DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Cultural Intelligence and Self Differentiation

Written by: on October 27, 2016

Every Wednesday at noon I walk into a kind of liminal space and seek to be a global leader. I leave the familiarity of Corvallis, enter a room filled with international students eating soup, and look for an open chair in order to sit down and talk with perfect strangers who are nationally, culturally, linguistically different from me. I am an extrovert, but this is still a challenge. At times I have a quick internal self-differentiation conversation, to calm myself and to be a non anxious person in order to build relationships with international students.

DSC_0597

Mohammed, a poultry nutrition graduate student from Iran, visits a local chicken farmer.

In Manfred Kets de Vries’ book The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, he discusses many of the undercurrents within the mind and heart of leaders, in general, and global leaders in particular. I saw myself and my current engagements in these pages. I also realized that this book parallels Edwin Friedman’s A Failure of Nerve. In fact reading The Leadership Mystique involved processing the relationship between cultural intelligence [CQ] and self-differentiation. Being well differentiated contributes significantly to CQ and emotional intelligence [EQ].

Kets de Vries says, “…emotional intelligence…is at least as important as logical-mathematical intelligence. A high IQ…can be trumped by a high EQ.” [1] He states EQ increases as we become aware of our emotional processes and learn to control those emotions. “Self-knowledge is the first step toward emotional intelligence.” [2] He writes about a leader’s “internal theater” and the “interplay of rational and irrational forces behind executive behavior.” He asks, “What are the script and setting of this person’s internal theater?” [3] He looks at “The failure factor in leadership,” and “dissects the interplay of rational and irrational forces behind executive behavior.” [4]

In A Failure of Nerve Edwin Friedman describes a self-differentiated person and says, “…I mean someone who has clarity about his or her own life goals, and, therefore someone who is less likely to become lost in the anxious emotional processes swirling about…I mean someone who can manage his or her own reactivity…” [5] Friedman points to a healthy leader as one who is aware of the simultaneous operation of the emotional and rational aspects of our inner workings, and is therefore well differentiated.

Although the terminology is different in these two books and the fine-tuning of the inner workings differs, they both recognize that strong and effective leaders are self-aware and able to control these inner workings.

I found significant connection to Kets de Vries’ writing in two particular chapters. In Chapter 8, “Characteristics of effective leadership,” he wrote, “Major demographic shifts are taking place, including ever-growing urbanization and growth in what the West likes to term ‘minority groups,’” [6]

“Those leaders wise enough to realize that they can’t ignore these changes are looking desperately for answers. They want to know…what the implications of all these changes are for their organizations. They want to know what kind of leadership competencies will be needed to address those implications, and what the marketplace changes have to say about how we select and develop the leaders of tomorrow.” [7]

We see a kind of cultural and racial shift in Corvallis because of the 4,000 international students living and studying here. Consequently the need for global leadership has come to our own doorstep.

As with books we read last year, represented by Leading with Cultural Intelligence, [8] Kets de Vries makes a strong case for the realities of globalization and the implications of this phenomenon for leaders today. My D. Min. project focuses on leadership training for international students prior to their return home. But even though a major part of our preparation for this education focuses on training appropriate to the culture of each student, Kets de Vries has helped me realize that because of the realities of globalization, these students need to be trained as global leaders because of the rapidly changing global community. Even China cannot escape the realities and effects of globalization. We witnessed this in Hong Kong as a Special Administrative District, with financial legal specialists linking Chinese stock markets with the rest of the world, via Hong Kong.

In The Leadership Mystique Chapter 9, “Leadership in a global context,” was the second place of particular personal connection, with significant relevance for my dissertation project. Kets de Vries says, “With the increasing globalization of business, we can no longer ignore the fact that there’s a strong cultural dimension to leadership – that is, that there are variations in what’s acceptable as a leadership style depending on one’s national culture.” [9]

He describes the institution where he teaches. “…INSEAD, a business school in France and Singapore, which has no national identity, is a breeding ground for attitudes of cultural relativity. INSEAD students work in mixed-nationality study groups over their ten-month course. As these individuals work together on various projects, they develop the necessary cross-cultural mindset, minimizing ethnocentricity.” [10]

Reading this paragraph felt like he had been reading my mind. It forced serious rethinking of the outcome I seek as I work with Cornerstone School Of Ministry in cross-cultural leadership development. I suddenly began to ask myself, “Do we want to create Chinese and American leaders, or do we want to train Global Leaders?” The latter seems to be the better goal.

Kets de Vries says, “Global leaders must create multicultural organizational communities by establishing a corporate culture that transcends these differences and establishes a number of ‘beacons’ – values and attitudes – that are comprehensible to employees from diverse cultural groups.” [11]

After reading this I am now thinking that my target artifact should be an International Leadership Community designed to create global leaders. We must “create a multicultural school community by establishing an educational culture that transcends cultural differences and establishes values and attitudes that are comprehensible to students from diverse cultural groups.”

