Organizational Intelligence: Stay Connected to Your Business Web

Part III of III

Stay Connected to Your Business Web

Your business operates among a web of networks within and without the organization. Your internal web consists of various departments, a system of reporting and accountability, and employees with varying degrees of experience, knowledge and education. Your external web is made up of vendors, shareholders and consumers who also may interact with your competitors and other related enterprises. As you become more intimate and connected to the entire web you begin to sense the slightest changes within your field of relationships. According to author Mary Beth O’Neil,

When anything comes in contact with a spider web, anywhere on its surface, the whole web moves… so it is with an interactional force field established between two or more people. It has its own anchor points, resiliency, and breaking point, and it is most often invisible to the members within it. When anyone in the field moves, all members feel the effect, though differently based on their positions.”[1]

When you become more familiar with your internal and external business webs you become more sensitive to slight movements, and their effects upon your business.

In the opening story in this article at what point should Bob have felt change in his environment? Could it have been the moment he sensed the missing river? Remember he had been there several times before with his father. At this point he should have stopped and asked himself, “Something isn’t right here. Let’s regroup.”

Back to Bob

If Bob had detected and thought through the changes in his environment early and learned to use this information, he probably would have made better decisions and avoided an embarrassing trip. Some environments do not stay the same within time; they change, while others stay the same. Therefore, we must remain on constant vigil or else learn life’s lessons the hard way. What could Bob and his companions have done differently? It’s easier to gain insight from hindsight but it’s even better to develop foresight; insight fostered by perception and knowledge. Therefore, learning how to learn is the key to increasing intelligence capacity, which must become a priority for every organization. A “winging it” approach simply won’t help you survive through the unexpected changes in your business environment.

What can you learn about Bob’s story? Go to link>>> (See Part I of III)

The better question is – Are you Bob?

[1] O’Neil, Mary Beth. Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart. John Wiley & Sons; San Francisco, CA. 2007, pg. 49.


Organizational Intelligence: Thriving in Unstable Business Environments

Part I of III

Bob Mercer, a Marketing Executive from Manhattan, took two of his associates to the mountains, where he and his father had camped many times. It had been fourteen years since his last trip. During the drive Bob reminisced of the wonderful memories he shared with his father. Upon arriving Bob decided to forego setting up camp for a short hike into the woods, to a river less than three miles from camp. They took with them a backpack containing a few jugs of water, some light snacks and their fishing gear. Bob sensed he had enough equipment for their short journey. After all, he had planned to get back before sunset to set up camp, build a cozy fire, and fry some of the fresh catch of the day for dinner. Along the trail Bob bragged about the river he and father had fished several times in the past. After they had traveled a few miles, more than expected, the river was nowhere in sight… Bob kept saying, “I’m sure it’s here. I’ve been here several times with my dad.” They kept walking a few more miles, no river in sight. What Bob did not know is that the river was rerouted due to a heavy mudslide in the area several years ago. If they had read the signs along the path they would’ve been alerted of the latest changes in the landscape. But wait, even the trail signs were burned by local fire a few years ago, and since the camp area became unpopular with the campers the signs were not replaced. The ridges and peaks seemed familiar to Bob but certain rest areas and other key landmarks had been eradicated by the fire’s fury and ensuing erosion. Soon Bob and his friends were lost, and the weather above them was rapidly changing; a small detail they had not anticipated. The weather in these high altitudes can change within a moments notice and cause temperatures to drop drastically. Suddenly the ominous clouds above them burst sending a heap of water over them. Bob and his friends needed to respond quickly to the environmental changes. Although Bob was an avid camper for many years as a youth, he had not gone for a long time, and his friends were city dwellers all their lives. They simply didn’t have the expertise or knowledge to respond to these types of situations. The hiking trails filled and flowed with water, which made it more cumbersome to walk uphill. After walking several hours in the rain and mud they luckily stumbled into their campground late into the evening extremely exhausted, nursing the large blisters on their feet. Too tired and late into the night to set up camp they simply spent the night in their rented car, grateful they had made it out of the wilderness alive.

As a businessperson can you relate with this story?

Do you approach your business or the workplace with the same mentality that the economy will look and operate the same as yesterday’s glory years?

When the current economic recession blindsided you, how do you react to it? Did you see it coming?

