Seeking to Understand
An excerpt from Digital, Diverse and Divided on building cultural intelligence
I’m convinced that polarization is the number one issue facing us today. It seems like every week, there’s a new issue being raged about across social media, news channels, and friend groups. Political candidates propose solutions that only end up perpetuating the divides, and while awareness campaigns attempt to educate, each side consumes the information that confirms what they already believe. Meanwhile, leaders promote sitting down to talk through sensitive issues, but at best, people walk away “agreeing to disagree.” Polarization keeps growing.
A novel solution for overcoming polarization lies in the world of cultural intelligence—a research-based approach to understand and relate with people from different cultural backgrounds. My colleagues and I have been researching and writing about cultural intelligence for a couple of decades. To date, most of our work has focused on using cultural intelligence to improve interactions with people from different cultures. But more recently, our findings demonstrate that cultural intelligence is equally relevant for interacting with people who may come from a similar culture as us but seem alien to us with regard to their politics, religion, and opinions about social issues.
The following is an excerpt from Digital, Diverse and Divided, my new book where I explain how to use cultural intelligence to address the polarizing issues dividing us at every turn. The book includes stories from individuals I’ve interviewed across the world and introduces the cultural intelligence model as a social innovation for navigating difficult conversations with co-workers, friends, and even family. You’ll discover practical tools for addressing some of the most divisive issues tearing us apart. And you’ll learn how to use the differences themselves as a catalyst for solving some of the biggest challenges facing us. I hope you’ll join me in the quest to build a more culturally intelligent world near and far.—David Livermore
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