emotional intelligence

Getting Personal: Emotional Intelligence Skills Make a Real Difference

Last week’s blog looked at the recent history of emotional intelligence (EQ) and how it has taken root in today’s business landscape – producing notable results in some of the world’s most influential organizations.

This week, I’d like to share a project in which Blueline worked with a Fortune 120 pharmaceutical firm to assess the EQ skills of its leaders, including coaching to the assessment results and customized training to further develop the skills.

It’s all about relationshipsimprove-business
Our challenge was to develop a solution for 80 key leaders who support the clinical trial pipeline. Our client was committed to the idea that EQ behaviors are integral to the success of this important team, and that increasing skills would increase productivity and results.

The objective was threefold: to build greater awareness of the importance of EQ skills; to provide an understanding of each person’s strengths and gaps related to their skills; and to provide opportunities for people to grow existing skills and acquire new ones in managing their emotions and relationships with others.

The project consisted of four phases:

  1. A “Foundations of EQ” class that explained fundamental concepts and explored the core behaviors that lead to EQ success.
  2. An EQ 360 assessment in which leaders assessed their own skills as well as the skills of their managers, colleagues and direct reports.
  3. Individual coaching based on each participant’s assessment results.
  4. Customized training in response to the strengths and skill gaps discovered in the aggregated assessment results.

Within a month of completion of the six-month project, each participant was asked to evaluate its impact. Preliminary results revealed that participants were convinced the program would make a real difference in both their business and personal lives:

  • 85% said it was the best combination of training and development they had ever received.
  • 87% agreed that they gained knowledge and skills they can use on their job.
  • 85% agreed that they would use the knowledge and skills in their personal lives.
  • 87% were satisfied or very satisfied with the investment of time and effort in the training.

I have come to believe that any business result can be greatly improved simply by focusing on the quality of personal transactions that deliver that result. EQ is an idea whose time has come – and today is delivering enormous gains in speed, efficiency and quality of human interactions.

I can say with complete confidence that your organization – like so many others – has enormous opportunities to leverage the power of emotional intelligence to deliver quantitatively better business results.

Contact Blueline Simulations to find out how. The next success story could be yours.

Harnessing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

It’s been nearly 20 years since Daniel Goleman introduced the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to the business world, when his article on the subject first appeared in Harvard Business Review.

emotional-intelligence

What was groundbreaking (and often dismissed as “touchy-feely”) then is fully embraced today – as organizations worldwide are seeing notable results from leaders who score high on their ability to manage their emotions as well as their relationships with others.

Knowledge is EQ power

The field of neuroscience has enhanced our knowledge of how and why the brain does what it does. We now have rich knowledge of the important role EQ skills play in producing business results and predicting individual success. We also have scientifically validated behavior assessments that help us understand our strengths and gaps in managing our emotions and our relationships.

It’s clear that EQ has found its legitimacy as a key business and leadership capability, with the power to deliver stunning business results. Consider these examples:

  • The Coca-Cola Company saw division leaders who developed their EQ skills outperform their targets by 15%.
  • The U.S. Air Force reduced recruiter turnover from 35% to 5% annually by selecting candidates high in emotional intelligence.
  • Fortune Brands had 100% of their leaders who went through EQ development exceed performance targets, compared with just 28% of leaders who failed to develop their EQ skills.
  • Salespeople at an insurance firm who scored high on an emotional intelligence test sold 37% more in their first two years than those who scored lower.

Yes, the results are convincing, and the power of EQ is clear. If your organization hasn’t yet tapped into that power, then now is a great time to do so. Blueline Simulations offers EQ-related learning opportunities that you can put to work right away.

In next week’s blog, we’ll share a project in which Blueline Simulations worked with a Fortune 120 pharmaceutical firm to assess the EQ skills of 80 of its leaders, including coaching around the assessment results and customized training to further develop EQ skills.

Increase your EQ (Emotional Intelligence) through Simulation

In some of our recent blog posts we’ve explored the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and how your EQ may be even more important than your IQ at predicting success. So, is your Emotional Intelligence Quotient like your Intelligence Quotient — you have what you are born with and nothing is going to change that? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding no! You can very much develop and increase your EQ long past childhood.

