In the wake of the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris last week I have been reflecting about where and how does cultural intelligence and cultural understanding fit?  How do we move beyond the fear, anger and shock after such horrendous attacks on innocent civilians?  Let’s also not forget the many other lives that have been lost to terrorism pre these Paris atrocities.

We are regularly told that we live in an interconnected global world, it is times like this that we are truly reminded that this is a reality.  Many of us travel, whether in our private lives through overseas holidays and/or in our professional lives where travel has become a ‘business as usual’ necessity and expectation.  Many communities and workplaces are rapidly expanding and changing, becoming more inclusive of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, while organisations continue to expand across borders at an expeditious rate.  The threat of terrorism is one that lingers in the background. 

One of my concerns is the impact that terrorism has on mainstream societies attitudes and behaviours toward certain groups of people.  Cultural intelligence is crucial in traumatic times such as now.  Now more than ever, it is so important for us to navigate differences in attitudes and opinions. While we grapple with the horror and continued threats around us, how we respond to different cultural groups at times like this is indicative of our societies. We must mindfully avoid treating certain cultural groups and individuals with animosity and exclusion. 

Globalisation unfortunately is not a level playing field, it has winners and losers, advantages and disadvantages. It can cause power imbalances and highlight the issue of the ‘haves and the ‘have nots’. It can result in the marginalisation of those with diverse beliefs, values, religion, language and nationalities.

One of the components of cultural intelligence is ‘Drive’, that is the motivation to learn and understand other cultural perspectives. It requires you to overcome explicit and unconscious bias and demands you to persist with challenging interactions, even when you are feeling confused, angry and frustrated.  This is confronting and by no means easy to do.

The question I would like you to consider is ‘how can we learn to live in peace with those from different cultures who have different values and behaviours’? After all, isn’t that essential for the survival of the planet and our species?

Please click here if you would like to read or follow our Cultural Intelligence Blog

Best Wishes
Tom Verghese

LinkedIn Share Button
     Twitter Tweet Button

Send to Friend
  CQ and Global Differences 





In his new book 'Breakthroughs', Oscar Trimboli shares his insights about how our thinking creates our reality. A big focus is on assumptions, perspective and gaining clarity, motivating the reader to find alignment.

Some of the key questions Trimboli asks are:
  • Are you struggling to inspire and lead your organisation?
  • Do you find that you can’t get the traction you need to achieve impactful results for yourself and others?
  • Are you running up against brick walls in your interactions with others?
I like the discussion around clarity and the essential ingredient of clear and consistent communication to create lasting change. Understanding how quickly we make assumptions and the impact that they have,  either serving us or holding us back, is a valuable skill to have.
There are some great exercises here, handy summaries at the conclusion of each chapter and some insights that I think you will find useful. 
Breakthroughs: How to Confront Assumptions" By Oscar Trimboli 2015

'Raising Your Cultural IQ - DVD and CD

'Raising Your Cultural IQ' explores the issues around culture, the challenges that culture can pose and provides some great strategies on how to leverage on cultural differences and similarities.


'The Invisible Elephant - Exploring Cultural Awareness'
2nd Edition by Tom Verghese

Many aspects of culture are invisible, yet culture has an enormous impact on our lives. Like an Invisible Elephant, if ignored these aspects can lead to misunderstanding, stress and conflict. Alternatively, if attention is given to the Invisible Elephant, it can enhance productivity, improve teamwork and create more joy in our lives.

Book testimonial by Asma Ghabshi
Learning And Development Manager, Shell Oman:

"The Invisible Elephant made my perspective of my national culture in comparison to my personal culture more visible. It has given me a deep insight into dealing with people of different cultural backgrounds."

'Pillars of Growth - Strategies for Leading Sustainable Growth' - Book by Tom Verghese, Kerry Larkan, Steven Howard and Brad Tonini
Written with the business leaders and entrepreneurs of Asia in mind, 'Pillars of Growth' provides a road map to assist you in thinking through four critical concerns that impact the sustainable growth of every business.

Visit our store here




Cultural Synergies' mission is to improve individual and organisational performance when interacting with people across distance, culture and time.

Take advantage of our years of international experience. All our services are tailored to individual client situations.

Visit our website
for more information.
Phone: +61 3 9909 7456
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 999 292
Fax: +61 3 9909 7457



You are receiving this email from Cultural Synergies because we have met and we hope that you find this newsletter useful. To ensure that you continue to receive emails from us, please add my email address to your address book today.

Cultural Synergies respects your right to privacy. We never share, rent, or sell your name or email to anyone else. Your privacy is safe with us.

To unsubscribe from our mailing list, please click here.