Generational Quick Tip: Taking Risks

Whether or not a generation is prone to taking risks is a part of their cultural filter.  Being an “intrapreneur” means being an employee who brings an entrepreneurial spirit to a company and is not afraid to spend time working on “risky” projects: exploring uncharted territory and taking on challenging projects outside their area of expertise. But how does each of generation stack up when it comes to viewing themselves as entrepreneurs? According to a recent study, 45% of Baby-boomers believe that they have an entrepreneurial spirit are willing to take risks, while 42% of the Gen X generation feels they are entrepreneurial. However, only 32% of Gen Y identifies as being entrepreneurial.

Action Step:
To foster “intrapreneurial” drive in your company, create mentoring pairs between Baby-boomers or Gen X with a Gen Y colleague to help Gen Y increase the confidence in their entrepreneurial spirit and to bring a fresh perspective on projects.

Diversity Statistics

  • As of 2010, the most diverse communities in the US are disproportionately western, southern and coastal metropolitan areas and their principal cities and suburbs.
  • In 1900, only 1 in 8 residents of the US claimed non-European origins. Today 3 in 10 do.
    Source: 2010 Census

Growth of the Hispanic Population by County from 2000 to 2010
Top 5 Counties:
1) Stewart County, GA            1740%
2) Telfair Country, GA            842%
3) Beadle County, SD              762%
4) Adams Country, MS             687%
5) Trempealeau County, WI    594%
Source: Pew Hispanic Center analysis
of Decennial Censuses

Latinos are the nation’s biggest and youngest minority group.  They make up:

  • 16% of the total US population
  • 18% of all 16- to 25-year-olds
  • 20% of all school age children
  • 25% of newborns

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

2010 Census Demographics

  • 308.7 million US residents
  • 16% of US population Hispanic
(50.5 million)
  • Hispanic population grew by 43% from 2000 to 2010
  • White non-Hispanic population
grew by 1% from 2000 to 2010
  • 97% of people reported belonging
to only one race72% White alone (223.6 million)
  • 72% White alone
(223.6 million)
  • 13% Black or African-American alone
(38.9 million)
  • 5% Asian alone (14.7 million)
  •   0.9% American Indian and Alaska Native alone
(2.9 million)
  • 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (500,000)

Source: US Census

Generational Quotes

“Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations. All this is put in your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it on to your children.”
-Albert Einstein

“Anyone who stops is old, whether at 20 or at 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
-Henry Ford

“If future generations are to remember
us more with gratitude than sorrow,
we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as
it was created, not just as it looked
when we got through with it.”
-Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th US President

“Use your lives wisely, my friends, and conserve these precious freedoms for future generations.”
-Ted Nugent, Musician

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them
to do the same.”
-Ronald Reagan, 40th US President

Cultural Quick Tip: Use a Mediator to Help Stalemates

A referee’s job requires them to be an impartial expert on the game, clear headed and capable of fairly applying the rules. During games, it would be impossible for coaches, players, and fans to make unbiased calls without a referee. Similarly, in high-pressure work environments, differences between colleagues may lead to disputes that make it impossible for them to see past their biases, resulting in a conflict or stalemate. In these instances, asking for the assistance of a ‘referee’ or a neutral, third party colleague, may provide the necessary insight to tease out the cause of the miscommunication, which could be rooted in cultural, generational or personality style differences.

Action Step:
Reach out to an impartial referee to help resolve communication conflicts in a productive way when an impasse occurs.

Generational Quick Tip: Generational Skill Sets

Every generation has special work assets that they bring to the workplace and to their teams. Understanding these special talents and providing opportunities for employees from each generation to foster their skills can greatly improve their individual work experience and can bring success and improved results to the team or company.  Traditionalists are very consistent, loyal, and detail oriented. They bring the wisdom of experience in the workplace, which can provide a needed prospective on new problems.  Baby-boomers are great at seeing the big picture and are able to break down the big picture into assignments, which makes them great team leaders. Generation X are great task managers and multi-taskers; very independent workers, they will produce high-quality results with little direction when given the right tools. Generation Y have a positive attitude, and thrive off from collaboration. They are highly competent with technology and capable of fast multitasking.

