatible and complementary with western scientific, technological, and economic principles.
ESQ intercultural training sessions often take passages from the Qur’an and show how to anticipate and clarify modern science. On the one hand, knowledge of science helps us to understand and clarify sacred Islamic texts. Thus is deepening one’s faith and, by extension, one’s sense of rootedness in the local community. On the other hand, careful examination of the Qur’an results in a greater knowledge of scientific theories, thus helping the trainee to understand foreign communities and their worldview. In short:
An ESQ training serves to dissolve the tension between the local and the global, and thus encourages participants to see their own culture as somehow congruent with cultures all over the world.
This makes ESQ extremely effective as a basic form of intercultural training. Approach the ESQ faciliating workshops to foster cultural intelligence with SEE IT! DO IT! FEEL IT!®.