The 3 “Intelligence” States Within Businesses – Introducing Political Intelligence
There are two intelligence states we openly discuss across the business world currently, IQ (Intelligence quotient) and EQ (Emotional intelligence).
The Simple Difference Between IQ, WorkIQ And EQ?
IQ is how smart you are, and how you can learn from situations and develop yourself. IQ is typically about you rather than those around you.
I termed the phrase “workIQ” as the act of managing those above, around and connected to you” and understanding your peer management is a critical part of your day, every day.
EQ is how good you are with people, in people-first situations and how you enable and develop the people around you, professionally and how empathic you are towards their development.
EQ is as much about you as much about others.
These intelligence states are explained at great lengths, the issue with this is although both help you within the business world, the third state that goes unreferenced is political intelligence.
Introducing PQ – Political Intelligence
Being political and playing the game can be dismissed by many people writing best practice guides, however:
Political Intelligence is arguably the savviest intelligence to have and develop.
PQ is about understanding which skills you have to use when you need large-scale change, when you need to apply pressure, when to navigate difficult colleagues and combative behaviours of fellow managers and executives.
Some of the best advice you will receive in your career and on your development track is to learn how to play the game and know how to influence those around you.
An essential skill to master:
When to use IQ, apply workIQ, when to leverage EQ and when to apply PQ.
PQ is an unfortunate byproduct of the business world, however, PQ is critical:
If you are a high performer,
If you are on the ‘fast track’ or
if you are an experienced senior manager and making progress within your business or looking to move onto your next challenge.
Experienced executives are hardened to political intelligence, they have experienced first-hand or very often learn from being on the receiving end of PQ.
When PQ is used, it is critical to understand the difference between personal PQ and professional PQ, this comes from experience and applying EQ blended with IQ.
In the near future, when asked what makes a great hybrid leader, we will have to be frank as a leadership team, being politically intelligent is going to be a core skills pillar to have and then develop their team around them to become politically smarter.
Many execs do not (necessarily) love the political games and being victims of their colleagues’ political intelligence but the more experienced you become the more you have to develop your PQ.
Play The Game
As answered in our anonymous career advice column, is playing the game necessary? playing the ‘game’ and being politically savvy are important skills you have to understand and develop.
When applying PQ into your workflow and developing in your team, something that is essential to keep in mind is how to understand when this creates a negative subculture within your business. For all those who apply a negative PQ (this is common), you will need to know how to address and fix a toxic work culture.
In the coming weeks, an activity to undertake is to score yourself in a professional SWOT, apply the three intelligence states IQ (re-reviewing how you apply WorkIQ), EQ and PQ and rate yourself out of ten and then develop the three intelligence pillars.
Many who suggest they don’t play the game or I don’t do politics you have to know the game plays on even when you opt-out.
Welcome to the podcast series fixing the broken world of work, it has been a mission of Focus to deliver the best content to business leaders and managers so they can make their workplaces better and help to develop their teams and departments.
Season 1 is action-packed with brilliant stories, tips and actionable advice.
Each Fixing The Broken World Of Work Podcast is broken down below with why listen and the important topics we discussed, this should help you decide which podcast to start with.
Listen to the podcasts below and don’t forget to follow on your podcast app of choice:
Why Listen: Briony talks about her incredible transition from Marketer to facilitator and coach. Briony tells her very personal story and journey, from her own struggles with mental health to helping so many with breathwork, meditation and the future of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
Briony and I discuss:
Mental health and why it is so important to be aware of
How mental health is evolving How your mental health can help to transform physical health
Why early morning open-air swims have been so important to Briony and her journey
Why Therapy and therapists role in peoples lives are so important, hint it’s more than the therapy sessions
Why breathwork is so important to tackling anxiety and stresses
Why our bodies are driven by our breath and controlling our breath
Why Personal development starts with you
Everyone is facing similar challenges – it’s how you find the best course of action
Why retreats are going to be so popular and a necessary part of life and work
Sharon Aneja – Founder @ Humanity Works Consultancy
Why Listen: Sharon takes us on her incredible journey and why being a Positive Psychology coach is so important to her and for any workforce. Sharon shares a couple of brilliant frameworks and practices to improve any business.