Did you have a ready recession proof plan in place to guide you through tough times?

In Bob’s story, what was required to make their trip less risky and more enjoyable?

If intelligence matters in a simple hiking trip, then it would make even more sense in the way you operate your business or manage your organization?

Social Intelligence

Part IV of a Four Part Series:

Social Intelligence is a word coined by Daniel Coleman from his best seller that bears the same name. According to Coleman Social Intelligence possesses two components. The first is what he calls Social Awareness, that is, what we sense about others. The second is Social Faculty, what we do with that awareness.[i] In other words, how we read others and approach them to gain the best possible connection is what social intelligence is all about. Speaking of “best possible connections” Tim Sanders, author of the book The Likeability Factor writes, “Likeability is an ability to create positive attitudes in other people through the delivery of emotional and physical benefits.” He goes on to say, “By being likeable, by generating positive feelings in others, you gain as well. The quality of your life and the strength of your relationships are the product of a choice-but not necessarily your choice.”[ii] Allow me a personal story. One of my daughters has an uncanny ability to make connections easily. She once took a strengths test from the Gallup organization that revealed her top five strengths. Her gifts are strongly oriented toward people, and she uses these innate gifts quite effectively. Here’s her sample:

  1. Positivity – This person has an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

  2. Activator– They can make things happen by turning thoughts into action.

  3. WOO (Winning Others Over) – They love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction by “breaking the ice” and making a connection.

  4. Communication – This person finds it easy to put their thoughts into words; good conversationalists and presenters.

  5. Empathy– They can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in their lives or situation.

My daughter is gifted with natural leadership and people skills. I have often told her that her calling is to the “people environment” in the capacity of ministry or politics. Social Intelligence is about how people feel when they are around you… an influence that oozes out of your soul and spirit that appeals and draws others toward you. Some call this the Law of Attraction, while the most common usage is simply influence.

Is Social Intelligence associated with the ancient teaching called the Golden Rule: Do unto others and you would have them do to you or is it a new development?

Coleman, Daniel (2006) Social Intelligence. Bantum Dell: New York, NY.
Sanders, Tim (2006) The Likeability Factor. Random House: New York, NY.

Spiritual Intelligence

Part III of a Four Part Series:

A friend of mine was telling me a story about the “favor” he had received from corporate executives of a large grocery store chain on the west coast. Previously he was unemployed looking for any type of work so he took a part time job at a grocery store selling brand food portions to customers from a food cart. Within a few weeks the store manager noticed his product sales go through the roof. This also caught the attention of top brass in the company who eventually offered him a fulltime job with a good salary and bonuses. In addition, he was asked to train local sales managers. He was so good at the initial training sessions that regional and corporate leaders came to his sessions. During one of these meetings my friend was asked about his secret sales magic. He simply responded, “It’s a gift from God.” A quick reply came from one of the executives, “Our company policy dictates you can’t bring up your religious beliefs in these sessions.” However, since he had so much favor from top brass and the store manager they simply allowed him to get by with his antics about God and religion. It seemed they didn’t want to disrupt the “sales magic” he possessed. When you have favor people will relax their policy guidelines and protocol to accommodate you. My friend finished his conversation with me with a grin on his face stating, “Next week they are flying me to California to train more corporate leaders. The favor is simply amazing.” As he talked I couldn’t help but feel favor oozing out of him. It was simply contagious! My friend acquired an irresistible likeability; gained access to people and places he did not have before, and was given unlimited boundaries to speak and to act. How does one acquire such favor?

Spiritual Intelligence is the ability to build and sustain a relationship with God where you build an awareness of His presence and voice, which draws Him closer to you. In time He then releases His unrelenting favor into your life. Favor can be defined in many ways. Cicero coined its original meaning; “to show kindness to someone” or a “gift given as a mark of favor.” Dr. Lance Wallnau defines favor as “the affection of God towards you that releases an influence through you so that other people are inclined to like, trust and cooperate with you.” For me favor is a measure of grace (God’s nature) bestowed on someone, imparting genuine and endearing qualities, which enable you to attract and influence others. As a leader you need the edge that God’s favor can produce for you. If God is for you who can be against you, right?

If God is for you who can be against you, right? How do you cultivate your relationship with God? Do you attract His presence? Do you feel God is working on your behalf, if so, how do you know that He is?