By Day 5 I think I am really in the groove of facilitating learning with 12 different nationalities in the same room. What a wonderful opportunity to share over dinner and hear how each culture views the world.
At times there is so much fun sharing differences in such small things as; gestures, norms, language, myths, beliefs, customs and socially constructed manners that one fells the difference and experiences the difference of exactly what culture is.
For example, breakfast in Vienna at Biedermeier Hotel was a much more elaborate affair with eggs any way you like them, sausages, bacon, 12 different cold meats, 6 different cheeses, salad items, 8 types of bread rolls, 6 different juices, sparkling water, yoghurts and much more.
It is interesting that simple courtesies we accept in Australia can be opposite for another culture. One has to be acutely aware that in the moment the culture is not an academically subject, but a lived and real way of embodied being with others. The concept of i-thou from Martin Buber comes to mind.
Another example is a simple chuckle at the wrong time can generate stress in another, the movement of a hand in a wrong way can upset another, and the slightest change of an accent on a word can cause offence.
The beginning of learning and understanding culture is Socialitie.
Most of what I have experience engaging with such a mix of cultures is what we all hold in the unconscious and the collective unconscious. As we came together, we did have one thing in common, everyone wanted to learn SPoR, and was sick of traditional brutal methodology of Safety.
This commonality in many ways brought us together to sharing a new language and a common language in risk.
Many of the informal moments i have had so far with people from Mexica, South Africa, Slovakia, Poland, Russia, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Dutch, Romania and so on have brought great learning and connection with people I have only known for a few days, there is already a special trust in the room because we are focusing on people not objects.
Sometimes a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and ten minutes and a question can change a whole person’s orientation in tackling risk. Then when we come to formal learning moments in the workshop, it is simply delightful to see them connect and use SPoR methods.