Diversity & Inclusion

By Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity in Leadership

Globalisation has been growing with racing speed as businesses of all sizes are now crossing international borders and becoming more diverse. This means it is ever more important to understand that the decisions people and organisations make are heavily influenced by their outlooks, beliefs and values, and thus our ability to understand and respect culturally diverse situations is increasingly significant.

What is CQ?

Cultural quotient or cultural intelligence (CQ®) as defined by the Cultural Intelligence Center is the ability to function and relate effectively in culturally diverse situations, and is a globally recognised measurement which is used by leading companies, organisations and governments around the world.

CQ is far more than simple cultural sensitivity and awareness and includes understanding the decisions people and organisations make and how they are influenced by their beliefs, attitudes, and values because of nationality, ethnicity, culture, location, gender and age amongst other things.

What Are The Key Benefits Of CQ?

According to the International Labor Union and the Economist Intelligence Unit, 70% of international ventures that fail are due to cultural differences, and 90% of leading executives from 68 countries named multicultural leadership as their top management challenge.

CQ can be worked on and developed on both an individual and organisational level and predicts characteristics such as personal adaptability, judgment, decision-making, negotiation effectiveness, trust, idea-sharing, innovation and leadership effectiveness.

An organisation with culturally intelligent individuals can more effectively accomplish their objectives, tends to be more profitable, finds it easier to recruit talent and has higher customer satisfaction scores. Such organisations establish better trust, tolerance and understanding, and are more capable of working well across cultures. They enjoy better productivity, teamwork, diversity, negotiation skills, recruitment and performance. They also have reduced talent loss and bias, cultural and ethnic miscommunications, and conflicts in the workplace.  A team with high CQ has a proven exponential positive impact on performance, cooperation and communication.

At an individual level if you have strong cultural intelligence, you are likely to engage and blend successfully in any environment or social setting, communicate well, have strong self-awareness, are less likely to be judgemental or affected by bias, and quickly develop rapport and connect with others. High CQ individuals lead diverse teams effectively, appreciate diverse points of view and adapt easily. These individuals have the skills, knowledge, agility and experience to deal with, and respect any differences that might otherwise be a barrier to someone else.

What is CQ useful for?

CQ is now consistently used in numerous contexts such as leadership development for the C-suite or ‘high potentials’, or management programmes, as well as for team development, recruitment and performance reviews. CQ is useful for diversity and inclusion programmes to enable organisations to quantify and measure progress as a result of D&I initiatives. CQ can help measure the effectiveness of education programmes such as study abroad programmes, organisational training programmes and in schools and universities, as well as change management processes to help manage different cultures coming together such as in mergers and acquisitions or expansion into a new market.

When an organisation or individual decides to improve their CQ, issues can then be addressed through intentional, innovative recruitment and learning strategies, and engaging, research-based profiling, workshops, courses, coaching and digital tools.

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