equipping you to

successfully interact with people from different cultures

at home and abroad


People with a high level of intercultural competence are bridge-builders across cultural differences and peacemakers in times of conflict. They will have the wisdom and creativity to interact in cross-cultural contexts in ways which clearly demonstrate understanding and respect to everyone involved. Developing a high level of intercultural competence is challenging and may be intimidating for you, but you can do it.

Research indicates the most effective way to develop these skills is through group and individual mentoring with a qualified instructor.

Let me help you explore the best next steps for you or your group in this journey to successful interaction with people from different cultures. It’s as easy as contacting me to make an appointment for a free half hour phone consultation to identify your goals and chart out a course forward!

I’ve worked in Cross-cultural environments for many years and Debbie’s insights had a depth that I’ve rarely experienced. Her recommended actions were practical and achievable. I strongly recommend CultureCrux’s services to anyone who is working across cultures or in multi-cultural environments. Debbie was insightful, probing, forward-looking and supportive. Her support of me as a person in understanding my IDI has positively impacted my movement toward cross-cultural competence.

Shanti Consulting, Cross-Cultural Trainer and Coach


Debbie Bayes has spent many years living and working in Muslim, Jewish, and Christian contexts in the Middle East as well as in secular contexts on the university campus in the US.

Her doctoral thesis focused on developing intercultural competence among leaders of a reconciliation organization in Israel-Palestine. Her research received the William A. Fretwell Memorial Thesis Award for exemplifying quality research, practical application and transformational impact on society.

Debbie has provided assessments and resources on the development of intercultural competence for international workers in India, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East as well as for leaders working in cross-cultural contexts in the US.

  • DMin.Bethel University, 2018
  • M.A.Regent College, 2000
  • B.A.Western Washington University, 1994

“Often as leaders, we have blind spots: areas where we don’t know what we don’t know. Add to that the complexity of serving people of different cultures and our awareness or lack of. Through Culture Crux, I became aware of a number of significant blind spots that I had in working well with people of other cultures. In fact, I learned that some of the ways that I was trying to build bridges were culturally insensitive. I was working against myself and didn’t even know it. This increased awareness from Debbie is such a gift.”

—Micah Dodson
Director of Thrive, Vancouver, WA


Classes and seminars are customized to specific groups.

Contact me for a free half hour phone consultation to identify your goals and chart a course forward!

  • Getting Started: Assessing the Situation
  • Getting Started: Assessing the Situation

    Before creating a plan to develop greater intercultural competence for your group or yourself, it is important to have an accurate understanding of where you are now. One effective way of determining that is through taking the Intercultural Development Inventory. The IDI is recognized as “the premier cross-culturally valid assessment for building cultural competence” (Mitchell R. Hammer, Ph.D).

    The IDI is an online assessment which takes 20 minutes to complete and can provide both group and individual reports regarding current intercultural abilities as well as personalized development plans for the next steps in your growth.

    Contact me to set up an IDI assessment for yourself or your group today and begin the first steps of your journey to greater intercultural competence.

    IDI assessment as well as one-hour personal review of results (phone or video call) and an Individual Development Plan (IDP): $150 per individual
    Presentation and explanation of group results: $200-500 (depending on size of the group)

  • Customized Training
  • Customized Training

    Training that is designed to fit the specific needs and circumstances of individuals or groups is the most effective way to develop intercultural abilities.

    Whether you are an individual seeking to develop your own intercultural abilities or a leader in an organization looking for ways to train a team, the best place to start is with a conversation.

    Contact me for a free consultation to explore the training options that will best fit your needs and help you reach your goals.

    “I oversaw Debbie’s doctoral research in which she used the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) to help a reconciliation organization with a multi-cultural staff in Israel-Palestine develop their abilities to work more effectively with people from different cultures. Debbie demonstrated her skill in using the IDI to help individuals and the organization grow in their intercultural effectiveness. I was quite impressed with her work. I have been doing IDI-guided training and mentoring for the past 13 years and would take Debbie on my team in an instant.”

