CQ Strategy

In this episode of the CQ for Global Leaders Podcast, Tom discusses the third component of cultural intelligence, which is CQ Strategy.

CQ Strategy

  • CQ Strategy is being aware of what’s going on. It’s all about having a plan for interaction and making sure that it is aligned with the culture you are interacting with.

3 Aspects of CQ Strategy

  • Planning – knowing what you need to be conscious of when interacting with another culture that is different from your own.
  • Being aware – how you execute, being mindful of what is happening
  • Checking  – making sure that you are aligned, being adaptable, checking your own assumptions as well as the assumptions that others may be making of you.


  • Think about the things you can do to build relationships quickly.  Using the Nine Dimensions of CQ Knowledge, build a strategy based on your awareness of your own culture and identify the group (cluster) you are going to be working with and need to be aware of.
  • For any leader or any individual cross-cultural interaction, the mere fact that you sit down, pause and think to create a strategy can make a huge difference.

Today’s Take-away Action

Nine Dimensions of CQ

In this episode of the CQ for Global Leaders Podcast, Tom discusses the nine dimensions of cultural intelligence.

The Nine Dimensions of Cultural Intelligence

  • Relationship and Task – Some cultures put great emphasis on building relationships before getting the task done while other cultures just focus on getting the task done.
  • Harmony and Control – Harmony based cultures believe that as an individual, there are external forces that impact life. They tend to believe in concepts such as feng shui, karma, destiny, the stars, the things beyond us, also called the external locus of control). On the other aspect, cultures who have high control, believe that they are the master of their destiny.
  • Shame and Guilt – Shame-based cultures are very much conscious of what other people will think or say. In guilt-oriented cultures, it’s not about other people but yourself. They tend not to focus on what other people will think.
  • Group Orientation and Individual Orientation – Group-oriented cultures tend to give up individual needs for the needs of the group while individualistic cultures like to draw attention to themselves in order to get things done. 
  • Religious and Secular –  In religious cultures, religions are very much intertwined with daily living. Secular cultures have work and religion really separate.
  • Hierarchy and Equality – Hierarchal cultures value things like titles, age, qualifications, and status. People who grew up in hierarchal cultures believe that society is vertical while  Equality based cultures believe that society is horizontal. 
  • Polychronic and Monochronic –  Polychronic cultures believe there is plenty of time so you got to be in the moment. Monochronic cultures are always on time.
  • High and Low Context of Communication – High context cultures are much more attuned to understanding what is not being said (non-verbal, visual, indirect communication). Low context cultures tend to focus more on what is being said.
  • Femininity and Masculinity –  in religious cultures, religions are very much intertwined with daily living. Secular cultures have work and religion really separate.
  • Hierarchy and Equality – Feminist cultures tend to rally a lot more cooperation, dialogue, flexible work, work-life balance while masculinist cultures value things like assertiveness and having a point of view.

Today’s Take-away Action

  • What are some of your cultural values and where do they sit on the nine dimensions of CQ?

CQ Knowledge

In this episode of the CQ for Global Leaders Podcast, Tom discusses the second component of cultural intelligence, which is CQ Knowledge.

CQ Knowledge

CQ Knowledge is the ability to understand how culture influences other people – how they think, how they behave, and what are the similarities and differences across cultures.

The Components of CQ Knowledge

  • Business – how well do you know about business in a particular culture to your own.
  • Language – the language of a particular culture also influences how people think.
  • Leadership – how a good leader looks like when dealing with other cultures. How do you come across with a level of authenticity to make sure your messages are heard?

10 Cultural Country Clusters with examples

  1. Anglo Cluster – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, US, UK
  2. The Arab World – Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and UAE
  3. Confucian Asian Culture – China, Japan, Singapore, Korea
  4. Eastern European Cluster – Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Poland
  5. Germanic Cluster – Austria, Belgium, Germany
  6. Latin American – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico
  7. Latin Europe – France, Italy, Portugal, Spain,
  8. Nordics – Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway,
  9. Africa (Sub-saharan Africa) – Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe
  10. South Asia – Malaysia, India, Philipines, Thailand

Today’s Take-away Action

  • How knowledgeable are you of different cultures? How well do you know the different cultural groups that you are working with?
  • How can you increase your knowledge about different cultures?

CQ Drive

In this  episode of the CQ for Global Leaders Podcast, Tom discusses the first component of cultural intelligence, which is CQ Drive.

CQ Drive

  • CQ Drive is what motivates us to interact with people of different cultures or to be in culturally diverse situations.

The 3 Components of CQ Drive

  • Intrinsic Drive – your inner sense of being, driven by a sense of wanting to learn or a sense of curiosity.
  • Extrinsic Drive – getting excited by opportunities, driven by external reward or recognition that will come as a result
  • Self-efficacy  – having the confidence to deal with situations even though you may not have the answer, taking action.

Cultural Intelligence Assessment Tool

  • Cultural Intelligence Assessment Tool measures the scale around where your drive sits on the different aspects. It measures how much knowledge you have in the various aspects about different cultures, your level of strategy, and how you execute and put CQ into action.
  • Self-awareness and mindfulness are really important to become an effective global leader.

Today’s Take-away Action

  • Reflect on your own drive. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, where would you put yourself when it comes to intrinsic, extrinsic, and self-efficacy?
  • What is it that gives you excitement and joy when interacting with people of different cultures?

