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Cultural Intelligence helps Performance on the Work Floor

Cultural Intelligence helps Performance on the Work Floor

By overlooking the importance of intercultural training, companies do not get the most out of their employees. David Livmore is here to make us aware of the significance of knowing a bit more about  your co-workers’ cultures.


A new view on intercultural training: David Livmore, writer for the website Management Issues, states that it’s not an objective in itself, but should be used to reach other, more important goals. Livmore has recently written an interesting article on Cultural Intelligence and its use. Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, is a way to evaluate and improve global effectiveness. He also explains why managers should invest more time and money on improving the CQ of their team.

Most companies that refuse to teach their employees about other cultures don’t do this because they don’t think it’s important, but because they do not have the time or resources to organise intercultural trainings. However, Livmore believes managers should reconsider their opinion on the subject, as intercultural knowledge can be of great benefit to their businesses.


Cultural Intelligence Training
A culturally diverse team can be very favourable for a company. However, research has shown that multicultural teams are outperformed by homogenous ones when they haven’t had proper training on cultural differences. If they are trained, however, they perform even better than homogenous teams. Cultural training thus goes hand in hand with diversity. Livmore: ‘Diversity PLUS cultural intelligence leads to innovation. Not either one by themselves.’


Recent news items have proven that disasters bring people with different cultures together, which often results in new and better solutions. Take Superstorm Sandy, for example; even though their political ideas are miles away from each other, President Obama and New Jersey governor Chris Christie joined forces to tackle the disaster to the best of their abilities. The lesson we can learn from this? Together we are stronger, even more so when we come from different cultural backgrounds.

Obama and Christie


Even though cultural intelligence and cultural adaptability are important, Livmore believes the effects of it shouldn’t be overestimated. Improving your CQ will probably benefit almost every goal you want to achieve. There are other considerations that have to be taken into account as well, but Livmore shows the effects of improving the CQ within a company by providing us with a list:  

International Travel + Low CQ= Ethnocentrism and Confirmation Bias
International Travel + High CQ= Lifetime Impact

Diverse Teams + Low CQ = Frustration and Low Participation
Diverse Teams + High CQ = Engagement and Innovation

Expat Assignment + Low CQ = Stress, Burnout, and Financial Loss
Expat Assignment + High CQ = Satisfaction, Cost-Savings, and Profitability

Cross-Cultural Interactions + Low CQ = Judgment and Mistrust
Cross-Cultural Interactions + High CQ = Broadened Perspective and Effectiveness

Leadership Skills + Low CQ = Glass Ceiling
Leadership Skills + High CQ = Borderless Possibilities

Cultural intelligence might not be a goal in itself, but this list shows that it definitely pays for managers to set aside some time and money to train their team on cultural differences.

Looking for such training? Then check out Cross Cultural Training.

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