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Building Cultural Intelligence with Trisha Carter


What does Courage have to do with Cultural Intelligence?

A few weeks ago I asked, “What do we want to see in future leaders?” acknowledging that the world is changing and leaders are needed who can lead in the new environment.  Then I discovered that the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, with the help of Deloitte, had given the question an excellent answer. 

Their paper, “Fast Forward:  Leading in a brave new world of diversity” highlights three foundational shifts in the business environment

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What do we want to see in future leaders?

What are the skills, abilities and values we want to see in future leaders?

It’s a question I’ve been pondering this year as I’ve been coaching some potential future leaders from another country. 

It’s a question strong businesses regularly address.  They don’t just ask the question but identify the competencies they want to see - and those employees that have high potential to grow and perform. Those future leaders are developed in ways that enhance the desired competencies and qualities. It’s called Talent Management and gives companies an edge in competing for the best and the brightest.

Cultural skills are often seen as important for those future leaders.  Globalisation requires successful business leaders understand the markets, are familiar with both the opportunities and challenges in different regions of the world and are able to relate with people wherever they may be.  That’s cultural intelligence –the ability to operate effectively in situations of diversity.

The drive for culturally intelligent employees is increasing with demand outstripping supply.  Numerous research reports consistently echo the need for team members and leaders to be skilled at working in situations of diversity.  Links have been repeatedly demonstrated between higher profits and diverse teams. 

One of the ways for employees to develop such skills is to work outside their home country.  In a place where they are the minority and their ways of working may be challenged the opportunities for growth and development in a future leader can be great.

As discussed at a recent Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) meeting in Sydney, the search for and management of talent is increasingly located at a global level. Talent Management teams work alongside Global Mobility to provide opportunities for career growth in what has become known as Talent Mobility Programs.  Panel members from Optus, Deloitte and Concur spoke about their programs and the successes and challnges.

Driven by the organisational requirement to develop global competencies in its people, Talent Mobility have a number of tensions to work within.

The labeling of high potential future leaders does not necessarily correlate with an automatic eagerness to relocate. 

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Living with uncertainty

One of the critical skills needed in today’s world is the ability to live with uncertainty.

Our brains seek certainty.  We want to understand what is happening around us, and to predict what will happen in the future.  At some basic level we feel that certainty equals safety and is a route to success.

The reality is we live in an uncertain and complex world.  Business, technology and social changes are happening faster than ever before.  Today’s leaders need to be comfortable with uncertainty and open to complexity. 

The desire to dumb things down with simple slogans may be tempting but it doesn’t equip us for effective operation in a diverse and complex world.  

So what can we do when we are overwhelmed by the uncertainty? When the world around us thinks differently, with different rules and values than the one we grew up in.  When the projects we are working on stall due to global pressures or the complexities of red tape in a different region.  When the move we are being prepared for is halted due to contractual issues or visa changes.

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Moving children can be tough -especially sensitive kids

If you’ve moved overseas with your children perhaps you’ve had one child that found it more difficult than the others.  How can you help the sensitive child to settle in and adapt well? 

We recently held a webinar “What about the kids? Moving children around the world – the issues, challenges and delights?”  Our guest presenter, Julia Simens, family therapist and author, answered the question with her characteristic wisdom. 

Watch below and share your experiences and advice in the comments below


If you’re a member you can sign in to see the whole recording here. 



Trisha talks about Cultural Intelligence with Gihan Perera

This is a podcast from Gihan Perera's 'I Matter' podcast of regular ideas, interviews and insights into leveraging your leadership – through better communication, on-line learning and Internet marketing.

I've know Gihan for a while as he has helped on on my journey of understanding and utilising the internet better.  We've talked often about my work as he shares many of my delights and concerns about the value and opportunities of cultural differences.

In this podcast Gihan interviews me on my favourite topic of cultural intelligence. We talk about multi-cultural teams, virtual teams, global relocation and mobility and how cultural intelligence can help us to navigate those experiences well.