Leading on Cultural Fluency


Our company’s enduring purpose is Building Great Leaders. When we started our DEI journey, we knew we needed a common language with which to start a conversation about DEI. In our Building Great Leaders initiative, we believe everyone is a leader. But we also understand that to be a great leader one must be an inclusive leader. In addition to building off BGL - an existing, embedded leadership development strategy – we wanted to lead DEI from the top down and in the process create DEI champions.


In March 2021 we began a process of deep learning utilizing the Intercultural Development Inventory Assessment (IDI).  The IDI® Assessment provides key insights into how one makes sense of cultural differences and commonalities and is an effective tool for increasing skill in navigating cultural differences.  Leveraging the three pillars of Building Great Leaders – leading self, leading others, and leading the business – we embarked on a journey not simply to get a better score on the assessment, but to be better leaders and better people. Since March 2021 every corporate leader, segment leader, company president and human resources leader has taken the assessment. They each have received a personal one-on-one debrief of their results and have been introduced to the Intercultural Development Plan, a customized curated learning plan that is a companion to the IDI.


The use of the IDI as a cultural awareness resource has provided a common language to discuss DEI. We’ve developed a new leadership competency for cultural fluency, included supporting behaviors. Our leaders’ burgeoning comfort with DEI has caused them to provide more visible and stronger support for our women’s ERG and for our newest employee resource, the DEI community. Their increased curiosity about other cultures and their own culture has begun to inform leaders’ business strategies particularly strategies for boosting employee engagement, securing diverse talent, and for engaging diverse suppliers.

We’ve added a DEI resource to our company executive team. I’ve created an Intercultural Development Plan and we’ve started to formalize a company-specific inclusion action plan. We are beginning to speak with a common DEI language, and we are intentional about including a DEI-related topic on our company’s leadership summit agendas.

Andy Mccleery
Viking Fire Protection Group
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