EQ summit 2015

Recently, our Global CEO Katherine Corich attended the EQ summit in London. “EQ” stands for emotional intelligence, with the summit showcasing it as a crucial business attribute. With attendees from across the globe, the summit saw speakers such as NYT bestselling author Dan Pink; Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky; and Amy Bernstein, Editor of the Harvard Business Review, who also curated the event.

Emotional intelligence is the recognition of your own emotions, as well of those around you. You have the ability to also assess your feelings, and to use this emotional information to guide your thinking and behaviour. When used in a business environment, it is considered one of the largest predictors of performance in the workplace and a real driver of leadership and the need to strive for personal excellence.

To begin, Martyn Newman looked at a link between emotions and empathy. Newman started by drawing on the example of English economist Adam Smith who envisioned an economy driven by the science of empathy. These emotions, Newman said, are a form of “emotional capital.” The persona of your business will have a direct impact on whether people choose to work with you, or someone else. Smith knew this too, empathy is core to not only guaranteeing work, but being followed, being a leader. Understand this on a personal level, and this emotional connectivity then spreads throughout the community in which you work, inspiring people to perform.

Dan Pink broached EQ through motivation, exploring three key motivators for long term incentive. Autonomy, management in the wrong way is a key example of employees lacking motivation. “The technology for engagement is self-direction,” says Pink. A well managed business is a motivated business. The second is a desire to succeed – mastery. The third is to have purpose. Pink elaborates, “Am I making a contribution? Am I making a difference? As leaders, you need to make sure people are asking themselves these questions.”

Three types of intelligence were then explored by Alan Wallace, a leading authority on mindfulness. Conative intelligence is the ability to discern which desires and intentions can be linked to the wellbeing of ourselves and others. Attentional intelligence is learning how to direct our focus to something which will benefit us and others, without distraction. Finally, cognitive intelligence – usually linked with IQ and problem solving – can also be linked with mindfulness. Wallace then went on to ponder if we have more intelligence than we need? Why despite all our knowledge do we have 50% less wildlife on the planet, and global warming threatening our polar climates?

Following on from evolution and intelligence, Wallace explored the nature of happiness, in which he said hedonic pleasure – that is, pleasure we can obtain from the world – can be found using emotional intelligence. If we know what we want, we know what will bring us happiness. Finally he returned to conative intelligence – and how we should be aware of our desires, so we can act upon them should an opportunity arise. Making a wise choice when this inspirational spark materialises is a key example of EQ.



Eve Ekman, talked being emotionally aware, using emotional intelligence to manage stress in a good way. Ekman said, “Ask these questions: “Where are those emotions coming from? What are my common triggers? What are my behavioural patterns? What is it that I think the world owes me, or that I owe to the world?” You’re influencing your world perspective simply by paying attention to your emotions.” To finish, Ekman underlined the need for emotional intelligence, “It’s really important to be aware every day of the emotions you experience, which ones they are, what they feel like, how long they last and who’s involved.”

However, what about EQ in a business environment? Major organisations were able to demonstrate to the just under 400 in attendance how they had used EQ to provide far reaching benefits. At Sky for instance, Jeremy Darroch said all senior leaders are undertaking an emotional intelligence “development programme” which will take place over a year. Thought was also given to the approach of EQ in a business – how will your employees take the introduction of this new concept seriously? The key is to understand it from their point of view. Ask yourself, how would the individual employee in question use emotional intelligence to better themselves? Greater understanding will increase the chances of their personal objectives being met.

A top-down method is therefore required. The audience became familiar with the vital need for EQ to come down from the very top of the company if it is to be successful. Darroch demonstrated that how they work with leaders is a question asked of those right through Sky. Leading by example involves starting with those most senior leaders. Darroch says, “It starts, frankly, with me.” If those at the top demonstrate purpose and an ability then this will feed down through the organisation. This is keenly pursued at Sky, where Darroch says “My personal sense of purpose is connected to the purpose of the company. My belief in the kind of company we should be are rooted in the values that I believe important.”

To end, the last speaker of the day, Magnus Lindkvist, provided a stark opening statement to explore a vital application of EQ. “The biggest disease people suffer from today is infobesity,” began Lindkvist. The idea that we think we’re informed but in reality we are not. The futurologist believes that there is a tendancy for us to reduce the number of risks we take. By doing so, we leave ourselves with our own ideas, and the ideas of others. If no one is willing to take a risk and try something new, how do we remove ourselves from, as Lindkvist describes, “a medieval mindset.” The answer is to decide whether to create or compete. For the Swede, it is obvious, “Cure your own infobesity. Explore, create. Be an idiot and try something new.” Using emotional intelligence, this may be easier than you think.




Overall, a wide variety of scenarios demonstrating the use of emotional intelligence was displayed. Starting from a personal emotional awareness, how to get to grips with the concept from the science of empathy, through to motivation, dealing with your emotions, and then instilling this throughout your business. Is the CEO in touch with their emotions, and how do they learn from them? Response to challenging issues is also key, and problems which arise can be dealt with effectively using an intelligent approach to your emotions.

Employees will be able to see EQ in action from the highest levels of the company, and with the right training and perspective, emotional intelligence can be used effectively throughout all levels of your organisation.

Why not see how you can bring in EQ to your organisation – you may reap the benefits of a workforce more understanding of their thoughts and aims for their role in the business. 

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