Leading with Cultural Intelligence
Create CQ Decision-Making Systems
The process of decision making is another key element of becom-
ing a more culturally intelligent organization. Each organization
has its own process of decision making, which works in tandem
with the national cultures of which the organization is a part. Some
organizational cultures use a decision-making model that places
primary interest in establishing norms and shaping the industry
or market. For example, Apple Computer’s foray into producing
portable music players and cell phones demonstrated an organiza-
tional culture intent on redefining how people listen to music and
use a mobile phone. These kinds of cultures don’t base their deci-
sions primarily on what the market currently says it likes. Instead,
these organizations want to create a new norm in the cultures
where they work. On the other hand, many other organizational
cultures are characterized by being primarily market driven and
pragmatic. These businesses look at what’s currently a successful
trend and offer a product that taps into that market.
Another difference in decision-making approaches are organi-
zations that base their decisions on data and research versus those
that make decisions more intuitively or based on an edict from
a senior leader in the organization. Still other organizational cul-
tures wed research with a more intuitive sense of chemistry about
something while others are highly democratic and incentivize em-
ployees and constituents to offer innovative ideas. It’s certainly
appropriate for an organization to develop and retain its own or-
ganizational decision-making style, but this approach may need to
be adapted when moving in and out of different ethnic cultures.
Culturally intelligent teams ask, how do we learn which innova-
tions are worthy of our investment and energy when considering
culturally different markets? And how do the various cultures and
regions of our team influence how we decide? Develop an over-
all decision-making process that helps your team balance an ap-
propriate measure of self-governing authority while also knowing

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