Action Step:
When working with an employee from a different generation, try to identify one of their strong skill sets and share it with the team.

Canada Day: July 1

Canada Day

Canada day is the national day of Canada and is an official national bank holiday and paid workday. Every year, the holiday is celebrated on July 1 to commemorate the anniversary of the British North American Act signed on July 1,1867. This act, known today as the 1867 Constitution Act, joined  the three British colonies Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) to form a new, single country called Canada. As well as creating the new country Canada as a member of the British Empire, it also set out the detailed constitutional groundwork for Canada’s government, including the taxation system, justice system, and federal structure.

History of Canada Day

Canada Day has been an official holiday in Canada since its creation in 1879 when it was known as Dominion Day. However, it was not until the 1950s that the holiday began to be widely celebrated. As the holiday grew in popularity, there was some controversy as to the name of the holiday. Many believed that Dominion Day sounded to pejoratively colonial, while traditionalists believed changing the name to Canada Day would be an affront to the British Empire. In 1967, Canada celebrated their centennial as a country, which greatly increased Canadian patriotism. The passing of the 1982 Constitution Act that changed Canada from a dominion of the British Empire to an independent country of the Commonwealth, also greatly increased Canadian patriotism. On October 27. 1982, the holiday was changed to Canada Day.

How Canada Day is Celebrated

Canada Day is celebrated throughout Canada. When July 1 falls on either a Saturday or Sunday, the celebrations employees are granted July 2 as the holiday from work. Much like the Fourth of July celebrations in the United States, Canadians like to celebrate Canada Day with outdoor activities such as street hockey, parades, barbecues, firework shows, free musical concerts, etc. In Ottawa, Ontario (the capital of Canada), the prime minister officiates the live concerts and displays of Canadian cultural pride on Parliament Hill.

June 24: Anniversary of the Battle of Carabobo (Venezuela)

Battle of Carabobo

The Battle of Carabobo was the most significant battle and subsequent victory of the Venezuelan ‘War of Independence’ from Spain.  The historic battle was fought in Carabobo on June 24, 1821 between Independence fighters and Royalist Spanish forces. The Independence fighters numbered 6,000 men and were lead by the famous General Simon Bolivar, while Spanish Field Marshal Miguel de la Torre led about 4,000 armed Royalists.

Venezuelan War for Independence

Battle of Carabobo

Battle of Carabobo

Venezuela declared their formal independence from Spain with a written Declaration of Independence made by Congress on July 5, 1811.  This act began the 12-year war for independence fought between the two countries, culminating in the Battle of Carabobo.  General Simon Bolivar, the leader of the Independence fighters, is an iconic figure of Latin American independence and is associated with the modern day “Bolivarianism” movement in South America.

Modern Day Traditions

This June 24th will be the 192nd celebration of the Battle of Carabobo in Venezuela and will be celebrated as a national holiday consisting of a televised military parade and air show held in the Field of Carabobo.

Generational Quotes

“Every generation wants to be the last. Every generation hates the next trend in music they can’t understand. We hate to give up those reins of our culture. To find our own music playing in elevators. The ballad for our revolution, turned into background music for a television commercial. To find our generation’s clothes and hair suddenly retro.” 
-Chuck PalahniukLullaby

“We may consider each generation as a separate nation, with a right, by the will of the majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“I hope the World War II generation doesn’t lose that quality that made them so appealing: their modesty, and the way they are always looking forward and seldom back.”
-Tom Brokaw

“The man who views the world at 50
the same as he did at 20 has wasted
30 years of his life.”
-Muhammad Ali

“If future generations are to remember
us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the
miracles of technology. We must also
leave them a glimpse of the world as
it was created, not just as it looked
when we got through with it.”
-Lyndon B. Johnson

“The year I was born, 1956, was the
peak year for babies being born, and
there are more people essentially our
age than anybody else. We could
crush these new generations if 
we decided too.”
-Tom Hanks

Cultural Quick Tip: Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Communication

When new parents first bring home their baby, they are faced with many new communication challenges as they try to understand and meet the needs of their newborn. Without verbal communication parents must rely upon observable types of communication in the form of facial expressions, cries and body movements. Parents have a vested interest in learning to decode their child’s nonverbal communication, as it will help them to raise a healthy and happy baby. While your colleagues in the workplace communicate both verbally and non-verbally, understanding how to interpret their nonverbal communication can be a great advantage. Keep in mind that the meaning behind body language and facial expressions may vary from culture to culture, so it is always good to check for understanding.