What Sharon and I discuss:
The importance of mental health and wellbeing
Why psychological flexibility is so important
Why command and control management fails their people and their business
Why businesses and managers wait for people to get stressed and burnt out rather than proactively addressing such important topics
The awakening businesses require
Why gamification can be negative
the opportunity to be able to partner with organizations who are courageous enough to want to get to the heart of issues
How a routine operation changed Sharon’s life completely
Why Listen: As a multi-time business builder, Matt provides unique insights into how his leadership in the software space can help to improve conversations and goal setting not just through software but a combination between software and people.
What Matt and I discuss:
The power of the conversation
Importance of communications and priorities
Setting people up to have the right conversation with the right frameworks
Structured conversations having better organisation outcomes
Building software to empower teams to have the most important conversations and the resistance when software tells you what you should prioritize
Workplace safety “where people feel in a safe place to say what needs to be said to share their ideas, to disagree, to, problem solve, to innovate, to share ideas”
Why Listen: Luke has helped to transform his agency Reddico company culture from struggling to hire to becoming one of the best places to work in the UK and why company culture and self-management is so important.
What Luke and I discuss:
How company culture should be shaped
Why self management system can and does improve agencies and businesses
What it took to get to a world class 96 NPS score
Empowering individual’s to do a really amazing job is a key factor to success
Why circles (like SWARM’s) helps to get the best work done
Company culture is the marketing tool, not a PR tool
Why Listen? Peter is helping shape leaders and TEDX coaches to improve their leadership and delivery on essential messaging. If you are a leader of a startup to a large business this is a podcast for you.
What Peter and I discuss:
How to step up as a leader
Why leadership is often the smaller unspoken steps we take, such as mental nods, gestures and the tone we use when speaking
Why storytelling is more than a buzzword and will take leaders up many steps
Bias – how we can overcome bias in our teams minds
How to rebuild trust when may have lost trust from your team
How to tackle remote and hybrid work leadership differently
Luke and I have been connected since 2020 and the work he and Reddico are doing to place culture and performance at the heart of everything their agency does really has enabled them to become one of the best places to work in the UK and win company culture awards.
Luke has helped to move Reddico to a self-management model and they have made it work which is a huge feat. This is a must-listen if you are looking to transform your business, help to improve your company culture and think more clearly around how performance and company culture works together.
Dear Focus, there are a number of people leaving my company, we used to be so close, how can I keep my colleagues with me and complete our mission? — “Anon” Startup Founder
This is common in every business, regardless of size, people leave businesses for many different reasons, one of the main reasons is career progress, the other main reason is the company has changed or changing in a direction staff just don’t align to.
The Great Resignation?
We are about to see what some people are referencing as ‘the great resignation’ is a large number of talent will be looking to refresh their roles and change roles for career progression.
You are likely experiencing some of this and then a blend of a changing culture.
Communications Is King, Queen & Everything Inbetween
As a startup founder, you were likely close to the team and then had to move away or actively decided to distance yourself from the team or departments.
Being deliberate in this step was important however with focused comms around this move this can cause friction and disconnection.
Have we brought in a new layer of management recently?
Is performance suffering?
What motivates my current team?
Is there data to show that staff are hitting the time-based limit?
Are exit interviews highlighting any outliers?
Which was the biggest change you made and how long before staff left?
Am I struggling to hire?
If there are patterns and data suggesting there were some steps that might have created disconnection, ask yourself are you moving forward as a business and are you creating something people will want to join in the short term and in the long term. If yes, this might be a business phase you fight through some of the growing pains.
Business growth can be hard and many times has to be seen as a marathon, not a sprint.
Team Not Family
Although this came under question, the CEO of Shopify Tobias Lütke suggested that your business is a team, not a family. It is likely time you consider the internal framing of your business and understand that a team comparison is far more representative than a family. Despite it might feeling like a dysfunctional family, families particularly in the startup space create connections when broken are too hard to rebuild or readdress.
Shopify Email Quote “Shopify, like any other for-profit company, is not a family,” “The very idea is preposterous. You are born into a family. You never choose it, and they can’t un-family you. It should be massively obvious that Shopify is not a family but I see people, even leaders, casually use terms like ‘Shopifam’ which will cause the members of our teams (especially junior ones that have never worked anywhere else) to get the wrong impression.”
