EQ (Emotional Intelligence) vs. I.Q.

August 11, 2010

I am an avid reader – in particular when it comes to books on business philosophy and leadership.  Jack Welch wrote the book (actually several) on both.  Another outstanding author that delves into this genre is Robert Cooper, Ph.D., with “Executive EQ” and is worth a closer look.

Wikipedia describes “EQ” (Emotional Intelligence) as: “The ability, capacity, or skill to identify, assess, manage and control the emotions of one’s self, of others and of groups.” Studies have shown that incredibly intelligent people are quite often not successful in their personal lives nor, this book demonstrates, in business.  They are lacking, this theory postulates, in ‘EQ.”

Some have applied this theorem to the Obama administration and the failings of many of his Cabinet members.  They are “book smart” but, their detractors would say, perhaps too academic and, as such, lacking in the ability to focus and “see the forest through the trees” when tasked with effectively problem solving.

I have found over the years that most problems don’t require an overly sophisticated approach or thought process, which can often lead to “analysis paralysis.” Rather, great common sense and good judgment (both a function of innate emotion rather than high I.Q intelligence) lead to more efficient and effective problem solving and decision-making.

All of that said, brilliant minds are most adept at a specific type of problem solving; they are exactly who you want around when you are faced with a major financial catastrophe. When it comes to numbers, derivatives, trading assets and the like, their skills and talents shine most brightly.

As an effective manager, then, are you matching the skill sets of your people to the tasks to which they are most suited for?

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Decision-making in business

May 26, 2010

I’m a big believer in having minimal layers in business. It helps to eliminate “red tape” and ensures operations run smoothly. Too many layers tend to slow down decision-making and decrease efficiency.

If you need group meetings to make every decision, you should re-think your business plan. Meetings should be for information gathering rather than decision making. You gather 75 to 80 percent of the information from a meeting or sources, and the rest is strong business intuition. Think Lee IaCocca or Jack Welch, guys that made intelligent decisions based on a combination of information and intuition. Consider some of these great IaCocca quotes.

Ideas for discovery, change and improved efficiencies should come from the bottom up. Decisions regarding compensation, benefits and major structural changes in an organization and the like are made at the top and distributed throughout the organization.

A good decision-maker has great instincts, can cut through the noise and not get distracted. They understand the weight of a decision and its short and long term implications; appreciates the potential unintended consequences of any significant decision; and appreciate the fact-finding and information-gathering process. They also take into account the “top-10 percent influence”, which tells us decisions involving PR, crisis management and financial issues should be made at the very top, by a competent CEO. But don’t underestimate basic common sense and good judgment.  They’re the foundation of any good decision maker.

How do you and your company make decisions? Does the process work, or do you need to reevaluate processes and outcomes?