EI - The Most Powerful Tool in Your Kit
Many talented people never
reach their full potential. I recently had the opportunity to work with a group
of 40 talented scientists with less than 5 years experience in their field.
They had all been hired because of their technical ability as demonstrated by
their college grade point average. No one in the group had a college grade
point average less than 3.5 and all graduated with technical degrees.
We were asked to build a program of training and education that would add value to each in hopes that all would benefit and step to a higher level of performance. We had only eight hours to achieve this lofty goal so we new we needed to be “on the mark” with our approach because we didn’t have the time to correct our approach.
I knew, from past experience, that skilled technical people, long on technical knowledge and ability, were often short on emotional awareness and ability.
I won’t go into the reasons for that, but will say that it is often the case to find people who are technically skilled to be emotionally challenged.
We assessed the group for Emotional Intelligence and found that nearly 90 percent of this group of 40 scientists had emotional gaps in one or more of the four Emotional Intelligence pillars: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social-Awareness, and Social Management.
At this point, the question was; How to use the information and leverage it for the benefit of the 40 participants?
We decided upon the following plan:
1. Educate the group on Emotional Intelligence
2. Help participants evaluate their own emotional strengths and weaknesses
3. Role play each one of the Emotional Intelligence pillars
4. Do follow up coaching through their direct supervisors on a monthly basis for the follow 4 months.
We measured productivity before and after the program and found that the average billable hours of the group had increased by 17 percent. We were anticipation an increase of 20 percent or more, so we were somewhat disappointed in the results. However, in a world revenues for the organization are roughly 3 times billable hours, and hours are billed at an average of $100/hour, that translates into a substantial addition to the bottom line.
The lesson to be learned is that emotions play a big role in organization productivity and few are connected with how their emotions impact their own performance. Possibly even more important, however, is how their emotions affect the performance of those around us. Emotional Intelligence begins with self-awareness. Simply being aware makes a huge difference.