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What is CQ?

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is ‘The capability to function effectively across various cultural contexts (national, ethnic, organizational, generational, etc.)’.  Soon Ang and Linn Van Dyne, “Conceptualization of Cultural Intelligence” in Handbook of Cultural Intelligence: Theory, Measurement, and Applications (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008).

CQ is an essential intelligence for us in our interconnected world and internationalised universities.

We have all heard of IQ (general mental ability) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence; the capacity to understand and manage our own emotions and recognise and influence the emotions of others).  EQ has been demonstrated to be very important for leaders and individuals to succeed, however it is also culture bound.  A limitation today, when so many of us work in intercultural teams.

Understanding different types of intelligences enables us to differentiate specific capabilities that have relevance in different situations.

CQ has four main capabilities.

  • CQ Drive
  • CQ Knowledge
  • CQ Strategy
  • CQ Action

CQ can be assessed and it can be developed.

Being effective in intercultural contexts is not about personality, it is about specific capabilities that can be developed and which lead to specific outcomes: better decision making, performance and adjustment in culturally diverse groups.

Benefits of CQ

Research demonstrates a number of consistent results for individuals and organisations that enhance cultural intelligence, including:

  • More Effective Cross-Cultural Adaptability and Decision-Making
  • Enhanced Job Performance
  • Improved Creativity and Innovation
  • Increased Profitability and Cost-Savings
  • Cultural intelligence is proven to reduce attrition, improve innovation, and make multicultural teams more effective.

Recent research (Ang, Dyne) suggests that teams which have high CQ are 3 times more successful on indicitors such as innovation, productivity and profitability.

Developing CQ has the following results for students, academics and professional services staff:

  • Development of intercultural competence
  • Improved Interaction with diverse peers
  • Enhanced skills as global citizens
  • Better career opportunities
CQ Research

The research question which led to our understanding of CQ was:

“What enables some people to thrive in situations characterised by cultural diversity, while others do not?”

CQ is based in rigorous, academic research undertaken by scholars around the world.

It has a strong theoretical foundation in the literature on multiple intelligences.

The research has been peer reviewed and in indepent reviews of intercultural competency models it has demonstrated that it has validity.

The measure is reliable and valide across samples, time and cultures.

To see a collection of research papers on CQ please visit the Cultural Intelligence Centre site.

CQ Assessments

The CQ assessments I offer are from the Cultural Intelligence Centre (Michigan, USA) who hold the copy right to the only academically validated cultural intelligence assessments.

There are a number of assessments for different purposes and groups.

  • CQ Multi-rater Assessment:  Recommended for professional and including assessment scores from your named observers
  • CQ Self-Assessment Plus: A self inventory of your CQ capabilities and including cultural values scores
  • CQ Self-Assessment: A self inventory of your CQ capabilities
  • CQ Student assessments: Self assessments or team assessments depending on your needs

You can get a report which shows the CQ of your team, class, department or organisation which is particularly useful when you are seeking to measure improvement and assess what impact interventions are having in driving up CQ.

To discuss further please email me telling me what you are seeking to achieve and we can discuss which CQ assessment(s) would be right for you.

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Lucy ButtersHaving worked to develop leadership, business communication skills and the potential of people from over 80 countries around the world, Lucy Butters knows that small changes in how we interact and communicate can lead to really positive impacts. She established elembee, in 2010, to enhance individual potential, leadership, teamwork, organisational partnerships and the internationalisation strategies of the education, public and private sectors . . . Read More


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Lucy has a friendly and professional manner which always gets to the heart of the matter. I can warmly recommend her as a exceptional career coach who is highly dedicated. I can guarantee that no challenge with faze her and you will always find her ready to listen, question and motivate you into taking practical steps and actions.