Action Step:
Research communication etiquette from other cultures to aid your understanding when communicating with people from outside your country or culture.

Holiday Spotlight: Ridvan

Ridvan is a 12-day festival of the Baha’i Faith that begins at sunset on April 21th.  The word Ridvan translates into the word paradise and is the most holy Baha’i festival. The festival is sometimes referred to as the “Most Great Festival” and is a celebration of the start of the prophet hood of Baha’u’llah.

Ridvan Garden Baghdad

Ridvan Garden Baghdad

Ridvan marks Baha’u’llah’s time in the garden of Ridvan in 1863 and his announcement to his companions in the garden that he was a messenger of God and the prophet promised by the Bab. The 1st, 9th and 12th days are especially holy days. They commemorate the arrival of Baha’u’llah at the Ridván Garden, the arrival of his family and his eventual departure from the garden.  These are the days that work and school is usually suspended for all Baha’i people.

Gardens are a requirement for Baha’i Houses of Worship. There are currently seven continental Baha’i Houses of Worship in the world. Each has a unique style but they all have four basic requirements: they are circular shape, have nine sides, a dome, and are surrounded by nine gardens with walkways.

The Baha’i faith is a monotheistic religion founded in the 1800s in the geographic region once known as Persia by Baha’u’llah.

Ridvan is one of the holidays included in our top 15 Religious Holidays Guide.  Learn more about this important scheduling and reference tool:

Diversity Fatigue Blog Series: Seven Causes of Diversity Fatigue

Diversity Fatigue

Over the last decade more and more companies have launched diversity initiatives and incorporated key concepts of diversity management into their organizations.  These efforts were initiated with a great deal of enthusiasm and quality work was accomplished. What organizations are discovering now after years, or in some cases, decades into the work, is that there is diversity fatigue in the workplace. Their programs are not as well attended, senior leaders are not as engaged and employees are not as involved.

This blog post series explores key causes for diversity fatigue and it outlines steps that organizations can undertake to address the fatigue and to jump start their diversity programs with renewed energy and focus.

What is Diversity Fatigue?

Diversity fatigue is best described as a sentiment of disinterest and even dislike of diversity activities that are taking place at an organization.  Diversity fatigue should not be confused with the general resistance to change that many people have.  Diversity fatigue occurs after the launch of a diversity initiative at a company followed by months or years of diversity programming.  Only after a concerted diversity effort has been made can there be fatigue, otherwise the challenge that your organization is dealing with may be something else altogether.

When diversity is positioned as an “add-on” for an organization, there will always be fatigue.  Something that is not central to my work is an added burden and nuisance.  Something that is central to my work must be cared about otherwise I will fall short with my performance and my goals.

7 Causes for Diversity Fatigue

While there are many reasons for diversity fatigue, here are 7 that we feel encompass many of the issues:

1. Lack of Senior Executive Endorsement and Involvement

2. Lack of a Diversity Plan

3. Diversity Activities Are Not Connected to the Business Case

4. Activities are Sporadic

5. Flavor of the Day

6. Lack of Communication

7. Lack of Manager and Executive Accountability


Diversity fatigue occurs when there is confusion and disinterest in the diversity activities that are taking place at an organization. In the next installment of this blog series we will discuss the 3 steps that your company can take to effectively address and curb diversity fatigue.

For more information on diversity fatigue and effective diversity initiatives visit our website:

Workplace Diversity Training: Business Case for Diversity

The Business Case for Diversity

While the term business case for diversity may sound more like a business tool that should be used by big corporations, in reality every institution needs a business case, or benefit case, for diversity.  The business case for diversity is an invaluable opportunity to illustrate the relationship that diversity has to the long term success of the organization.  We have found that this is an essential step to the process of taking diversity out of the category of a “feel good” program and into the category of “essential for business success.”

