Help others to build trust and connect with people of different cultures and demographics.


To value differences in others. To find the common ground with others in order use to build a foundation of trust and connection.


  • Assignment 1 // Watch Brene Brown’s 2010 TED Talk [Houston] and answer the corresponding questions

  • Assignment 2 // Read the article “Hot vs Cold: Foreign to Familiar” and answer the corresponding questions

  • Assignment 3 // Watch 2 scenes from the movie “Hidden Figures” and answer the corresponding questions


Watch Brene Brown’s Houston TED Talk from 2010



  1. As you think about Brene’s talk on vulnerability, how does this help you to understand others?

  2. At the core of who we are, we all need a sense of worthiness and belonging. When you think of those who are different than you (emotionally, economically, culturally those who may be addicted, depressed, suicidal, incarcerated, homeless, victimized, etc,) in what ways does this idea challenge your “knee-jerk” reaction to them? Their lifestyles? Hobbies? Habits (healthy or unhealthy)?

  3. Brene says that those who don’t have compassion for themselves are unable to show compassion for others. How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 on your compassion for yourself? Why would you give yourself that rating?

  4. How have you seen vulnerability play a role in leaders at work, home or community? Give an example.


Read the article Hot vs Cold: Foreign to Familiar


Adapted from the book Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier, McDougal Publishing Article by Jeff Swaney (edited by Laura Quines)

Moving at the speed of life we MISS OUT on moments if we’re not careful… Soren Kierkegard once wrote …“The press of busyness is like a charm. Its power swells…it reaches out seeking always to lay hold of ever-younger victims so that childhood or youth are scarcely allowed the quiet and the retirement in which the Eternal may unfold a divine growth.”

On a trip to Chile, a Chilean partner commented, “I love it when you come. You make us feel important.” What did he mean by that? We asked him. He said, “You take time for the relationship. You hug us. You ask us how we are, how are families are. When other ‘ Gringos ’ (North Americans) come they just shake your hand and care only about the project they’re trying to complete.”

Could it be that our partners will remember the people--us, more than the projects we complete? Are we motivated by the amount of work we’ve done, or by the number of relationships we’ve enriched?


The observation that people of different cultures think, act and react differently is nothing new. Anyone who travels or knows someone from abroad has observed this phenomenon.

The two broad groups represented are "hot-climate" (relationship-based) cultures and "cold-climate" (task-oriented) cultures. For example, Latin cultures are "hot," since relationship is the basis of everything, even in the work setting. Northern Europeans are considered "cold," since efficiency is their ruling value. Neither is right nor wrong, just different. After all, we need both.

The culture of the "Southerners" in the United States had similarities to other "hot-climate" cultures, such as those of the Latin Americans, more so in fact than with fellow Americans from the northern states.

The contrasts continue across the globe. Though they often accurately describe the weather of a particular country, the “hot/cold” descriptions primarily refer to the warmth of relationships rather than the actual climate of that culture.

Here are the broad differences between HOT, relationally oriented cultures and COLD efficiency oriented cultures.

Relationship vs. Task Orientation

Relational Orientation (Hot-Climate Cultures)

  • Relationship based
  • Communication must have a “feel-good” atmosphere
  • Though individuals may be otherwise, society is feeling oriented
  • Efficiency and time do not take priority over the person
  • Inappropriate to “talk business” upon first arriving at a business meeting or making a business phone call

Task Orientation (Cold-Climate Cultures)

  • Task oriented
  • Communication must provide accurate information
  • Though individuals may be otherwise, society is logic oriented
  • Efficiency and time are high priorities, and taking them seriously is a statement of respect for the other person

Indirect vs. Direct Communication

Indirect (Hot-Climate Cultures)

  • All about being friendly
  • Questions must be phrased in such a way as to not offend by directness
  • Use a third party for accurate information if you sense that a direct question will be too harsh, or not get the results you are seeking (Filipino / Southeast Asian culture)
  • A ‘yes’ may not be an answer to your question. It may be the first step in beginning a friendly interchange. Or verbal compliance may be required by the culture (avoid yes-no questions).
  • Avoid embarrassing people (Do not “call someone out”)

Direct (Cold-Climate Cultures)

  • Short, direct questions show respect for the person’s time as well as professionalism
  • ‘yes’ is ‘yes’, ‘no’ is no. No hidden meanings
  • An honest, direct answer is information only. It does not reflect on how the person feels about you (He/She is “calling you out”)
  • You can say what you think (nicely), and it will usually not be taken personally

Group Orientation vs. Individualism

Group Oriented (Hot-Climate Cultures)

  • I belong, therefore I am
  • My identity is tied to the group (family, tribe, etc.)
  • Group protects provide for my well being
  • Taking initiative within a group is often determined by my role
  • I do not expect to have to stand alone
  • My behavior reflects on the whole group
  • Team members expect direction from the leader

Individualistic (Cold-Climate Cultures)

  • I am a self-standing person, with my own identity
  • Every individual should have an opinion and can speak for him/herself
  • Taking initiative within a group is good and expected
  • One must know how to make one’s own decisions
  • My behavior reflects on me, not the group

Inclusion vs. Privacy

Inclusion (Hot-Climate Cultures)

  • Group oriented culture
  • Individuals know they are automatically included in conversation, meals, and the other activities of the group
  • Possessions are to be used freely by all: food, tools, etc.
  • It is not desirable to be left to oneself
  • It is rude to hold a private conversation or make plans that exclude others present

Privacy (Cold-Climate Cultures)

