Closing the Culture Gap | Learning & Development | Primeast

Closing the Culture Gap

Author: Darren Carrington

Date: 26/01/2021

Closing the Culture Gap

Having a great company culture is equally important for those seeking their next rewarding role and is up there with the expected criteria in much the same way as salary and traditional benefits.

A well-defined set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize your organisation is the way your people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they're doing to get it there.

So, is that the end of the culture focus or is it merely the beginning?

When looking to define individual culture as the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society, it can be broken down into many smaller sub-definitions until we find a fit for the appropriate application.

Quite simply, culture is just a filter that people use to perceive and interpret the world around them and guide their interactions and behaviour. This filter is powerful and is usually subconscious.

Imagine you’re on a conference call in Dubai with your team from Mexico, Australia, Sweden and England along with your Business Development Manager in India regarding a service implementation that will occur with your strategic partner in China.

Add to the mix that many of these team members will have been facing their own Covid challenges through remote working, how do you ensure that you engage everyone and effectively communicate with one another considering the various cultures?

How are these players perceiving the company culture, its vision, mission and values? For the most part, there will be a gap and very different from how you see things.

With nearly 7 Billion of us speaking over 6,000 languages living in an ever-increasing Global Village, it’s not surprising that such blindspots occur. Research is proving that the number one competency critical to successful cross-cultural interactions is Cultural Intelligence, also referred to as CQ.

CQ is our level of effectiveness in cross-cultural situations and is proven to predict our success or failure in today’s global marketplace.

Research at the Cultural Intelligence Center over the last 15 years across more than 30 countries shows that four capabilities consistently appear among those that can be described as being culturally intelligent.

Four Capabilities of Cultural Intelligence

  • High CQ Drive - Interest and motivation in cross-cultural issues. This includes an intrinsic motivation as the degree to which they receive enjoyment from culturally diverse situations. An extrinsic motivation in the tangible benefits one gains from culturally diverse experiences and self-efficacy – the confidence that they will be effective in an intercultural encounter.
  • High CQ Knowledge – A demonstration of good understanding of cultural similarities and differences. CQ Knowledge is based upon the degree to which you understand the idea of culture and how it influences the way you think and behave.

  • High CQ Strategy – An ability to be aware and plan in light of cross-cultural issues. Essentially this means slowing down in the midst of a cross cultural interaction to carefully observe what’s going inside your own thought processes and draw upon your cultural knowledge to understand a different cultural context and solve problems in that situation.

  • High CQ Action – Your ability to act appropriately in a wide range of cultural situations. One of the most important aspects of CQ Action is knowing when to adapt to another culture and when not to do so.

Leaders with high CQ learn which actions will and won’t enhance effectiveness and act upon that understanding and CQ Action involves flexing behaviours customised to the specific cultural context.

To talk to us about transforming cultural intelligence within your organisation, get in touch - you can email our Client Support team here or call +44 (0) 1423 531083.

Primeast offers a range of support to develop cultural alignment and values-based leadership in your organisation.

Prime Leadership is a transformative, integrated approach to developing leadership effectiveness. The Developing Culture programme uses the Barrett Values Cultural Transformation Tool (CTT®) to measure employee values, offering individual, team or organisation-wide reports. This proven methodology offers clear insights into how well employees are engaged and aligned, highlighting challenges and opportunities for change. With coaching and developmental workshops this programme is customized to meet your objectives.

Start now with the free Personal Values Assessment, it takes less than five minutes and you will receive a detailed report and exercises to deepen understanding of your values.

Scaling Talent offers a carefully designed flexible, modular portfolio of workshops, have a look at Developing Cultural Intelligence and Understanding Your Purpose and Values for examples.

About the Author


Darren Carrington

Darren Carrington is a confident, grounded, and versatile facilitator, trainer, executive coach and mentor who truly connects with his audience. Passionate about people development and adding value, this is reflected in his warm and infectious facilitation style.

Darren has 13 years experience of living, working and developing leaders and their teams across the UAE, GCC and MENA Regions. An NLP Master Practitioner, Darren is also accredited in a number of tools and assessments including DiSC and Situational Leadership.

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