Is CQ for me?

In today’s day and age, globalization is all around us.  With multinational firms, global clients and offshore outsourcing, the possibilities for global interactions are endless.  It is no longer uncommon for a single project to be collaborated on in several different time zones simultaneously.  Let’s face it – the world now seems like a smaller place.  In order for organizations and leaders to be effective in managing their diverse workforce and global operations they must be able to maneuver seamlessly through cultures.  Today it is more important than ever to be aware of cultural intelligence.

However, it must be stressed that cultural intelligence is not only important for top managers in global firms.  The importance of CQ spans much wider than one may initially expect.  Whether you are:

  • A sales force unable to talk to the company’s engineers;
  • A military interacting with an asset from an obscure tribal group;
  • A university student on a project team with a foreign exchange student;
  • An elementary teacher confused when a new student will not participate in class;
  • A manager of a company negotiating with an overseas firm;
  • Or ‘simply’, a multicultural workforce comprised of different genders, ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds

The need for cultural intelligence is crucial to one’s success in a large number of situations.  It is not only important for those who interact with people from different countries but also from diverse cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds.  The need for CQ spreads to both work and non-work cultural settings.

Enhancing one’s CQ is important for people who function in multicultural teams and domestic settings, as well as for expatriates, global leaders and travelers.  It must also be noted that CQ is beneficial for understanding the cultural behaviours of various departments, divisions and professions, for they too have their own cultures.

I challenge you to start thinking of the numerous times you interact with someone from a different background each and every day.  You will be surprised by how often it is!

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1 comment to Is CQ for me?

  • Toronto Principal

    As a Principal of an elementary school in Toronto, I am faced with students who challenge my cultural intelligence on a daily basis. It is important that educators take the necessary time to get to know students’ life experiences and their cultural values in order to create meaningful teaching and learning opportunities with them. Sometimes we ‘expect’ that students will just automatically ‘fit’ into the box we present them with, rather than set high expectations of ourselves to learn about the students (and their families) that are in front of us. We assume that our values are the ‘correct’ values, the ‘only’ values, without being open and accepting of those of other cultures. Our lives (and the lives of our students) would be so much richer if we sought to develop our cultural intelligence with purpose and intent.