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How to Talk about Cultural Competence

Three keys to a more powerful conversation

Every organization is a language community. Its members encourage certain ways of speaking and discourage others. What we forget is that language regulates the possibilities we can imagine, which in turn constrains our behavior.

As a nonprofit leader, you're also a language leader. Your ways of speaking and writing can unleash organizational capacity—or restrict it. This is especially true with cultural competence.

Cultural competence—the ability to work effectively across a variety of cultures—begins as a conversation among people who see the world differently. As you lead your organization into this conversation, consider the following guidelines.