Michelle Moss: CQ is the New EQ for Executives

Second only to emotional intelligence (EQ), cultural intelligence (CQ) is fast becoming one of the most in demand skills for executives in today’s culturally diverse world of business. The growing need for CQ is just one of the consequences of globalization.

It’s true that companies are setting up more bases in foreign countries than ever. But their own societies are simultaneously becoming more culturally diverse, as foreign citizens migrate in search of better career opportunities and lifestyles. This means that culture is no longer a minor concern for executives. It’s a strategic imperative, and high-CQ leadership is needed to intelligently address this trend. So what is cultural intelligence? And is it possible to develop it in your executive team? The simplest and most used definition was developed by researchers Ang and Van Dyne in 2008, as “the capability of an individual to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity.”

They also suggested that CQ is structured in four dimensions, namely, meta-cognitive, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral CQ. These have been adopted, more or less, in subsequent research and can be summarized as follows. Meta-cognitive CQ is “an individual’s level of conscious cultural awareness during cross-cultural interactions”. Cognitive CQ is “knowledge of norms, practices and conventions in different cultures that has been acquired from educational and personal experiences”. Motivational CQ is the “capability to direct attention and energy towards learning about and functioning in situations characterized by cultural differences”.

Finally, behavioral CQ is the “capability to exhibit appropriate verbal and non-verbal actions when interacting with people from different cultures”. In summary, executives must be aware of cultural differences, understand them, be willing to learn more, and act in relation to that understanding. What the above establishes in no uncertain terms is that CQ is not an innate competency. It can be acquired through training and, most importantly, exposure to the culture in question.

The benefits of increased CQ are becoming more obvious by the day. Most CEOs agree that as technology takes over many traditional business functions, success will be defined by how well people interact with each other. They also agree that diverse management teams foster innovation because they bring important cultural perspectives to the table.

However, differences often breed conflict and companies who fail to foster CQ may find themselves unable to manage that diversity. In fact, CQ and innovation are closely correlated. Consequently, they risk losing their competitive edge and corporate sustainability. According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 70% of international ventures fail because of cultural differences. Another source reveals that 90% of executives from 68 countries say that cross cultural management is their toughest challenge.

Culture is becoming so critical to business that in some organisations, astute CEOs are heading up their diversity and inclusion practice groups. It is in every business’s interest, whether they operate locally or internationally, to nurture CQ in their enterprise, especially in their executives and C-suite. If that critical talent cannot be developed in house, it should be acquired externally through executive search.

Michelle Moss is a Director: Assessments at Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa).

Relocation Africa has a diversity training program called The Power of Difference, through which we can assist you with intercultural skills, culture shock, and diversity management, among other themes. If your organization is interested in cultural training, feel free to contact us for more information.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: João Silas [1], [2].

Our New Integrated Program Has Won a Cartus 2019 Innovation Award

Earlier this year, in response to our clients request for shorter packages for their assignees, while still maintaining the same high level of service they were used to receiving, we launched our new product – the Integrated Program.

The Program centres around an online portal, through which assignees can access a wealth of information about the cities they’re moving to, as well as information about their relocation. The portal introduces the assignee to their Relocation Consultant and as well as providing them with a secure platform to store any pertinent documents for the assignment.

It also has an easy to follow new 20-step Relocation Overview guide, city guides, and videos. This information can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.

Thus far, the Integrated Program has allowed us to offer even more value to our assignees and business partners, while being more flexible for the assignees, it allows for cost savings for our clients.

Our MD, Rene Stegmann, with the 2019 Cartus Innovation Award.

Our submission to Cartus’ 2019 Global Network Conference awards was a chance for us to summarize the great achievements following on from the launch of this Program. In return, Cartus chose to award us their Silver Supplier Innovation Award at their banquet in Boston, MA in October 2019.

This recognition reinforces our drive to exceed client expectations, and continue innovating in the relocation industry as part of our promise to Embrace the Unknown.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

We Have Won Graebel’s Global Superior Quality Achievement Award 2019

Relocation Africa has some great news to share with all its business partners, clients, and community members.

We are proud to say that we have won Graebel’s 2019 global Superior Quality Achievement Award, which was presented to us at Graebel’s recent Golden Globe Awards in Denver.

