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!


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!

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?


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!