One of the big myths I come across with my clients is that international experience equals cultural intelligence.

These two may be correlated but international experience does not automatically cause high cultural intelligence.

In fact I would say that international experience gives the OPPORTUNITY to develop high cultural intelligence.  The truth is that many professionals are on “cultural auto-pilot.”  Many of us may have observed the professional with tons of frequent flyer miles, but who is still making the same mistakes they made years earlier in their career.

One excellent way to break out of old patterns is to make our experiences work for us. Start by listing up memorable positive experiences working across cultures.  Next list up memorable negative experiences.  What did you learn from these experiences?  What patterns do you notice? What could you apply today?

International experience is incredibly valuable, but only if we can learn from and apply that experience to our our work.