The world is shrinking and leaders from different cultures are finding that they need to work together. The cultures are formed of geography, faith, gender, generation, organisation and sector. And in a global world, where problems cross borders between cultures, we need leaders who can cross those boundaries and cross cultures too; people who can communicate effectively and build diverse networks necessary to solve messy problems. We need leaders who don’t just shy away from difference but gravitate towards it. They don’t see heterogeneity as threatening; they see it as creative, exciting, inspiring and enriching. These are the leaders with Cultural Intelligence (CQ).
Yet wherever you go in the world, people are being thrown together and are struggling to adapt and get on. Old and new divides are being crossed. Populations are becoming more diverse. Communication technology means that ‘global’ business is no longer just the remit of a few large organisations, but is increasingly the ambition of small businesses and individuals. It is also happening with sectors; the boundaries are blurring between the public, private and NGO sectors and leaders are struggling to understand one another.