A friend sent me a link to a NY Times article regarding the concept of CQ – the Creativity Quotient, and inquired about the relationship of EQ in CQ. What I have shared with clients and in my talks at conferences when it comes to innovation, especially workplace innovation, is that it is more about getting rid of barriers to innovation than it is necessarily being innovative.
Creativity, at its core, is a reflection of a deep sense of self-awareness. It is the notion that something is wrong with the present tool or process that makes for the desire to search for an alternative. Fear, which is the strongest of all of the basic core emotions, is the enemy of creativity. Workplaces are inherently a place of fear – our guards are up, we’re protective of what we say, who we say it to, especially when it comes to changing the status quo where someone, and in many cases, it is someone you actually know, may be responsible for that status quo- for creating it and sustaining it. There is additional “white noise” that we call carry that is an impediment to innovation. What happened at home, last week, the last time we tried to change something and failed, who is watching, etc. Managing this white noise, is a skill directly correlated to higher states of EQ.
Being aware of your emotional state, irrespective of what got you there, and being able to regulate it, irrespective of consequences, is having higher levels of Emotional Intelligence. Creativity flourishes in safe environments, and often times, it’s not the first idea that is the best one … but the 10th or 10th version of it that really is powerful…but in order to get to this processed version, the emotional energy and business savvy it takes to orchestrate the life cylce of innovation can be exhausting, and emotionally draining.
One of the unspoken secrets of a good consultant is to ask the client what it is they tried to implement last year or the year before and never got implemented. Collating this list can often times make consultants look like geniuses… if only because the idea appeared to be germinated from the outside and because workplace ideas seem to difficult to generate and process in most work environments. Successful organizations have formal systems and processes in place to encourage CQ and these can be directly correlated to EQ systems and processes. The two, I would argue, are directly proportional.