Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

“Is England in London?”

Written by: on May 25, 2017

“I have a friend in London – do you know them?”

“Y’all are visiting England – do they still serve bland food like they did when I visited twenty years ago?”

These are just a couple of the culturally intelligent questions I have heard or read from a certain nationality in the past couple of years.


Leading with Cultural Intelligence aims to help people develop and lead with what the author calls “cultural intelligence” – “the capability to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures”.[1] Livermore does this using four quadrants 1) CQ drive 2) CQ knowledge 3) CQ strategy 4) CQ action.


To me, the book felt a little contrived and took a long time to say what I felt was fairly self-evident, using a lot of pseudo-scientific terminology. If you want to increase your ‘CQ knowledge’, learn a foreign language, read international novels, be globally informed, research where you are going and go to the grocery store. This felt like MBO territory – ministry of the bleeding obvious


Obviously cultural intelligence is important, particularly when leading and interacting across cultures, and we can all get better at it. Understanding the different ways in which we communicate, express agreement and disagreement, and so on can be a minefield. I lived and worked in Germany for several years, and the differences in culture were very evident and easily misunderstood. The Germans are generally direct and can appear very blunt (and rude) to the understated British. We still interact with German friends, and still have to remind ourselves that they are not being rude – they are just being German!

Now I get to study with a group of Americans – and I am learning once again to interact cross-culturally…. You say tomeeeto – I say tomaaato….

I would be interested to know what you all think are some of the main differences between the Americans and the Brits?!





[1] Livermore. Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success. New York: Amacom, 2009, Kindle Edition, loc. 217.


About the Author

Geoff Lee

9 responses to ““Is England in London?””

  1. Mary says:

    Actually we say “too MAY toh.”
    This book coming on the heels of Dr. Percy’s book just reminded me how much I admire that British understatement. So much more civilized. Why say, “What a stupid idiot!” when you can say, “He’s a couple of pints shy”?
    I agree with you, Kristin, Jim, and Jen – let’s get better at EQ and CQ because we do value and respect others. It is a global world and I would love to see the day when we are comfortable enough with it that we can laugh together at our differences.
    Thanks for your honest and amusing post.

  2. Jennifer Dean-Hill says:

    Aww Geoff! Where do I begin? Brits are very polite which is very confusing and delightful all at the same time. Brits seem more balanced with work and play than Americans, and make an event of their “tea time”, while Americans seem to be gulping down their coffee. Brits use fun words like “quibble” and “ditty” which we Americans have forgotten in our language. Anyways, just to name a few. What are the differences you see with Americans?

    • Geoff Lee says:

      Off the top of my head…
      Brits have 5 weeks’ paid vacation a year…
      Sarcasm…..cynicism….good chocolate (what is it with American chocolate uuurgggh)
      Americans are less cynical, more willing to believe the best and champion success.
      Better service
      Way too many commercials on TV in America

  3. Kristin Hamilton says:

    “ministry of the bleeding obvious” hahahahaha I love that.
    I think what seems obvious to people who live in a more globally present city/country like England is probably news to many (most?) Americans. I can see how the book seems contrived to you but I imagine it was meant for those of us here in the land of the #blessed. I learned a lot about how culturally unaware/ignorant America is as a whole (at least those of us who are a couple of generations in). We expect others to know our language, customs, and idiosyncracies, but we are not generally good about watching, listening, and learning others’.
    Main differences between Brits and Americans? Oh gosh – well, we aren’t nearly as polite as the Brits, but we do have much better coffee. 🙂

  4. Geoff Lee says:

    Americans can be very polite at first at a superficial level – but also very pushy!
    Brits are into coffee big time now – you just need to know where to look….

  5. Lynda Gittens says:

    Hi Geoff
    I agree with you about the book regarding knowing that you need to adjust with communicating with one of a different culture. But there are many who refuse to adjust and demand you to change.
    I laughed at your opening statement because I use to do that.
    We say “A-lew-min-num, You say ‘Al-la-min-num’

  6. Jim Sabella says:

    Geoff, our sons attend a British academy for most of this schooling and so, though we have not lived in the UK, we have a bit of experience.

    Of course, there are the differences in the use of words. For example, que up to the loo, dustbin lorry, lift, flat, etc. Also, I’ve never “gotten my head around” the idea of the burning of and effigy of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire as a school celebration! 🙂

    However, the major differences have to do with worldview. Two differences that impact the British would view are the monarchy and WWII. A multitude of volumes have been written about both, these are just quick thoughts.

    For an American, it is difficult to imagine the influence that the monarchy has had on Britain. Traditionally, social hierarchy has been a driving force in the shaping of Britain and its culture. In Britain, this hierarchy has allowed for a cultural etiquette to form that makes Britain seem more formal to an American and America more causal to the British.

    In addition to the differences in social hiearchy, the American and British experiences of WWII are also different. For an American, WWII was fought an ocean away, while for the British, the war was fought in their backyards! The proximity makes the difference.

    These two difference make Britain wonderfully unique in the world.

  7. Katy Drage Lines says:

    Geoff, my favorite questions, when we lived in Kenya, were “oh, we know so-and-so in Zambia; have you met them?” Most Americans are mono-cultural; are Brits?

    Worldview differences b/t Brits and Americans? I’ll add to what the others have said and suggest that Americans have a short view of history; our country and our mindset are very young. Britain’s long history has given Brits a long perspective; perhaps that’s why they can say, “Keep calm and carry on.” They’ve seen that short term disasters can’t destroy what’s been planted deep.

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