Cultural Intelligence & Effectiveness


Cultural intelligence, or CQ, is a measurement of intercultural effectiveness. How much cultural intelligence you have will determine how well you work with and relate to those of another country. I have worked alongside of foreigners in Haiti with varying degrees of CQ, and I myself have learned the hard way that the more you learn, the more you realize the things you don’t know. Through it all, I have come to respect those with CQ more and more. These people have seen things; they’ve seen others get it wrong in their country of service, and more than likely, they’ve also made a lot of mistakes. People with CQ, however, learn from their mistakes and try again.

The greatest difference between someone who is culturally intelligent and someone who isn’t is the measure of their humility. I believe that human pride is a huge barrier to working interculturally (or with humans in general). Therefore, having CQ is important, but having humility is key to gaining CQ.

From my experience working with HI these past few weeks, I can say confidently that they have excelled in their ability to gather CQ. With a little guidance, their staff run their programs out in Cite Soliel. Everyone I’ve met possesses great humility. HI has chosen to surround themselves with people who live in the community where they work, ask their advice, and take it. They stand out in Cite Soliel as a successful, helpful, and effective organization because of that.

The reward to having CQ is bitter-sweet. On the one hand, you are little more useful to the people you are serving, yet on the other hand, you are privy to other people’s cultural ignorance. We should be reminded that we were once ignorant, too, and it’s by grace that we know better. I’m so glad that I could learn alongside HI’s staff for this short time. I hope we all keep learning.

Impact Trip Haitian Initiative Sponsor Haiti