  • Enjoy time and space to selves
  • People are expected to ask permission to borrow something or to interrupt a conversation
  • Each person is considered to be the steward of his or her possessions and has the responsibility to maintain and protect them
  • In a community setting, it might be common to label one’s food, tools, etc. to set them apart from the group’s common possessions
  • It is acceptable to hold private conversations or make exclusive plans with a few people, not including everyone

Spontaneous vs Planned Hospitality

Spontaneous Hospitality (Hot-Climate Cultures)

  • It is the context for relationship (even business relationships)
  • Takes place in the home
  • Host fully takes care of the needs of the guest.
  • The guest pays for nothing. If you invite someone out, you are expected to pay.
  • A gift for the host is expected
  • Food and drink are involved
  • Travelers are taken in and provided for

Planned Hospitality (Cold-Climate Cultures)

  • Host prefers advance notice of a visit and prepares.
  • Travelers are expected to make their own arrangements other than what is specifically communicated to the host ahead of time
  • Guests need to expect to pay for their transportation and restaurants if visiting the U.S.
  • If the host plans to pay, he usually will say so
  • Hospitality is a special occasion, taking the full attention of the host

High-Context vs. Low-Context Societies

High-Context Societies (Hot-Climate Cultures)

  • Everything matters
  • Who you are related to/who you know matters
  • It is better to overdress than to underdress
  • Watch to see how others respond in a situation in order to apply appropriate behavior
  • Remember to honor the people you are dealing with; too casual is insulting
  • Ask a local person who has lived overseas for a while what is important to know
  • Use manners and respect the rules
  • Give attention to appropriate greetings

Low-Context Societies (Cold-Climate Cultures)

  • Who you know matters, but not as much. What you know is important
  • Not offended by the casual atmosphere
  • Lack of protocol does not mean rejecting, nor is dishonoring
  • The gathering may be unaware of what the rules are, so leave your rules at home
  • Address people by their given names unless others use titles
  • Anything goes…within reason

Ruled by Relationship vs Ruled by Time

Ruled by Relationships (Hot-Climate Culture)

  • Are not as oriented toward the clock and are less planned
  • Are event oriented
  • Are spontaneous and flexible in their approach to life
  • Respond to what life brings (fate and destiny). Life happens vs. Gotta make it happen
  • Consider that saving time is not as important as experiencing the moment
  • Recognize that structure is required in some areas of life (the military, for example)
  • Have informal visiting as part of the event

Ruled by Time (Cold-Climate Culture)

  • Time oriented, planned events
  • Structured in their approach to life
  • Enjoy using time efficiently
  • Try to plan their day, and saving time is a value
  • Expect the event (dinner, guest arrival, meeting) to begin at the time announced.
  • Visiting or informally chatting happens before or after the event

In a chapter entitled, Inclusion versus Privacy, Sarah Lanier gives us a snapshot of how this looks in real life.

“I was invited to the home of an American friend for dinner in Chile. It had been over a year since we had seen each other, and our plan was to catch up on news of mutual friends and share photos. I, for one, was expecting an evening of private conversation.

While we were still eating, a knock came on the door, it opened, and a man came in. He pulled up a chair and joined us. We forgot our previous conversation and talked with this man about local news.

Then another knock on the door announced yet another visitor, and this visitor too joined us and the subject of conversation was once again changed. The two visitors stayed until midnight, and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. Our own plans were forgotten.

What seemed strange for me was the fact that my American friend thought nothing of this intrusion. He had lived in Chile so long that he no longer considered our visit a private one. It had become, for him, an inclusive event.

Inclusive cultures also view food as something to be shared. One would never take out a sandwich in front of others and not offer to share it. I am told that there is a saying in Japanese, "Even if you only have one single pea, you divide it up equally according to the number of people in the room."

Though we have all been born into one culture, we can learn from one another, appreciating where people come from, and embracing a posture of understanding rather than making snap judgments. ¡Viva La Difference!


  1. How would you describe your upbringing -- cold or hot culture? What have been some experiences that have challenged this upbringing?

  2. Think of one specific life habit from the culture most opposite yours that you would like to adopt or put into practice over the next week.

  3. Name a pet peeve (or dislike) that you’ve held up to this point. How has reading this article changed your views?

  4. Share 2-3 ways you can apply this new knowledge to improve your current relationships (work, family, friends, home, neighbors, community/global partners.) Come prepared to discuss this with your group.


Watch these 2 scenes from the movie “Hidden Figures” (if time allows make a movie night out of it and view the entire film.)


  1. How do you think you would have responded if you had been in Katherine’s shoes?

  2. We may not have separate restrooms for races anymore, but do you think there are still injustices and prejudices in our culture? List a few.

  3. Have you ever suffered injustice/prejudice for anything, been overlooked for something you were qualified for? How did you respond?

  4. In 1 Peter 5:6-10, we are commanded to humble ourselves before God, endure hard times patiently, and wait for God to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. How did these women illustrate this verse? Have you ever exemplified this verse in your own life?

  5. Do you have anyone in your life (now or in the past) that is facing challenges based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, documentation/legal status, experiencing homelessness, etc.?

    a. If so, describe their struggles. Has knowing them changed how you see this issue and people with this issue? If so, how? Has your heart been changed?

    b. If not, brainstorm some ideas for ways you could seek out some relationships with those that are experiencing one of these hardships. Do you think knowing someone personally in one of the categories might change your heart? How?

  6. Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Meditate on this for a few minutes and ask God to reveal any hidden prejudices living in you.

    (Some questions taken from:

LEADERSHIP TAKEAWAY (To be completed during group discussion)