The Business Case for Diversity By Industry

How might a business case for diversity differ by industry?  Here are a few ideas to consider:

1.    Healthcare

The diversity in the patient population is driving a great need in healthcare for diversity, or as it is more commonly called in healthcare, cultural competency. The Joint Commission, the CLAS standards and other regulatory industries are all focusing on the topic and linking this to a hospital’s business case for diversity provides an important strategic connection.

2.    Higher Education

Generational diversity is a key component in institutions of higher learning due to the student population. As schools are attracting students from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds, the business case could also include cultural and religious knowledge for staff and faculty.

3.    Non-profits

For non-profit organizations, the business case for diversity if often linked to their mission. If they are serving a diverse client base than there can be a need to have employees reflect the populations being served, so the business case for diversity might be about creating an awareness and understanding of the diverse backgrounds in their target communities.

4.    Corporations

For companies, the business case for diversity is impacted by the changing demographics that are impacting customers and employees. Companies want to tap into a diversity of background to drive innovation and also to use diversity as a way to increase employee engagement. 

Build Your Own Business Case for Diversity

Every organization that decides to undertake diversity training will have a unique business case for doing so. The uniqueness occurs because the heart of a business case for diversity highlights the operational, financial and competitive impact that diversity is having and will have on the organization. And these impacts will differ depending upon the business model for an organization. There may be common themes from one organization to the next, such as having employees that reflect the changing demographics of their customer base, the organization’s culture, long term strategies and employee base will all impact what the business case is for that organization.  A generic business case for diversity training will help to raise awareness, but a specific business case for diversity will help to fully engage senior leadership and employees in understanding how diversity training will help to achieve both organizational and individual goals.

Some questions to consider as you build your own business case for diversity:

  1. What are your key strategic goals and how could diversity help you to achieve those goals?
  2. How is diversity impacting key operations at your organization? For example, customer service interactions? What is the opportunity there?
  3. What changes in demographics are impacting your client/customer base? How does this impact the work that you are doing overall and more specifically work you are doing around diversity?
  4. How are your competitors responding to diversity or using diversity to distinguish themselves competitively?

Pairing diversity training with a strong business case that is linked specifically to your needs strengthens the diversity training and also helps to ensure that those taking the training understand why it is important to their work and to the organization’s goals.

Keep your eyes out for the next installment of the Workplace Diversity Training blog series that will be published within the next couple of weeks.  For more information on Diversity Training visit the Culture Coach International website:

Read the other installments of this series:

Why your company needs a definition of diversity

Top ten tips for making diversity training great

Workplace Diversity Training: Top 10 Ways to Make Diversity Training Great

Top 10 Ways to Make Diversity Training  Programs Great

Diversity training is a great tool that companies have to communicate the values of their diversity initiative and to help employees gain valuable diversity and cultural competency skills.  In this blog series Culture Coach International will pass along our best advice and guidance for making diversity training at your company a huge success that achieves all of your goals.

Great Diversity Training in Ten Steps

Great Diversity Training in Ten Steps

1.    Senior Executive Support is Critical 

It is important to get senior level support for any diversity training that you are going to do. If they are supportive and help employees to realize why it is important, than this will set the tone for your diversity training program.

2.    Have Senior Leaders Attend Diversity Training

If diversity training is important to the organization, than senior leaders can demonstrate how important it is by attending the same training program as employees.

3.    Build the Business Case for Diversity

It is important for employees attending diversity training to know why it is important for the organization and for their jobs. Including a business case for your organizations helps employees to understand why diversity training is an important investment of their time and why they need to use the information that they learn in the diversity training to improve their interactions with others.

4.    Use Experiential Techniques 

Diversity training is more effective if the people attending have a chance to practice what they are learning and to interact with other people. In person interaction helps people to learn about people that they work with, it helps them to better frame their own experiences and it helps them to gain “aha” moments into how they see the world. 

5.    Adjust for a Diversity of Learning Styles 

People learn in different ways. It is important that diversity training use a variety of techniques that help people to learn in a way that helps them to understand and retain the information.

