Coelho is able to articulate the sentiment of understanding culture, but in order to actually analyze and interpret different cultures, we in the business world measure our knowledge and understanding of other cultures and ability to function effectively in different cultural contexts as our level of culture intelligence

After understanding and practicing these five skills, if one wants to truly master the basics of cultural intelligence, they should strive to excel in a variety of cultural contexts such as national, ethnic, organizational, generational and local cultures. Research has shown that the most culturally capable individuals who rank high in CQ possess the following traits within the four levels of CQ:

1. CQ Drive: Individuals have a high level of interest, drive and motivation to adapt cross-culturally.

2. CQ Knowledge: Individuals have a strong grasp on how cultures are similar and different.

3. CQ Strategy: Individuals are knowledgeable and able to adapt due to their cultural understanding.

4. CQ Action: Individuals know when to adapt and when not to adapt when relating and working cross-culturally.

1.     Relational Skills

The ability to engage in small talk and enjoy chatting with peers, coworkers, and people you meet from other cultures. 

2.     Tolerance of uncertainty

Being able to tolerate uncertainties, ambiguities and unexpected changes in an intercultural interaction.

3.     Adaptability

Your capacity to change your behavior according to the cultural demands.

4.     Empathy

The ability to put yourself in a different person´s shoes (and culture) and imagine the situation from his or her perspective.

5.     Perceptual acuity

Your understanding of other people´s feelings and subtle hints and cues during intercultural interactions.

Not only does cultural intelligence lead to better business practices for individual employees, it also can predict our ability to establish trust across cultures, bridge the gap across international borders, and create a link between different cultures and languages during a company’s international expansion. For these reasons, mastering cultural intelligence is the key to mastering cultures, and unlocking your company’s full potential. To learn more about cultural intelligence or reaching your SME’s international goals, contact AFK Strategies Inc., leaders in international business strategies and solutions.

I have been working in the international arena for more than 18 years now and have been lucky enough to travel through over forty countries for either business or personal vacations. Because of my experience in the international sector, I was invited to lecture last semester at Saint Peter’s University for an International Management Class. One of the subjects we discussed about was Cultural Intelligence in International Trade.

AFK Strategies Inc. is a boutique strategic advisory and business development company that is committed to serving our partners as their associates in China, Turkey, and the United States. AFK consulting services help companies identify and solve their business challenges via an extensive global expertise. The company assists the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) in the United States at the local level, while at the same time aiding the growth of U.S. companies in China and Turkey. The services encompass three key areas: business development, supply chain management and brand development. Contact AFK Strategies Inc. to learn more.

Mastering the Basics of Cultural Intelligence

September 7, 2017

In order to develop our cultural intelligence (CQ) or cross-cultural skills, many professors and international business veterans recommend experiential learning as the top way to hone one’s skills. Although various books, essays, and articles regarding different cultures can be read in preparation for working abroad, the act of studying or working in a foreign culture and practicing customs as real world applications is far superior. Developing one’s CQ will ensure that you and your organization are able to not only create positive environments and experiences for your partners, clients, and affiliates, it will also allow you the employee to master navigating across cultural boundaries. Especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s), launching your business across international channels can be huge growth, so mastering CQ can be a huge stepping-stone.

To understand culture, I often reflect on the following quote by international novelist Paulo Coelho

“Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.”

By Fergie (Fergül) Kuzucuoğlu

Once you are able to attain high levels of success within the four levels of cultural intelligence, you will have mastered the basics of CQ and will be able to board a plane and test these skills in real life. Of course your experience will not be perfect and will be filled with trial and error, but recognizing the tools and strategies you can use to understand another culture is the first step to success with CQ.