“The dangers of ‘family thinking’ are that it becomes incredibly hard to let poor performers go. Shopify is a team, not a family,”
Learn From Success Startup Leaders
Remember businesses that are close have to have agreed leadership principles, one important tip to borrow from Whitney Wolfe Herd CEO at Bumble, is that you are making the decisions for the best of the business and if you are friends this should not hinder your judgement and actually be best for the business.
Good luck and remember even the best and top talent leave the biggest and well-paying companies.
It is how you react and lead in creating the best business for your customers, shareholders and importantly for your current teams and talent coming into your business.
How do we fix our toxic company culture is the most common question I am asked by any manager or exec of a company when it comes to company culture work and workshops.
There is nothing worse than working in a toxic work environment or having toxic colleagues.
As a manager or HR manager, it can impossible to manage, but as a colleague, it will take a toll on your performance and mental health.
There are many versions of toxic company culture, every company has a variation or a different level of negative to toxic company culture.
A negative environment can start from tiny behaviours, it can surface when colleagues do not get on or when the business can start to struggle and a blame culture starts, it is essential you understand the start of the issues and how they manifested within your business.
If you list the traits of a toxic culture almost everyone will supply you a number of words and a few actions that are toxic. Keeping a record and centralising is a great first step in diagnosing the issue.
This will also highlight the issue of company culture and behaviours within businesses. It means different things to different people.
It is important to know from the start of the process: It is rare that every employee within your business will consider the culture to be toxic, this is not to say it is not, it highlights how important the subcultures and the culture is to some and not others and why some people are heads down and happily “just do my job”.
In the current state of work, working remotely and tackling meeting and video call fatigue, we have two options, keep going as is or change it.
Staying as is, is not really an option. If you were to poll your company or your team you will see quite quickly things aren’t working.
Not everyone enjoys small talk, however, small talk is an important part of team building, a foundational level of company culture and a way to kick off work positively.
Younger staff can suggest they dislike small talk, however, hearing a senior member of the company open and recommend something builds connections and compassion towards the leader they have not connected with previously.
Over the past year, leaders letters were created with three themes in mind: (1) improving personal and professional performance (2) improving company culture (3) ensuring work is more deliberate and the world of work is less broken.
I always enforce meeting agenda’s, quick reminder of my rules: (1) knowing the objective of the meeting, (2) understand what success looks like at the end of the meeting, (3) always take the notes and actions, centralise and share. I call it the DAN framework, what are the decisions, what are the actions and what were the notes you should share openly and to those in the meeting, those who could not attend and those who did not attend.
These are critical elements in the equation for successful meetings.
This week, my recommended focus area is adding a new agenda item to team meetings. This means kicking off a meeting with get to know me questions, on the agenda, agree it is for this specific purpose, then a five-minute rapid-fire conversation around a connecting topic, trivial questions designed to connect colleagues together.
Some of the questions you can include:
If you had to select one cereal to eat every day for the rest of your life what would it be?
Ideal holiday / vacation?
Favourite pizza topping?
Coffee shop order of choice?
Your spirit animal?
One app you couldn’t live with?
Favourite memory in the company?
You will find this will set the meeting off positively (remember Bob Iger’s business lesson number 1), you will learn more about your colleagues and where there is a tie in you can bring into future meetings, the food discussed, remember and share the drinks suggested by your team and apps to download and use.
If you read any of the company culture books, including the stables, the five dysfunctions of a team, the culture code and Netflix’s no rules rules, the key message is relationship building for many (outside of the US) cultures wins the internal business battle, not diving straight into business.
So don’t be a bad HiPPO and create better and more connective meetings. Remember, to keep a mental note of the small and quirky and keep coming back to them and throw in a surprise, you will be surprised how far this goes.
In the past few weeks, I have spoken at a couple of events, the first was for experienced business owners and the second, leaders from agency owners.
The theme has been the future of work and the future of the workplace.
As part of The Focus Five series, I wanted to provide you with a snapshot of the ways Focus is planning for the future and helping business shape their future successes with the ‘future of the work’ series.
The Future Of Work & Workplace Summary
Welcome to three people, the first is Jeff, Jeff is old school, misses working from his office with his seat and being listened to constantly when he spoke. Jeff does not understand the rush towards a fully remote workforce apart from a bottom-line perspective.
