READING this article costs you nothing, NOT READING it might cost you a fortune.

Have you ever tried to run in water?

I don’t mean just in a shallow puddle but when you were a kid in a swimming pool up to your neck! The more you have tried, the quicker you wanted to run, the more the water slowed you down and finally you gave up? I have done it and I still have nightmares about it, one of the most frustrating dreams! That is exactly how I see what is happening in the field of inclusion, diversity and cultural intelligence. So much struggle and activity, no much results. Do we approach it from the wrong angle?


  • 71% of surveyed organisations aspire to have an inclusive culture, but only 12% have achieved this objective. (Deloitte, 2016)
  • Over 80% of the differences on cultural values were found within countries, and less than 20% of the differences were found between countries. (Management International Review)
  • 89% of CEOs struggle with leadership, culture and engagement. (Deloitte, 2016)
  • 13% of employees are actively engaged at work. (Gallup, 2015)


  • Learning about the differences among countries is not intercultural intelligenceonly inter-national one.

Focusing on one cultural group out of many we simultaneously belong to and expecting sustainable, impactful results is naive, frustrating and expensive. (see separate article about this)

  • People forget 60% of what they learned within a day, 80% of it within a month.

Quick math: You pay £3000 for the training of 10 managers. The price does not include the daily rate of the 10 managers who were taken away from work during the training (£200×10= £2000) plus the loss of revenue they could have made. Minimum cost for the employer is £5000 and the value of the training in a month is £600, £300 2 months later considering the content was up to date and relevant.

It is safe to assume that they have not turned that knowledge into skills that could generate more profit or engagement with employees and clients. Let’s be honest, middle-managers need the most support.

  • In a working world that’s increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) it might seem that disruption is the one constant we can rely on in the future, but it doesn’t need to imply a negative outcome.

We cannot control change, but we can control our response to it. It is part of the brain’s executive functioning and requires us to access a host of reasoning, working memory, problem-solving skills, and planning functions, as change occurs. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to restructure knowledge in order to adapt and make use of it in different settings and situations, in other words, learners must be able to apply knowledge in the real world. Cognitive flexibility also extends to our belief system; enabling us to change our mind when assumptions and attitudes we consider true at one point, may not apply in the near future.

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85% of financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge.

By now it should not be a real question, if a leader and company should invest in the latest technology OR in their people using the latest academically validated research combined with the latest business data.

The real question is not technology or people…it is the optimum proportion of investment in both that guarantees the sustainable results.

Just like Simon Sinek said, vision is important, usually that is the easy part, the greatest challenge is the people strategy…that is true cultural intelligence. Our goal is to help you address all the above-mentioned challenges and bring the best out of yourself and others.

Csaba Toth
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Csaba Toth

Founder at ICQ Global
Author of Uncommon Sense in Unusual Times, developer of the multi award-winning Global DISC model
Csaba Toth
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