Book Review: Cultural Intelligence

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Common Purpose founder Julia Middleton, which says a good leader must be able to cross cultural divides

Cultural Intelligence by Julia Middleton
Cultural Intelligence by Julia Middleton

We've had IQ, EQ, PQ and now CQ. Confused? They're types of intelligence (the last three are emotional, political and cultural) that a manager is meant to develop.

Julia Middleton, founder of the social enterprise Common Purpose, argues that leaders who want to be successful in a globalised world must possess a dazzling cultural quotient, which is defined as "the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures". Many charities are international, so it pays to listen to what Middleton says.

What does it take to be a leader who can cross and connect cultures? First, you need three prerequisites: a deep interest in other people; a determination to unpick why you sometimes feel superior or inferior to others; and the stamina for the long and painful journey towards CQ.

Next, you must understand what your "core" and "flex" are. Your core is who you are and the values and principles from which you will not budge; your flex is made up of things about yourself that you would change. To be culturally intelligent, you must push the boundaries of your flex while appreciating your core. Only by diving deep inside yourself will you find what you need.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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