Moving from management to leadership,ie, from process to people, from efficiency to effectiveness and from intelligence quotient to emotional intelligence; this is the only key to continual change and sustainability.
It is now widely recognised that EQ (emotional intelligence) creates the difference between well-run and sustainable organisations and those who simply survive and eventually ‘die’.
The challenge however is to openly embrace EQ in organisations, rather than just in individuals who have made the leap to realise that leadership is simply about being truly open about who you are. This is far more challenging to most than any new initiative, as it means that you and only you are responsible for your actions and behaviour!
IQ has served us well now for almost a century since it was created in France by Alfred Binet and his search for a ‘process’ to negate people who had no real ability to achieve certain standards in good schools. It was therefore created to ‘take out’ the poorer pupils and not reward the better pupils.
We do of course need both EQ and IQ, the pendulum is however way over on the IQ (management) side and we need EQ (leadership) first to set the direction, vision and culture and then the processes of management looks after the day-to-day detail.
“Cognitive intelligence (IQ), to be clear, refers to the ability to concentrate and plan, to organise material, to use words and to understand, assimilate and interpret facts. In essence IQ is a measure of an individual’s personal information bank – one’s memory, vocabulary and visual co-ordination.” Cooper and Sawaf, ‘Executive EQ’
The fact remains that IQ does not and cannot predict success in life and yet the way we are employed and ‘controlled’ as people and therefore also as organisations, is almost all about IQ: knowledge, skill and experience.
EQ however predicts about 80% of success in life. This is where your attitude and behaviour enables you to communicate with others and to achieve cohesive high performing teams and that all elusive common purpose.
While the business world was growing fast and the public bodies growing in complexity and responsibility, there needed to be many processes put in place to enable them to carry out their ‘business’ and for staff to follow. Such processes and procedures were the mark of excellent organisations and the search at that time for quality in the product or service. This was of course in very stable times with fewer customers and service competitors.
Now however, when times of change are so fast and continual, that strategic planning and standard quality products and services no longer offer a comprehensive or competitive edge; a time when we cannot even predict one year ahead never mind five or ten, the time for leadership has come.
The quality of products, initiatives, services and procedures has now reached a stage through the internet and focus groups et al, that the only real competitive edge or political acceptance is the quality of the employee and their interaction with the customer, both internal and external.
Organisations have of course been saying for years that ‘our people are our most important resource’, but have rarely if ever truly embraced that statement in almost all annual reports. We KNOW it (IQ) but we do not COMMIT TO it (EQ).
“The comfort zone is always the most desirable place to be. But in settling for comfort, there is a price to pay and it comes in the death of ambition, of hope, of youth and the death of self.” Simon Barnes, The Times, 6th February 2002
The public sector enterprise network through IIP and possibly even EFQM has clearly seen that if the organisation does not want to become involved (EQ – emotion) then no amount of ‘pushing’ the benefits (IQ – process) of such ‘processes’ will make that happen.
It is people and not process, compass (direction) not clock, values and not vehicles, long-term relationships not just short-term results that are now the ‘missing link’ between where we are now and where we need to be.
- Relatively few regulations
- Relatively few ‘competitors’
- Predictable technological change
- Foremost importance of hardware
- Reliance on own direct staff
- Standard terms of business
- Local businesses
- No real pressure for new answers
- Hundreds of regulations and more and more each year if not each month
- Hundreds of ‘competitors’
- Explosive rate of technological change
- Foremost importance of software systems and solutions
- Reliance on external and internal staff
- Various terms of business
- Global businesses
- Continual pressure for new answers
It is all about how we create a culture of trust to enable our staff to feel safe to be creative, safe to try and fail and learn, safe to ask the awkward questions, safe to be themselves. Otherwise we simply hang onto the past security which paradoxically meant preventative death.
The average life of a British company I believe is eight years, just as ‘short’ as our own national life expectancy which is now lower than Puerto Rico in mortality ratios.
If you always do what you have always done – you’ll always get what you’ve always got!
How do we enable people (and then organisations, as people are the organisation) to embrace this challenging aspect of changing themselves before they can expect anyone else to change?
How do we help people feel comfortable to think differently, especially the ‘bosses’ who got to where they are through IQ processes and now want to maintain that structured and safe order of life? I have paid my dues now it’s my turn to benefit, just like the previous post holder who stayed for too long and kept me out!
Well, if we look at the Fortune Magazine’s quest to find the best US companies to work for, there is a direct correlation between those companies that head that list, with those companies who are more profitable, creative, sustainable and happier than others.
The Importance of Leadership
“The stock price of ‘well-led’ companies grew by over 900% over 10 years, compared with 74% for poorly-led companies.”
Institute for Strategic Change, USA, quoted by Warren Bennis, 1998
In the UK such organisations that appoint and work with staff on an EQ basis are W L Gore (Top 10 Best Company to Work For 2002) and First Direct (Europe’s most successful bank).
Even Glasgow City Council Education Department have now set up a senior group of Directors to assess how they can appoint teachers more through EQ than the old way which has been shown to put intelligent (IQ) people into senior posts where they cannot cope with the people management (EQ) aspects of the job. I am acting as a catalyst between them and the leaders in Gore and First Direct to help solve this challenge, as it makes no difference whether private or public.
How do you start to explore EQ – well for many that is a challenge – as there needless to say is no ‘process’ where one size fits all. Each individual is as unique as their fingerprints and each team and organisation has its own unique ‘fingerprint’.
So the start is to explore the difference between EQ and IQ and then to plot your own path having decided that you WANT TO travel that journey (not be told you NEED TO), often assisted by an honest ‘witness’ who can ask the challenging open questions necessary for internal integrity.
“Leadership: Here is the very heart and soul of the matter.
If you look to lead, invest at least 40% of your time managing yourself – your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation and conduct.
Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers. Use the remainder to induce those you “work for” to understand and practice the theory. I use the term “work for” advisedly, for if you don’t understand that you should be working for your mislabelled “subordinates” you haven’t understood anything.
Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, and free your people to do the same. All else is trivia”.
Dee Hock – Founder and CEO of Visa in Fast Company Magazine
Leadership IS the story business people don’t want to hear – they want to hear what techniques work. They want to know what programmes is recommended. They want to know what initiative has made it easier for others. Leadership starts with oneself – it’s that simple but not easy!
Les Morgan is Provocateur at QFOUR and Owner, QFOUR which aims to create more effective people and thus organisations in the public, private and third sectors. He was formerly Chief Executive of Moray Council.