Culture… such a vast term, yet so beautiful. A common definition of culture is “the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts, at a given time”. In other words, culture is the personal habits common to the group one belongs to. The human is a thinking animal and likes to innovate to ease things up. Innovating and creating new technology has been his interest and pursuit since always. The nature of such pursuits and implementations of their findings structure the culture of that particular group, or society, or nation. How culturally aware are you? How are you cultivating your Culture Quotient, CQ?
The world, as we witness it now, has considerably changed to what it was a century ago. With digitization being heavily implemented, instantaneous has become the new normal. Supersonic planes and ultra-fast data connections contribute to this race of the NOW. With this unprecedented exchange of information taking place in real-time, understanding one another’s cultural context and walking away from preconceived ideas is one of the challenges of a new age digital workforce. Swiss Learning Exchange interviewed the then head of Swiss pharma giant Novartis India who had this to say about knowing other lands: “In the old days you were measured by IQ. Then came EQ, Emotional Quotient, but now if you don’t have CQ, Cultural Quotient, you’re nowhere.” Hear it straight in his own words on our video :
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Intelligence Quotient, IQ, has indeed long served as a determining factor in establishing one’s inclination to success. After years of glorification, IQ turned out to be only one aspect of a more complex equation. A combination of Emotional Quotient and Cultural Quotient is often cited as being a better predictor of accomplishments at the workplace.
How to increase cultural awareness?
The work environment keeps on shifting. Nowadays, with people immigrating for lifestyle improvement, or working remotely from across the globe, or companies diversifying their operations in different places to benefit from niche skillset and expertise on offer, Cultural Quotient becomes a major variable in the success equation.
Culture Quotient, like Emotional Quotient, can be self-inculcated and cultivated. Willingness and open-mindedness are what it takes. One’s physical traits are the play of genetics, environment and evolution. Cultural belongingness, as well, is the heritage of ancestral knowledge and technology. Acknowledgement of these fundamentals opens up a door of unthinkable possibilities. Curiosity and eagerness to understand facilitate this process altogether.
Let’s shed some light on the three key components of CQ, categorised as Head, Body, and Heart:
- Head, the knowledge and understanding of the need of good CQ, enabling better decision making and communication.
- Body, the translation of cultural information into concrete actions.
- Heart, self-assurance and not being scared to make genuine mistakes and confidence to keep improving.
People with high CQ make use of all these elements to monitor and moderate their actions. By avoiding quick judgements or falling back on stereotypes, one can have a clearer interpretation of the situation and adjust one’s behaviour accordingly.
Benefits of cultural intelligence
The global sense of economy brings with it an ethnically diversified workforce. Acceptance and understanding are desirable qualities which are being encouraged throughout the world, with legislations becoming increasingly intolerant to racism. If one is working abroad or leading a culturally diverse team, CQ can prevent cultural faux pas which are upsetting, embarrassing, or hazardous to concretisation of a project.
Research demonstrates the positive correlation of CQ with successful completion of international assignments. High CQ also comes into play when building rapport with new groups of people, adjust to other departments’ workstyle, or operate within a cross-functional team. CQ also has transferable skills, like self-reflection, open-mindedness, and problem anticipation. These skills help with appreciation of cultures other than your own. India, for example, has a diverse range of cultural examples to chose from in its artforms. An increased CQ helps one take notice of this kind of diversity.
Cultural intelligence also promotes cultural sustainability. In understanding the roots of one’s society, future generations stand to gain meaningful insights into arising matters and choose the best course of action.
Let the thirst of exploration propel your CQ growth! To quench your thirst for learning, you could sign up for the one of the many online courses on our platform that contain resources on facilitating India as a business destination. Explore India’s potential on hub.masteringindia.org – a blended learning platform