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Bridging Cultural Diversity through Multiple Intelligence, Conflict Styles and Interactive 4 “H” — Healing, Humanizing- High-Performing and Harmonizing — Humor

Wanted to share a new program. Feel free to share/pitch to others, etc. Over the years, I’ve heard some complaints about cultural diversity programs too often turning into prickly or preachy affairs. Of course, this is a sensitive topic. Thought it was time for a very different approach. Any comments are appreciated.


Bridging Cultural Diversity through Multiple Intelligence, Conflict Styles and Interactive 4 “H” Humor: Building Creative Teams and Collaborative Communities through Healing and Humanizing, High-Performing and Harmonizing Humor

If “people are more open to a serious message when it’s gift-wrapped with humor” (sayeth the Stress Doc), then in these diverse and complex times…it’s time for the Stress Doc ™ and his high energy, interactive, inspiring and FUN programs. An acclaimed speaker, “Motivational Humorist” and team building consultant, the Doc “magically” helps you turn cultural challenges and communicational/relational barriers into team and community building bridges. You’ll apply cognitive-communication-conflict management-camaraderie building skills and strategies. Use acclaimed cognitive psychologist, Howard Gardner’s concept of “Multiple Intelligences,” explore “conflict styles” and 4 “H” Humor exercises to playfully and purposefully connect individual and group heads and hearts. Generate a high task–high tolerant culture and imaginatively coordinate the organization’s cultural diversity and its common (and uncommon) humanity. Mind and mine your diversity — release individual creativity and interactive synergy. As the Doc says: “There’s no “I” in TEAM…but there are two “I”s in WINNING!”

Transforming Cultural Diversity into Cultural Collaboration through Interactive-Intelligence and 4 “H” Humor Program Objectives:

1. Explore cognitive complexity, cultural connection and team problem-solving through the cognitive contradiction and cultural nicknames exercises

2. Discover and apply Howard Gardner’s concept of “Multiple Intelligence” as a framework for understanding cognitive and cultural differences

3. Learn to disarm power struggles and defuse critical aggressors through empathically assertive communication and trust-building intervention exercises

4. Overcome “Communication Breakdowns” through “Conflict Styles Inventory” and exercise

5. Discover both the general functions of humor and laughter as well as the 4 “H” Humor Functions (differentiating healing vs. hostile humor) and how they bridge head and heart barriers to cultural connection

6. Confront the “Intimate Foe with the “Fear of Exposure into the Fun of Embarrassment” exercise

7. Channel stress/conflict barriers to cultural connection and team coordination while building bridges to team camaraderie and creativity through the Doc’s acclaimed 3-D — Team Discussion-Drawing-Diversity — exercise

8. Discover the real meaning of the “Serenity Prayer,” “Shrink Rap” ™ and the “Secret of Wisdom”

Seek the Stress Doc’s Higher Power Humor: May the Force and Farce Be with You!

Don’t miss your appointment with the Stress Doc!

Actually, in the 90s, I helped defuse a racial and generational time bomb in a federal govt. agency. Under the pressure of reorganization, if not elimination as a division, (the division was physically relocated from the suburbs to Washington, DC), with job insecurity running rampant, and minorities, women and younger workers beginning to move into positions once mostly filled by the “dominant” culture, fear and frustration turned into rage and retaliation. One group started pulling up and sharing KKK websites. In return, a second group began playing Louis Farrakhan tapes. And the federal government was starting to lose thousands and thousands of dollars in grievance procedures. An outside Project Manager told top management it was time for the Stress Doc ™. After some preliminary meetings with management and the union, two one day “Managing Stress & Conflict and Team Building” programs were held with half of the sixty person division in each program. And through a mix of dynamic and real exercises, constructive and challenging large group dialogue, group role play and my acclaimed team discussion and drawing exercise the aggressive acting out as well as the grievances stopped.

The BLUF (Bottom Line Under Fire): The Project Manager, Greg Davis, observed that our intervention “saved the federal government hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in grievance procedures.”

