What Is Cultural Intelligence?

by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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    00:06 Cultural intelligence is now one of my favorite things to talk about because since I have learned it I have really really made an effort to try to employ that in every aspect of my life. So what is it? Christopher Earley and Soon Ang developed this concept around the millennial change and it was because there was a whole lot of IT involved when we switched over from the 90s into the 2000s and so there was a lot of discord and conflict because the IT department, that's one whole culture by itself. In IT, there is a specific language that those of us who aren't in IT understand. So there was some difficulty and discord around communication and cultural differences. Remember I say culture is broad. So the actual definition is the skill and confidence to work effectively and diverse across cultural/ multicultural situations and settings. It is a globally recognized and respected evidence-based approach to ways that we address and improve our effectiveness in culturally diverse situations. And so, as healthcare providers, we go in these global missions all the time. Right? Well, before we go on those, we need to be aware that there will be some cultural differences. Differences in ways of being, doing preferences and so I'm going to talk about the framework of cultural intelligence and why it's important before we step into any other culture. Whether it's national or international or global, we need to be prepared for that and I will talk about those ways. So, why CQ? Well because culture perspective and differences matter.

    01:46 Without it, we're culturally illiterate. What does that mean? It means that I operate from a small space. I have tunnel vision. I likened it to myopia. Right? I can only see straight ahead. Can't see anything in my periphery. And sometimes we have, I labeled it astigmatism but it's a little blurred so I have some knowledge but not a whole lot. Our goal is to develop a global cultural acuity and we can't develop that without assessing our vision. That's self-awareness and introspection again. So the CQ framework has 4 different capabilities that you have to achieve.

    02:23 The first one is motivation or drive. I have to be interested and enthusiastic about interacting with people from different cultural spaces and then knowledge is the second capability. So I need to have the knowledge, not just the generalized knowledge. That's great and good, but we don't want to stereotype people.

    02:46 So, in addition to that general knowledge, I want to develop some knowledge that is unique to what the people or the cultures that I'm going to embrace. So some of that will be true from the general perspective, but I won't know anything that specific or unique or individualized without having conversations. And then strategy.

    03:07 I do need to plan. So how can I plan without gathering some knowledge? And then how do I, I keep talking about, operationalizing. How do I put that plan into action. So we'll talk about that but in order to develop all of that I want to just make sure I make the point to show that emotional intelligence ties all those things together. You can expand your per view with CQ so you can go from that myopic vision or the astigmatism to more of a bird's eye view. And sometimes it does require us to zone in to something but we don't want to lose what's in the periphery.

    03:44 When we speak specifically about drive or motivation, it's having interest. I mean to be interested in differences and not sameness so I will, in terms of bias even, I'm going to be motivated to make the effort that it requires for me to interrupt and manage those biased influenced decisions that I've been talking about all morning. Then in terms of knowledge, you may also see it as cognition but I need to know and understand not only cultural similarities but also differences because we're all comfortable in a space of commonalities and similarities and sometimes we naturally want to shut off when we're around something that's different.

    04:25 Usually it's around that fear thing again. Right? So, we may want to avoid that but the more we learn, the more comfortable we feel in that space. So the more you interact with people who are different from you regardless to what that difference is whether it's beliefs or whatever, then the more you are able to understand and get comfortable in that space which leads me to strategy or metacognition is another term you may see attached to strategy and that's how well do you understand culture and plan for those multicultural interactions.

    04:57 So in this space, if you're going on a global mission trip, again, you want to read up and get all the knowledge you can but typically that's a planned exercise.

    05:06 So you want to talk to the point person that you're going to meet and find out what are some things you need to know that could help make that interaction more successful and the same thing needs to happen from there and so it needs to be a mutual exchange of information in developing that plan together. When we apply that to bias, planning for those interactions with the person or a group that you might have a bias against, that's one of the best ways not to let those biases impact how you interact with people because I know that I may not like this person or a group or whatever for whatever reason, once I admit that to myself then I can say "You know what, this is not about me or that person, this is about achieving a specific goal."And if I stay focused on that, then I can control my emotions and that's how we apply emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence at the same time. So the 4th one is action. You may also see it listed as behavior.

    06:07 So when you think about that again, it's how do we allow that emotional intelligence to manifest itself? How do I become more open and adaptable and flexible to change? So, even if you planned for it, when you have CQ and some things doesn't go the way you thought it would, then I need to be able to adapt. You heard me talk about that and that's very important in terms of not only relationships but especially in terms of being a healthcare professional. And with bias, it's what action will you take to manage bias. And I love visuals. So, I have seen one before with a set of dice that has the word change on it and the G is in orange and then the C is in white. Two things with that. The way I looked at that and when I talk about it in terms of change is that if change just happens by chance, then you're more likely to allow biases to impact and influence relationships but if change happens because you've actually put in the work, then you're less likely to let that happen and I always like to share that there was someone in the audience one time when I did a talk about this, I love that she shared her perspective on that and the way she read it was everyone has a chance to change and I said to him I'm going to use that from now on because that is so true in terms of us being hard on ourselves and hard on other people and showing grace to ourselves and showing grace to other people. You have the chance, but you also have to be willing, so going back to that motivation and I've said several times that real change or this transformation is not a one-time event, it's not a box checking thing, change requires repetition.

    07:54 So, anything that you find throughout any of these talks that resonates with you are something you know you need to work on. That's what you focus on.

    08:02 Write it down and then just document your progress.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture What Is Cultural Intelligence? by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE is from the course Cultural Intelligence.

    Author of lecture What Is Cultural Intelligence?

     Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

    Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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