Cultural Intelligence

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It is very visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that the world is evolving and developing drastically. Technology is taking diverse dimensions, ideas and business schemes are blooming all over the globe which in turn have increased international communications and relationships but this would not go smoothly without Cultural Intelligence.

The term “Cultural Intelligence” was coined from two words; culture and intelligence. Culture literally means the way and belief of people while intelligence means the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience.

Cultural intelligence can also be referred to as Cultural quotient (CQ) and it is a term used in business, education, government and academic research.

In a simple form, Wikipedia as described Cultural Intelligence to be a term understood as the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures. It can also be described as the ability to make sense of unfamiliar contexts and blend them in.

There are three components to Cultural Intelligence:

  • The Cognitive Component: this is more of a psychological concept. You have to be motivated from within you to tap into this, as Cultural Intelligence is required in a situation or environment one has never experienced. Paul (Pawel) Walentynowicz, Founder of PWCIB opined that, without motivation, there will be no willingness to even try to adapt to the new culture and the individual will simply not be able to create harmony between his or hers mother culture and the new one. Gaining motivationdemands getting out of the comfort zone and take up a positive behaviour. The element of motivation is considered the most important requirement to open up to new cultural mind-sets. There are diverse cultures in the world and as such anyone who has decided to work in an environment with a culture different from the one he or she is used to must motivate himself to understand such culture to ensure smooth working relationship.
  • The Knowledge Component: this is the component that follows the cognitive or motivation component where an individual must use his ability to gather enough knowledge as possible of the culture he is to acclimatize himself with. To do this, there is a dire need for acquiring the necessary informationon the target culture, as unfamiliarity will breed uncertainty, which in turn, will lead to lack of success in any kind of work. This knowledge is needed to understand both parties in the process of cultural intelligence and comprehending the basic lifestyles of the people in the target culture.
  • The Strategy Component: effective, futuristic and sustainable plans have to be made in order not to render your motivation and knowledge futile. A strategic plans will help you to manage deadlines and minimize conflicts within the newly found culture. This strategy can begin to form only when the planner learns to respect the other side. A bond of mutual respect can go a long way, especially in a common work environment. One must plan ahead to keep the usage of language to a mutually understandable degree.

Conclusion: An employee with Cultural Intelligence will of a great way help an entity to grow and help bridge divides and knowledge gaps, therefore adding value to the company through corporate image and profitability as more people will be willing to do business with such a company. The employer on the other side would compensate such an employee greatly as he is an asset to the entity. Therefore, do good to equip and develop yourself so as to ensure you are culturally intelligent and you will be distinct amidst others.

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