Here’s a testimonial that reflects both the success of the initial programs and subsequent team building:


SEP 2 1 1998

Mr. Gregory Davis
Project Manager
1919 Parkside Dr., NW
Suite 1000
Washington, D.C. 20012

Dear Greg:

I want to thank you for the work you have done with the Division on our project on stress and conflict management. Thanks to your successful project management and expertise, the project evolved from introductory workshops for Division employees on conflict management to stress management and team building.

In particular, I commend you on your selection of Mr. Mark Gorkin, LICSW, as facilitator for this project. His skills and expertise were critical to ensure the project’s success. Mr. Gorkin’s approach in the first workshops was so successful that we welcomed the opportunity to utilize his talents again for the team building project that followed. He connected with the employees at this division in a way that enabled the team process to move forward with confidence. Mark’s ability to build trust was a key factor. I was also quite impressed with his versatility and ability to adapt to last minute changes in plans. I would highly recommend Mark’s services for future projects.


Special Projects Manager

Also, my recent article on the Wash, DC Metro Tragedy has been published this week by the DC Chapter of Federally Employed Women (FEW). I’ve attached the newsletter. (Readers’ comments appear below.) Feel free to cite, share, make a copy, etc.

Have a joyful, peaceful and safe 4th.


Consider these four “diverse” testimonials along with key program objectives:

NOAA/National Weather Service
[1.5 hour “Creatively Managing Stress and Conflict through Interactive Humor” Program for 120 Diversity Managers, Counselors and Team Reps]

U.S. Dept of Commerce
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
1325 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3283

May 8, 2009

Dear Mark:

On behalf of the National Weather Service’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, I want to thank you once again for your participation at the National Weather Service’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management Training Summit in Atlanta. GA on April 28, 2009. The Summit was a success. The presentation you provided was well-received. It lifted their spirits and gave them an opportunity to laugh and learn how to release any tension they may have been feeling. Your training style is very engaging. On behalf of the National Weather Service’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, thank you.


Charly Wells, Director
NWS Office of Equal Opportunity
& Diversity Management

[email protected]

Dept. Of Homeland Security/Federal Women Employees Month
[“Creatively Dealing with Change and Conflict” — 1.5 hour Keynote for 150 attendees]

May 4, 2009

“Mark Gorkin did a fantastic job of keeping the audience energized in an afternoon presentation entitled “Creatively Dealing with Change and Conflict”! The group exercises were rousing and well-received. Mark was a refreshing change from the usual lecturers and talking heads. One participant stated that he was “quirky but very knowledgeable and interesting”. Numerous laudatory comments were received regarding Mark’s delivery methods. He was definitely the right choice to revitalize the participants right after lunch. Mark is lively, energizing, and informative. He definitely knows his stuff!”

Linda Fresh
Federal Women’s Program Manager
Department of Homeland Security
Headquarters Equal Employment Opportunity Office

[email protected]

(202) 447-0252

Workforce Technology Center/Division of Rehabilitation Services
[2 hour “Values- Based Teaming” Program for 125 attendees]

We did thoroughly enjoy the training and appreciated your flexibility and creativity with infusing your teambuilding exercises into our Core Values program (“Values-Based Teaming”) here at the Workforce and Technology Center. Your ability to energize 125 staff in an auditorium and keep them focused while having fun and learning all at the same time is truly remarkable and a reflection of your skills as a trainer and commitment to ongoing professional development. Thank you again for all of the preparation you did to customize our event.

Melissa C. Pemberton,M.A.Ed.,CRC
Division of Rehabilitation Services
Staff Specialist, Human Resource Development
2301 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

[email protected]

Skylink Travel Stress and Team Building Workshop
[2 hour program for 25 attendees]

For the entire SKYLINK staff I want to thank you for your presentation during our training workshop. It is exactly what we needed in our multicultural group. I have not experienced such a cooperation and participation in many years with the staff. You truly know how to reach your audience.

I am hoping that we can use your insight in future meetings with our other offices, and wish you continued success in all the people you help.

Thank you very much for your time. Teamwork & communication are key elements to our managing our daily work ethic. You were able to express these values in a most acceptable way and open everyone’s mind.

All the very best in your ongoing effort to keep us sane.



Ms. Milchen de Vasconcelos
Regional Sales Manager
Skylink Travel
mvasconcelos @skylinkus.com

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