Chapter 7
What behaviors do I need to adjust?
Changing verbal and nonverbal actions appropriately
when interacting cross-culturally
Profile of a leader
with high CQ
Leaders with high CQ action can draw on the
other three dimensions of CQ to translate
their enhanced motivation, understanding,
and planning into action. They possess a
broad repertoire of behaviors, which they can
use depending on the context.
Leading with Cultural Intelligence
Two years ago, Simon left his role as a CEO of a growing com-
pany in Chicago and became president of a small, private liberal
arts college in New England. The college has enjoyed a long repu-
tation for offering an excellent liberal arts education but has been
at a plateau for the last decade. The organizational structure is
inflexible; enrollment is in decline; and the college has very little
ethnic diversity among its faculty, staff, and students. Simon and
the college seemed like a perfect match. Education is something
Simon has always valued, not the least of which is evident by his
Ph.D. in business from the University of Chicago. He thrives on
coming in and reinventing an organization. He’s an innovator, a
charismatic leader, and naturally curious about different cultures
given his own Chinese-American heritage. I met Simon when he
agreed to be part of my research on cultural intelligence among ac-
ademic leaders. Simon describes himself as obsessive-compulsive.
Hes extremely fit, his clothes are always neatly pressed, and his
office is meticulously tidy. His magnetic smile matches his conta-
gious personality.
Simon described his first two years at the college as the hardest
assignment he had ever been given. This was no small statement
coming from him. The last company he led filed for bankruptcy
just before he arrived. In less than three years, he led a turnaround
resulting in the company’s most profitable year over its twenty-
five-year history. And the business he led prior to that one was also
in crisis before he came in and quickly gave it a bright, new future.
But Simon felt like he had met his match. There were far too few
results from his first twenty-four months of leading the college.
Sure, the financial picture was more sound and enrollment had at
least held steady. But that was far from the kind of performance
Simon was used to.
Simon had a decent understanding of the academic subcul-
ture. He knew he couldnt just apply the same kinds of leader-
ship approaches at the college that he used in the business world.

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