I’m finding that opportunities come when you least expect them.
About a year ago, I started a workplace language and culture consulting
business. During that time, I have worked on some great speaking,
training, and consulting projects. In the interest of “electronic
networking,” I’d love to share a few highlights with you. (It takes two
or more to network, so I look forward to your comments and hearing from
you via our Discussion
Highlight #1: Speaking to 500 incoming resident assistants and intercultural aides
In August, I had the distinct pleasure of giving a keynote
session and follow-up training sessions to 500 incoming resident
assistants (RAs) and intercultural aides at Michigan State University. I
presented on the subject of discovering global potential on behalf of
Intelligence Center. For me, one of the highlights
of the day was when an American RA said, “I understand my cultural
values and what shapes my perspective of people who are different from
me, but how do the international students perceive me when they first
come to the United States?”
When I asked the group, composed of both international and
domestic students, multiple hands immediately went up. A student from
China spoke to the challenge of breaking through stereotypes on campus. A
student from Ghana mentioned how the sense of community felt so
different here in the United States—focused on individual achievement
rather than achievement as a collective group. What ensued was an
engaging and powerful discussion: learning that can only happen through
those open and honest moments.
Highlight #2: Discovering an essential skills framework
Perhaps you have already made this discovery: If you live in
Australia, you most likely are very much “in the know.” In August and
September of 2013, the Australian government published a revised
essential skills framework, “Core
Skills for Work Developmental Framework,” and other
Timing could not have been more perfect! One project I just
completed is helping a large (20,000 employees) healthcare organization
develop a course map or a framework for developing essential skills
(including language, culture, and workplace skills) for their employees.
After researching and exploring various frameworks from across the
globe, I decided on using the “Core Skills for Work Developmental
Framework.” My goal and objective in working with companies as a
consultant is to enhance performance by improving skills necessary for
the job. This framework was a perfect fit! The Canadian Government has
also published some incredible resources including: “Taking
Action: A Guide.”
Highlight #3: Becoming an insider or remaining a vendor?
For the 12 years that I’ve been doing workplace language,
literacy, and culture training, I’ve been a service provider. I take
pride in providing quality services to my clients even when it means
working well into the night/early morning to deliver the best product
possible under tight deadlines (the life of the consultant, right?!).
Well, this past month I’ve been approached by three organizations with
job opportunities as an internal consultant. So
here’s my question for those of you who have done both: which is
better—internal or external consultant?
To be continued...
Kristin Ekkens is founder and CEO of C3 Consulting LLC. She
provides learning solutions that help multinational companies achieve
their goals by developing a culturally competent workforce. Kristin’s
areas of expertise include cross-cultural competence, workplace
communication skills, workplace/business English, cultural diversity,
and global talent management. Kristin is a speaker, trainer, consultant,
and coach. To find out more, visit her website, www.c3-consulting.com.