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CEE countries dominate the list of least empathetic countries in the latest Global study by researchers at the Michigan State University. Romania, Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia & Lithuania are joined by Finland & Venezuela to complete the bottom 10 of 63 countries.

I am always extremely cautious of such studies and my compulsion for understanding resulted in my contacting the main author of the full study (found here Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology). What I discovered was a well thought out piece of research where the authors had recognized some of its limitations and therefore built-in methodologies to further check/validate their findings.

I think within the scope expressed by the authors the study is certainly indicative. The country empathy ranking is in fact, only an interesting and eye-catching, audience grabbing by-product of the research. But does empathy matter for business?

“Empathy is defined as the tendency to be psychologically in tune with others’ feelings and perspectives (Decety & Lamm, 2006)”. This implies an emotional and a cognitive element to empathy. There is an important distinction from sympathy; which is merely an expression of your own emotion in relation to someone else’s circumstance.

Surveys that ask about top issues faced in the workplace consistently identify People issues at the top of their list. Percentages vary by study, but issues related to the Human side of business often account for more than 70% of the most important issues. It’s easy to imagine that an ability to empathise might be a useful skill to have to combat some of these issues but isn’t this all a bit too touchy-feely for the workplace? Don’t we have anything more concrete?

Since 2001 Six Seconds (a global EQ network) has been asking organizations critical questions about the people-side of businesses. The global data collected was statistically evaluated to define a logical model that frames FIVE key drivers of organizational effectiveness: Trust, Motivation, Change, Teamwork and Execution.  You can find an explanation of the full model here but for the purposes of this article I want to focus on Trust.

TRUST is the fulcrum of the model. Both empirically and statistically, trust governs the efficacy of all organizational (and personal) relationships. Six Seconds define it as a feeling of confidence, faith and surety that engenders willingness to risk; and facilitates success in the other climatic factors.

So if it’s so fundamental to long-term business performance how do we get to trust? A quick search will result in many trust models for you to examine but my Go-to model is based on the Four C’s:

  • Commitment – following through consistently
  • Consistency – reacting in a somewhat predictable way
  • Competence – demonstrating ability to meet commitment
  • Caring – showing the other person matters

I would argue that without empathy that it is hard to care. After all, how do you genuinely show that someone else matters if you are not able to attune to their emotions and perspective?

So YES empathy does matter for business and within the context of Trust it forms a fundamental part of organizational success. In research conducted by Forum, organizations which put an emphasis on trust have some serious advantages including;

  • 16% greater profit margin
  • 18% greater productivity

Where does your organization score on empathy or trust? Where are you as a leader on the trust scale? You probably already have Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in place; is one of them TRUST or empathy? Did you know they are measurable and can be improved through learning?

In summary this research indicates that CEE businesses are working within cultures with lower trait empathy. If it’s fundamental to organizational performance through its connection to trust, shouldn’t we be working harder to measure and improve it?

The tools are available and are already translated for some CEE languages. So come on CEE it is time to move empathy up the agenda. If you are a CEE Leader why not treat trust and empathy as a partner in your performance measurement systems! If you are an individual who wants more success then work on your empathy and trustworthiness.

If you want to measure where you are with regards to empathy or trust, need a partner for change, or just want to explore any of the article in more depth I would be glad to hear from you at ricky@eqcee.eu

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Welcome to Day 2 of the EQ assessment giveaway week. Again, today I will be giving away an SEI EQ assessment from Six Seconds valued at 175 USD. Yesterday’s lucky reader is based in Bulgaria. Congratulations!

The SEI is a Level B Psychometric test which means that the Development or Leadership Report that you choose as your prize requires a debrief by a trained professional, “Hello! That would still be me!” and guess what? I am still throwing in the debrief for free. It can either be in person if we happen to be geographically juxtaposed or alternatively we can SKYPE.

All you have to do is leave your contact details in the Contact form below and in the comments piece just write a few words why you would like to win the SEI and of course click FOLLOW on my blog 🙂 The comments do not remain visible on the site and are received only by me via email. SO if your need is a sensitive one, you can rest assured that it will remain confidential between the two of us.

I give you my absolute promise I will not try to sell you anything from my blog.

There are a few prerequisites! The offer is limited to individuals located in the Central Eastern European Region.

The SEI tool is not yet translated in most of the CEE languages (that’s a work in progress :-)) so it is required that your English is of an appropriate level. The Debrief and the chosen report will be in English.

Today’s assessment will be awarded from all those that leave their details from Midday to Midnight (CET) on the 11th September.  Good Luck and click follow to receive automatic updates throughout the week.

Here’s some more information about the Six Seconds organisations SEI for you to consider prior to your success in the above 🙂

The SEI is a scientifically validated, practical measure of emotional intelligence with an action-oriented model designed to support people to use and improve their EQ skills. Built on the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence, the SEI is unusual in that where other tools provide a diagnosis, SEI provides a framework for action.As Six Seconds like to say “Emotional Intelligence for Positive Change!”

The SEI assesses the 8 EQ competencies that drive people-performance. What is your level of emotional intelligence? Where are your strengths and how do you apply them? What weaknesses are blocking your people-performance and how do you develop?

Dont just take my word for it read what they have to say! You’ll find it here.

I will be donating the Development Report or the Leadership Report version of the SEI. You’ll find more information on these and other reports here!

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Emotional Diary – 9/9/2013

I have just started to read a wonderful book by Marc Bekoff entitled “The Emotional Life of Animals“. In the preface to the book there’s an article he refers to from the New Scientist magazine concerning emotions in whales.

I quote “It turns out that humpback, fin, killer and sperm whales possess spindle cells in the same areas of their brains as spindle cells in human brains.”

So what might that mean? So far spindle cells are only known to be found in humans, other great apes, cetaceans and elephants.

I was introduced to the field of Neuroscience when I participated in and then later taught Personal Development courses. It’s fascinated me ever since and in fact provides a foundation for the coaching, emotional intelligence and organisational change work that I now do.

So I was driven to find out more. Research tells me that the part of the brain they are most likley referring to is the ACC (Anterior Cingulate Cortex). Now I recall a little about the ACC and a part of it is considered to be connected with the limbic system which appears to be primarily responsible for our emotional lives and also our memories.

Wikipedia reliably informs me that Brain imaging shows us that intense emotion activates the ACC, as neural signals are transmitted from the amygdala (a primary processing center for emotions) to the frontal cortex. The ACC is also seen to be active when difficult discerning tasks are performed, when recognising ones mistakes and when experiencing intense love, anger, or lust. Specifically the ACC has been found to be active when mothers hear infants cry.

However before you start jumping to conclusions the ACC also has parts that are primarily responsible for autonomic tasks. No doubt we will get to know more as neuroscience continues to develop with the advances in technology that allows us to monitor the brains activity.

But in answer to “What does all this mean?”

Nowadays we would probably all agree that animals have some emotions. I can imagine all dog owners nodding in agreement about now 🙂 However, I think we can still be quite dismissive of this and assume that their emotions are probably not of the same quality as ours.

For me, this whale story served as a reminder to take that time to stop and think more deeply. It leaves me wondering if all of the creatures with the spindle cells experience similar emotions, and by similar I don’t mean the same, but of the same complexity and quality.

If we consider that emotions are merely messages then maybe those creatures that share the spindle cells are discerned by their ability to rationalise their emotional experience. Perhaps they have the capability to self-regulate, reflect, manage, and utilise those emotions for better decision making. What a shame that the majority of the Human part of that collection are too busy to take the time to understand the messages they are receiving! Might Whales make better leaders?

I guess I will find out more as I continue to read Mr Bekoff 🙂

So I’m off to do some more research and sign a petition against whaling!

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Better late than never! I promised the giveaway bonanza this week and every day I will be giving away an SEI EQ assessment from Six Seconds valued at 175 USD. It is a Level B Psychometric test which means that the Development or Leadership Report that you choose as your prize requires a debrief by a trained professional, “Hello! That would be me!” and guess what? I am throwing in the debrief for free.  It can either be in person if we happen to be geographically juxtaposed  (LOVE that word!) or alternatively we can SKYPE.

All you have to do is leave your contact details in the Contact form below and in the comments piece just write a few words why you would like to win the SEI and of course click FOLLOW on my blog 🙂

I give you my absolute promise I will not try and sell you anything from my blog.

There are a few prerequisites! The offer is limited to individuals located in the Central & Eastern European Region.

The SEI tool is not yet translated in most of the CEE languages (that’s a work in progress :-)) so it is required that your English is of an appropriate level. The Debrief and the chosen report will be in English and I think that’s about all for now.

The first assessment will be awarded from all those that leave their details from Midnight (CET) on the 9th September to Midnight of the 10th!  Good Luck and over the course of the week keep popping back to not only look for the next days chance, but to take a look at my new Emotional Diary entries 🙂

Here’s some more information about the Six Seconds organisations SEI for you to consider prior to your success in the above 🙂

The SEI is a scientifically validated, practical measure of emotional intelligence with an action-oriented model designed to support people to use and improve their EQ skills.  Built on the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence, the SEI is unusual in that where other tools provide a diagnosis, SEI provides a framework for action. As Six Seconds like to say “Emotional Intelligence for Positive Change!”

Dont just take my word for it read what they have to say! You’ll find it at SEI-EQ Assessment!

I will be donating the Development Report or the Leadership Report but all of the following reports are all available from the same SEI questionnaire

BBP: Brain Brief Profile – Discover your “Brain Style” – your current tendency for processing emotional and cognitive data.  An engaging, quick, meaningful starting point for developing emotional intelligence.

SR: Strengths Report – Learn your top 3 EQ strengths and how to apply them Ideal for introductory programs, strengths-based coaching, group profiles, and research

DR: Development Report – In-depth analysis for professional and personal growth Ideal for in-depth training and coaching to general audience, includes development strategies

LR: Leadership Report – Exec summary plus hard-hitting analysis in a business context Built for development and coaching with business and organizational leaders

LDG: Leader’s Development Guide — Customized workbook using EQ scores for next steps A remarkable development tool, the LDG equips leaders to take their EQ up a level through goal planning and specific action steps (all based on their actual scores).

GR: Group Report – Profile of a group showing distributions of EQ competencies Perfect for program planning, and for coaching/training team leaders

CGR: Comparison Group Report — Comparison of a group over time or between groups Shows ROI, changes, and highlights opportunity areas across teams

The SEI toolkit also includes the SEI360 and the SEI-Youth Version.

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In the first part of this article “EQ Deja-Vu” I made a case that there is enough evidence and research out there to demonstrate that there is a high correlation between one’s EQ and success, and likewise a leader’s EQ and his organizations success, but there still remain very few corporations that have invested in EQ based solutions for their businesses or themselves.

Why is this?

Here’s a collection of potential reasons with some counter arguments. I hereby throw them out there into the blogosphere in the interests of healthy discussion and constructive challenge knowing full well that they stink of generalization.

1)  The term Emotional Intelligence is an issue. If you score low in something graded intelligence then convention would have you believe you are NOT intelligent. A less self-assured leader might be discouraged from investing in an initiative that could potentially rate him as emotionally stupid, particularly if there is the potential comparison of results with peers or reports.

