Developing Asia Capability

Developing Asia Capability

by Felicity Menzies
Strengthening Asia capability involves a three-pronged approach: winning the war for local talent across diverse Asian markets, leveraging the perspectives and experiences of Australian talent with Asian heritage, and increasing the cultural competency of Australia’s non-Asian workforce.
Achieving these goals necessitates the development of cultural intelligence or CQ—the collection of knowledge, skills and abilities that enable an individual to detect, assimilate, reason and act on cultural cues appropriately.
As a transcultural model of intercultural competence, cultural intelligence is a set of generic competencies ideally suited to managing the complexities of diverse Asian settings.
Shot of young woman sitting with businessman pointing at laptop screen. Business partners working together on laptop in office.

About Cultural Intelligence

The Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Model

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is the collection of knowledge, skills and abilities that enable an individual to detect, assimilate, reason and act on cultural cues appropriately.

Individuals with high CQ display four main competencies:

CQ Drive - Your willingness to work with cultural diversity

CQ Drive involves your ability to overcome explicit or unconscious bias and your capacity to persist in challenging interactions—even when confused, frustrated, or burnt out.

CQ Knowledge — Your understanding of culture and cultural differences

CQ Knowledge involves more than awareness of variations in language, customs, and appearance. Core cultural differences like values, assumptions, and beliefs are often invisible but cause the most problems—and are frequently overlooked.

CQ Strategy — Your ability to flex mentally.

With high CQ Strategy, you are not confined to a single worldview. You are open to new or integrative ideas. This drives innovation and creativity.

CQ Action — Your ability to flex verbal and non-verbal behaviour.

CQ Action decreases the risk of miscommunication and helps you to respond to diverse others in a manner that conveys respect and builds trust and rapport.

The Competitive Advantage of CQ

Over 100 peer-reviewed studies on CQ have been published in academic journals since its conceptualisation in 2003. Collectively, this work supports the validity of CQ as a proven model of intercultural competence. In diverse cultural settings, CQ improves:


Individuals with CQ are better able to understand instructions and form effective relationships to achieve work goals.


Individuals with CQ are better able to interpret the intentions and behaviours of others, improving judgment, decision-making and problem-solving.


Leaders and workers with high Cultural Intelligence can establish trust and rapport and build strong collaborative networks both inside and outside the organisation. They can build strong alliances across the globe to help them capture new opportunities. They are better at engaging with suppliers and collaborators and influencing policy makers and other stakeholders external to the organisation.


Cultural intelligence is positively associated with workgroup cohesion, integration, trust and performance in diverse cultural settings. CQ dismantles ‘us vs them’ social categorisations and negative stereotypes and enhances intercultural understanding and respect — workplace incivility, harassment and discrimination are lower. Workers with cultural intelligence experience higher levels of sociocultural adjustment and psychological well-being and lower levels of stress.


Cultural intelligence predicts the formation of diverse networks and the sharing and integration of information and ideas. Cultural Intelligence helps to foster an organisational culture where diverse viewpoints drive new insights. Cultural Intelligence encourages expansive and integrative new ways of thinking. This drives innovation, creativity, and experimentation.


Leaders with cultural intelligence inspire and unite diverse employees with a shared and well-articulated vision.

Customer Satisfaction

Workers with cultural intelligence can better understand and respond to the needs of varied customers. As populations become more diverse, through immigration and cultural changes, this factor becomes increasingly important.


A workforce with high Cultural Intelligence possesses the dynamic competencies needed to continuously adapt processes, products, and services to capture new opportunities and respond to changing tastes and needs across diverse markets.

How CQ Differs from Other Intercultural Models

Since 2004, when the Harvard Business Review published ‘Cultural Intelligence’,  a notable collection of established organisations across a variety of industries in more than 100 countries have embraced CQ as a tool for enhancing global effectiveness. Here’s why;


The four competencies that form high cultural intelligence are not abstract ideas. Social scientists have demonstrated that those competencies map to particular regions of the brain. Studies show they predict important measures of performance in diverse cultural settings, including better problem solving and decision-making, improved well-being, and better task performance.

In fact, CQ is a better predictor of effectiveness in diverse settings than cognitive ability, emotional intelligence (EQ), personality, demographic characteristics, language fluency and international experience.

Capability model

Cultural intelligence is not a personality trait, nor something you are born with. Rather cultural intelligence can be developed with education, training, and experience. This malleability provides companies with an opportunity to create an enviable competitive advantage—a capacity for innovation and agility—that can drive sustainable global growth.


Cultural intelligence is not about becoming an “expert” in any one culture. Rather, CQ is a set of generic competencies that transcend national borders, rigid stereotypes, and particular cultural contexts. Cultural intelligence involves an inclusive mindset and adaptable behavioural repertoire that promotes cultural fluency across varied cultural contexts. By transcending rigid stereotypes, cultural intelligence accommodates for nuanced cultural differences, and that makes CQ a powerful tool for managing the complexity of cultural diversity and unlocking its potential.

About the Workshop

 Workshop Outline

  • Understanding culture and its implications for interpersonal relations
  • Self-awareness: Understanding your orientation in ten main cultural dimensions
  • Other-awareness: Mapping cultural dimensions to cultural clusters, with a focus on South Asia and Confucian Asia
  • The cultural intelligence (CQ) model
  • Developing the four main CQ competencies
  • Mapping cultural differences to leadership styles and business practices in Asia (e.g. hierarchy, meetings, communication style, influencing, decision-making, trust, teaming, conflict resolution)
  • Asian business etiquette basics
  • Applying CQ as a dynamic learning ability
  • Avoiding stereotypes and managing complexity
  • Authentic flexing and when not to flex
  • Recovering from a cultural faux-pas
  • Personalised development plan

Learning Outcomes

  • Increased awareness of the role of culture in interactions
  • Know-how to improve cultural intelligence in self and others
  • Improved effectiveness working with diverse colleagues, partners, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders
  • Inclusive mindset and expansive worldview
  • Personal growth
  • Enhanced adjustment and well-being

Consistent with research on adult learning, we believe that the best learning outcomes result when participants engage holistically with program content. All Include-Empower learning and development programs incorporate experiential learning techniques, including opportunities to reflect on and apply learnings to the real-life challenges facing participants.

Leaders, people managers and individual contributors working in diverse cultural settings at home or across borders.

Developing CQ requires commitment. The recommended length of the workshop is one-day. The full workshop may be run over two half-days or condensed into a half-day introductory session.

Recommended workshop size is 12-24 participants.

Leader participants would complete the Cultural Values Questionnaire as important input into the program.

Learn more

Please contact us for details of our fee structure.