Why is it that some people seem extremely comfortable interacting with others who come from different cultures, while others seem like a fish out of water in those circumstances? Is it merely a matter of who has experience and who doesn’t, or is there something more to it? This is the area that has piqued my interest for the last several years, and it is the foundation of our research on cultural intelligence, or CQ—the capability to be effective in any culture.

The world includes gifted musicians, athletes, economists, and writers. In the same way, some people are culturally intelligent— that is, they have the gift of effectively interacting and working with people from diverse cultures. But ...

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