What’s your Cultural Quotient? Can it really be measured? These are some the discussions heard today in academia about a recent trend in managing people. Its’ called Cultural Intelligence coined by Soon Ang and Linn Van Dyne as a researched-based way of measuring and predicting intercultural performance. Today it is increasingly being used by leadership trainers and professional to help leaders and co-workers navigate intercultural work environments. I have taken a somewhat personal interest in this catchphrase, as I have long been a promoter of cultural understanding and tolerance as a means for team building and promoting cohesive work environments within the multicultural landscape of Dubai.

So what makes up your Cultural Quotient or CQ? According to Ang, Van Dyne, & Livermore CQ describes four capabilities: motivation (CQ Drive), cognition (CQ Knowledge), meta-cognition (CQ Strategy) and behavior (CQ Action). Without getting into the very technical aspects of these measures, put simply, everyone has a core set of values, customs, and traditions that they hold dear, and in some way define them and the community they identify with. How well you are able to read these cultural cues and adapt yourself and help others navigate and adapt is the measure of your Cultural Quotient. The higher the Quotient, the better you are at reading people and your ability to adapt your communication behaviors to gain the best results in leadership.

Simply put: Understanding how culture affects our behaviors within the work and social environment is key to forming successful business relationships in our multicultural world.