Leading with Cultural IntelligenceLeading with Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success

Winter 2016 Business Book Review

A book review and recommendation by Dan Beaulieu

Leading with Cultural IntelligenceLeading with Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success

by David Livermore
Copyright: 2015 by Amacom Price: $26.95 • 255 pages with index
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A passageway to Global Leadership

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is a measurement of your ability, based on knowledge and experience, to lead across cultural lines. It is the ability to communicate and lead with companies and organizations around the globe. It is having an understanding of which cultures will look you in the eye the longest and which will not look you in the eye at all. It is the ability to communicate with people in Africa as easily as with people in Nebraska. It is the ability to understand what it means to apologize in Canada and to apologize in China.

I was impressed with this wonderful new book by David Livermore, the second edition of Leading with Cultural Intelligence. Full disclosure: I did not read the first edition of this book, so I have no base for comparison. The author tells us in the forward that the second edition is much changed from the original, and I’ll take his word for it.

The timeliness of this book is critical as more and more of us are doing business globally. Truth be known, I did not even think that there was a book that covered this subject until I saw this one on the shelf, and even then, I was not quite sure of its pertinence in my life. Once I started to read it, however, it all made sense.

I remembered an experience I had a number of years ago when I was asked to take on the management of three electronic design service bureaus and the adaptations I had to make to communicate properly with left-brain people with my right-brain approach. Being a sales manager all my life, I could see it in the eyes of the 20 or so designers I spoke to at my first meeting. They were lost. They did not know what I was talking about, and they seemed to hate the speed at which I was saying things. A good friend of mine, the design sales manager actually, took me aside and told me to slow down. He told me that I was coming off as a fast-talking, back-slapping huckster to these fine people who were used to dealing with the well-defined measurements of laying out printed circuit boards. I quickly realized that if I was going to lead these folks, I was going to have to learn and adapt to their culture in order to have any credibility as their leader. And they were in Pennsylvania — never mind halfway around the world.

This is what this book is all about — building up your cultural intelligence so that you can successfully communicate and do business with people of different cultures all over the world. If I had read this book a few years ago, before I went in and spoke to my new design team, I could have read David Livermore’s list of strategies when addressing an audience of non-native English speakers, or in my case, people of a different brain polarity.

Here are just a few highlights from the book.

  • Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. Slllllloooooooow d.o.w.n.
  • Use clear, slow speech. Enunciate carefully.
  • Avoid colloquial expressions and idioms.
  • Repeat important points using different words to explain the same thing.
  • Avoid long compound sentences.
  • Use visual representations.
  • Mix presentations with a balance of stories and principles.
  • Hand out written summaries.
  • Pause more frequently.

I liked this book and found it very useful. I think you will too.

Dan Beaulieu is the president and founder of D.B. Management, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of sales, marketing and branding with a focus on rep-principal relationships. His latest book is The PCB 101 Handbook which can be purchased online by emailing danbbeaulieu@aol.com. Dan is also the author of “It’s Only Common Sense,” a weekly sales column appearing at pcb007.com. Dan can be reached at 207-649-0879.