Jeff has not really truly considered the evolution that has been happening in recent times, the evolution of trust, from WFH meaning it was people not working until in recent times when people could get their heads down and actually hit deadlines.
WFH Trust Timeline
Something to note and pay attention to is how very few businesses were deliberate in creating the right online and virtual environment for their teams to success.
Grace has been on this journey and embraced it. Unfortunately, throughout this change, Grace has seen pros and cons, most specifically around her line manager and being able to have effective one to ones, while managing her team, alongside her deliverables and helping her team hit their deadlines.
This is a challenge many people have struggled with and have not been trained or supported in the shift to forced working from home.
Training and preparation for the Hybrid workplace are paramount to your future successes.
The Current Employee
The office despite the politics that majority of people encounter had clear dynamics, you had your layers of connections, you were able to connect to more people and have closer relationships with colleagues and make a support network of friends in and outside of work.
Clear Office Dynamics Have Changed Forever
What many people miss is the work version, their work identity, their people around them, their desk (despite not being able to sit there often enough) and the place where they had the battle of who actually booked the meeting room and awkwardly waiting outside of the meeting room or someone else’s office.
These have all been changed and it took a number of months to adapt and adjust to new dynamics.
The next shift in the workplace is enabling hybrid workforces, this means old ways of tackling the office layout and where people sit and why look and operate differently, booking into the office, being able to work safely and with your project team is going to be something dedicated people will have to look after and own.
The forced WFH experiment we are living through means offices and dynamics have shifted and many of us are seeing the passive future playout, without the element of satellite offices and small collaboration spaces.
The Future & Rewriting The Future
We have most likely seen the end of your desk, your seat and your department all being in the same small space. It is important to note this is the future and to manage the expectation of the ~40% who crave to work from their seat with their people around them.
Messy Remote Dynamics
The shift in working from home and the future of working in multiple locations have led to the shift in dynamics, between office acquaintances – those who had passing conversations and in the lift chats to colleagues being less connected (the Allen Curve is an important read) to work friends losing their closeness and with the level of interactions (proximity bias) means less work BFF’s and less close colleagues. This can be negative but also could be a positive enabling better collaboration without conditioned affinity to friends.
2021 and Beyond
An important layer we have to consider and place front and centre of the future of work and workplace is safety, and knowing the customer will be in charge, the customer will want brands to be loyal to them and be rewarded showing loyalty and creating safety, ordering online and respecting a new world of commerce.
The Future – Hybrid Employees
Meera is the future, she is a Culture Community Manager, she enables the workforce to work flexibly, she understands her performance and what is required from her business and works in shifts to ensure the best work life balance alongside getting the best professional performance.
When the return to the office is safe many business will have to develop more mentors, not more managers, a flexible working environment and an office which acts like an arena.
The Future Will Have Battle Grounds
There will be areas to address, there will be many options, working from the office, working from home, working remotely, working in co-working spaces, working from the area’s (client offices or agency offices) and encouraging this to be logged and supported by managers of all levels and experience.
The Office Will Be An Arena
The office has to be turned into something different, performances will be needed in the hybrid workplace, the arena is a place to perform, entertain, to put on a show in a safe and collaborative space.
The Hybrid Office – 30/70 rule
Despite this being a Linkedin poll, over one thousand professionals indicated the future is 30/70, 30% in the office, 70% out, 3 in ten days in the office, 7 in the other ten as remote. This is hybrid and is the future of the workplace.
The Future Of Comms: Asynchronous
The future of comms looks like multiple arrays of asynchronous tools, deliberate in the ways we communicate and explain projects, product developments and campaigns, we will see tools like mmhmm, loom and audiograms becoming everyday tools and documents not just with text and imagery but with video explainers.
Presentations with video, audio and interactions will be essential to winning the hybrid workplace battle. Plain Excel sheets lacking commentary will be redundant, PowerPoints or Google Slides with links and basic imagery will be things of the past.
Are you ready to make the shift? This is the future of collaborative work and adding to your remote stack today is going to protect you and your business.
The workplace should also see a reduction in requirements for all at the same time / real-time meetings, reduce attendance with more deliberate agendas and interactions.
