Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is defined as an individual's capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity.
Individuals and organizations that assess and develop CQ are experiencing many important outcomes including:
More effective cross-cultural adjustment
Enhanced job performance
Improved personal well-being
A skills focus
CQ is unique in that it focuses specifically on the skills needed for success in unfamiliar cultures.
Everybody has a specific CQ
It predicts performance
It can be assessed and enhanced
A loci of intelligence
CQ is a form of intelligence that has been tested by academic researchers in more than 90 countries and every major industry and region of the world. CQ is similar to IQ and EQ in that it quantifies a set of capabilities believed to be important to both personal and professional success.
The CQ concept
The CQ concept was first introduced by two business researchers, Christopher Early and Soon Ang, in their 2003 book, Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions Across Cultures. They wrote the book for an academic audience, but a year later a report in the Harvard Business Review described cultural intelligence as a core capability essential for success in the 21st century business.
Since then, Cultural Intelligence has attracted worldwide attention across diverse disciplines and has been cited in more then 60 academic journals.
Cultural Intelligence affords unprecedented opportunities for life and work in the 21st Century
Cultural Intelligence is more than possessing knowledge about cultures. It's more than accumulating details of one or more of the global clusters ... the ins and outs of eating and greeting in a specific context. Knowledge itself is no guarantee to effective behaviour. CQ encompasses the 4 capabilities of Cultural Intelligence, CQ Drive, CQ Knowledge, CQ Strategy and CQ Action and research shows that to be effective requires a combination of the four capabilities.
Leaders and organizations who prioritize Cultural Intelligence are more likely to accomplish their goals
Diversity + High CQ = INNOVATION
Culturally diverse teams with lower levels of CQ are less engaged and productive than homogenous teams are. But multicultural teams with increased CQ provide one of the greatest sources of innovation.
International Travel + High CQ = TRANSFORMATION
Going abroad with low CQ can result in frustration, missed opportunities and increased ethnocentrism. But overseas experience combined with higher CQ can result in lifetime impact.
Leadership Skills/Experience + High CQ = GLOBAL LEADERSHIP
The majority of leadership materials don't apply to high power distance and collectivist context (to which most of the world belongs). But leadership skills combined with high CQ results in the most effective global leaders.
Cultural intelligence training and assessments are being used in numerous contexts, including:
Other Not-for-profit Organisations.
Intercultural Tailored Solutions is affiliated with the Cultural Intelligence Center, Michigan, USA. All information relating to Cultural Intelligence has been adapted from their material.
Cultural Intelligence can be applied to any intercultural exchange and is effectively used in:
Leadership Development Programs
Many organizations use the CQ Multi-Rater Assessment as part of executive coaching, senior and mid-level management programs and most often in "High Potential" or emerging leadership programs. The most successful applications combine the assessment, training and one-on-one coaching.
Recruitment, Hiring and Promotion
Many successful organizations bring about their greatest shifts by hiring and promoting according to their strategic values. Cultural intelligence should be assessed in the midst of hiring and used as a metric of performance appraisals. In addition, recruiters receive cultural intelligence training in order to help them find diverse talent who will fit well with their organization.
The assessments are being used in some contexts as part of the annual review process. Individuals can then set goals and create their professional development plan in light of the results from their CQ feedback reports. The most effective application of the CQ assessment in this context is focused upon personal development, not evaluation.
The most effective training for associates is targeted to their specific context. A few of the contexts where training and assessment are often used include virtual teams, faculty development programs, IT managers, continued education for nurses, social workers and counsellors etc.
Diversity and Inclusion Programs
Cultural Intelligence offers a fresh approach to diversity and inclusion. It provides a data-driven approach to this important area and helps turn the focus of D&I on potential rather than upon compliance or punitive efforts. Cultural intelligence training provides a consistent language and model for D&I across an organization.
Various organizations use assessments, training and coaching to prepare and support individuals who are being given an international assignment. In some cases, the assessment is used for selection purposes but is primarily used to develop and pinpoint growth strategies.
The CQ assessments provide a valid way of assessing the effectiveness of various programs for intercultural capabilities. Study Abroad programs, University departments, high schools, and various organizational training programs utilize CQ assessments as part of auditing their programs. In addition, the results can be used for accrediting purposes.