Cultural Intelligence is the capability to manage cultural diversity. Individuals with high Cultural Intelligence (CQ) display four critical competencies. CQ Drive is your willingness to work with diverse others. CQ Knowledge is your understanding of culture and cultural differences. CQ Strategy is your ability to flex mentally. And CQ Action is your ability to flex verbal and non-verbal behaviour.
CQ Strategy refers to higher-level thinking skills used to manage diversity. It includes planning, awareness and checking. Planning involves drawing on your knowledge and experience to anticipate and respond to cultural differences. Awareness involves being consciously alert and mentally flexible during your exchanges. Checking involves reflecting on the accuracy of your assumptions, interpretations, and predictions, and then adjusting these as new information comes to hand.
Using prompts to improve CQ Strategy
Prompts are questions that encourage you to engage in these core skills. Prompts increase your awareness of knowledge gaps or performance weaknesses, and can help you select activities to improve your future effectiveness.
Prompting worksheets and checklists are useful for guiding reflection during your exchanges with diverse others. Examples of effective prompts include:
- What are my goals?
- What are my partner’s goals, interests and concerns?
- How will my partner’s cultural values and beliefs guide his/her behaviours and decisions?
- What do I know about this person and cultural setting that could guide me?
- What past experiences can I draw on to help me?
- What else do I need to know to achieve my goals? How do I find this information?
- Am I achieving my goals?
- What is confusing me?
- What other questions are arising for me?
- What are my interest levels?
- What am I doing that is working?
- What could I be doing better?
- What helped or inhibited my performance?
- What were my strengths and weaknesses?
- Did I try anything new? If so, did it work?
- What did I find most challenging?
- What did I learn?
- How will I do things differently next time?
Combine prompts with coaching to maximise effectiveness
Most people are poor at monitoring their own performance, which can encourage a false perception of self-competence.
To compensate for poor self-monitoring, individuals working in novel cultural settings should be supported by an experienced cultural coach. The coach guides the learner towards the discovery and resolution of problem areas.
An effective cultural coach will:
- use prompts to stimulate greater understanding
- activate prior knowledge
- offer clues or tips
- model thought processes
- break the problem into smaller steps and concepts
- use motivational techniques to increase interest and persistence
- suggest possible problem-solving strategies
- offer contributions of personal experiences
Coaching helps individuals to reach a higher level of intercultural understanding and skills.