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Monday, June 25, 2018

Cultural Intelligence: What New Research Says and The Basic on How to Develop CQ to Enhance your Brand (Culture) in Career & Commerce

Dr. Tony Astro is co-owner of Mvoss Creation Promotional & Consulting located in Town Center Virginia Beach.  His expertise is cultural intelligence, career development and promotional branding. He has 2 decades of experience as human resources supervisor with Department of the Navy as Chief Counselor providing administrative support and training to all hierarchy and equipping organizations and their teams with skills to effectively work, advance in their career and education within and across multicultural diverse environment of military and civilian environment.  He has over 10 years extensive entrepreneurial practice as marketing director of two Asian Business association and owner of Mvoss Creation Promotional & Marketing. Tony has traveled in over 50 major cities around the world during his 23 years in the Navy as Human Resources Chief and still travelling every summer for leisure with his family. He conducts keynote speaking to diverse community of professional associations, university students, entrepreneurs and military organizations.  He was born to a Spanish mother and Filipino father and raised in the city of Manila, Philippines. He attended all his 12 years of education in an all-exclusive Chinese school. He joined the Navy and lived in Japan for 4 years and in the span of 23 years have been assigned and deployed in Europe, Middle East, Australia, Asia.  He resides in his home in Virginia Beach with his teenager son, wife Myla and a four-legged daughter corgi-mix Daisy.

Cultural Intelligence is the next Intelligence after EQ and IQ
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich” - Lao Tzu
Fortune 500 companies anticipate their highest revenue streams over the next decade to come from global and emerging business (Fortune, 2016) and top universities are recruiting students from around the world and from groups previously underrepresented on their campuses (Graduate employability: top universities in the United States ranked by employers 2017).
According to the recent Virginia Beach Community Profile, over 40 Foreign companies gave emerged in our city.  Our city is turning global and each many local companies like Sentara or United States Navy have a group of multicultural employees.  That is why Cultural Intelligence (Not Diversity) have a new place in how we deal our daily lives.   And it starts with knowing our own culture before knowing others, like Lao Tzu said, “Knowing others is Intelligence”.
Cultural Intelligence is our ability to adapt to unfamiliar cultural settings. Peter Earley and Elaine Mosakowski defined cultural intelligence (CQ) as the skill to “tease out of a person’s or group’s behavior those features that would be true of all people and all groups, those unusual to this person or this group, and those that are neither universal nor distinctive.” (Earley & Mosakowski, 2004).
As an immigrant, I am considered multi-culture but not even closed to being high in cultural intelligence even after living in various countries:  half of my later life in the United States and my beginning life in the first 2 decades living in the Philippines.  What really helped me is my past 23 years in the Navy working under the human resources but that is just half of what we need to say we have a good sense of CQ.
I strongly believe and based on many peer reviewed research that cultural intelligence (CQ) plays an important role in day-to-day life (just look at your social media page how many foreigners we encounter) and that CQ has a factor managing conflict for increased productivity and performance in diverse international or national environments.
Today's corporate environments (not just international) demand that employees are culturally intelligent for effective engagement in cross-cultural interactions. The recent study below examines the moderating effect of cultural intelligence (CQ) in the relationship between individual cultural orientations and the choice of a conflict management design.

Mindfulness and Motivation
Leaders who are culturally intelligent have mindfulness of how culture contributes to communication and creates shared learning (Darlington, 1996).  Cultural intelligence (CQ or CI) has often been linked to performance at the individual, team, and firm levels as a key factor in international business success Alon, Boulanger, Elston, Galanaki, Martínez de Ibarreta, & Meyers 2016)
The key in having a high cultural intelligence is mindfulness and experience.  Knowing your own culture is the very first step.  Actively working and applying cultural intelligence values enables us to learn more about ourselves and our relationship to the world.  Being mindful in our journeys can bring fulfilling transformation.  Study shows that cross‐cultural adjustment experiences, particularly in the social domain, play an important role in influencing CQ (Chao, Takeuchi, & Farh, 2016).
Intercultural social contact in daily life, and cultural intelligence (CQ) are positively related to strong motivation according to research.  Results of structural equation of data from 370 students supported all the suggestions in this study based on their student’s international travel experience, intercultural social contact in daily life, and cultural intelligence (CQ) are positively related to willingness or motivation (Lee, Weber, & Rivera Jr, 2018).

