The idea has been around for at least a decade but only recently did I discover the concept of cultural intelligence – often known as CQ. According to David Livermore, author of several books on this topic, including The Cultural Intelligence Difference, CQ is the capability to function effectively in a variety of cultural contexts. It is lacking in many people who study, travel or work abroad, probably including most of the 4.5 million North Americans who participate in international mission trips every year. But CQ can be learned and a growing body of research shows how it can smooth relationships, increase cross-cultural understanding and prevent much of the harm and miscommunication that occurs when naïve or uninformed travelers fail to make adaptions to cultural differences.
Cultural intelligence involves four different capabilities:
- CQ Drive is one’s interest, motivation and ongoing determination to function effectively in diverse cultural settings.
- CQ Knowledge is the awareness of how cultures are similar and different, the extent to which one understands core differences and their impact.
- CQ Strategy is how one makes sense of cultural differences, including an understanding of cultural assumptions and expectations so one can manage differences effectively.
- CQ Action is the capacity to apply CQ drive, knowledge and strategy to adapt one’s behavior to different cultures while remaining true to your own values and character.
Each copy of Livermore’s book includes access to an on-line assessment tool that measures individual CQ, followed by recommendations and exercises that enable readers to grow their CQ and become more effective in relating cross-culturally.
In the shadow of Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence and related “intelligence” concepts perhaps it is natural to be skeptical of another, despite reports of its research backing. Even so there is practical value in this concept. This is true for people who travel overseas but also for those who could use CQ in their own communities when adapting to people of other generations, worldviews, religions or cultures.
Has anyone read other Livermore books on CD? How does CQ relate to counseling, coaching or ministry? Please comment.