Wednesday 5 March 2008

Best fit with emotional intelligence

The other point I make on EI, is that it’s not enough for organisations to be generically emotionally intelligent. You have to have the right kind of EI.

This may be based upon the products or services that you are selling, and the emotions you’re looking to create in your customers to drive their purchase decisions. These emotions are likely to be based more on the emotional signature of your particular organisation than they are on your product’s or service’s features. So, for example, if you’re in financial services, selling ‘peace of mind’, then your employees need to come across as open, honest and trustworthy.

One of the case studies on the useful EI Consortium site is American Express. This demonstrates, firstly, the sorts of gains that can be produced from a focus on EI:

“Financial advisors at American Express whose managers completed the Emotional Competence training program were compared to an equal number whose managers had not. During the year following training, the advisors of trained managers grew their businesses by 18.1% compared to 16.2% for those whose managers were untrained.”

Secondly, this case shows the need for best fit in EI development:

“It grew out of an effort to discover why more clients who needed life insurance were not buying it. Research suggested that a major barrier was the financial advisors’ emotional reactions to the process. Consequently, the company developed and tested a training program designed to help the advisors cope more effectively with the emotional conflicts that they sometimes encountered in working with clients around life insurance matters.”

This shouldn’t really be a surprise – EI is really just a useful way of collecting together and presenting a set of intra and inter-personal skills. We know that the competencies that are most useful vary by organisation so it’s fairly clear that the precise form of EI that is required will vary too.


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