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?