    —Douglas Magnuson, PhD
    Anthropologist, Intercultural Trainer, IDI Administrator, and Director of the CCCU Middle East Studies Program


    “One of the most effective ways to learn about yourself is by taking seriously the cultures of others. It forces you to pay attention to those details of life which differentiate them from you.”
    Edward T. Hall American anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher

    Intercultural Competence is the ability to communicate and behave in appropriate ways with those who are culturally different. Ethnocentrism, on the other hand, is the tendency to evaluate other cultures according to the values and standards of one’s own culture with an attitude of superiority. Ethnocentrism makes it impossible for us to understand different perspectives or to work well with people from different cultures. Ethnocentrism is our default position. It is what comes naturally to us. Working to develop Intercultural Competence is an effort to go against this natural tendency, which is why it is challenging.

    Less than 15% of people have reasonably good skills in cross-cultural interactions and less than 2% are truly interculturally competent. It is an area where people commonly overestimate their abilities which often leads to misunderstandings or even worse. Developing intercultural competence requires a major effort. Even if you have skills in this area, it is important to take conscious, purposeful steps to continue to grow. The good news is you can increase your intercultural competence if you are willing to make the effort.

    The reality is people can travel the world and even speak many different languages and yet still have limited abilities to bridge cultural differences or truly understand different perspectives. Intercultural competence is not something that people develop without purposeful effort. In most cases, special training is necessary and quite beneficial.

    What we consider friendly, polite, or appropriate is culturally conditioned. Friendly, polite, or appropriate behavior in our own culture may come across as overbearing, rude, or shameful to people from different cultures. The belief that being friendly or just good with people is enough to bridge differences and communicate well when interacting with people from different cultures is an ethnocentric assumption which indicates the belief that our way of seeing the world and interacting is central to all.

    Developing intercultural competence is much more complicated than simply gaining some new information. It is intellectually, psychologically, and emotionally challenging to deeply interact with different cultures and worldviews. Research has shown that the most effective means of developing intercultural competence is through group and individual training with the support of a qualified instructor.

    Often businesses, universities, churches, or other organizations decide to hire one person to specialize in dealing with cultural issues. While hiring an expert can be beneficial, if the group or organizational leadership as a whole does not develop intercultural competence it will be difficult to find agreement on appropriate changes or steps. It is likely that conflict in this area will grow unless the group develops together and can approach cultural differences with a common understanding.

    It’s easy to assume intercultural competence is only important for people who live abroad or travel frequently. The reality is there are cultural differences all around us, even in our own communities. Cultural differences can be found not just in people from different countries but also in people from different regions of the same country or even in people from different social and economic backgrounds. Developing intercultural competence is an essential skill in today’s world and can be enormously beneficial in both work and social settings even if you don’t travel outside your own borders.

    Anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort can improve his or her intercultural abilities. The most important factors in development are the humility to recognize the need to grow and the determination to take steps to do it. The help of a qualified instructor to provide support and guidance will also speed and enhance the process.

    When one considers the cost of cross-cultural misunderstandings, whether in business, community, or personal contexts, it becomes apparent that training in developing intercultural competence is well worth the investment of both time and resources. The rewards of growing in this area are immense, both professionally and personally.  The initial assessment and one hour of individual guidance to help you understand your results as well as your personalized development plan is $150. That alone can provide you with valuable insights into where you are and how to move forward. One way to keep costs down is to learn as a group. Being part of a class of 10-15 participants is always less expensive than individual coaching and learning as a group is more fun. Talk to your colleagues or friends and make a plan to develop your level of intercultural competence together!

    “The cross-cultural assessment and development plan that Dr. Bayes has guided our members through has been invaluable. Our people’s intercultural competence has improved as they work the development plan. On a personal note, I’ve also been helped in leading our cross-cultural workers by Dr. Bayes’ guidance for my own personal intercultural skills and understanding.”

    —Bill Dunham
    Director, Global Professionals

    get in touch

      “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides or my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible.
      But, I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

      Mahatma Gandhi

      (425) 239-8685


      Debbie has taught me many things through her amazing creative ability. She has a gift for making people feel comfortable. I love how she always brings out the best in people!

      Muslim Palestinian, Architect, Halil, West Bank

      CultureCrux gave me some insightful ways for me to grow in my intercultural competence. It has given me a fresh perspective toward my relationships at work and in ministry.

      —Gene Casel
      Operations Specialist Legal Plus Software Group Inc