Improve your CQ (Cultural Intelligence) Strategy: Using Prompts

Improve your CQ (Cultural Intelligence) Strategy: Using Prompts

by Felicity Menzies

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 othersCQ 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

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.

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Mor, S., Morris, M., & Joh, J. (2013). Identifying and training adaptive cross-cultural management skills: The crucial role of cultural metacognition. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12, 453-475.
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Felicity Menzies is CEO and Principal Consultant at Include-Empower.Com, a diversity and inclusion consultancy with expertise in inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, cultural intelligence and inclusion, gender equity, empowering diverse talent. Felicity is an accredited facilitator with the Cultural Intelligence Centre and the author of A World of Difference. Felicity has over 15 years of experience working with and managing diverse workforces in blue chip companies and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. Felicity also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.