Case Study

Building Cultural Intelligence (CQ) for leaders

Client Profile

Major Australasian employer in the service industry, headquartered in New Zealand, with approx. 3000+ FTE

The Challenge

The Board and Executive team of this iconic NZ organisation recognised that building their capability to lead an increasingly diverse workforce is critical to their success as an organisation. Having to recruit talent from across the globe and the fact that their clients are increasingly diverse, they recognised that taking an inclusive approach to leadership and customer service requires that they understand how to effectively transact across different cultural contexts. They also understood that being able to effectively deal with cultural differences, is a learnt capability and a competency that will be core to their ongoing success.

Our client wanted to have the opportunity to understand more about how different cultural norms and values drive perceptions and behaviours. They also wanted to build inclusive leadership as a key competency in the organisation and gain a higher level of self-awareness, so that they could hold themselves accountable for their own behaviours. Having a toolkit of strategies that could be applied in future cross-cultural interactions was the goal.

Our Approach

Our approach is always to tailor services to meet our client’s where they are and to ensure that we build on existing frameworks of learning in the organisation, to create a seamless learning experience for participants.

Following on from an initial discovery session with our client, we realised that the level of awareness with regards to their own cultural values, was low across this cohort of senior leaders.  Therefore, our approach was to initially grow self-awareness, and build capability with tailored training content, designed to enhance the participants’ understanding of cultural values that typically play out across the workforce.  The learning was then embedded by providing one on one coaching to individual participants based on their CQ results and stated intentions to grow their CQ capability.

What We Delivered

We started with rolling out our psychometrically validated online CQ assessment tool, which helped participants to understand their own level of CQ and introduce them to the 10 CQ values that play out across workplaces globally.

This was followed by a debrief, where participants could understand how to interpret their results and their own cultural values, relative to global norms. They also had an opportunity to understand more about the difference in cultural values across their own team, and how they might work to bridge the gap and create better team interaction and outcomes.

This was followed by targeted training design, based on the individual and aggregate results of the CQ assessments.  During the training,  participants were able to learn more about their own cultural lenses and how they drive behaviours. They were also provided with a toolkit of strategies to apply in their own roles as leaders, to effectively move beyond their own biases and knowledge base, and make decisions which are more impactful, meaningful and informed.

Following on from the training, participants were able to embed their understanding by undertaking one on 1 CQ coaching, which helped them to embed the learning and identify and commit to tangible actions to apply their learning.

What Our Client Had To Say

I didn’t realise the extent to which cultural values matter in driving my own behaviours and motivation. With this understanding, I realise that despite my best intentions, my approach may not work with everyone in the group, and I now have some insights into how I can adapt to different situations. This has to be good for someone like me, who has to lead people from all over the world!

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