Is CQ® the new IQ?

CQ is said to help us understand the decisions people and organisations make, and how they are influenced by their beliefs, attitudes, and values.

Have you heard of cultural quotient (CQ®, a registered trademark of the Cultural Intelligence Center) or cultural intelligence? Even if you haven’t, as a high-level EA you’ll most likely embody it!

CQ is said to help us understand the decisions people and organisations make, and how they are influenced by their beliefs, attitudes, and values. It assesses far beyond simple cultural sensitivity and awareness – it is a globally recognised measure of how good we are at understanding cultural differences, such as nationality, ethnicity, culture, location, gender and age. 

Increasingly seen as far more valuable than IQ (intelligence quotient), and of equal importance in business to its counterpart emotional intelligence (EQ), because of its proven exponential positive impact on improved teamwork, performance, cooperation and communication, CQ could be the EA’s 2022 buzzword.

Thom Dennis, CEO of culture integration and change specialists, Serenity in Leadership, and a CQ certified facilitator, believes that CQ is more important than IQ, and building a team rich in CQ is the future for all successful organisations.

He said: “Culturally intelligent organisations establish better trust, tolerance and understanding, both internally and externally. They are more capable of working well across cultures because they understand the impact of cultural background in terms of both an individual’s and group’s behaviour, which is essential for good business. These businesses will enjoy the benefits of both better productivity, diversity, negotiation skills, recruitment and performance, as well as reduced talent loss, bias and conflict.

“At an individual level if you have strong cultural intelligence, you are likely to engage and blend successfully in any environment or social setting, communicate more effectively, quickly develop rapport and connect with others, lead diverse teams effectively, appreciate diverse points of view and adapt easily. Cultural nuances are better understood because these individuals have the skills, knowledge, agility and experience to deal with, and respect any differences that to someone else might be perceived or acted upon as if it is a barrier. 

“CQ is increasingly important as businesses harness the benefits of global work through technological and communication advances. Whilst some will argue the increase in online meetings during the pandemic has been draining, it has also opened the door to many as travelling for face-to-face business is often no longer seen as essential.  Global online meetings have instead become easier to arrange which further elevates the importance of inclusive cultures.”

You’ll find more information on CQ, including tips on developing your own cultural intelligence, in the professional development section of the winter 2022 issue of Executive PA Magazine.