Cultural Intelligence – How do we get there? Developing your Drive
First, we must have the DRIVE, the motivation, to grow and learn. Do we WANT our community to be a thriving, healthy, and safe environment where we can all flourish, using our differences for strength? Are we seeing those around us in need rather than someone to judge? Are we willing to do the work of becoming culturally intelligent?
CQ Drive (motivation) is your interest, motivation, and confidence to adapt to multicultural situations.
CQ Drive may seem like common sense but it’s often overlooked. For example, sometimes people are required to go through diversity training but miss seeing its relevance to making them more effective at their jobs. Or someone might sit through training before taking on an overseas assignment but might only appreciate the relevance of the training after they arrive. Therefore, it’s important to intentionally address the issue of Drive.
To develop CQ Drive, there are three sub-dimensions to consider: intrinsic interest, extrinsic interest, and self-efficacy. Let me explain further.
Intrinsic interest is deriving enjoyment from culturally diverse experiences. “Intrinsic” is when it is a part of who you are. An individual with high intrinsic Drive is naturally interested in different cultures and finds it energizing.
It’s okay if you don’t find yourself naturally energized by cross-cultural work; many people don’t. But consider how to build your Drive. One strategy to develop your intrinsic interest is to connect an existing interest you have with an intercultural component. For example, if you like sports, explore sports in a different culture. The same thing can be applied for the arts, etc.
Extrinsic interest is gaining external benefits from culturally diverse experiences. This is the degree to which you see tangible benefits to you personally and/or professionally by being involved in cross-cultural work.
If this is an area of weakness, you might make a list of tangible benefits you can obtain by doing more intercultural work. Remind yourself why this is important in your daily life.
Self-efficacy means having the confidence to be effective in culturally diverse situations. Sometimes, intercultural training focuses too much on the mistakes people make and if we only hear those things, it can erode our self-efficacy and Drive. This is a delicate balance between being a humble learner while also not being so paralyzed by the fear of doing something wrong.
To develop self-efficacy try thinking of a time when you were successful at interacting with someone from a different cultural background. What can you learn from that experience?
Time to reflect: how is your Drive, your motivation, to cross the cultural divide you are facing? Whether it is ethnic, national, generational, or other culturally different situations, how motivated are you to grow and learn and reach out to the person who is different from you? To what degree are you motivated to work with and learn about the culture/s involved in this situation? Don’t overlook the essential role of CQ Drive.