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A series of scales which show varying levels of personal Core and Flex

The sliding scale

Once we’ve worked out what’s Core and Flex, we need to keep testing them to make sure that the right things are in the right places, and that our Flex is actually Flexing. The sliding scale between them moves (or it should), and sometimes it can reveal things that are difficult for us. A leader who is looking to gain Cultural Intelligence is constantly working on the balance of this sliding scale.

It’s also different for everyone. So here’s one that’s in the balance for me right now. For as long as I can remember, I have always signed off all my letters, emails and texts ‘Love Julia’. I do this whether I know the recipient or not. I do it with anyone and everyone: family, CEOs, government ministers, emirs, bishops, neighbours, shopkeepers. Is this Core or is this Flex?

  • Is sending love and seeing all people as equal a behaviour which is so essential to my identity that to drop it would cut away at my Core?

  • Or is this a behaviour that I should just grow out of, because it actually belongs firmly in Flex?

Does my unwillingness to move it out of Core at best put up barriers with some people and at worst deeply offend them? I don’t yet know the answer to this question. Like a lot of my own quest to develop Cultural Intelligence, I am still working on it, but I am aware of it.

What have you recently become aware of that you thought was Core but could actually be in Flex (or vice versa)? What are you currently doing to test this?

Draw out your own version of the sliding scale above.

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This article is from the free online course:

Developing Cultural Intelligence for Leadership

Common Purpose