[1] Manfred Kets de Vries, The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, (Harlow, England: Prentice Hall, 2006), 23.
[2] Ibid., 26.
[3] Ibid., xx.
[4] Ibid., xxii.
[5] Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, (New York, NY: Seabury Books, 2007), 14.
[6] Kets de Vries, 164.
[7] Ibid., 164.
[8] David Livermore, Leading With Cultural Intelligence, (New York, NY: AMACOM, 2015).
[9] Kets de Vries, 174.
[10] Ibid., 190.
[11] Ibid., 192.

About the Author

mm

Marc Andresen

I have a B. A. in Music from San Diego State University and received an M. Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1977. July 1 2015 I retired after 38 years in pastoral ministry. The passion and calling that developed in the last 20 years is leadership training in cross-cultural contexts, as my wife and I have had many opportunities to teach in Eastern Europe and Africa. I have been married for 38 years and have two adult children, one daughter-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter. My hobbies are photography and British sports cars.

11 responses to “Cultural Intelligence and Self Differentiation”

  1. Marc thank you for this. Wow! This book seems to line up with exactly the same trajectory that you have been on for a long time. Keep going for it man! I think this book will be for you like it is for me, a textbook. No doubt you and I will be referring to this book over and over again. Great blog!

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Thanks Aaron. I have thought many times that I could work with Cornerstone School of Ministry without doing so within a D. Min. program. But, the end ‘product’ for Cornerstone will be much higher quality because of creating this training program via D. Min. studies.

  2. Nice! I’m enjoying the journey with you and can’t wait for the finished “product.”

  3. Marc,

    Great expression of your thoughts this week. I too have experienced this shift in my thinking as we have been reading this semester. I think what has become very evident to me is the thought of being inclusive instead of exclusive. Instead of just writing for the Millennial generation it must be for the next generation as well. Otherwise we will end up in the same place that past leadership has led us. Thanks for your thought. Global Leadership development has a certain ring to it doesn’t it?

    Kevin

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Kevin,

      Yes, Global Leadership Development does have a ring to it. AND – as to the long-range goals of the Fox/Portland Seminary D. Min. – doesn’t it even more fully complete the vision of “Leadership and Global Perspectives” if it’s not just we 10 who are being trained – but that we’re also training the next generation of leaders to be global leaders?

      Having spent my adult life in ministry, I find no greater satisfaction than to hand off ministry to the next generation.

  4. mm Phil Goldsberry says:

    Marc:

    This book was definitely down your lane on your dissertation and your present passion. The heart that you have for international students now seems to be readjusted for the better.

    What are 2 principles that you are walking away with from Kets de Vries that have the potential to take your mission and propel it past what you dreamed?

    Phil

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Phil,

      Two principles:

      One is found in my paraphrase of Kets de Vries: We must “create a multicultural school community by establishing an educational culture that transcends cultural differences and establishes values and attitudes that are comprehensible to students from diverse cultural groups.”

      This elevates the goal of the school above simply adding training for international students to creating a school that is truly multi-cultural.

      The second is found in Kets de Vries’ statement: “…INSEAD, a business school in France and Singapore, which has no national identity, is a breeding ground for attitudes of cultural relativity. INSEAD students work in mixed-nationality study groups over their ten-month course. As these individuals work together on various projects, they develop the necessary cross-cultural mindset, minimizing ethnocentricity.”

      I had been thinking more and more that some of the best education we could offer would be found in cross-cultural peer study groups. Kets de Vries did more than “give permission” for this concept. He validated that this is a preferable model.

      Thanks for the great question. It further solidifies my goals.

  5. Claire Appiah says:

    Marc,
    Thanks for another fantastic blog. I love the way your vision of your dissertation project is advancing as you continually glean new perspectives from our assigned readings. Your final statement in this blog says it all, “We must create a multicultural school community by establishing an educational culture that transcends cultural differences and establishes values and attitudes that are comprehensible to students from diverse cultural groups.” By this statement I understand that there is no incongruity between training international students for leadership relevant to their own cultural context, and simultaneously training them as global leaders because the cultural context of their origin will also be impacted by continual changes due to the realities of globalization. Thanks for this eye-opener.

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Claire,

      Thanks for your comment. It further solidifies my take-aways from this book. We have heard over and over that as we gain understanding of other cultures, we increase in understanding of our own culture. Your comment affirms this. Thank you.

  6. mm Garfield Harvey says:

    Marc,
    Great perspective. You seem to agree that leadership music be viewed in a global context because of the diverse national cultures. I agree with this approach as well because countries like America is a melting pot of cultures. I’d agree that your artifact takes on a global approach because of the diverse cultures that your research will engage.

    Garfield

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Garfield,

      I am very excited for ministry and for academic cultural exploration to see what we can learn if we can create an international learning community. I hope all who participate can see the enrichment of such an international learning community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *