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April 17, 2024 in Blog


For many decades, generations of business leaders believed that their only focus should be maximizing profits and delivering value to their shareholders. More recently, however, the concept of “business as a force for good” has gained momentum, and today, businesses balance the pursuit of profit with “higher purposes that serve, align and integrate the interests of all their major stakeholders.”

In 2019, the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs from America’s largest corporations, signed a statement declaring that companies should deliver value to all of their stakeholders—which includes not just shareholders but also customers, employees, suppliers, and the communities in which they operate.

The role of businesses in our society and the expectations of employees and other stakeholders today have shifted significantly from decades ago. Businesses find themselves needing to cast new decision-making standards that properly value nature, people, and society and account for the social, human, and natural capital alongside profits.

Employees, particularly Gen-Z’ers, expect businesses to be “a force for good”, not only for the world but also for them as individuals and the organization as a whole. In a work era defined by trends like “quiet quitting”, leaders must invest in their employees’ well-being and create and support a thriving workplace culture.

There’s no question that crossing cultural boundaries has become routine in today’s world. Therefore, having the ability to function and relate in culturally diverse situations and environments is essential for overcoming conflicts, improving communication, and using the diverse perspectives of employees to promote innovation and improve trust and cooperation. Cultural Intelligence (CQ®) becomes an essential aptitude and skill for leaders and managers when interacting with their employees and other stakeholders.

It involves suspending judgment and stereotyping and understanding the way that the people interacting in front of them are different or similar to one another based on their cultural values, and not on their personality traits. As individuals within organizations demand more perceptiveness and adaptability, cross-functional teams and assignments increase, virtual teams and job transfers continue to rise across all sectors, low CQ® can turn out to be an intrinsic disadvantage if it is not addressed. But the good news is that it is something that can be enhanced and developed.

Experience has taught me that considering Cultural Intelligence (CQ®) as a force for good is essential. When leaders recognize the diverse perspectives and approaches to work that their employees, suppliers and other stakeholders bring, they will be better equipped to lead and bring powerful change to their organization and their communities as a whole.

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