Cultural Intelligence is defined by the individuals ability to adapt cognitively, physically and motivationally to new cultures whether organizational or ethnic. Simply, CQ represents an individuals ability to successfully adapt and flourish in a changing environment.
Last post we took a look at James and established his low CQ. In this example his low CQ resulted in his leaving his job. Although this is one option for dealing with issues of cultural intelligence, lets take a look at some more productive strategies.
As with any other form of personal development the first step is to be aware of your CQ strengths and weaknesses and pay appropriate attention to each. Next, and again not surprising you will have to step outside your comfort zone and practice overcoming your CQ weaknesses. For example, if you have low physical CQ and have issues adjusting physically to new situations then perhaps you should take a stage acting class. If you have low motivational CQ then spend one evening a week somewhere you ordinarily wouldn’t (like a Native American drum circle or a Salsa club – depending on your existing preferences!) and try to make a new friend.
These suggestions may seem simple or perhaps strange but in the case of CQ it isn’t a ‘business’ issue at root, it is a personal issue that needs to be dealt with accordingly. A business school sponsored training program is unlikely to help someone with low motivational CQ experience the benefits of adaptability more effectively than simply trying something they generally wouldn’t. You can find more strategies for enhancing cultural intelligence through The Cultural Intelligence Centre.
However, CQ does become an issue of ‘business’ when you are trying to boost the CQ level of an organization. A topic that Mary Stacey of Context Management Consulting in Toronto will be exploring at her upcoming workshop at MaRS on December 3, 2009. For those of you unable to attend I will share the session content and outcomes here.