Ricardo Gonzalez

Ricardo Gonzalez on cultural mastery, a conversation that will touch your soul (#8)

In this episode we talk to Ricardo Gonzalez about cultural mastery. This conversation is not just important for cross-cultural communication, but all interpersonal communication because every person has their own micro-culture. Cultural tolerance is not enough. In this conversation we aspire to a higher goal: endearment. 

Ricardo is the founder and CEO of Bilingual America, an international cultural communications institute.  He is an author, public speaker, and trusted advisor to organizational leaders.  He is the author of The 6 Stages of Cultural Mastery, The 6 Stages of Cultural Sales, and The 12 Hidden Truths to Learning Spanish. His next book, scheduled for release in February is entitled, “To Belong or Not to Belong – How to Create a Culture Where People Long to Be”.    

There are some conversations that touch your soul.  Our episode today is one of those conversations. I was expecting this conversation to be full of wisdom – and it was, but I did not expect the way it would resonate with me.   We hope you enjoy this insightful and uplifting episode with Ricardo Gonzalez. 

You can connect with Ricardo through his website (https://bilingualamerica.com) or LinkedIn.

Listen on AppleGoogleSpotify or Simplecast.

Show Notes

1:54 – Ola.
2:14 – growing up in a bicultural home.
3:48 – 26 siblings!
4:13 – identity and identification.
5:28 – finding purpose in the pain.
9:35 – cultural identity crisis.
10:58 – what culture is and how it forms us.
11:42 – culture is.
13:06 – 5 components of culture.
13:20 – everyone got to where they are at honestly.
14:03 – where food fits into culture.
16:17 – iceberg model of culture.
17:14 – how can we become more aware of how our culture shapes us?
18:44 – cultural mindset and skillset.
19:47 – culural competency level.
22:36 – the six stages of cultural mastery.
25:42 – the six stages of cultural mastery really works.
27:19 – balance between hand and heart.
29:23 – diversity and inclusion departments are a symptom of a bigger problem.
30:14 – everyone has a micro-culture.
30:41 – the elements of cultural education.
31:06 – education starts with curiosity and humility.
33:03 – I can touch your soul by talking about food.
35:35 – overcoming the fear of engaging with people.
37:00 – mexican pool hall PhD.
39:47 – relationships are critical for business.
41:18 – is it helpful to call out cultural offensiveness?
43:44 – healthy leadership.
44:43 – cuddling people in rather than calling out.
46:48 – how Ricardo become more open and accepting.
47:55 – everyone is on a journey in this process of transformation.
48:45 – pride and fear can be what holds us back.
49:45 – closing remarks.


IQEQ and CQ 


Cultural Mastery Assessment 

Ghandi (referenced as an example of someone with extra-ordinary character) 

Books discussed

Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling, by Dr Wayne W. Dyer 

The 6 Stages of Cultural Mastery: A Roadmap for Leaders in a Culturally Complex World by Ricardo Gonzalez 

The 6 Stages of Cultural Sales: A Roadmap to Attract and Retain Diverse Clients in a Culturally Diverse World by Ricardo Gonzalez (Preview

Key Quotes

“We grew up with a great deal of cultural dysfunction….” 

“Children who grow up in bicultural homes struggle with two things – identity (who am I?) and identification (who do other people think I am)

“Until a person embraces their own culture they really cannot embrace anyone other” 

“Religions are systems of culture” 

“If I reject my own culture, I’m rejecting myself” 

“No-one is trying to be bad…everyone is  product of their culture…everyone got to exactly where they are at honestly – they don’t know any better” 

“The most important inter-personal relationship is the one going on inside ourselves” 

“The five primary elements of culture are beliefs, values, norms, symbols and language” 

“We are all truly shaped by our cultures more so than anything else that shapes us” 

“People naturally self-segregate, people gravitate towards people who are like themselves” 

“No one should be in leadership in a multicultural world without developing their CQ (Cultural Quotient)” 

“Most leaders have not developed their CQ (Cultural Quotient) and are unprepared to lead people from different cultures” 

“A culturally unhealthy and unskilled person will naturally create a culturally unhealthy and unskilled environment” 

“When people talk about things like diversity, inclusion, belonging and justice and all of these things….they are really saying that we have to different departments to address this because our leadership have not created an environment in which this naturally happens”   

“The goal has shifted from cultural tolerance to cultural endearment – we need to learn to love one another – only when we really love one another will we sacrifice for one another” 

“The six stages of cultural mastery: Education, Engagement, Empathy, Excitement, Empowerment, Endearment” 

“When do people feel like they belong? When they feel loved.” 

“Studies show that we spend more time with our work partners than we do with our life partners – so its kind a of a bad thing to go to a loveless environment.” 

“If you are not curious you do not care” 

“There are people who really believe that their culture is the right one and everyone else is wrong – you have to have humility and curiosity and skill” 

“What questions can I ask the other person to get them to open up and not threaten them? I don’t ask them where they are from, how much money they make and what do you do – not if I want to get to know them – I’m not interviewing them for a job – I’m trying to get to know them”

“We can touch the soul of another human being by things as simple as food” 

“It’s a skill to get people to openly and honestly get people to talk about the things that they want to talk about” 

“People have this mistaken idea that we fall in love – that is not true – we grow into it!” 

“People in business talk about ROI but there is greater return on relationships – it’s the relationship that drive business – people buy from people they like – imagine what they do with people they love – the return on relationship is where we should be focusing on in business” 

“I’m here to cuddle you in, not to call you out” 

“The job of the leader is to create the culture that other people can thrive through” 

“As it relates to culture and relationships…our pride will tell us that we are right about things but our fear will tell us not to entertain the idea that we might not be right”. 

“The key is holding my own culture lightly enough that I can begin to open myself to another one” – Adrian Bazemore 

About the author

Divan and Mark are co-hosts of the Candour Communication Podcast where we discuss interpersonal communication and all the human stuff that gets in the way.