Leading with Cultural Intelligence
youd best tap into cultural intelligence to determine how to nego-
tiate in a way that will appeal to the values of Chinese businesses.
And when selecting a cross-border partner, you need to identify
the key competitive factors associated with working together, as-
sess the cultural and organizational risks connected with each of
these factors, and draw on these in your corporate decision mak-
Culturally intelligent strategies help us identify, plan for, and
manage risks beforehand as well as on the fly when the unexpected
happens and it will!
Form CQ Structures
Next, we need to create appropriate structures and mechanisms
for enacting CQ strategies. CQ knowledge helps us form struc-
tures that consider the role of varying cultural systems (e.g., legal
and religious) and values (e.g., time and power distance) for how
we work in different markets. For example, although the system
used for negotiating contracts needs some uniformity through-
out your organization, it also needs to be flexible enough to re-
alistically reach a contract in various cultures. You have to figure
out how to retain legal and scal responsibility (e.g., a signed
contract) while also accommodating the informal, unofficial ap-
proaches to negotiation used in many less industrial countries.
The differences in the maturity of legal frameworks for contract
law, property rights, and arbitration procedures are precisely why
culturally intelligent structures are necessary.
Refer back to the
leadership implications of the cultural systems and values de-
scribed in Chapters 4 and 5.
Another reason to develop CQ structures is to accommodate
the geographical distance that exists between offices and affiliates
across an organization. This distance often results in time zone dif-
ferences and disparity in telecommunication infrastructures, the
Recruit Travel Companions: Developing CQ in Your Team
scope of knowledge sources, and the scale of a partner’s business.
A culturally intelligent structure across physical distance might
include a roaming schedule for conference calls among regional
leaders so everyone can share the inconvenient time slots. A simple
adaptation like this one goes a long way to building a culturally
intelligent organization.
Universities that draw large populations of international stu-
dents provide another way to think about the need for culturally
intelligent structures. International students usually come with a
different set of academic and personal needs than home culture
students have. Culturally intelligent structures are needed to help
them succeed. Similar kinds of flexible structures are needed for
the varying religious beliefs and practices held by diverse faculty
and students.
One of the challenges for the culturally intelligent organiza-
tion is to develop malleable structures while not reinventing the
entire process every time you move into a new cultural context.
Customizing and adapting structures is essential, but it’s unsus-
tainable to build a new structure for each situation. And at some
point, completely re-creating your structures and product line
for every context can result in losing your brand identity alto-
gether. McDonald’s fries and shakes taste pretty similar in Chicago
and Delhi. Theres some uniformity to the experience of eating
at McDonald’s most anywhere. But the localized approaches to
menus demonstrate some flexible structures within McDonald’s
international approach. The flavor of shakes available in Chicago
and Delhi restaurants is different. And the basic McDonald’s
product the hamburger isn’t available at its Indian stores.
McDonald’s has developed a structure that can demonstrate re-
spect for the Hindu convictions toward eating beef. So instead of
the Big Mac, the McVeggie is at the center of the McDonald’s menu
in India. As flexible structures, services, and products are devel-
oped and morphed, your team is allowed to function in culturally
intelligent and productive ways.

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