Cultural Intelligence and Global Leadership

In this episode of the CQ for Global Leaders Podcast, Tom discusses the 4 aspects of cultural intelligence and the role of CQ in becoming a better global leader.

Cultural Intelligence

  • Cultural intelligence is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultural backgrounds or to be effective in culturally diverse settings.
  • You become a more effective leader by having a better sense of the cultural nuances that influences a person’s thinking makes you a more effective leader.

4 aspects of cultural intelligence:

  • CQ Drive – your motivation, the intrinsic and extrinsic reasons of why you want to interact with people.
  • Knowledge – understanding the similarities, differences, and the values that people have in different cultural backgrounds which starts with your own culture.
  • CQ Strategy – planning and execution
  • Action – bringing it to life

How important is observation in cultural intelligence?

  • When you land in a foreign airport, observe how people are dressed, what is the tone of voice that people are using, what pitch and volume of language are you hearing around the place, how do people walk, what’s their speed, what’s the pace that they are? All that tells you about the place. You’re picking up clues not only about their culture but also your own reaction to that culture.
  • Being observant is a very useful skill to develop CQ.

Today’s Take-away Action

  • Look at the 4 aspects of CQ – drive, knowledge, strategy, and action. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, where would you put yourself on each of those aspects?

What is Culture?

In this episode of the CQ for Global Leaders Podcast, Tom discusses what culture is all about – how culture is tacit and at the same time subjective, and how self-awareness is key to understanding a culture that is different from your own.

Definition of Culture

  • Dr. Geert Hofstede defined culture as the collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes one group from another.
  • In his book “The Invisible Elephant”, Tom defined culture as the lens through which you look out at the world.
  • Depending on which research you read, here could be between 5 and 10 different dimensions of cultural differences.
  • We learn culture by observations. It is our environment that teaches our culture.
  • Culture is a framework of beliefs and behaviours.
  • Dr. Fons Trompenaars described culture as the way we do things around here.
  • Culture is the unwritten and unspoken rule.


Culture is tacit whilst at the same time subjective

  • Culture is tacit. We understand our own culture. At the same time, culture is also subjective, which means that when we look at the behaviours of a different culture, we use our own cultural norms to compare to that.
  • Being ethnocentric means having your own culture at the centre of your universe and comparing it to others.
  • It is always about understanding yourself. Self-awareness is critical in terms of understanding yourself first before understanding the other – what are your values, that are important for you, and how do you operate from that?


Today’s Take-away Action

  • Based on our upbringing, we learn our culture and that’s where our differences lie. Take a moment to think about:
    1. What are some of my own cultural values?
    2. Reflect on some of the interactions you may have had with people of different cultures and think about what are some of the similarities and clash points that you’ve experienced and why those occurred?


Leadership and CQ

In this episode of the CQ for Global Leaders Podcast, Tom discusses leadership, global leadership and why cultural intelligence is important in both.

This is a change of format from previous episodes to a longer form discussion.

What is it about global leadership that requires CQ?

  • Before we look at global leadership, we should just look at “leadership”.
  • There are in fact, more than 350 different definitions of leadership in the literature and all of them have a couple of things in common. All the definitions obviously have a leader. They have followers and they have the environment.
  • Leadership is really about the link between the leader, the followers and the environment.
  • House – “Leadership is the ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute to the effectiveness and success of an organisation.”
  • Global leadership is the ability to influence, motivate, and enable others who are from a different cultural background to that of the leader to contribute to the success of the organisation.
  • As a global leader, there are numerous skills that you need to be able to bring into play to help you be more successful.
  • You need to be thinking about how do I language things in such a way so that the other understands.
  • When we become a global leader, our domain changes. From being in a one single domestic focus, you suddenly become focused on multiple countries and it may be initially just a region, and as you move up the corporate ladder (multi-nationals), your span increases.
  • The world is your marketplace. If you think about the aspects of globalisation, it has flattened the world. We now have a virtual workforce. A lot of organisations now outsource their work to people from around the world.



  • A key challenge that gets torn up in lots of global organisations is communication. That whole aspect of what is the lingua franca that we are going to use and how do we ensure that even though it’s English, (the main language for most multi-nationals) that “one language” in itself has different variations.
  • Communication tends to be a key issue in helping organisations come together.


Understanding people’s motivations in different cultures

  • Culturally Implicit Leadership Theory – talks about the fact that we make an assumption that leadership is the same globally as locally, when it’s not. And so, what may look like a really effective leader in one cultural environment may not be effective in another.


Where does cultural intelligence come into that? How does that fit with emotional intelligence?

  • As a leader, you need to have a high IQ. That’s a given. You need to be intelligent. You need to have high managerial intelligence which is the ability to be planning, budgeting, resourcing. It’s actually managing the business. You need to be good at that. You need Emotional Intelligence – the ability to have empathy with people.
  • When you become a global leader. When you’re working across borders with people of different cultures, you need that additional skill of cultural intelligence, which is defined as the ability to be effective in culturally diverse settings.


What can we look forward to in future episodes?

  • What does culture look like and why is that important?
  • Why do we need to spend more time thinking about this?
  • How do we look at using these skill sets, this information to help us become more effective?


Today’s Take-away Action

CQ is something that should be learned if you want to be a successful global leader.   

    1. Do a quick self-assessment – IQ, MQ, EQ, CQ.
    2. How can you improve?
    3. What is one small thing that you can do on each one of those aspects to help you be a more effective leader?