Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do You Have Cultural Intelligence?

As Steve Miller for IndustryWeek states in "Are You Cued in to Cultural Intelligence?:"
Understanding the culture of the parties you are negotiating with is vital in order to establish a successful business relationship.
Agree? Disagree?

With increasing globalization, cultural intelligence becomes ever more crucial to global business success. We covered this issue extensively eight years ago with, "Are You Ready? Take the Global IQ Test To Find Out (available for download here)" -- here's tip No. 3:
3). Are you adaptable, do you take risks, and can you be innovative?

Adaptability means that if you don’t know how different markets operate, you find out—fast. You stay sensitive to the cultural values of other countries. And if things appear one way today and another tomorrow, you shift gears and work with conditions as you find them. Creating your strategy on your feet is the only way to do global business.

The more you risk, the greater your chances for success or failure, but either way you’re pushing your limits and extending your reach. There comes a point in every initiative when you must recognize the risks and move forward anyway. Remember, you learn the most from failure, so take what chances you can afford.

Keeping the mind fresh, fertile, and open to new perspectives—the prerequisites of innovation—is a must if you want to effectively conduct business worldwide. There are endless ways of opening your mind that you can get to work on right now. View as many Web sites as possible. For example, check out www.ImprovEdge.com, which uses the techniques of improvisational theater to help executives learn to think fast, react to sudden changes, and build truly effective teams.

Beyond surfing the Internet, take long walks in unfamiliar neighborhoods. See foreign films. Meet people in other professions. Join social groups that attract members of other nationalities. Don’t withdraw when confronted with cultural differences—hang in there and ask yourself why you feel the way you do. This is real learning. Give yourself a chance to discover your own unexamined values and assumptions and you will find it a lot easier to accept others’ unfamiliar approaches!

©2001 Laurel Delaney. All rights reserved.
Back to cultural intelligence. According to Miller's article, David Livermore, executive director of the Global Learning Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., and author of "Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success," has fresh insights to share on the topic. I have not read his recently published book so I cannot comment on its content.

However, I have read Silvia Cambie's and Yang-May Ooi's new book, "International Communications Strategy: Developments in cross-cultural communications, PR and social media" which examines the cross-cultural challenges facing the communication industry and offers experienced advice.

Whether derived from an article, book or experience, one cannot emphasize enough the importance of cultural competence in the world of business.


David Livermore said...

Hi Laurel. Thanks for mentioning Steve's piece on cultural intelligence. And I so appreciate the way you highlighted that cultural competence means so much more than just treating people with respect--thought that's a great place for all of us to begin. Like you, I'm increasingly observing how communication, negotiation, marketing, and lots more are impacted by culture. This challenge/opportunity is only going to increase in the months ahead.

I enjoyed perusing your blog. Keep writing!

Laurel Delaney said...

Hi, David,

Great to hear from you! Thanks for taking time to peruse The Global Small Business Blog. Glad you like what we write about.

I am set to read your book in the next couple of weeks. Will be able to comment more intelligently about it afterward. I might reach out to you for an interview. Important and relevant topic. Our readers would welcome more of your insight.

All the best,