What is CQ, and why should the Games Industry care?
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Creativity and innovation are key pillars to success in game development as we strive to create exceptional entertainment experiences for audiences. Diversity within teams, in global markets and in our organizational structures are also an industry reality. We’ve heard for years that workplace diversity brings many significant benefits including increased profitability, market growth and equity returns. However, here is the catch:
Diversity ≠ Innovation
Diversity WITH CQ = Innovation
Research indicates diversity by itself will NOT drive innovation and/or increased performance; in fact, the opposite is much more likely to be true, at least without high CQ.
But what exactly is CQ, and it's relationship to diversity?
" Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is the capability to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations." Individuals with high CQ will be strong in the following capabilities:
Experienced game devs will have seen conflict relating to differing expectations within diverse development teams, and these are often stemming from cultural preferences. For example, how shall we make a decision? Who makes it and who's involved in the conversation? How do we define ‘success’? What approach should we apply to evaluating new ideas, dealing with conflicts or scheduling meetings? What are the desired attributes of a 'good' boss?
In my work with global teams and projects, I have seen a pattern of success and failure often apparently tied directly to issues of ‘culture’. It became clear that being effective required a very thoughtful approach to our collaborations, especially with consideration to cultural preferences and individual team dynamics. This was true whether working with internal teams or external development partners, and whether working remotely or in the same location.
The Good News
CQ takes us beyond a simple conversation of cultural preferences or ' cultural awareness', with the risk of increased stereotyping, and instead clarifies the skills and a framework to support a strategic approach for increased effectiveness in all multicultural interactions.
CQ as a capability is NOT fixed; it can be measured and improved in individuals and at an corporate level. A high CQ leader will become a 'force multiplier' for their team and throughout the organization. With a variety of possible development approaches available including workshops, personal/team coaching and e-learning, we can increase our cultural intelligence, resulting in clear benefits:
- Success in culturally diverse markets
- Speed and efficiency in producing results
- Multicultural and global team effectiveness
- Profitability and cost savings
- Less energy to adapt
- Ability to persevere
- Increased personal effectiveness
- Become a more desired employee/teammate
Cultural intelligence provides a competitive advantage for any organization working in global markets, but the business case for the games industry, with it's highly diverse, often distributed teams and global audiences, makes CQ a clear winner as an organizational development priority.
The original version of this article appears on LinkedIn. Your comments, personal insights and questions are welcome! In future posts, I hope to share tips for developing and applying your CQ capabilities.
- The Culture Map – free online self assessment related to cultural preferences, from Erin Meyer
- Constructive Feedback Across Cultures
- Academic papers on diversity in organizations; O’Reilly and Williams, 1998
Tina Merry on LinkedIn Twitter: @TinaLMerry