Leading with Cultural Intelligence

The Real Secret to Success

 Leading with Cultural Intelligence

Author: David Livermore
Pub Date: April 2015
Print Edition: $26.95
Print ISBN: 9780814449172
Page Count: 272
Format: Hardback
Edition: Second Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814449189

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Excerpt

CHAPTER 1: CULTURE MATTERS: WHY YOU NEED CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE

Leadership today is a multicultural challenge. Few of us need

to be convinced of that. We’re competing in a global marketplace,

managing a diverse workforce, and trying to keep up with rapidly

shifting trends. But many approaches to this leadership challenge

either seem way too simplistic (e.g., “Smile, avoid these three

taboos, and you’ll be fine”) or way too extreme (e.g., “Don’t go

anywhere until you’re a cross-cultural guru”). Cultural intelligence

(CQ) offers a better way. The four capabilities presented in this

book can help you navigate any intercultural situation.

What are the biggest hindrances to reaching your goals personally

and professionally? How do you effectively lead a culturally diverse

team? What kinds of cultural situations bring you the greatest

level of fatigue? How do you give instructions for an assignment

to a Norwegian team member versus one from China? What kind

of training should you design for an implementation team coming

from multiple cultural backgrounds? How do you get feedback

from a colleague who comes from a culture that values saving face

above direct, straightforward feedback? And how can you possibly

keep up with all the different cultural scenarios that surface in our

rapidly globalizing world? These are the kinds of questions that

will be answered by developing your cultural intelligence.

All my life I’ve been fascinated by cultures. From as far back

as when I was a Canadian American kid growing up in New York,

I was intrigued by the differences my family would encounter on

our trips across the border to visit our relatives in Canada. The

multicolored money, the different ways of saying things, and the

varied cuisine we found after passing through customs drew me in.

I’ve learned far more about leadership, global issues, and my faith

from cross-cultural experiences and work than from any graduate

course I’ve ever taken or taught. I’ve made people laugh when

I’ve stumbled through a different language or inadvertently eaten

something the “wrong” way. I’ve winced upon later discovering I

offended a group of ethnically different colleagues because I spent

too much time complimenting them. I’m a better leader, teacher,

father, friend, and citizen because of the intercultural friendships

I’ve forged through my work. And through the fascinating domain

of cultural intelligence, I’ve discovered an enriched way to understand

and prepare for my work across borders.

Cultural intelligence is the capability to function effectively across

national, ethnic, and organizational cultures.1 It can be learned by

most anyone. Cultural intelligence offers leaders an overall repertoire

and perspective that can be applied to myriad cultural

situations. It’s an approach that includes four different capabilities,

enabling us to meet the fast-paced demands of leadership in the

global age. This book describes how to gain the competitive edge

and finesse that comes from using these four capabilities to lead

with cultural intelligence. Think about a cross-cultural project

or situation facing you. Take a minute and walk through the four

capabilities of CQ right now:

1. CQ Drive: What’s your motivation for engaging with the cultural dimensions of this project?

2. CQ Knowledge: What cultural differences will most influence this project?

3. CQ Strategy: How will you plan in light of the cultural differences?

4. CQ Action: How do you need to adapt your behavior to function effectively on this project?

If you don’t have a clue how to answer some of these questions,

I’ll get to all that. But before more fully describing cultural intelligence

and how to develop it, we need to spend a few minutes

understanding its relevance to leadership.

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