Platforms Influence On Shaping The Workplace
Here are a number of important learnings and lessons you will have the implement and be deliberate in shifting old ways of work and embracing new tech and new formats from platforms the workforce uses every day outside (and some inside) of work.
The shift into chat workplaces has not gone unnoticed and many have struggled to manage and apply processes to ensure success and standardised usage of tools like Slack, Teams and Facebook’s Workplace.
The importance of video and story formats will be evident in the next year, the importance of replacing in-person connection will be essential, as will keeping and engaging staff in short but very deliberate communication messages. Video first means we operate in a new performative space however this means creative members of the team and employees with growth mindsets will thrive from introverts through ambiverts to the biggest extroverts.
Layers To Remember For Hybrid Success
It is important to step for staff, clients and customers and embrace change.
There are a number of area’s which couldn’t be covered in this summary of the presentations however building the right environment must include:
Increasing the space and distance between teams and departments and how you can enable a safe environment
Fluid offices – removal of rows of desks and fixed office layout
Tech that understanding performance and apply smart but human analytics
Technology within the office with heatmaps of where people work safely
Employee wellbeing and emphasis on mental health and mental wellbeing
Talent wars and retaining staff and retaining teams
More access to natural light and allowing outdoor space
Knowing the future is hard but building towards the future in a smart and intentional way will enable you and your business for successes in the future.
If you would like to get in touch or would like a dedicated workshop on the future of work, get in touch with the details below:
Thanks for reading and looking to embrace the future of the work and the future of the workplace.
Danny Denhard – Focus Founder
Focus Dedicated Workshops
We have created dedicated remote workshops that you can book to help with your company performance, improve your company culture and start you on the road to the future of work. Get in touch if you would like more information or want to book Focus to help you fix the broken world of work.
The older you become, typically the higher you progress, the more likely you have to proactively work on your working relationships between colleagues and fellow members of management and leadership teams.
If you are not working on this, you are, unfortunately, likely losing.
Often you will have to develop “productive working relationships”. In life, there are going to be people you just don’t get on with and in the professional world you will encounter this (I know I did) and you will have to proactively work on ensuring you can work together for the best of the company and for the best of your colleagues.
I personally would struggle with two behaviours.
Colleagues who would be ‘independently motivated’, those who would work behind the scenes to put their interests first or proactively work to have dedicated time with the HiPPO to force their agenda through. Providing you get Face-time and zoom-time and build a relationship, you will beat those who don’t work on this.
I would also struggle with people who would be CC warriors, say one thing and then pounce on any opportunity to CC in leaders or leadership teams into emails. This is and will always be unprofessional behaviour.
We all face these behaviours and have to develop our own approach. The most professional and the best way I found to tackle this is to speak directly to said person and make them aware that their behaviour can and likely will cause issues and typically you both decide how you move forward.
With some individuals, their motivations will not change but it is something you have tackled and typically allows you both to be on the same page and will be able not to let this behaviour creep into your interactions and with your teams.
Throughout my career, I have seen many co-founders drift apart, some co-founders proactively take each other apart, build a CC warrior culture, and lose the company around them based on their working relationships.
One, in particular, was so messy it went into administration from misalignment and distrust of each other. Part of the culture became deciding which founder you would side with and proactively back. For the younger and less experienced it was unfair and uncomfortable. For the older, it became more than work. This behaviour filters through the business and this behaviour can become the norm if not managed correctly.
When the chips are down and performance is struggling, you need to come together and coordinate fighting external factors, not the internal factors.
Working on relationships is an essential part of the business world, it doesn’t have to be political or have an agenda other than wanting to improve your working environment and remove poor behaviours and subcultures within your business.
In the coming weeks leading up to Christmas focus on: Planning in sessions where you get to know each other professionally and personally, understand the motivations of your colleagues and when you feel comfortable to have feedback sessions where you have open discussions around how behaviours and actions can influence the company and causes rifts.
As recommended previously, create agreed principles and share throughout the business. Reduce company anxiety levels by reducing friction points, 2021 will hinge for many businesses on company culture driving company performance and how you will fight for the same cause vs internally fighting over many.
Have a good and proactive week,
PS if you need help with company culture, happily get in touch below