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No matter what position you are in or hoping to gain, cultural intelligence (CQ) is a basic requirement for career success that you may not have thought of.
What is CQ? It refers to your ability to understand and adapt to different cultures in an effective way and to understand how cultural values impact behaviour.
In our increasingly connected and globalised world, the ability to build strong and influential relationships with those of other cultures is vital. This is true whether they are your customers or colleagues, managers or suppliers, stakeholders or potential partners. CQ can help you impress in an interview, fulfill an undisclosed but vital job requirement and make your resume stand out from the pile.
Knowing how to speak to others, understanding when ''Yes'' means ''No,'' realising how meetings are run, what body language and dress are appropriate, and what is most highly valued in terms of potential benefits by someone of another culture is priceless.
Are you a global tourist? Traveling does not make you culturally intelligent. That is because you take your cultural world view with you wherever you go. How you see the world, communicate with others, and interpret their words and actions depends on your cultural perspective. No matter how open and tolerant you believe yourself to be, your world view is made up of cultural stereotypes that filter everything you see and hear.
Luckily, CQ is one of the most malleable types of intelligence; awareness and exposure can greatly improve your CQ level. You can learn what your assumptions and filters consist of, and learn about others to widen your cultural lens. You can learn how decisions are made, how risk is managed, what kinds of initiatives are valued, and how conflict, consensus and negotiation function according to the people you are dealing with.
• Make note of similarities and differences in beliefs and practices
• Create strategies for dealing with people of different cultures
• Adapt your behavior to connect with those from other countries
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Source: Oksana Tashakova, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Entrepreneurial Educator, Academia of Human Potential