The Three Q’s of Business Success… IQ, EQ and KQ

Intelligent Business

When you hear the word ‘intelligence’ what do you think of?

Most of us associate the word intelligence with the mind’s ability, and with things like academic performance or the grasp of complex knowledge. The dictionary defines intelligence as the power of learning, understanding and reasoning, and describes intelligence primarily as a mental ability.

But recent developments in the field of business psychology have expanded the notion of intelligence from a purely thinking-based capacity to include our feelings and emotional understanding of the organizational functioning. Emotional intelligence is now widely recognized as central to better managing professional relationships, and increasing productivity.

Reason and logic alone are not adequate in negotiating the many complexities of business relationships.

In this article we will take a closer look at three kinds of intelligence that we can draw from in developing and improving business performance. Along with mental and emotional intelligence we will explore a third and often overlooked form of intelligence. Our body’s intelligence, or what is known as kinaesthetic intelligence, is a third kind of knowing that we will take a closer look at.

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What we will also discover is that we tend to use one of the three intelligences more than others, often neglecting the other two to some degree. This doesn’t mean that we can’t and don’t access all three types of intelligence, but often our “intelligence preferences” tends to shape the strengths and talents of our personalities. When we neglect one or more of the intelligences available to us, this can limit performance and development.

But what is the benefit of recognizing all three kinds of intelligence in your business dealings?

Well, think for a moment of your personality, your business, your personal relationships or any other human system. Each of these systems operates from a particular configuration of mental, emotional, and kinaesthetic intelligence. When this configuration is imbalanced, problems arise. For instance, when you bring an over-emphasis on thinking and rational logic to your love relationship, this may limit you in forming a close emotional connection. Or when you over-analyse (only to paralyze) your decision-making in a business deal, your instincts or a gut feeling may be a useful resource in moving your negotiations forward.

KQ of Business Success – Kinaesthetic Intelligence

Even though we have access to all three types of intelligence, we rely on one of them more than the other two. Our personalities and approach to business are shaped around the intelligence center we use most often. So, one person’s energy may be more focused on mental analysis, while another person’s energy goes mostly towards connecting with others on a feeling/relational level.

But let’s begin with a deeper look at those individuals who have high access to or preference for their kinaesthetic intelligence or KQ.

People with high access to their KQ tend to perceive and experience the world more through their bodies, their physical sensations, and their vital instincts. Our instincts are a type of knowledge that is not often recognized and appreciated in business dealings. And yet, we do experience ourselves physically in relation to others and the world. Our KQ is a source of energy and power to act in the physical world with purpose and intent. These individuals often speak of basing their decisions and actions on a gut-feeling even when they have thought a situation through in much detail. Rather than relying on emotions or rational analysis, these individuals sense instinctively and often quite immediately when a situation is right or wrong, safe or dangerous, desirable or undesirable.

Our KQ also gives us the knowledge of how much force and energy to use in negotiations in order to get what we’re after. KQ therefore focuses us on using power and asserting our inner wants. The strengths of people with a high KQ-preference in the business setting include the knowledge of how to use power and influence, how to establish a sense of position in the market, and how to take effective action.

If you are a person with a high KQ-preference remember that healthy professional relationships require that you assert yourself in a way that does not alienate or exploit those around you. A key development task for you may be to explore your own feelings and take the feelings of others into account before acting on your immediate hunches and instincts. Also, make time to sit back and evaluate the logic of your actions to avoid overly impulsive decisions or knee-jerk reactions. By combining your instincts with information from your thoughts and feelings you can develop all the dimensions of your business relationships and personality.

IQ of Business Success – Head Intelligence

Now let’s take a closer look at those individuals who prefer to filter the world through their mental faculties of analysis, imagination, and thinking. Mental intelligence or IQ is what we use to form our opinions and ideas about life. (NB: IQ is here not so much referring to the traditional IQ scores of mental ability, but rather a preference for how to approach and respond to the world around them). IQ is here considered as the resource that helps us to focus our attention, remember important facts, make future plans, and develop objective perspectives in crisis situations.

The strengths and talents of people with a preference for IQ include the ability to observe and understand situations through their reasoning/analytical abilities and intellect. These individuals are also skilled in envisioning possibilities (or anticipating potential problems) for strategy and organizational functioning. Mental intelligence is also the kind of knowing that we are most familiar with since it forms the basis of technological advancements and scientific research – both essential to business success.

High IQ-preference individuals often have vivid imaginations and report feeling very comfortable in the company of their own thoughts. If you tend to favour your thinking over your feelings and instincts, it is likely that you use thinking and analysis to pre-empt danger or problems. The image that comes to mind here is that of a computer technician who uses troubleshooting and logical analysis to eliminate threats or technical glitches. In business relationships this kind of approach can be very useful, but can also lead to anxiety or a kind of analysis paralysis where you over-think situations, focus on problems only, or act without considering others’ feelings.

