Myths to reject—to help your partnership succeed, part 2 of 3

  1. “You can’t trust the nationals.”
    One of the greatest gifts we can give to one another in cross-cultural partnerships is friendship, and friendship is nothing if it is not rooted in trust. According to Daniel Rickett in his book, Making Your Partnership Work, the greater the interdependence and the greater the cultural distance, the greater the need for trust. If you have little trust, you simply will not have a healthy or lasting partnership. As Steven M. R. Covey says in his book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, “High trust is the critical career skill in the new global economy.” See also the intro video for Week 5: Trust, in The Beauty of Partnership learning journey.
  2. “We’re just being biblical” … or … “We don’t need cultural intelligence.”
    According to Brooks Peterson in his book, Cultural Intelligence: A Guide To Working With People From Other Cultures … Cultural Intelligence is the combination of: Knowledge About Cultures + Awareness of Yourself and Others + Specific Skills and Behaviors. Cultural intelligence (CQ) is important because there is a great temptation to think … “We’ve been Christians a long time, we have been successfully following Christ for many years, building his kingdom in our community” … “We do not need to learn that much about cultural differences and how to adjust our thinking and behavior when working cross-culturally; after all, aren’t we all one in the Body of Christ?” … “Only full-time resident missionaries need to develop deep cultural understanding.” In reality, cross-cultural partnership practitioners will benefit just as much from cultivating cultural intelligence as resident missionaries. My definition of cultural intelligence is as follows: Understanding deeply our diversity and unity, for the glory of God. For more on CQ, check out the intro videos for Weeks 5–8 in The Beauty of Partnership learning journey; all of these lessons are devoted to Cultural Intelligence.
  3. “Accountability is not that important.”
    Actually, accountability is vitally important—because appropriate accountability is biblical. It is modeled in Scripture again and again. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Note also the word, “appropriate.” Finding the right level of accountability going both ways is a matter of cultural intelligence and organizational competence. Without appropriate accountability, your partnership can easily move toward frustration, distrust, or failure. See also the intro video for Week 10: Accountability, in The Beauty of Partnership learning journey.
  4. “There’s not much risk in cross-cultural partnerships.”
    Reread point number 1 and point number 3, above. How much money is wasted by not doing our “due diligence!” Our tendency is to underestimate the risks of cross-cultural partnership, especially if we  expect success to be easy. To reduce the risks, going through a learning journey like The Beauty of Partnership is extremely helpful—it reduces the risks by giving you the KSAs (knowledge, skills and attitudes) necessary for a developing a healthy cross-cultural partnership. And once you have gained these KSAs, you can confidently and wisely take wonderful big risks for the glory of God! See also the intro video for, Week 3: Risk, in The Beauty of Partnership learning journey.

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