Leading with Cultural Intelligence
The Real Secret to Success
Author: David Livermore
Pub Date: April 2015
Print Edition: $26.95
Print ISBN: 9780814449172
Page Count: 272
Edition: Second Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814449189
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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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