Intercultural Intelligence & Adaptability

At Q-Lana Inc. we believe that digital financial services and human interaction can be complementary. In fact, they can even be beneficial for clients if integrated properly.

Q-Lana is a human-centered digital lending software. We don’t simply implement our platform and then leave the customer to figure it out on his own. Instead, we follow through with the customer and support them as they familiarize themselves with the Q-Lana platform and expand their professional skills by applying all the tools that the platform offers them.

In today’s globalized world, intercultural intelligence is not only a critical skill, but also an invaluable competitive asset. Our specialists continuously strive to develop and consistently apply their cultural intelligence to interactions with our clients. Among the many benefits, effective intercultural competence is a big step towards avoiding costly communication issues.

What do we really understand by “intercultural intelligence”?

In our context as a multi-national company—with team members spread across Rwanda, India, Kenya, UK and the U.S.— we understand intercultural intelligence as a person’s ability to adapt when engaging with people from various cultural backgrounds.

This is the ability of our experts to adapt when interacting with people from different cultural regions. In other words, we must be able to adapt our assistance and training methods to their immediate cultural environments. This adaptability gives us an essential competitive advantage, especially as our vision is to spread all over the African continent.

What does this look like in practice?

Let’s consider a tangible case from our team based in Kigali, Rwanda.

In Rwanda, the culture is hierarchical and communication is very contextual. This means that people are shy to come forward with their challenges and ask for help openly. We have adapted out training specifically to these cultural traits by using the local language to make people more comfortable and the local lexical codes to communicate effectively. Strategies that work in the European or American contexts would not be as effective in Rwanda. 

Moreover, Q-Lana specialists in Rwanda noticed that people enjoy community activities. For example, when Rwandans dance, they dance in a circle so that each member of the group performs a dance move in his or her turn. The same goes for students who prefer to study and do homework in small groups, called ibigare. Working as a group encourages people when they find a task or lesson difficult because they see that their peers are able to accomplish the task and they feel motivated to apply themselves as well.

What are the best practices?

Given this cultural context, our specialists in Rwanda have adjusted and tailored the training sessions in the following way:

  • Organize the training space so that members face each other in a semi-circle to foster a collaborative environment.
  • Stand amidst the trainees during sessions rather than at the front of the room to break the hierarchy and build trust.
  • Ask trainees to take turns modeling the platform functions in front of the group while the rest of the trainees provide support to promote peer-learning.  
  • Facilitate using a balance between English and Kinyarwanda, the local language, during sessions to ensure understanding, leverage linguistic context, and make trainees comfortable.

Why does this matter?

Thanks to these key practices, Q-Lana users do not feel like they have to adapt to the system, but rather that the system is attuned to them and their needs.

Trust between a provider and a client is- invaluable. By applying our intercultural intelligence skills at Q-Lana, we not only help users master our software, but we also foster a user-centered culture built on trust.