Slide Your Unique Cultural Lens: A Guide To Cultural Competence

Your Unique Cultural Lens:
A Guide To Cultural Competence

By Enrique J. Zaldivar


Your Unique Cultural Lens is a guide to help you develop your own cultural competence – your ability to effectively interact, communicate and influence across cultures at home or overseas. It advocates that the most efficient way to do so is by increasing your self-awareness and supports your efforts through the Unique Cultural Lens (UCL) Exercise.

Your UCL is your own set of perception filters (biases) accumulated over a lifetime. It reflects the rich ancestral, cultural, educational and experiential heritage you emerged from and informs who you are now. Together, these filters define your authentic self, influence how you perceive and interact with the world, and affect the decisions you make – whether you are consciously aware or not of them.

By increasing your own self-awareness, Your Unique Cultural Lens argues you will more effectively be able to create the conditions for better, more inclusive and more productive working environments.


About the Author

Enrique J. Zaldivar s founding partner of Inspired-Inc., professor of organization development at American University and author. He is convinced that effective leaders create culturally-appropriate conditions for organizational success that produce results as well as sustainable, effective and rewarding workplaces. His results-based approach to consulting and coaching, called Inspired Leading, emphasizes harnessing the creative energy between being authentic and accountable.

Enrique has worked with more than 10,000 leaders in 50 countries and individually coached more than 1,000 executives/managers. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area.


Experience from using the UNIQUE CULTURAL LENS framework:

Hundreds of clients and students have followed the approach described in this book to increase their cultural competence and leadership effectiveness. Printed here, with permission, a reaction from a client who did the exercise and followed through:

“I consciously believe all people have equal potential and deserve the same opportunities, and strive to show that through my behaviors. After doing my UCL exercise, I finally understood why, typically during emergencies or under severe stress, my words and decisions did not reflect my conscious beliefs. I had been unaware of my biases and prejudices all my life. Through realizations like this one, my UCL exploration became a solid foundation for the rest of my cultural competence developmental growth and for my organization’s ensuing transformation.”