The award is given to the partner achieving the highest scores as reported by Graebel transferees (assignees) YTD for the current year. This reflects the effort we have put into ensuring that our clients and assignees receive the highest possible level of service quality across the board, for every assignment.

We look forward to celebrating this award with our entire team, strengthening the relationship we have with Graebel and our clients, and continuing to Embrace the Unknown.

For more information about the Denver, CO awards ceremony, visit Graebel’s website by clicking here.

Feel free to view the gallery from the ceremony below.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Unpacking Tips to Help You Settle Easily

This article was written by Erin Strasen, and published by Vivian Chiona on Expat Nest.

You’ve done it – after weeks or months of preparation and planning, you’ve finally arrived on the other side! But now what? Although there’s a lot of helpful information out there, as well as services to help with packing, once you get to your new location, you’re pretty much on your own. Erin Strasen, an interior designer who specialises in helping expats bring simplicity and functionality to their homes, shares some unpacking tips so you can settle quicker into your new home.

Packing and actually getting to your new home is often the “easy” part of the process. There’s a formula. You know what to do. But no one offers guidance about how to deal with the stress after a move, because they assume the hard part is over. And even if you’re fortunate enough to have movers who will unpack for you on the other side, they usually just place items where there is space.

Here are some post-move tips to make your move a little less stressful.

1. Think before you unpack
Are you unpacking a box because you want to get it out of the way? Do you know where these items are going to live or are you just sick of looking at boxes? Taking a moment to be more strategic and intentional about where things go will help you in the long run. Rather than unpacking for the sake of unpacking, you’re making the best use of your time and avoiding unnecessary time spent rearranging or moving things around.

2. Imagine a blank slate
Many people set up their furniture in the same way they saw the previous tenant do it, or even in a similar way to their previous home, without thinking about their specific needs in this home. Do you want to be able to talk to your partner in the kitchen while you sip wine in the living room? Do you want a TV view or a window view? What’s the first thing you want to see when you wake up in the morning? Try to ignore past ideas about the space set-up and imagine your home as a blank slate. This helps you visualize yourself in the space and ensures that you’re placing things in a way that is personal to you. With this approach you’re more likely to be happy with the results in the long term.

3. Prioritize one space at a time
Moving is chaotic, and when you just unpack whatever box is next in the pile, nothing ever feels finished. It’s hard to feel like you’re making progress. Choose one room to focus on that can be your haven. Maybe it’s a bedroom, maybe it’s a living room… the idea is to create a calm place that you can escape to when you need a break; a space where you can take a much-needed coffee break and imagine what your home will look like when all the boxes are gone.

4. Keep a list to avoid distractions
Write down things that come up as you unpack that might distract you from the task
at hand. Whether this list is on your phone or a physical piece of paper, just make sure it’s in one place. Write down everything that comes to mind that you need to deal with later. This will free up some much needed brain space. Did you come across a broken item and you need to file a claim? Put it aside and write it down. Do you need to get nails for the artwork you just unpacked? Put them aside and write it down.

5. Break down boxes as you go
Imagine that feeling when you’re finished unpacking for the day. You let out a sigh of relief and then realize that you have a mountain of empty boxes in between you and your couch. Breaking down boxes as you go helps control the chaos and avoid that feeling of taking two steps forward and one step back.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Richard James [1], [2].

10 Fitness Tips for Expats in a New Country

After making a big move to another country, keeping up a fitness routine can linger near the bottom of your priorities as an expat. Read on for expert advice for expats on how to stay healthy and fit while living abroad.

Moving to a new country can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but dealing with the stresses of a move and adjusting to a new culture can be overwhelming, not to mention the added pressures of juggling a demanding job and a family life. Kick-starting an exercise regime can be a fantastic way to not only improve your physical and mental health, but meet new people and help you discover your new home.

While gyms are easy to find in cities and towns all over the globe, they aren’t necessarily for everyone. Whether you’re a casual jogger, a weekend warrior or a competitive athlete, physical activity can provide a much-needed boost and transform the place you live into your fitness playground.

With the help of expat bloggers who’ve been there and done that, along with expert advice from a counselor specializing in expat issues and a personal trainer, we’ve curated some helpful tips to help you keep fit anywhere in the world. So lace up your trainers, warm-up, and get ready to explore your new country with our suggestions for ten ways to get fit in a new country.