 Then there’s the negative connotation with the adjective emotional. The etymology of the word emotion appears to come from the Old French “emouvoir” – to stir up. I love that! “Stir-up”, that’s exactly how it feels.  I was certainly raised and educated to believe there was no place for emotion in school or in the workplace. After all, they, especially the less positive ones are bad, right? WRONG! Emotions are merely messages. We all have them.  However, we might not be smart with what we do with them.
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2)   Emotional Intelligence, incorrectly in my opinion, often gets labeled as soft skills. We all know that soft is a not a very helpful word in this context. Management attitude towards soft skills means that it gets delegated to HR to deal with. “Yes that’s necessary but it’s not “hard” (important) enough for us to deal with at a leadership level.” .

3)   HR has largely become a process orientated function within most businesses and people development has become a series of procedural implementations.  Resource (People) + Process (Training) = OUTPUT (BEHAVIOUR). It’s an unfortunate thing that a large number of Human Resources professionals have come to accept this as being their lot in life. They started out with good intentions believing that this would be a people orientated career. It should be! It can be! So come on my HR friends take responsibility for your workplace climate. There are already case studies strongly correlating EQ to the level of engagement in businesses and YOU should be the leading advocates for engaged cultures that encourage employees sense of self.

4)   The fact that emotions, or the feelings associated with them are a subjective experience, in other words PERSONAL, makes it somehow difficult for people and companies to put that into a workplace context. However, if we consider that emotions and feelings are a constant and considerable part of all of us, then both individually and collectively they must impact our performance.  We know that emotions occur in conjunction with thoughts, which in turn drive actions through decision-making. So the understanding of where your emotions come from, giving those emotions meaningful labels, and recognizing patterns or habits arising from them is a pretty critical and foundational piece of self-awareness to acquire if you want to be a successful leader, manager or entrepreneur. In short it is never the hard skill that makes the decision it’s the subjective interpretation that does.

5)  There’s a misperception that results related to investments in raising EQ in organizations are not measurable to the bottom line. In fact a carefully constructed EQ program can be just as measurable as any other investment a business may make even one that might be as tangible as ROI on traditional Assets or New product initiatives.

6)   The economic crisis seems to be a reason spouted for all sorts of curtailment of expenditure. The reality is that cost-cutting and sitting out this one is not really a strategy that’s going to succeed long-term. It seems to me it would be a far better solution to ensure the costs that you are left with are “engaged” in your business.

The latest eggcount reductions received mixed emotions.

The latest cuts in eggcount were met with mixed emotions.

7)   In my opinion one of the biggest hurdles to further adoption in corporations is the question of how to move from EQ as a single person psychometric based self-graded test to the institutionalization of EQ within an organizations climate and ultimately its culture. The range of available products is limited and the majority struggle to bridge that chasm created by the modern workplaces suppression of individuality and the complex personal nature of emotions embroiled as they are within their own unique belief systems and habitual behaviours. 

Good tools are translated from simple effective models but grounded in scientific research. They address the situational needs of an organization while supporting the creation of a workplace climate built on trust and emotional intelligence. The Six Seconds Vital Signs tools are a good starting point for such an initiative.

When a climate provides motivation, innovation, collaboration, open communication and accountability all within a trusting environment then magic happens!

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Early in July a Forbes article posted on Linkedin caught my attention, and to be honest I was a little unsure how to react.

The article was entitled “Forget Business School: Why an Emotional Education is Indispensible” and was authored by a contributor named Avid Labizadeh, who, in her own words writes about entrepreneurship and technology across multiple cultures.

Now I know you are already asking yourself “Why wouldn’t, an Emotional Practitioner like him be jumping up and down with excitement? There’s no pleasing him!” It is a good article and after all a piece of positive journalism on emotional intelligence getting exposure from Forbes. So let me explain my hesitancy to celebrate..

Labizadeh gives an explanation of what Emotional Intelligence(abbreviated to either EI or EQ) is and verbally correlates it to success in life, even stating that it’s her emotional understanding that she draws on more often than her formidable academic education when dealing with life’s personal and professional challenges.

In her concluding section of the article Labizadeh has me both cheering and holding my head in my hands in frustration. The applause and the flag waving are attributed to such statements as “EI skills are integral to success and self-fulfillment” or “it is almost impossible to be a successful entrepreneur without high Emotional Intelligence”. I even give her significant credit for correctly inferring that EI skills can be learned.

