Leading With Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success


Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success is a scientific book about the culture’s role in creating optimal leadership strategies. It provides deep insight into the value of diversity in modern society and the opportunity to enforce it via the proper cross-cultural business administration.1 The book’s content is highly appreciated because it emphasizes why culture matters for leaders worldwide and offers a workable strategy for implementing cultural value into any organization’s functioning. The central thesis of Leading with Cultural Intelligence is that any business can succeed if its leadership practices are based on cross-cultural adaptation.

The book’s author, David Livermore, analyzed various researches in social sciences, economics, case studies, and psychology to determine Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as the primary measurement for assessing the business environment’s success. According to Livermore, CQ is “the capability to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures.”2 Based on the experience of top companies and CQ implementation, the four-step approach for cross-cultural adaptation was created. Indeed, drive, knowledge, strategy, and action are the key aspects of successful leadership.3 Religious serving is tied to the cultural part of society, therefore Livermore’s statements and blueprints are suitable for such organizations. This paper aims to discuss five recommendations offered in Leading with Cultural Intelligence and their utilization for effective Christian intercultural communication.

Cultural Intelligence

Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, developed by Livermore, identifies personal or organizational ability to effectively operate in the cross-cultural context based on national, ethnic, or values’ differences. Indeed, the implementation of CQ into leadership practices is the primary lesson retrieved from the book. The author emphasized that multicultural communication is the norm of modern life, thus people tend to increase their CQ unconsciously.4 Nevertheless, it is crucial to deliberately implement cross-cultural approaches from leaders to subordinates via studying diverse customers, exploring the members’ traditions and values. A team’s CQ evaluation is based on their self-efficacy, knowledge of cultural norms, consideration of the latter in strategies, and active verbal or non-verbal demonstration of respect to diversity.5 Leaders can assess these aspects and adjust their approaches to promote CQ increase based on the conclusions.

Christianity is highly diverse in the cultures that follow its postulates, therefore most of the ministries are ran by multicultural teams that frequently interact with people of different backgrounds. Consequently, CQ must be assessed to understand if the unit can build solid cross-cultural connections and encourage more people to reveal the true importance of Christianity.6 Moreover, the leaders are responsible for making the community’s bonds stronger, and, as for the ministries, values are the primary tool for confederation, increasing CQ is beneficial both for internal and external success.

Ten Cultural Clusters

The second helpful recommendation retrieved from Leading with Cultural Intelligence is the author’s description of ten cultural clusters. Livermore grouped nations and ethnicities based on their geographical location, historical relations, patterns of thinking, and behavior.7 In the modern world, the clusters continuously interact and influence each other, thus the CQ becomes the necessary tool to build companies, partnerships, and communities. The lesson based on the segmentation is that learning about the clusters’ central values and traditions is a more practical approach to gaining knowledge about different cultures than learning about countries or nations separately. In most cultural sets, such as Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, Latin, and Germanic Europe, Christianity remains the main religion, and the ministries’ activities benefit from that similarity. For instance, leaders of the local churches (Anglo-Saxon cluster) can expand and exchange the experience with the other groups by showing respect to their cultural distinctions and asking to teach about them.

Intercultural Understanding

Intercultural understanding, outlined and explained in the book, is the third crucial recommendation the could be applied in modern life and leadership. The author studies seminal ways cultures differ and explores how the knowledge about them can be applied to practice among leaders and their teams. For instance, in an intercultural situation where fundamental values such as disclosing private information are involved, individuals with high CQ would consider their interlocutor’s attitudes towards it. Awareness, according to Livermore, means to be in tune with what other cultures’ representatives can tolerate and understand why some aspects cannot be involved in the globalization trend.8 Addressing the diverse nature of team members in a company with high CQ by respecting their distinctions and providing equal decision-making power is a key for the successful growth of an organization.9 As the world’s cultures rapidly become global, the differences can be utilized as beneficial approaches to expand the knowledge about one another.

Intercultural understanding must be included in the local ministries’ practices and deliberately be taught to all persons involved in the communicational activities. The book’s interpretation of fundamental cultural distinguishes and approaches to train awareness is necessary for the community leaders, baptists, and active supporters.10 Intercultural understanding is the key to effectively delivering Christianity’s postulates and the ministry’s operations to follow them to the broadest audience possible.

Culturally Intelligent Leadership

The fourth recommendation retrieved from Livermore’s book is the culturally intelligent leadership strategies recommended to exponentially increase both the leader’s and their teams’ CQ. That type of leading is based on the leader’s ability to blend the unfamiliar contexts to make them understandable.11 Furthermore, culturally intelligent leadership addresses emotional, physical, and cognitive similarities and distinctions, allowing to implement effective bonding and intercultural activities.12 The leader with high CQ is capable of observing the diversity and changes in the external environment, timely analyzing, and implementing them to their company’s internal processes. The ministry’s leader must be aware of all novelties that occur around the Christian discussion, and the cultural intelligence would help them filter the events and appropriately tailor them to their community and the team.

Culturally Intelligent Team Building

The last yet significant lesson from Leading with Cultural Intelligence is team building recommendations to develop and maintain high CQ in an organization. The book emphasized the importance of each member’s self-efficacy and knowledge of their backgrounds as it is the most productive way of understanding the intercultural approaches of work.13 Moreover, the globalization trend does not eliminate the culture of particular places, facilities, and companies, therefore employees or participants need to evaluate if their workplace environment’s values align with their personal ones. In the ministry’s setting, the key to effective Christian intercultural communication is respect to the others’ origins and distinguishes. Indeed, the leaders in the local church can organize events of cultural exchange for the community to explore their cultures and feel the power of spiritual bonding.


Leading with Cultural Intelligence includes various evidence-based approaches to managing and growing efficient teams in the world of globalization and cross-cultural communication. Livermore’s studies’ most significant outcomes are the CQ implementation, tactics to understand the cultural clusters, and the frameworks for efficient leadership and team-building crafted from the intercultural perspective. Christianity is the faith of various nations and ethnicities, thus it is especially important for the ministries to increase their communities’ CQ actively. The books’ points of view and blueprints are applicable for improving the appropriate and effective Christian intercultural communication on the local and broader levels.


Livermore, David. Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2015.


  1. Livermore, David, Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success, 2nd ed. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2015), 13.
  2. Ibid., 4.
  3. Ibid., 20.
  4. Ibid., 29.
  5. Ibid., 47.
  6. Ibid., 50.
  7. Ibid., 104.
  8. Ibid., 137.
  9. Ibid., 206.
  10. Ibid., 189.
  11. Ibid., 200.
  12. Ibid., 204.
  13. Ibid., 215.