The question is how? And within the context of business, how can I use EQ to increase success for my organization and me?

It all begins with the three keys to enhancing your EQ — Awareness, Observation, and Reflection.

The first step is to become aware of the dynamics of EQ and how they operate. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management provide the critical bedrock for your observations and reflections. Basic awareness can be established in simple ways: by reading a book about EQ, doing Internet research or completing any one of a myriad of training programs.

But being aware is just a first step.  Just like any other muscle in your body, EQ must be exercised to grow. No one’s biceps ever got bigger by reading a book on weight lifting. And the best way to exercise your EQ is through observations and reflections.  These require life experiences. The basic premise is that you must observe yourself (and others) and look for patterns, insights, and lessons that you can apply in similar, future experiences. As you apply the insights and lessons you learn, you raise your EQ.

From a business perspective this can be a bit of a problem. How do we help people develop their EQ without them having to “learn from experiences on the fly?” Is there a way to exercise the EQ muscle “safely” rather than in a critical team meeting or during a call with a vital customer?

Actually, this can be accomplished through well-designed simulation experiences that provide realistic opportunities to practice observe and reflect. Obviously, for these experiences to provide real value, they must model realistic scenarios. For example, a salesperson needs to practice observing and reflecting after a simulated call on a customer, and a manager needs to practice observing and reflecting on simulated supervisory and leadership scenarios

Blueline is effectively using custom simulations to build awareness, and to provide opportunities for rich observations and reflection in “safe” environments. Here critical insights, lessons and behaviors can be developed and even practiced before they are needed in high-stress, mission critical situations.

Practically Speaking…What’s This EQ About? And Does It Really Matter?

In our previous posts on EQ (Emotional Intelligence), we defined EQ and shared how EQ has impacted the bottom line for several of world’s largest companies. In this post, we’re going to focus the discussion on practical ways EQ can impact our everyday lives.

You’ve been a customer, right? At some point along the way, you’ve had something go wrong. The cable guy didn’t show up on time. Your expensive car repair didn’t fix the problem. Your flight got cancelled. Your food was cold or over cooked when it was served. A check bounced and you had to deal with the bank. You get the picture. We’ve all been there.

EQ has a lot to do with what happens next because, as we’ve previously learned, EQ is how well we (and others) understand and manage emotions…as well has how well we (and others) establish and maintain relationships.

Here’s how this can play out in a not-so-positive way. Let’s say your flight just got cancelled. It’s been a long day…you want to get home. You walk up to the service counter…the airline representative doesn’t even look up. Instead they mumble something under their breath as they continue looking at the computer screen. As you wait “patiently” to be recognized…you’re growing angrier by the second. You finally can’t take it anymore. You want service…and you want it now! Loud enough for everyone around to hear, you say, “Excuse me. Is it possible to get a little bit of service around here?” The reply is predictable. “Look! No one—including you—is going anywhere right now anyway…give me a minute for my computer to come back online. Then I’ll see what I can do.” From this point on, the interaction never recovers.

What just happened? Chances are this person has received extensive customer service training. They know what they should say or do…but they let their emotions get away from them. All their customer service skills go out the window. And be honest! You weren’t so innocent in the whole matter either. It was your “excuse me” comment that got the conversation off track from the beginning.

Here’s another situation to consider…one that plays out on roadways everywhere…and one that can have much more detrimental consequences.

Say you’re driving down the road when, out of nowhere, another car whizzes around you. You have to swerve to avoid a collision. Your heart rate quickens…your muscles tense…you grit your teeth and grip the steering wheel, white knuckled. You break out in a cold sweat. One thing is for sure. You’re so mad you can’t see straight. Nothing else matters except not letting the driver “get away” with it. You speed up…smiling…with thoughts of the other car in the ditch.

All the situations I’ve described have one thing in common. Each person involved, in their own way, suffered an EQ meltdown of sorts. They let their emotions get highjacked. Once highjacked…the encounter was on a fast track for an unproductive, maybe disastrous, outcome.

Does EQ matter? Absolutely! Can you relate? I bet you can. I know I can!

