“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”. 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?!
 Livermore. Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success. New York: Amacom, 2009, Kindle Edition, loc. 217.