1. Find your feet
With so much to think about after a big move, the beginning can be the most stressful period. “Keeping a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, even for people who aren’t expats, so it’s natural that it can be particularly tough if you’re settling in a new country,” say Agness and Cez, best friends who run fitness travel blog Fit Travelling alongside another travel blog, eTramping. “There are so many new things to adapt to: cuisine, culture, interactions and relationships, accommodation, climate and much more.”

Agness and Cez share their passion for keeping fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while travelling, and write destination-based fitness guides to inspire and inform about ways of keeping fit in locations around the world.

“Once you arrive at your new destination and arrange your accommodation, legal documents, bills and work, you simply might not have the time or energy to work out and eat healthy at first,” they explain, and it’s OK not to expect too much of yourself when you first get your bearings.

“Many people often have a stressful time setting up everything, which requires much time and energy. It’s a new environment, so give yourself time to work out what’s best for your situation and establish a healthy routine.”

2. Establish your routine
Moving to a new country inevitably brings a big change in your usual routines. Take advantage of the transition, as this time can actually be a perfect opportunity to turn a new leaf and implement healthier habits through a fitness routine alongside your new lifestyle. “Create a daily routine that will help you become your personal best,” says Vivian Chiona, founder and director of Expat Nest, which provides emotional support to expat fitness tips for travelers and their families through online counselling services. “Exercise will boost your self-confidence in multiple ways: you will feel better in your skin and gain a ‘can-do’ attitude by challenging yourself to sweat a little more every day. Exercise can also help to sharpen your memory; indeed, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.”

As a bi-cultural and multilingual expat herself, Vivian created Expat Nest’s e-counselling service as a way of offering counselling without borders to expats globally. “While going for a walk once a week is much better for your body and mind than not going for one at all, for most optimal outcomes to result, physical activity should be regular,” Vivian says. “It can be hard to break out of our cycle of habits, but try to think of ways to exercise that bring you joy. Do you enjoy spending time with your dog, or love chatting away with friends? Try to incorporate these elements into your routine. Do what works for you personally.”

3. Get social
“Finding a new skill or hobby to take up, whether it’s a sport, language or art, can offer you a sense of achievement and can boost your confidence,” says Vivian. “Join dancing classes or (re)start a hobby. It helps you build social networks and is a fun way to get to know people.”

Getting involved in organised or informal sports and fitness groups can be a great way to meet like-minded people in a new place, while also improving your health. is a free and easy way to find sociable get-togethers based around a diverse range of interest categories, including sports and well-being. So if you’re looking for some hiking buddies, yoga classes or a kick-around, browse the local listed events or create one yourself on

4. Fitness for free
“If you think you need a gym to stay fit, you’re wrong,” say self-proclaimed fitness and travel enthusiasts Agness and Cez. “There are countless ways to keep fit outside of a gym. For example, think about starting a body-weight training routine, which has the benefit of saving you a lot of time and money.”

Governments and local authorities in many countries are finding different and new ways to promote easily-accessible fitness to its residents. One of the most widespread and successful ideas has been the 4,100 Calisthenics outdoor workout spots which have been installed in parks, inner-cities, green spaces and beaches across the globe.

From full outdoor cardio equipment to pull-up bars and parallel bars, outdoor gyms and Calisthenics spots are a free way to exercise 24/7. You can easily search for workout spots by specific equipment or by location on their website.

5. Earn your rewards
It can be tough to stick to a healthy routine, particularly if you are an expat in a city with tempting restaurants and nightlife around every corner. “We can be enticed by it all,” says Omar Al Duri, an award-winning personal trainer, football coach and nutritionist in the United Arab Emirates.

“Although striking the right balance is important,” he adds. Having helped Ghana’s under-20 national football team reach the Youth World Cup and advocating for healthier school lunches with his passion for children’s nutrition, the British native has worked with communities, athletes and celebrities around the world.

Omar advises using foodie treats in a positive way as your motivation to work towards, however you choose to exercise, ensuring you feel good and guilt-free about your little indulgences. “Map out your week ahead so that you can earn the treat,” he suggests. “Whether that’s a special outing or a cheat meal you’re really craving.”

