Recruit Travel Companions: Developing CQ in Your Team
rests on a team of senior leaders who can draw on the four-step
cycle of cultural intelligence.
Begin by painting a picture for your leaders of what it looks like
to become a more culturally intelligent organization. Some of the
questions I consistently use when talking with senior leaders about
this include the following:
What are your key performance goals?
What are the biggest challenges hindering you from reaching
those goals?
In what way does culture play a part in your challenges (e.g.,
a dispersed workforce, multicultural teams, culturally diverse
markets, expatriate assignments, short-term travel)?
Communicate the ways cultural intelligence can help address
some of the key roadblocks facing your team. Explain the four-step
cycle of the cultural intelligence model and regularly run through
it with cultural situations facing you as a leader. Have each leader
complete a CQ assessment (more information available at http://
Next, develop a collaborative plan for making cultural intel-
ligence nonnegotiable in your organizational future. This cant
simply be relegated to a department like human resources or in-
ternational operations. The senior leaders have to personally forge
the way in leading with cultural intelligence. CQ has to be woven
throughout each part of the organization.
Fill the Organization with CQ Team Members
Although individuals in senior positions of leadership have to lead
the way in embracing and prioritizing cultural intelligence, eventu-
ally most of the personnel throughout an organization need some
measure of cultural intelligence. The greater the degree of cultural
Leading with Cultural Intelligence
distance encountered by team members in their daily work, the
more important it is for them to understand and grow in cultural
intelligence. Therefore, the most obvious positions where cultural
intelligence should become a required skill set among your team
include international project managers, expatriate assignments,
and representatives who are expected to travel internationally on
your behalf.
Consider how to develop cultural intelligence even among em-
ployees who dont fill the kinds of positions that have direct respon-
sibility for negotiating and working cross-culturally. The vision and
values of your organization are ultimately whatever experience a
customer has any time she encounters one of your team members.
The support person answering e-mails and returning phone calls
is your organization to the individual on the other end of that e-
mail or phone call. The faculty member behind closed doors in the
classroom is your university to his students. The nurse treating the
immigrant is your hospital to that patient and her family. Reflecting
cultural intelligence in the way you write your mission statement,
market your products, or share your vision is important. However,
it pales in contrast with the role your personnel play in communi-
cating how your organization functions among people of differ-
ence. The way your team behaves cross-culturally reflects as much
on your entire organization as it does on them personally. Begin
by assessing the degree to which cultural intelligence is important
for various functions in the organization. Two roles where CQ is
extremely important are human resource personnel and those who
have to travel and work internationally.
Human Resource Personnel
There are few departments for whom cultural intelligence has
as much direct relevance to their day-to-day work as the human
resource department. Don’t hire a human resource director who
doesn’t have strong CQ! Human resource personnel are going to

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