What is Cultural Intelligence?

What is Cultural Intelligence?  Why is it called CQ, and not CI?  Is it just another catch phrase for doing things cross-culturally?  All of these are valid questions.  We have valid answers.

Your Cultural Intelligence Quotient (CQ) is described as your set of capabilities and skills that enables you from outside a dominant culture to interpret unfamiliar behaviors and situations as though you were an insider to that culture.  The science of CQ has been researched across 25 countries and continues to bring success in both ministry and business.

CQ includes a 4-part strategy.  Each part of the strategy needs to be developed individually, and can be learned by almost anyone.

Cultural Intelligence includes your:

1.CQ WHY? 

Your “Why” is what drives you to work on cross-cultural success in ministry.  Why do you want to pursue this ministry?  While this might seem simple, to truly find our “Why” we must look individually inward.  Simply saying “missions” is not enough.  Our individual motivators are extremely individualized, so our WHY must be honest and personal, or it will not drive us through the hard ministry.


Your “What” is the information that you learn about your cross-cultural or globalized audience.  Most cross-cultural studies and programs focus primarily on this part of CQ.  It is assumed that once you know what is different in the culture you wish to minister to, you will be able to implement whatever is needed.  Your “WHAT” is only part of cross-cultural success in ministry.

3. CQ HOW?

Your “How” is the strategy you plan to use when ministering within your cross-cultural or globalized audience.  What is your plan for your specific initiative?  What details need to be addressed to include what your “What” has taught you.


Your “When” address what you will need to be able to change on the ground as you attempt to implement your strategy.  Simply having a strategy is not enough.  You must be able to adapt while in your strategy, as you see behaviors change. Effective culturally intelligent ministry (CQM) requires the change agent to be flexible from their plan.