General, Social Media, Sports

IQ & Talent NOT Important at Workplace, Relationships Are (Startup Series: Episode 2)

Recently read a book, FIRST, BREAK ALL THE RULES – What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham &  Curt Coffman. Based on in-depth interviews by the Gallup Organization of over 80,000 managers in over 400 companies, the study in form of this book explains – what differentiates Good Managers from the Great ones. How Great Managers perceive people, their skills, knowledge and talent and nurture/guide them to perform better.

Also came across this article on the net: ‘Intelligence Is Overrated: What You Really Need to Succeed‘ by Keld Jensen @

Both completely made sense to me. Having worked across industries, one room startups to Fortune Global 500 companies in London, Oxford, Cheltenham, Bangalore, Kolkata and New Delhi; yes, these 2 literary works make complete sense to me.

As Keld Jensen says, ‘IQ tests are used as an indicator of logical reasoning ability and technical intelligence. A high IQ is often a prerequisite for rising to the top ranks of business today. It is necessary, but it is not adequate to predict executive competence and corporate success. By itself, a high IQ does not guarantee that you will stand out and rise above everyone else‘. This is an extremely significant takeaway from this article.

In fact, IQ, knowledge (which is further classified into – factual & experimental knowledge) and Talent are NOT enough to survive, and in fact, grow in the corporate world of today. The way you carry yourself, lead your team(s), foster friendships at workplaces – i.e. relationships are far more important (unless ofcourse, you’re a CIA operative or 007).

Additionally, EQ (emotional quotient), MQ (moral quotient) & BQ (body quotient) – are significant as well.

  • EQ – EQ is the most well known of the three, and in brief it is about: being aware of your own feelings and those of others, regulating these feelings in yourself and others, using emotions that are appropriate to the situation, self-motivation,  and building relationships.
  • MQ – MQ directly follows EQ as it deals with your integrity, responsibility, sympathy, and forgiveness. The way you treat yourself is the way other people will treat you. Keeping commitments, maintaining your integrity, and being honest are crucial to moral intelligence.
  • BQ – Lastly, there is your BQ, or body intelligence, which reflects what you know about your body, how you feel about it, and take care of it. Your body is constantly telling you things; are you listening to the signals or ignoring them? Are you eating energy-giving or energy-draining foods on a daily basis? Are you getting enough rest? Do you exercise and take care of your body? It may seem like these matters are unrelated to business performance, but your body intelligence absolutely affects your work because it largely determines your feelings, thoughts, self-confidence, state of mind, and energy level.

I recently worked with someone who’s probably the most skilled, knowledgeable (factual & experimental – both) and talented (skill sets developed over time) graphics designer, I’ve ever worked with in my entire duration of 5.8 years of corporate life so far. Yet the person had extremely poor – EQ, MQ & BQ. Her ability to develop relationships was so poor, though she was extremely talented and provided excellent insights and inputs in creative ideas and likewise, yet, people found it best to avoid her. Moreover, frequent clashes were the norm – instead of using her skill sets to help others. Thus, though the person was intelligent, talented and knowledgeable – she turned out to be a loss rather than an asset for the team(s) and organization.

Ideally, I think, mathematically, this should be the equation which calculates the true worth of an individual in an organization:

true worth of an Individual in an Organization = ( IQ + Knowledge + Talent) * (EQ*MQ*BQ)

wherein, IQ = Intelligence of a person, Knowledge = factual & experimental knowledge, Talent = skillsets developed over time; and EQ, MQ & BQ are defined above already.

Thus, if either EQ/MQ/BQ of a person is 0, the person maybe supremely talented or/and knowledgeable, but lacks the ability to develop & nurture relationships over time. Thus, the net worth of the individual, though talented, would count to 0. Its good to have such professionals as individual contributors, but never in leadership positions, since people would NOT wish to work with them. Besides affecting the performance negatively, this would also adversely affect the morale of existing employees and team members. Thus, often great organizations see a fall in morale and see excellent employees leaving. Its not owing to a few extra bucks, but owing to their leaders/team leads being knowledgeable and talented, but having 0 EQ/MQ/BQ.

Additionally, this should also be an important evaluating factor for HR professionals when selecting candidates for a new position at their firms. Don’t just go by their looks, their theoretical answers and certificates. Too many Indian companies do this and end-up employing mediocre employees in important positions who fail to perform. Recently met 3 Sales professionals from IBM India, at a presentation – none of them had taken time to research about the organization, chalk out a ‘custom presentation’ etc. Thus, when asked 10 questions – they had answers for none of them. One result – they were asked to leave, and come back prepared some day in the future with a custom presentation that suited the needs of the company. Failing to impress is owing to lack of EQ in this case. They were good salespersons, but lacked the required EQ to close the deal.

Thus, if you’re studying hard at the university, and have talent for something – its excellent. But do NOT forget to forge, and nurture relationship(s) with people. Its EQ that will take you far – not your knowledge, paper certificates and scores in school. Practically speaking, no one gives a f**k. What people give a damn about is – your ability to understand, assess business needs, and deliver what is needed; working with people / teams / and sometimes, alone. This requires EQ more than IQ.

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