Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

David Livermore | Jan 19, 2010

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev

Cross-cultural training used to be something primarily talked about by missionaries and high-flying executives. But today, nearly all of us work and live with a diversity of cultures.

Cultural intelligence, or CQ, is a research-based approach to crossing cultures and it’s uniquely suited to the demands most youth leaders face. It’s defined as the capability to function effectively across a variety of national, ethnic, and even organizational and generational cultures. A growing level of CQ helps you successfully move in and out of many different cultural contexts throughout the week.

Here are a few reasons you may need cultural intelligence:

  • You can’t keep up with the constant trends in youth culture.
  • You observe a growing diversity among the subcultures evident in your youth group including jocks, alternative kids, artists, techies, etc.
  • You feel like a constant mediator between the adult world and the youth world.
  • You want to do short-term missions in a way that is loving and respectful.
  • You want to see your students move beyond their comfort zone in their high school friendships.
  • You want to see your students show the same kind of love to people of color in their own high schools as they do on the short-term missions trip.
  • You want to see your youth group reflect the diversity in the local high schools.

The emphasis of cultural intelligence is NOT mastering all the ins and outs of every culture represented in your community. That’s impossible. But like IQ and EQ, CQ is an overall capability that helps us move in and out of all these settings with a growing level of awareness and effectiveness as we serve. Cultural intelligence is something anyone can develop and learn. Learn more and take a free assessment at cq-portal.com and davidlivermore.com/cq. Tomorrow’s blog will look a little deeper into why cultural intelligence can make or break your future in ministry!




Note: This week’s guest blogger is Dr. Dave Livermore, our friend and partner in short-term missions research. Dave will share some thoughts about CQ and leadership as we continue dialogue about our new team resource, Essential Leadership. Dave is the author of Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World , Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success, and Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence.

David Livermore

David Livermore is a thought leader in cultural intelligence (CQ) and global leadership. He’s president and partner at the Cultural Intelligence Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Dave has done training and consulting with leaders in 100 countries across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Dave has authored several books, including Serving With Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence: Improving your CQ to Engage our Multicultural World, and The Cultural Intelligence Difference. Dave has been part of the Short-Term Missions research team with FYI and contributed to Deep Justice Journeys.


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