Understanding Cultural Intelligence: What is CQ Drive?

Understanding Cultural Intelligence: What is CQ Drive?

by Felicity Menzies

CQ (Cultural Intelligence) Drive is your willingness to work with diverse others. It involves your ability to overcome explicit and unconscious bias and includes your capacity to persist in interactions that are challenging, even when you feel confused, frustrated, or burnt out.

Your CQ Drive reflects your degree of enjoyment in dealing across cultures, your perception of the material benefits that flow from those interactions, and your self-confidence in novel cultural settings.

Do I enjoy interacting with diverse others?

The main threats to your CQ Drive are stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Stereotypes refer to beliefs that certain attributes, characteristics, and behaviours are typical of members of a particular group of people. Prejudice refers to feelings and attitudes towards a group and its members. Discrimination involves differential treatment of members of a particular group.

Research shows that we all harbour unconscious bias; even if we outwardly adhere to strong egalitarian values. Bias can negatively impact your interest in engaging with diverse others. But the good news is that with awareness, training, and effort, you can overcome unconscious bias.

What material benefits will flow to me from engaging with diverse others?

Tangible rewards can increase your willingness to work with diverse others. For example, the positive implications for your career advancement or business performance. But material gains alone are unlikely to counter unconscious bias.

How confident am I in my intracultural ability?

You are more likely to engage with diverse others if you believe that you can overcome diversity challenges. This confidence is rooted in past successes in real-life or classroom interactions. It is strengthened by observing leaders or peers successfully manage diversity, and by working personally with a cultural mentor or Cultural Intelligence coach.

Why do I need CQ Drive?

To boost resilience

Interactions with individuals from diverse backgrounds can be complex, stressful, and tiring. They may involve communication barriers, misunderstandings, and conflict. International travel across time zones can increase exhaustion and burnout and virtual communication increases the complexity of your exchanges. CQ Drives helps you to remain enthusiastic and focused in the challenging settings.

To overcome bias

Overcoming unconscious bias requires deliberate effort. A genuine interest in learning about cultural differences will help you transcend your blind spots and prejudgements.

To improve relations

Overcoming negative bias towards and frustration with diverse others will helps you to respond with respect, openness, and acceptance.

What are the other components of Cultural Intelligence?

CQ Drive is just one component of the four-factor model of Cultural Intelligence. Individuals with high Cultural Intelligence (CQ) display three other critical competencies:

CQ Knowledge is your understanding of culture and cultural differences. This involves more than awareness of variations in language, customs, and appearance. Core cultural differences are invisible, but they cause the greatest number of problems and are often overlooked. Hidden cultural differences include values, assumptions, and beliefs.

CQ Strategy is your ability to flex mentally. With high CQ Strategy, you are not confined to a single worldview, but are open to new or integrative ideas.

CQ Action is your ability to flex verbal and non-verbal behaviour. This decreases the risk of miscommunication and helps you to respond to diverse others in a way that conveys respect and builds trust and rapport.

Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., Ng, K. Y., Rockstuhl, T., Tan, M. L., & Koh, C. (2012). Sub-dimensions of the four factor model of cultural intelligence: Expanding the conceptualization and measurement of cultural intelligence. Social and personality psychology compass, 6(4), 295-313.

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.