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CQ, IQ, and EQ: What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

IQ and EQ—intelligence quotient and emotional quotient, respectively—are recognized worldwide as ways to assess a person’s intelligence and emotional intelligence. IQ is a measure of one’s ability to solve problems, use logic, and communicate effectively. EQ is a measure of one’s ability to recognize emotion in oneself and in others, and to use that awareness to guide one’s decisions.

Though IQ and EQ are most notably discussed and evaluated in the workplace, both kinds of intelligence can influence a variety of factors beyond job performance, including a person’s relationships and overall well-being, according to Healthline.

However, beyond a person’s IQ and EQ, their global competence is more closely tied to their CQ, or cultural quotient. CQ is a lesser-known term, but it’s been proven to be equally as important as IQ and EQ, if not more. People with a high CQ possess the ability to interact comfortably and successfully with other cultures.

“The number one predictor of your success in today’s borderless world is not your IQ, not your resume (CV), and not even your expertise,” writes social scientist David Livermore in his book The Cultural Intelligence Difference. “It’s your CQ.”

Today, a person’s CQ is increasingly important to their general prosperity as well as their professional success, as described in a 2015 by the IESE Business School.

A high CQ allows for more effective cross-cultural collaboration, which is critical to developing relationships with people of diverse backgrounds in and out of the business world. Being culturally aware allows for stronger and more enjoyable relationships with friends as well as colleagues.

Today’s globalized workforce brings new opportunities, but also new challenges. Having coworkers of widely different backgrounds and experiences can be difficult, so cultivating a high CQ is a very valuable asset in the workplace.

As reported by TMA World, “A culturally intelligent workforce will demonstrate better tolerance, trust and understanding of global colleagues.”

A study published in 2011 in the Journal of Social Issues found that people with a high CQ perform better on multicultural work teams than those with a low CQ.

In fact, having a low CQ can actually be limiting. An article published in the Harvard Business Review explains, “Given the number of cross-functional assignments, job transfers, new employers, and distant postings most corporate managers are likely to experience in the course of a career, low CQ can turn out to be an inherent disadvantage.”

A high CQ is crucial for a wide range of careers; it’s necessary for anyone who regularly interacts with people from different backgrounds.

DigiPals facilitates students’ CQ growth, challenging them to communicate and develop meaningful relationships with people of different backgrounds. The chance to strengthen their CQ in the classroom brings a lifetime of benefits, in and out of the workplace.

Students engage in an intercultural exchange of ideas and experiences with their pen pals to learn open-mindedness and multicultural awareness—two important factors of a person’s CQ.

DigiPals offers an incredibly meaningful opportunity for students to engage with peers around the world. Not only do they improve their cultural intelligence, but they become kinder and more open-minded people from their relationships with their pen pals.

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