6.    Everyone Has a Personal Story – Incorporate These Into Diversity Training

Everyone comes to diversity training with unique backgrounds and stories to tell. These stories can be powerful learning opportunities and if you incorporate these into the diversity training they can provide meaningful conversations and connections.

7.    Allow Time for People to Process

Providing diversity training is not like providing computer software training. Diversity training often raises issues for those participating that can be emotional. Thus, it is important that diversity training allows time for people to think about and process what they have learned and how this will impact their work.

8.    Tell People How it Impacts Their Role Diversity training

When people attend diversity training they want to know how what the knowledge that they are gaining will impact their work on a daily basis. Thus, it is important to help employees make the links between the diversity training content and their role in the organization.

9.    Make it Practical 

Too often diversity training is abstract in nature and short on practical tips for implementation. Provide time in the training program for participants to think about and discuss how they can use the training content on a practical level.

10. Follow-up 

Wonderful diversity training with little follow-up is not as effective as diversity training that is done within a larger diversity initiative that builds in numerous opportunities for people to follow-up on the core ideas presented in the training program. Repetition of ideas introduced in training reinforces key points and helps to ensure that diversity training provides a higher return on investment for the organization.

Keep your eyes out for the next installment of the Workplace Diversity Training blog series that will be published within the next couple of weeks.  For more information on Diversity Training visit the Culture Coach International website:

Helping the International Athlete Succeed in a New Country – Part One

Helping International Athletes Succeed

International Athlete Jose Goncalves

International Athlete Jose Goncalves for the New England Revolution

From the minute an international athlete steps off the plane, they are expected to perform at a top level in a new league, with a new team, in a new city, in a different language and with a new culture to learn.  The adjustment to playing in the US can be challenging for athletes. For teams that are seeking to make the most of their investment into an international athlete, is it important to keep in mind how cultural adjustments will impact their international athletes. This is a series of blog posts on how to help international athletes succeed when playing on US teams. Check back for future blog post on this same topic.


Scouting international athletes in their home countries can lead to unrealistic expectations of what a player can do for a US team.  A player in their own country is typically playing with a team they know, in their own country and culture, speaking their own language and with a support structure of friends and family around them which helps them to be happy off the field and thus able to perform at their best on the field.  In essence, they are in the best possible conditions.  All of that changes when they are uprooted and brought to their new US team where they are in a new culture, with a new team, often without a support structure as they are far from family and friends. Many are also struggling with a completely new language so their ability to communicate with their coaches and teammates is very limited and their ability to settle into a new community is challenged greatly by this inability to speak the language.   If they have a family, a player is also struggling with either missing them as they are back home, or worried about their happiness and ability to settle into the new country where they are often isolated due to language issues. So how to improve the chances of an international athlete succeeding?

Before offering an international athlete a contract take into account the following:

• Have they lived and played abroad before? If so, were they successful?

• Do they have any English language skills? If not, are they willing to learn? Are you willing to provide the type of support needed to help them learn the language?

• Have they lived away from friends and family before?

• Do they have a spouse and children? If so, will they relocate with the player or will they

remain at home?  Are you willing to provide the support the family will need to settle?

in if they come with the player?

• Does the athlete have an outgoing, problem solving personality that will make it easier for them to make friends and to adjust to the challenges they will encounter?

• Is there a local community from the athlete’s home country near your team that can help the athlete to adjust culturally?

• Why does the athlete want to compete in the US? Is it because they think it is good for their career or because they really want to play in the US? A strong desire to play in the US will help them to be more successful.

Before Their Arrival

An athlete will be anxious about the move to a US team. Providing information ahead of time that helps to allay their concerns and apprehension will assist greatly in helping them to make an easier transition.   Give them information not only about the team and the other athletes they will be working with but also about the city and the local region.

Early Days

Once an international athlete arrives, their first few weeks with the team is a critical time as they settle into daily life. While it may seem like enough for the club to provide the basics like helping the person get a work permit, driver’s license and a place to live, this level is not sufficient if they want to player to really be successful.   Once an athlete has a place to sleep and transportation to get back and forth to practice, the next level of support is helping them to understand the basics of daily life.


