Got a little time to kill? As we wrap up this month’s leadership challenge to develop or enhance your cultural intelligence, take a few minutes to watch a series of ads run by HSBC Bank. This link takes you to my favorite among the group of ads, but all these clever ads make the point of the importance of cultural intelligence. They are good reminders to your students and those whom you mentor that being culturally aware or culturally ignorant can be the difference between successful encounters with clients, business contacts, and others, and being perceived as boorish, insensitive, uncaring, or offensive.
Cultural intelligence helps to temper, for example, one’s expectation that a Chinese business partner will push through a proposal with the urgency and expedience of Western business culture when that individual is influenced by her culture that values harmony and waiting until the right moment. Cultural intelligence avoids wrongly concluding that an individual has nothing to contribute during a meeting when in their culture, one does not speak unless invited or questioned.
Developing and continuing to enhance one’s cultural intelligence is hard, and the learning is never done. Impressing that lesson on our students is an extremely valuable gift for their future success.