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  • Claire Le Compagnon

Creating a Turbulent Network

I'm reading the book Cultural Intelligence from Julia Middleton this summer and I really liked her concept of turbulent networks to help increase your CQ. I think it absolutely makes sense, and I believe it's easy to start and implement.

Leaders nowadays need large networks, within and outside of their company The entire world is connected, You want to have a network of mentor to guide you and give you the best advices, sponsors to be able to talk about you when you are not in the room, professional network outside of your company to let you know about the next job opportunity. Good reasons to maintain and grow a strong network are endless.

But intuitively you understand that if you surround yourself with people who think like you, look like you, come from the same culture, it's likely that they are not going to challenge you enough and enable you to grow.

When it comes to cultural intelligence, I was telling a group of ladies yesterday evening during a zoom call that you improve your CQ when you fail, when you just don't get it, when you doubt even. Then starts the real work of trying to understand what is happening. Why is this person doing it that way? Why is that other person approaching the project this way? Why can't they come up with the same solution? Why do they have an opposite point of view?

So Julia Middleton refers to the concept of "turbulent network", surrounding yourself with people who are fundamentally different from you. They might create discomfort, even dissonance, but they are the ones that will help you expand your leadership capabilities across multiple cultures.

I had a zoom call yesterday morning an Australian man, who lives in Germany. He contacted me on Linkedin, and sent me a message that really clicked. He basically said that we wanted to make sure his connections on Linkedin were active ones, and therefore suggested that we could connect on a call. Why would you connect with someone you don't know but never actually give yourself a chance to know that person? So we met, on Zoom, and decided that we would meet another time because we found that we had topics we wanted to discuss further. Along the way, we will certainly realize that we have different opinions on many topics but I really liked his way to take a chance to expand his network with people that didn't come from the same culture ( different country, different industry, different function, ...).

If you can find people to add in your network that can confront you to different realities in a respectful way, you will undoubtedly improve your capacity to understand, comprehend, manage and lead a larger variety of teams and individuals. Get out of your own echo chamber, especially in a modern era of social media that amplify your view of the world. Make that conscious effort to confront yourself to ideological difference, it will help create bridges between very smart people who are eager to learn and improve.

In order to solve complex problems, and God knows we are facing a complex world nowadays, we need leaders that have the capacity and the desire to reach out to expertise, point of views and solutions that go way beyond their "like me" networks. Improve your CQ, build a turbulent network around you.

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