A question I often get is “why do I need Cultural Intelligence?”  The one question often includes two layers.

The first layer means “why do I need cultural intelligence to be successful?”  That is usually a pretty easy one for people to understand even if they are asking the question.  It is basically a “softball” question to which I can quote a number of statistics about the costs of getting it wrong in an intercultural context.  Our daily lives are full of important interactions in which, at some level, culture is playing a part.  Whether our work is domestic in a multicultural setting or across a border in an immersed setting, having the skills to navigate the cultural differences is critical.

The second layer of the question usually means “why do I need your cultural intelligence approach?”  This is a natural question as there are many resources for training across cultures.  I have worked across cultures for nearly twenty years and seen a variety of approaches.  There are a number of things I appreciate about the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) tool:

  • CQ is evidence-based, with decades of research.
  • CQ is strengths-based, which appeals to the coach in me.
  • CQ works on a tactical level so can be applied immediately and practically.
  • CQ can be used as a meta-framework and work with other cultural training that may already be in place.

So there is my simple answer to why people need Cultural Intelligence.  The real question (I guess a third level) is how would enhanced cultural intelligence help you in your professional and personal goals? What would be the advantage for you?