GLS18 Session Notes–David Livermore–Driven By Difference

Published August 16, 2018

TOPICS IN THIS ARTICLE

CommunicationDiversityLeading Others

Story of a mis-translation in China: During a speaking trip in China, David learned that his interpreter was not translating his humorous first illustration. His humor did not work cross-culturally. Instead, the interpreter was cueing the audience when to laugh.

Often our mistakes are often the best tools for learning how to improve our cultural intelligence.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is the capability to work effectively in culturally diverse situations.

  • Globally across different cultures
  • Generationally across different age groups

 

Characteristics of The Culturally Intelligent

 

1. High CQ Drive (i.e. Curiosity).

Culturally intelligent leaders respond with curiosity when confronted with a situation different from their experience.

  • Develop the skill of Perspective-Taking. Before evaluating another person’s ideas, step back to be sure you understand how they view the situation.

Culturally intelligent leaders respond with curiosity when confronted with a situation different from their experience.

2. High CQ Knowledge.

Culturally intelligent leaders have a working understanding of the similarities and differences that exist between different groups.

  • Example: Direct vs. Indirect Communication.
  • Each culture has values and objectives that factor into the ways they relate.

Different interpretations of the prodigal son story. Mark Powell’s research found different interpretations about why he ended up in the pig pen. All came from the story but the emphasis came from culture.

 

3. High CQ Strategy.

Culturally intelligent leaders channel their curiosity into a working strategy.

Eventually, we need to make decisions based on our multi-cultural awareness.

Video of Caucasian American male meeting an Asian American female on a walking path.

If your diversity training simply focuses on teaching people cultural differences, you may make the situation worse.

Leaders with high CQ Strategy know that cultural differences require different approaches.

  • If you are about to meet with a person from a different culture, take time beforehand to think about the approach that would work well for someone from this cultural background.

 

4. High CQ Action.

Culturally intelligent leaders have the ability to adapt when working in multi-cultural contexts

Questions to ask:

  • Is it a “tight” or “loose” culture?
  • Will adapting compromise the organization or me?
  • Will retaining the differences make us stronger?

Starbucks Example. When they first opened in China, they made the stores look like traditional Chinese tea houses. By adapting too far, they undermined the unique value they were trying to bring.

We’ve all heard that diverse leadership teams increase innovation. It’s not true. Diverse teams do not automatically create more innovative solutions. True innovation requires diversity plus high cultural intelligence.

  • If cultural intelligence was low, homogeneous teams innovated more often than diverse teams.
  •  If cultural intelligence was high, diverse teams innovated more than homogeneous teams by a margin of 3 to 1.

Diverse teams do not automatically create more innovative solutions. True innovation requires diversity plus high cultural intelligence.

Assessing Your Cultural Intelligence (CQ).

Go to www.culturalQ.com/gls for a complimentary self-assessment .

Everyone can improve their CQ.

Journal entries from a U.S. university student traveling to Peru. After reading culturally insensitive passages, David revealed that it was his own journal. He didn’t grow up being culturally intelligent, but now he’s speaking at the GLS on cultural intelligence.

The world desperately needs diverse leaders with compassionate hearts, driven by curiosity, who can effectively serve and make a difference in an increasingly polarized world.

 

*Disclaimer: GLS18 Session Notes are only available in the United States*

 

⬅ Back to all GLS18 Session Notes

About the Author
David Livermore speaker headshot for The Global Leadership 2018.

David Livermore, PhD

President, Best-selling Author

Cultural Intelligence Center

David Livermore is a social scientist in global leadership and cultural intelligence—the capability to relate effectively across culturally diverse situations which transcend ethnic, organizational, generational, gender and other contexts. As president and partner at the Cultural Intelligence Center, he has provided training and consulting in 100 countries. Livermore has authored several books, including Leading with Cultural Intelligence and Driven by Difference: How Global Companies Fuel Innovation through Diversity.

Years at GLS 2018

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