Why Business Leaders Need Cultural Intelligence

Business leaders are measured on many things such as, negotiation skills, performance, and how hard they work. As more organizations are collaborating with their competition and obtaining their resources from different regions of the world, cultural intelligence (CQ) is a necessary part for a CEO or other leaders of organizations to add to their toolkit.

One critical element that cultural intelligence and emotional intelligence share is to suspend judgment and think before acting. It involves using your senses to register all the ways that the personalities interacting in front of you are different from those in your home culture yet similar to one another. Some may say that leaders need intellectual intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) which I would agree however, in the twenty-first century leaders need cultural intelligence to navigate the unique complexity of a global environment.

It is very easy to think of cultural intelligence in regards to a different culture based on geographic region, for example; America and Japan. Organizational culture is another aspect to think about when applying cultural intelligence. Whether your organization has multiple offices around the world or you are trying to collaborate with another organization that is culturally different from yours, mindfulness of the do’s and don’ts will be beneficially for doing good business.

Carlos Ghosn, was born and in Brazil and is CEO of two automakers which are a Japanese and French companies. How does someone that was born in one country become a CEO of two different companies in two different countries different from his birth country? Simply put; cultural intelligence. Carlos Ghosn is CEO Nissan and Renault.

Communication is imperative for the successful execution of daily operations. By having cultural intelligence one can identify and understand cultural differences when it comes to communication. Communication is the first step in conducting business whether it is with an organization that is from the same culture or different from you. Before approaching an organization which is culturally different from yours think about the Customs, Mannerisms, Gestures, Language Barriers, Target Audience, Technology, and Politics.

Whether we look at business at a global perspective or local with a different organizational culture, business leaders need to be mindful of cultural differences and have a sense of Cultural Intelligence.

Do you have Cultural Intelligence?

Doug Blum - Associate, Boone Management Group Inc.


Melonie Boone, is a native of Chicago, Illinois. Mrs. Boone completed her Masters of Jurisprudence in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Loyola University of Chicago Law School. She also holds her Masters of Business Administration from Florida Metropolitan University in Jacksonville Florida as well as her Bachelors of Business Administration in Human Resource Management from Loyola University of Chicago. In addition, Mrs. Boone holds the designation of Professional in Human Resources fr...

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