The 5S Stretch Tool

This tool helps you develop behavioural flexibility so that you can adjust your behaviour, as needed, when living, studying and/or working in culturally unfamiliar contexts.

When we try to change our behaviour we can face several hurdles. For instance, any or all of the following can apply:

  • We’re not sure how to perform the desired behaviour (i.e. a competence challenge)
  • We’re frightened we’ll make a fool of ourselves if we get it wrong (i.e. a ‘face’ challenge)
  • We feel untrue to ourselves when behaving differently (i.e. an authenticity challenge)
  • We’re concerned we may upset others (i.e. a harmony challenge)
  • We feel irritated that we need to change (i.e. a resentment challenge)

So if we’re to be successful in changing our behaviour, we need to work through any and all of such relevant hurdles and find ways of overcoming them. Our 5S Stretch tool – Spot, Select, Study, Stretch, Strengthen – is extremely useful for this.

SPOT any behaviour patterns that you notice are different and seemingly important for functioning well in a particular setting.

SELECT one to focus one that you feel is important to adjust to. Face up to the different hurdles you may experience and consider ways of addressing them.

STUDY the behaviour you want to develop – observing it carefully in others.

STRETCH your thinking and behaviour, making small adjustments rather than big changes. Monitor how well the adjustments go.

STRENGTHEN the positive adjustments you’ve made, making them more normal for you.

You can download the framework here. If you’d like to see some worked examples, please see our book, Global Fitness for Global People: How to manage and leverage cultural diversity at work.

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