6. Take care of you
Self-care is vital through stressful periods, and Vivian advises you not to forget to take care of yourself and your vital needs. “Try to make your daily activity choices carefully, as they can have a great impact on the way you feel physically and emotionally,” she says. “It is really important to try and keep a balance in your sleep and nutrition when moving to a new country. Try to meditate, or try a breathing exercise after a workout session.”

Agness and Cez add: “The life of an expat can be pretty challenging at the beginning, but try to keep your mindset positive and use organisation as a tool. When cooking, for example, prepare healthy meals you want to eat in advance for maximum efficiency, freeing up time to establish your new fitness routine throughout the week.”

7. Join in
“To lead a healthy lifestyle where you can reach your potential, aim to develop discipline and stay motivated until you achieve your goals,” say Agness and Cez. “That goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle as it will lead to higher energy levels, which will keep you motivated and feeling more positive.”

A good goal to aim for is to participate in regular fitness events such as parkrun, which are free weekly 5k runs in unique locations all over the world. The local volunteer-organised aspect means you’ll feel part of the community in no time, and get to know people while you exercise.

After registering once, you can run in any parkrun event across the world, making it perfect for frequent travelers. Keep adding up your runs from different events in order to reach milestones, and when you’ve completed each run, track your progress on the app or website to see your position compared to other runners, your exact time and other data. Spark some friendly competition as well as working on improving your personal best every time you run.

“Joining communities is now easy to do once you find something that interests you,” adds Omar. “There are some really cool teachers and instructors all over the world who are truly passionate about what they do. They encourage and motivate people to get active and have fun. Take advantage of any good weather and get out!”

8. Explore feet first
It’s been said that walking is the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise. A hike in the fresh air can boost your mood and give you a good workout, as well as giving you an opportunity to explore your expat country. Maybe you’re surrounded by interesting landscapes, beautiful spaces or great walks which you haven’t yet discovered.

Walking is also an entirely versatile exercise, meaning you can tailor your hikes, strolls or power-walks to exactly the level or time that suits you, and work your way to harder trails gradually. “Physical health can boost mental well-being and vice versa,” says Vivian. “When you achieve an improvement in physical health, then you have a positive influence on your mental well-being too.” So find a trail to suit your level and grab your walking boots.

9. Pedal push
Getting around by bicycle is a healthier alternative to the daily commute, and is fast becoming more recognized by local authorities as an active and cost-effective method of inner-city travel for residents.

More and more government-funded bike-sharing schemes are popping up in cities globally, and chances are that if you live in a big city, there’ll be an efficient scheme for renting bikes near you.

London, Paris, Barcelona, Shanghai and New York City are just a few cities in which you can easily pick up and drop off one of thousands of bikes at different bicycle stations, with some cities even offering free time slots as an incentive.

10. Talk about it
In addition to the significant physical health benefits, adopting a physical activity routine can positively impact your mental well-being, reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress through inducing chemical chain reactions in your brain and body. The sudden loss of a support system, loneliness and culture shock can enhance the feelings of isolation that many expats experience, regardless of where they have relocated from or to. Out of the 300 million people around the world who suffer from depression (World Health Organisation), a study has shown that expats are over twice as likely to experience anxiety and depression than the general population.

If you’re struggling to motivate yourself and feel like you need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to seek further help. Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself: adjusting to a new life can be difficult. “When you keep your mind in a good shape, then you will also feel the need to improve your physical state,” says Vivian. Although she warns: “There may be challenges in accessing support, for example language barriers, cultural differences and lack of specialized mental health services for internationals, but see what options are being offered in your local community and online. Of course nowadays, with online counselling, these barriers are easily overcome – that’s why we love what we do and can help people all over the globe.”

“In counselling, we help clients learn how to manage their emotions,” she says. “We offer them a safe place to express their thoughts and feelings so they find solutions that are right for them so they can move forward.” If you’d prefer to speak to someone face to face, the international therapist directory is an online directory of suitably qualified and experienced therapists in different countries, so no matter where you are in the world, there’s always someone to talk to.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Vivian Chiona (Expat Nest) via Expat Assure [1], [2]. Image sources: Victor Xok [1], Sara Dubler [2], Mike Bowman  [3], Aaron Benson [4].