Social Interaction and Social Media
A recent research finding show that socializing or social media usage strengthens the relationship between multicultural experiences and cultural intelligence, whereas informational social media usage does not strengthen such relationship (Hu, Gu, Liu, & Huang, 2017).  The need of such a skill can be attributed to the fact that organizations are now blending out their human side of dealing with their employees when it comes to ensuring that they interact or socialized in the organization with ease (Maheshkar, Chandan, and Vinod Sharma, 2018).  
Acquiring a workforce which possesses high cultural intelligence can be a tough task; however, training staffs to become culturally competent can be a doable task. Like any other personality trait which can be imbibed over time through constant analysis and observation, cultural fitness is one such area which may be refined through various methodologies and practices.  Increased interactions among individuals from different cultural backgrounds in domestic organizational contexts points to another vast population who can benefit from CQ development (Ott, & Michailova, 2016).

Achieving branding appeal and competitiveness is a major priority of many companies including most marketing managers. They must implement new strategies that are distinct from those of their competitors and that influence client or customer’s perceptions, attitudes and behaviors and reinforce the brand equity of the product.  Using a sample of 503 tourists visiting Spain, the study demonstrates that a tourist’s CQ influences their assessment of destination brand equity (Frías-Jamilena, Sabiote-Ortiz, Martín-Santana, & Beerli-Palacio, 2018).

Balance, Flexible & Healthy Life
Since culture drives behavior the individual, the organizations, and the society, it is proposed that if we create a culture that supports work-life balance, it is likely to promote sustainable human development though higher role-related engagement of individuals. Research suggested that cultural intelligence plays a significant role in attaining both work-life stability and maintainable human growth (Rao, 2017).

Cultural Intelligence is the ability to work in balance and successfully with groups of people from any culture.  Someone with a high Cultural IQ can be released into a culture they know nothing about and will be able to balance, observe, empathize, and be flexible enough to form relationships with people, even if they are incapable to express the language.

Success in Leadership, Business, School and Organization
Successful organizations involve people that can link the digital gap, steer an ever-changing and often ambiguous setting, and deal with the expected culture shock that swift changes in today’s global world brings. These are the leadership behaviors that matter, and being able to use technology, rather than ending up being used by technology must be our goal as group leaders (Thomson & Emmens, 2018)
By examining 189 international students from an Australian university, this study investigates the impact of CQ and cultural exposure on intercultural adjustment and academic performance (Iskhakova, 2018).
More research also revealed total cultural intelligence score was positively and significantly correlated with job satisfaction.  This recent 2018 research indicate that leaders of public accounting firms might consider using cultural intelligence and the behavioral factor of cultural intelligence as a tool in the selection and recruitment of new accountants to address the problem of accounting firms retaining adequate number of accounting professional to meet current demand and to grow the firm if needed (McKinley Jr, 2018)

Basic Ways in Developing Higher Cultural Intelligence
Soft skills and team-building tracks combined with content that emphases on cultural diversity are helpful starts to the unlearning progression and developing a higher CQ, but mastery comes from practice (Levychin, 2018).    Being mindful or finding a common ground and constant interaction is a great start when dealing with human interaction every day is a great start but here are just a few ways to start our CQ growing. 

1.   Learn a New Culture Every day.    Be curious and start being mindful of why and how others react in certain behavior.  Travel and meeting someone different is a great way to learn a new culture.  Being aware of your surroundings is an option if you cannot afford to travel outside your country, anywhere in the city, you will find someone who grew up in a different culture than yours – get to know them.

2.  Show them Your Culture and Show them You Appreciate their Culture.  Don’t just tell them you understand why they did that, accept it then talk about how that is just perfectly normal, and you know someone (if you really do, always be honest) that have similar gestures, attitude or behavior and that being different is amazing.

3.  Awareness & Be Open Minded.  Don’t just put yourself in other people’s situations but learn how and why they behave such way.  Attend multi-cultural meetup or networking such as FusionMeet Networking (in Coastal Virginia) where everyone is introduced according to their culture or ethnicity even though everyone is an American, there is a cultural behavior that we practice everyday that is developed from our home, passed down by our parents who may have a different culture.  Although we based many behaviors in one culture, we should NEVER stereotype certain behavior as everyone have individual culture or personality. 

These are just basic in many ways to develop our CQ.    The main key is to collect as many “repertoire” or pockets of experience and explore each knowledge to start a deeper understanding of everyone you encounter.  Constant travelling, meeting people outside our comfort zone, learning a new language are some daily activities we can increase to foster a stronger intelligence in culture.