What are some lessons to be learned? There are several:

  • First. If you’re someone who’s involved in customer service training…recognize that having service skills is only part of the equation. It’s essential to help employees strengthen their EQ so that when emotionally-charged situations arise with customers, they have the EQ to turn those situations into wins instead of losses for your organization. We’d be happy to discuss more about this with you.
  • Second. Pay attention to what highjacks you emotionally. Awareness is the first step to managing your emotional reactions. When challenged, take some deep breaths…count to 10…smile and force yourself to make a positive comment…put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  • Third. Think altruistic thoughts if you have a situation like the driver I described earlier. Maybe there’s a medical emergency. Maybe there’s something wrong with the car. (That really happens…it happened to me years ago.)
  • Fourth. EQ impacts our lives constantly. We can’t escape it. The better you understand and manage your emotions…the easier it will be to establish and maintain relationships with others. Often times, the difference comes down to responding with empathy not reacting on impulse.

A final thought! Last night, my husband and I watched the movie Up In The Air. George Clooney’s character flies around the country firing people on behalf of companies who are unwilling to face employees who are being laid off. Talk about EQ being put to the test! My heart ached for each person Clooney’s character fired.

There were several interesting ironies in the movie. Here’s one. Clooney’s character was incredibly successful in his job—firing people! Why? Because he never let the other person’s emotions, however raw or visceral, hijack him. He stayed in control of his emotions 100% of the time. His EQ was off the charts when it came to doing his job.

Try this experiment. Watch a movie or TV show. Observe the interactions between characters and how each handles emotionally-charged situations. Use these on-screen performances to build your own EQ awareness. I promise, there will be no shortage of demonstrations to draw on.

Blueline Helps Pharmaceutical Firm Develop Employee’s Emotional Intelligence Skills

In our last post, we looked at the recent history of emotional intelligence, and how it has rooted itself so firmly in the awareness of today’s business landscape. A stunning success story in terms of “viral ideas” it has proven its value many times over through demonstrable results as reported by the world’s most influential organizations.

In this post, I want to tell you the compelling story of a project Blueline Simulations recently completed with a Fortune 120 pharmaceutical firm that involved the use of assessments, executive coaching, and customized training.

The client organization engaged Blueline to develop a solution for key positions in the clinical trial pipeline –  one that touched more than 80 leaders. The objective was three-fold: to build a greater awareness of the importance of EQ skills; to provide an understanding of where each person had strengths and gaps related to their skills; and to provide development opportunities for people to grow skills and acquire new ones in managing their emotions, and managing their relationships with other people. Our client was committed to the idea that EQ behaviors were integral to the success of this important team, and that increasing skill would also increase productivity and results.

The project consisted of four phases:

1.  Attendance at a class called “Foundations of EQ” which explained fundamental concepts and explored core behaviors of EQ success.

2.  An EQ 360 assessment in which the individual assessed their own skills, as well as the skills of their manager, colleagues and direct reports.

3.  Individual coaching to each participant based on their assessment results.

4.  Customized training based on the overall strengths and skill gaps discovered in the assessment results.

From launch to completion, the project’s four phases took six months. Within a month of completion of the project, each participant was asked to evaluate the project. The preliminary results show that the participants were convinced that this program will make a difference in their business lives, and interestingly, in their personal lives as well.

  • 85% said it was the best combination of training and development they had received at their organization, or from any other organization.
  • 87% agreed that they gained knowledge and skills they can use on their job.
  • 85% agreed that they would use this knowledge and skill in their personal lives.
  • 87% were satisfied or very satisfied with the investment of time and effort as compared to the results of the training.

But obviously participant impressions are just part of the story. While it’s premature to cite definitive business impact for the project outlined above, in my previous blog I cited numerous examples of business impacts at companies as far reaching as Coca-Cola and Fortune Brands.  In my 30 plus years as a consultant and trainer, I have come to believe that any business result can be greatly improved simply by focusing on the quality of the personal transactions that delivered that result. Emotional intelligence is an idea whose time has come, and today is delivering enormous gains in speed, efficiency, and quality of human interactions.

I don’t know you or your organization, but I can say with confidence that you have enormous opportunities to leverage the power of emotional intelligence to deliver quantitatively better business results.

Ask me how. Because I think the next success story could be yours.