The groaning, and wringing of hands are attached to the fact that she states there is no official track where to learn these skills.

Well, there is! Yes indeed!

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In fact according to an ebook published by Six Seconds entitled “A case for Emotional Intelligence in our schools”, in the US there are several organizations that have emerged to help schools and organizations implement emotional intelligence and social-emotional learning programs, including The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), The Center for Social Emotional Learning, CSEE, and Six Seconds themselves, The Emotional Intelligence Network who are the largest organization supporting EQ development globally via its network of local offices and preferred partners.

However this blip on an otherwise solid article was not the issue. What troubled me was Déjà vu!

Please don’t misunderstand me I am in no way suggesting plagiarism but I find myself saying “here we are again”, another printed recognition by a credible person in a credible magazine stating that technical skills and cognitive intelligence are not an indicator of success but in actual fact that it’s the capabilities associated with emotions that make the difference.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the concept of Emotional Intelligence very early in my career. My employer of the time was very innovative in their People Development area and upon reflection I believe that we formed part of the test samples that followed Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence” and that provided the backbone of the research that supported his 1998 article in Harvard Business Review entitled “What makes a Leader?” I believe it is their all-time most reprinted article!

Guess what the introductory paragraph to the article states?

“IQ and technical skills are important, but emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership.”

Goleman analyzed the competency models of 188 companies, the majority of which were multinational, to establish which personal capabilities appeared to drive performance in these organizations.
To cut a long story short, the analysis showed that when calculating the ratio of importance for technical skills, IQ and emotional intelligence as ingredients of excellent performance, EI was twice as important as the others across all job levels. And furthermore the higher up in an organization you go where levels of technical competence and IQ become much less differential, EI becomes a much more significant indicator of success. When Goleman compared STAR performers versus AVERAGE performers in senior leadership positions, nearly 90% of the difference in profiles could be attributed to emotional intelligence factors. WOW!!!! Read that again!
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He also references others research correlating EI with strong performance in leaders.

He dedicates a whole page to the question “Can Emotional Intelligence Be Learned”, again to reach a resounding YES.

So even back in 1998 we had some numbers to back-up what Labizadeh states in the Forbes article of July 2013, and there’s been so much more good research, and so many printed articles and white papers on the topic since 1998, the majority supporting the correlations between EI and success, EI and Well being, EI and happiness.

And YET….Yet we still find business leaders, entrepreneurs, managers and HR personnel either unaware of this or unwilling to take the next step and do something to make their organizations more EI evolved.

The folks at Six Seconds talk about this being the 3rd Decade of EQ. The first was the discovery period, the second was the research and evaluation period and now we enter the decade of application.

The article highlights that there is clearly still significant work to be done in the area of awareness but more importantly why are we unable to move forward with the phase of application? of implementation? The proof is already there. What’s holding us back?

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In part 2 of this post I will offer some thoughts on this question, but in the meantime please feel free to comment on this or anything else EI related, and maybe try the poll 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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Welcome to EQYou!

This blog is designed to bring you all things Emotional Intelligence (EI/EQ) related, put more precisely all manner of EQ matters.

Also it will be consistent in delivering the message, EQ Matters! It is important!

It makes a difference to our performance and success in the workplace. In our general life it contributes to our well-being and happiness. It makes a difference to our children’s capabilities as they transition through their school lives and into adulthood. And what’s more, I am going to show you the proof !

This blog will also look to address what’s happening on EQ in Central Eastern Europe. I will look to include guest writers and will ensure that some articles will appear in some of the different languages of the region.

I believe that by enhancing our Emotional Intelligence skills we can lead better lives in a better world. Come start your own EQ journey with EQYou.

Wishing you well!

Ricky – Your EQ Activist

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Johann Wolfgang van Goethe