High IQ-preference individuals will benefit from exploring the gifts and resources of their feelings and bodily instincts. A good start is to get physically active or take some action. Many people who favour their mental intelligence report a sense of clarity and inner calm when they exercise or move forward from contemplation into action. Instincts are also an alternative decision-making strategy when analysis has left these individuals stuck and anxious about the way forward. Listening to that gut-feeling when doubt sets in and exploring emotions also provide important resources for effective working relationships.

EQ of Business Success – Emotional Intelligence

The third and final type of intelligence that we can use to negotiate our professional relationships is emotional intelligence or EQ. EQ allows us to stay attuned to the feelings and moods of colleagues and clients, but also to that of ourselves. Emotions are the wordless sensations that tell us how we feel rather than what we think about something. Individuals with a high access to EQ have a strong preference for filtering the world through their emotional and relational connections.

EQ is not only a source of emotional connection, but also the way we recognize the value of ourselves and others. It is through our feelings that we learn to affirm who we are and what others truly mean to us. The strengths and talents of individuals with a high EQ-preference in business contexts relate to having empathy, compassion, and concern for the well-being of others. They are often quick to sense what clients or colleagues feel and need. They may also be skilled in responding to those needs and feelings quite spontaneously.

Emotional intelligence has gained much status in psychology and coaching over the past few years, and this may in part be due to the growing need in our industrialized cultures for more meaningful connection with other human beings. Many people are looking to their work relationships for the sense of emotional connection and belonging that was once provided by entire communities. The benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace today lie in the fact that emotionally healthy employees are productive employees.

But a narrow focus on emotions can also be limiting. We may run the risk of neglecting important tasks and action in favour of feelings and establishing good relational connections. We may also become overly emotional and struggle to remain connected to the relevant facts and tasks. High EQ-preference individuals can benefit from translating feelings into action, since it is only the feelings that we act on that define our ultimate success and performance. It is also useful to check emotional responses against the perspectives of trusted colleagues and mentors, and to listen to the voice of reason when necessary.

Five Principles of Intelligent Business Success

To conclude the focus on 3 types of intelligence required for business success, let us outline five principles of intelligent business. These principles provide a handy structure for understanding how you can avoid becoming too narrowly focused on only one form of intelligence in your professional life.

Principle One: Where Your Attention Goes, Your Energy Follows

Consider the distressed cry of a baby. The cry immediately grabs the attention of the baby’s father, and he drops what he’s doing to run to the baby’s aid. The father’s energy followed his attention. In the same way we tend to focus on certain types of information in our work environment at the exclusion of other information. High EQ-preference individuals focus on others’ feelings and needs and their energy goes towards supporting them or meeting them emotionally. High IQ-preference individuals focus on facts, plans, and imagination and their energy goes towards analysis, gathering knowledge, and planning. High KQ-preference individuals focus on their instincts, wants, and power, and their energy goes towards taking action, responding to gut-feelings, and influencing the world.

Principle Two: Focused Attention Develops Skills and Competencies

When we focus our attention on a task or a certain type of information for a period of time we usually develop a skill or competency.  A person listening to her gut instincts eventually becomes skilful in making difficult decisions under pressure. A person who focuses on knowledge and his imagination becomes a strategic visionary, and a person who is attuned to other’s needs and emotions learns how to serve and care for others with compassion.

Principle Three: A Narrow Focus of Attention Becomes Limiting

We all have an intelligence comfort zone. Although we may have wonderful skills within the zone of intelligence we use most, we eventually neglect our untapped potentials. To expand our professional development our attention must not be too narrowly focused. We need to access the untapped potential in all three centres of intelligence.

Principle Four: Self-observation Can Change Attention Patterns

When we learn to observe ourselves we can notice what we would otherwise do habitually. By catching ourselves on auto-pilot we can decide to shift our attention and energy as desired or required. For instance, we can shift our focus from planning and analyzing company strategy towards taking the necessary risks and decisive action that will translate the business vision into profit and tangible outcomes. Or we might need to adapt our usual independent, powerful, task-orientated and action-based approach to shift to a more relational and collaborative stance that ultimately fosters trust and therefore better team functioning. And so on…

Principle Five: Practice, Practice, Practice

It takes continued practice to keep our three kinds of intelligence in a dynamic balance. When we stay aware of our choices, reactions and patterns, we can eventually choose to move beyond our usual intelligence comfort zones towards being whole and multi-skilled human beings who achieve greater levels of business success, and success in life more generally.

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