The start of our journey to an intercultural mindset

As the late, great Paul Wellstone said - we all do better when we all do better. Whether you agree with his political beliefs or not, you can’t disagree with this statement. 

That’s why part of our YNPN-TC strategic plan was to make sure that, in order to best serve our members and the nonprofit sector, we provide professional development opportunities not only for the sector as a whole - but also specifically for our board members. 

Another pillar of our strategic plan was to hold equity, diversity, and inclusion at the center of our decision making. It became evident last year that by marrying these two goals, we could move the organization forward in the direction that our members deserve - which holds up one of our organizational values:

We strive for respect and inclusiveness...

We believe better communities exist when all members are valued for their unique contributions.

As a board, we chose to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) as part of our professional development plan because it is one of the most well-vetted and established assessments that measures intercultural competence. We like that it has an intentional focus on recognizing and understanding cultural differences, which is the key to developing an intercultural mindset. It helps facilitate discussions about what cultures are represented on the board and among our members and, more importantly, how we attend to those differences to ensure that we are being inclusive and equitable in all that we do.

Upon completing the assessment, it places you on a spectrum that runs from a monocultural to an intercultural mindset. After taking the assessment, it is highly encouraged that you meet with a Qualified Administrator to debrief your results. You then complete the Intercultural Development Plan (IDP) to create goals and set an intention to improve your intercultural competence. 

In the spirit of radical transparency, we want to share with our members where we, as a board, fall on this spectrum. As an aggregate score, we are in Minimization, which is an orientation that focuses on commonalities and has a tendency to de-emphasize differences amongst cultures. Although we notice and appreciate cultural differences, we may not attend to those differences as much as we should. 

As a board, we are committed to put in the work it takes in order for us to move to the next orientation. To do that, we will be devoting time to develop our intercultural competence throughout 2020 at three levels:

  1. Board level-we will set aside time during three upcoming board meetings to discuss the IDI and how it informs the work we do.
  2. Group level-we are creating affinity groups--based on orientation--that will meet quarterly to discuss individual growth and ensure accountability.
  3. Individual level-we all will dedicate time to work on our own Intercultural Development Plan.

We intend to use the IDI to become a more equitable and inclusive organization. 

To ensure accountability in this endeavor, we commit to maintaining radical transparency with our members on this professional development journey. We plan to take the IDI again in December 2020 to assess our growth, and will share the results and our reflections early in the new year.

Along the way, you will hear from board members as they share the insights that they gain on their IDI journey through blog posts on our website. As always, feel free to reach out to our board members with any questions or feedback you may have.

Laura Reller, 2020 Board Chair

Paul Johnson, 2020 Governance Co-Chair

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