Episode 148

Increase Your Cultural Agility with Paula Caligiuri

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Paula Caligiuri is a Distinguished Professor of International Business and Strategy at Northeastern University. Paula has authored award-winning articles and books – including her most recent book Build Your Cultural Agility: The Nine Competencies of Successful Global Professionals. She has been a frequent expert guest on CNN and is an instructor for a LinkedIn Learning course entitled Managing Globally. Paula co-founded a public benefit corporation, Skiilify, to help foster cultural understanding, and she holds a Ph.D. from Penn State University in Organizational Psychology.



  • A multicultural environment is any environment that is demographically different (not just ethnic/national).
  • Getting in an extreme cultural situation does more harm than good for cultural agility.
  • Americans tend to smile a lot. This can look a little strange or un-credible.
  • Be aware of the level of formality if you are working with people from another culture/demographic.
  • In some cultures, silence means you are engaged. Sometimes it means you are disengaged.
  • Push against the desire to seek the familiar and find someone who is demographically diverse.



  • What is some lesson, saying, or experience that continues to influence your leadership to this day? Having to get a job to make it during a study-abroad experience in Europe.
  • Use three descriptors to finish this sentence: “A leader is…” Courageous, authentic, transparent.
  • What is a question that leaders should be asking either themselves or others? How much time am I really spending understanding the environment I’m in and the people I’m with?
  • What book would you recommend to leaders? Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • If you could get every listener to start doing something THIS week to help them be a better leader, what would it be? Ask two more questions in any situation you’re in (no matter your natural level of curiosity).
  • As a general life principle, is it better to ask “why?” or “why not?” “Why not?” because we can offer vision and hope and make a change whatever corner of the world we’re in.






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Where leaders gather to grow together

About your host

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Josh Friedeman

Josh Friedeman is a coach who works with organizations to improve their efficiency and revenue. Learn more about him and his guests on his two podcasts, "Business Bitcoinization" and "Life as Leadership." To explore working with Josh, visit friedemanleadership.com.