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2020 Trends in Project Management Series - Trend #1: Cultural and Emotional Intelligence

This is part 2 of 5 of our Trends in Project Management – 2020 blog series. If you haven’t read our Blog Series Introduction, check it out here, and then dive in with us as we explore the first of three top trends in project management: Cultural and Emotional Intelligence.

Our introduction to this blog series touches on the challenges global events have brought on in 2020. Physical and social distancing, heightened sensitivity to systemic racism, emphasis on respecting valuing and levering diversity, and remote and flexible work arrangements affect how people relate to one another and perform in their jobs. These circumstances are placing greater demand on managers’ Cultural Intelligence (CQ) & Emotional Intelligence (EQ).  

EQ is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. CQ is the ability to relate to and communicate effectively with people from diverse cultures. Both are competencies that can be learned and require the development of skills in:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Relationship management
  • Mindfulness
  • Reflection
  • Empathy
  • Comfort with ambiguity

Central to both EQ and CQ is the ability to effectively communicate with others who have different emotional responses, perspectives and cultural backgrounds from our own.*

*Reference via Linkedin: Nicole Barile - Preparing Organizations for the Future  

Managing projects goes beyond defining scope, planning, setting budgets, executing, monitoring, and correcting course. Project managers accomplish results by effectively managing people of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds across generations. Diversity becomes strength when deliberately harnessed and levered to achieve a shared goal or destination. Learning the art of understanding emotions and what drives people is becoming more important than ever to influence project success. Managers who possess and apply their EQ and CQ enable clients, team members, sponsors, and management to interact with each other with sincerity and clarity, handle challenges efficiently and make committed choices to act strategically and swiftly. Cultural intelligence that enhances project managers understanding of people from other backgrounds, enables them to anticipate and interpret their behaviors, will enable our leaders to get the best from people from different countries, races, religions, genders, political systems, and social backgrounds.

An example of a major achievement that benefited from Cultural & Emotional Intelligence is the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, UAE. It remains the world’s tallest building at 828(M) since its inauguration in 2010. It is one of Europe, Middle East, and Africa’s (EMEA) most iconic landmarks. The construction of Burj Khalifa is a truly international collaboration among more than 30 organizations from around the globe. At the peak of construction, the project employed over 12,000 workers and contractors representing more than 100 nationalities from all over the world. While some nationalities shared a common heritage and culture, others came from completely different cultural settings. International collaborations, like the one which led to the successful design and construction of Burj Khalifa, are becoming increasingly common. This trend has made it essential for project managers to master managing stakeholders across different cultures.

You might be wondering how the ability to understand and recognize emotions has anything to do with project success. Well, it does play a vital role. When TeleSmart.com, having expertise in real time voice innovation via IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology took a survey, it was found that 58% of respondents believe that emotional and cultural intelligence is one of the strongest predictors of performance, irrespective of the nature of your job. Burj Khalifa is an example of what can be achieved when diverse teams are managed to work collaboratively.

Lean more about Solvera's Project Management Services

Come back tomorrow – we will explore 2020 Project Management Trend #2: Hybrid Project Delivery.

About the author:

Salman is a certified Project Manager with 15+ years of experience in the IT Industry, including business and technology Project/Program management and consulting experience with large scale enterprises in multiple industries. Salman has managed large, complex, and cross functional projects and programs for public sectors and leading global corporations/banks. He is well versed using Agile, Scrum and PMI methodologies and processes. Outside of work, Salman is deeply involved in community service and serves as chair of the World Partnership Walk (Canada’s largest Private Fundraiser) in Saskatchewan; and he is very passionate about playing Table Tennis and Cricket.

Brian Sulzer is a Senior Management Consultant with extensive and rich experience in a wide range of disciplines and technologies. He has successfully delivered many business modernization and technology solutions with his clients. Since 1995, he has focused on SAP project, program, and portfolio management. His expertise includes business strategy, project planning and execution for results, enterprise architecture, change management, business transformation, and modernization. Brian enjoys playing golf, long rides on his road bike and visits with his grandchildren on FaceTime. Brian is an avid community builder through his volunteer work on his neighborhood Liaison Committee.

To chat with Salman or Brian about this blog or our Project Management Services, please contact us.