Following from the Drive component of CQ I would like to reflect on the Knowledge (Cognitive) component. CQ knowledge refers to your understanding of cultural similarities and differences; it includes knowledge of the values, norms and practices in different cultures settings. This knowledge can be acquired through educational and personal experiences; and encompasses the economic, political, legal institutions and social customs to name just a few.
Why do we need CQ Knowledge?
- To allow us to have greater appreciation of the systems that shape and cause specific patterns of social behaviours and interaction within a culture
- Improve interpersonal interactions with people from culturally diverse backgrounds, i.e. communication, relationships and trust
- Improve your leadership and management skills to ensure that they reflect the cultural setting that you are working, leading and managing in and across
- To navigate effectively through ambiguity and conflict in culturally diverse settings
- To have the awareness and skills to instantaneously adjust your behaviours while interacting with people from unfamiliar cultures.
While you cannot be an expert on every culture, you can understand the core cultural differences and their impact on everyday business. CQ knowledge is not fixed, rather it is a mental habit that can be altered and expanded. I often find that one of the best methods of seeking new knowledge is from gaining a basic understanding of key past events and basic country history. This can provide a deeper insight into the general values, behaviours and attitudes that are displayed by individual mindsets and the wider community.
Strategies for Improving CQ Knowledge:
- Choose a culture that interests you. Read a novel, magazine or local newspaper from an overseas site; or an author native to that country
- Listen to overseas radio programs
- Visit culturally significant places to learn more about them i.e. a mosque, synagogue or sporting venue
- Visit art galleries or museums that display stories and artworks from other countries. These help you to gain a deeper understanding of why and how they were created and their cultural significance
- Continuously observe body language, facial expressions, gestures when you are interacting with people of different cultural backgrounds
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, people love to talk about their culture. This can also be a great way to build relationships.
- Consider some of your cultural assumptions and expectations
- How do they impact your views and experiences when you are either traveling or interacting with people of other cultures?
- How do you gain your CQ knowledge?
- What are your preferred mediums to attain CQ knowledge? For example is it through reading, travelling, convsersations etc?
You may like to listen to my ‘CQ Knowledge’ Podcast in ‘CQ for Global Leaders’ by clicking here.