Four Key Steps to Effective Cultural Interactions

By |2011-02-26T16:00:26+00:00February 26th, 2011|Comments Off on Four Key Steps to Effective Cultural Interactions

A boxer’s discipline can teach us a little about effective multicultural strategies.

Boxers work on known, effective combinations that are rehearsed and developed to the point that they are instinctual.  The most common is the 1-2-3 (jab-cross-hook).  Kickboxers add onto the 1-2-3 combination and add a fourth (leg kick).  Boxers and kickboxers have these combinations memorized and practiced and can throw them at will.

Just being strong or fast is not enough.  To be effective, the talented must be disciplined.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) in a sense is similar (but not as a combat sport!).  There are four domains of development and four steps to effective interactions across cultures and the combination of all four make our interactions fluid and powerful.

CQ has us focus on Motivation, Knowledge, Strategy, and Behavior.  As we intentionally practice the steps, the process becomes more internalized and natural.

When I was first introduced to the concept of CQ I thought to myself: “I have nearly 20 years deep experience with other cultures, I’ve got this.”  Yet what I found is that experience does not necessarily mean mastery.

I took the 4 steps of the CQ process and tried them on a simple communication scenario.  The result were amazing.  A person that I felt “was giving me problems” and was “stubborn” and “unable to make a decision” suddenly made sense to me. I realized that I wanted to work with them in a smooth and efficient way (Motivation). And even more importantly, with my long experience with the culture (Knowledge)  I was able to make a plan (Strategy) and change my approach (Behavior).  The result was more effective interaction.  Intentionally applying the 4 steps and using the strengths I already had I was able to significantly improve my effectiveness in a short amount of time and I was happier in the process.

Having a reliable, well-researched and validated combination at your disposal can create a lot of satisfaction and confidence.   Try the four steps and you will be on your way to being the “Greatest.”

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