This is the largest barrier to a athlete’s ability to adjust well.  The ability to communicate with team members and coaches is absolutely critical. While watching what is going on will lead to some comprehension, verbal communication is essential to a deeper understanding of the team, the style of play and the coach’s desires for the athlete.  It is important that a team use a professional translator as much as possible instead of fellow team members who may speak the language. A teammate may not know the vocabulary or may feel awkward giving feedback to a colleague. It limits the international athlete’s independence and his ability to seek and receive feedback from the coach directly.

Cultural Adjustment

Addressing the language barriers is the first step; the next step is helping the athlete to adjust to the new culture.  Culture is at its essence, the values and norms of a group of people. As such, each team will have its own culture and the athlete is adjusting to this culture at the same time they are also adjusting to the national culture of the country. People living in a culture rarely stop to think about their own culture.  How things get done is just “the way things happen.” But, to an outsider, this may or may not be the way things have been done in their home culture. In the US for example, there is a very direct communication style as Americans “tell it like it is.”  Many cultures around the world have a communication style that is much more indirect and thus, international players have to adjust to this new style of communicating. This is just one small example of the myriad of ways that culture impacts virtually every facet of our lives.

Many of these steps are not that time consuming nor expensive to implement. With the investment of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars that a team is already making in bringing in an international athlete, making a small additional investment in these extra steps can help the player to adjust better and in turn give his best on the field. This in turn this will result in higher player success, team success and league success.

African American Biography Spotlight: Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852 -1889)

Inventor who revolutionized the shoe industry

Jan Ernst Matzeliger: Inventer who revolutionized the shoe industry

Jan Ernst Matzeliger: Inventer who revolutionized the shoe industry

Jan Ernst Matzeliger was born in Paramaribo, Surinam (Dutch Guiana), South America. His father was a Dutch engineer who married a native Black Surinamese woman. At the age of ten, young Jan worked in the machine shops supervised by his father, where his talents and mechanical aptitude were nurtured. In 1871, at the age of 19, he sailed the world and settled in Philadelphia 2 years later.

Hearing about the rapid growth of the shoe industry in Massachusetts, Matzeliger went to Lynn in 1877 in search of a better job. He taught himself English and he eventually landed a job as an apprentice in a shoe factory operating various shoe making machinery during a time when most white people would look down on him because of his race. He was a devout Christian, teaching Sunday school at The North Congregational Church, one of the few churches in the area that would accept African-Americans.

In the early days of shoe making, shoes were made mainly by hand. For proper fit, the customer’s feet had to be duplicated in size and form by creating a stone or wooden mold called a “last” from which the shoes were sized and shaped. Since the greatest difficulty in shoe making was the actual assembly of the soles to the upper shoe, it required great skill to tack and sew the two components together. It was thought that such intricate work could only be done by skilled human hands. As a result, shoe-lasters held great power over the shoe industry. They would hold work stop-pages without regard for their fellow workers’ desires, resulting in long periods of unemployment for them.

Matzelinger set out to try to solve the problem of this stranglehold by developing an automatic method for lasting shoes. Over the course of ten years, facing much derision and sacrifice, he came up with a prototype for an automated shoe-laster. Matzeliger’s machine was able to turn out from 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day compared to the 45 maximum limit completed by the expert hand lasters. By 1889 the demand of the shoe lasting machine was overwhelming. A company was formed, The Consolidated Lasting Machine Company, where Matzelinger was given huge blocks of stock for his invention. His machine had revolutionized the entire shoe industry in the U.S. and around the world.

Unfortunately, Jan Matzelinger didn’t live to see the fruits of his labor. Because he had sacrificed his health working exhausting hours on his invention and not eating over long periods of time, he caught a cold, which quickly developed into tuberculosis. He died at age 37 on August 24, 1887.

Jan Ernst Matzeliger’s invention was perhaps “the most important invention for New England because it increased shoemaking speed by 900%.” His invention was “the greatest forward step in the shoe industry,” according to the church bulletin of The First Church of Christ (the same church that took him as a member) as part of a commemoration held in 1967 in his honor. In 1992, the U.S. made a postage stamp in honor of Matzeliger.