Alan Wallace Q&A - EQ Summit 2015 -

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Alan Wallace Q&A – EQ Summit 2015

Panel Discussion

Q: How are you able to measure Emotional Intelligence?

Martyn: Measuring emotional intelligence is about having others rate the level of frequency they experience good behaviors from you (360 evaluation). This gives you an idea of what kind of behaviours you frequently exhibit from the feedback of those that you trust. We know a lot more today about how to construct good psychometric tests to minimize subjective interference or bias.

Eve: Our ability to ask people what emotions they are feeling has improved a great deal. What we do in a laboratory we can’t do in the conference room. In the lab we have a lot of refined measurement tools, but in the end who cares? There are many ways of capturing this information.

Q: Why is there a mismatch between science and what business is doing?

Dan: If we know so much why do we do so many stupid things? There’s a knowledge gap between knowing and doing. Going back to if/then rewards, they are effective and work reasonably well. We had an economy that was based on routine tasks—there’s a legacy. There’s a tendency to inertia, if it worked before I’ll keep doing it. You can use the short-term surge of it, and many companies are myopic and focused on the short-term. The most insidious reason is that it’s easy. It’s easier to do than spending time to ask who your employees are and how to create an environment where they can create their best work.

Q: Is there research that links people that become dictators and emotional intelligence?

Martyn: It’s called the son of a bitch paradox— how can you operate with a low level of humanistic feeling and still be a successful person. If you look at inspirational people like Steve Jobs—bereft of interpersonal empathy, but very optimistic. You often find leaders that succeed at a few emotional skills and draw a team of people in around them, but this is often at great cost and great inefficiency. There are things you can’t get away with today that you could in the past. There’s an external pressure to change our behaviour to match the needs of stakeholders. If leaders are bereft of emotional skills, they are skilled at partnering with people that have their missing piece.

Amy: Studies have shown that people that don’t develop emotional skills end up losing.

Q: Have we lost the ability to think simply?

Alan: We’re facing a massive onslaught of information. Einstein getting a physics degree vs what you need today. The pace of life we are exposed to, the misery, any evil we can get every single day. This can leave us feeling emotionally weak, or it can result in ADHD where attention is scattered. This is where mindfulness comes in, social emotional skills, and empathy come in. There’s something more than simply more. We have to think about more than wealth and prestige. It comes from the cultivation of our hearts and minds.

Q: How do we accelerate the positive change?

Alan: simply adapt to what is happening first. Reality is fast now, so we have to adapt. To my mind this is an enormous challenge we can arise, but not by drawing partitions. How can we adapt and bring scientists and religious sages, business people, politicians, all together to the table? Let’s bring all the wisdom together. It’s a great challenge but there has to be a great response—collaborated, and unified.

Q: What’s your response to people that say this kind of thing is nonsense and not for them?

Martyn: I understand that. A lot of people like that are from engineering and financial backgrounds— they have to solve largely technical problems. If you’re going to suggest to someone that they are going to benefit from a real knowledge, you’re going to have to enter their world—that’s using empathy. Do you understand their world and their challenges? Do you understand their anxieties? When we approach people with this kind of background, you need to think about how people will be better, work better etc. Provide people with insight that there is structure to social and emotional skills. Help them understand how this is going to help them make money. Understand that there is a science behind it, a series of tactics and strategies that they can apply immediately to change behavior.

Dan: Don’t lead with the hippy-dippy, happy-slappy. This is a mistake. Lead with results—especially talking to c-suite. You’ve got to provide them with the empirical data. Lead with the interests, no hippy stuff. Lead with interest and results. The C-Suite is slightly paranoid, you can make the case that other companies are already doing it. We have undersold the importance of small wins. Can I do one small thing tomorrow to make things a little bit better? If you can’t see the movement at the top, just try something. If it works, tell people about it. If it doesn’t never mention it again. A lot of these changes happen at an individual level.