A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art – Paul Cézanne
Sex is emotion in motion – Mae West
March 20th, 2015, sees Europe’s largest Emotional Intelligence (EQ) summit arrive at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank hotel. Hosted by RocheMartin and Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University, the summit is being described as a ‘must attend’ event for Senior Leadership, HR professionals and L&D practitioners. Delegates will have the chance to be inspired by some great minds together on one platform, sharing their thoughts on how organisations can survive and thrive in this unprecedented new economy characterised by globalisation, technological change and the management of talent during uncertainty. If you get along you’ll hear how organisations like, Mars, Network Rail and Grant Thornton have applied EQ to drive performance in their organisations and discover the latest insights from neuroscience and mindfulness for accelerating leadership performance. There’s also the opportunity to network with over 500 HRD and L&D practitioners and participate in Q&A and panel discussions. OK. That’s the PR bit out of the way. But what, I hear you ask, is that cartoonist bloke off Twitter doing banging on about EQ? Well, my old friends at Sheffield Business School have invited me along to the summit to capture some visual insights on the day. Of course, I’ve got previous in the EQ field, having put together THIS ANIMATION for them of a talk given by Martyn Newmanll hear at the event along with a commentary by me on how each image appeared in my head in the first place. As I read up on this motley crew, one thing struck me. They must all have a good sense of humour. At least, I hope they do because some of what follows is a little irreverent.Up first is Martyn Newman himself.
Martyn is an internationally renowned psychologist with expertise on EQ and leadership (as well as a feted speaker). Martyn’s book, Emotional Capitalists – The Ultimate Guide to Developing Emotional Intelligence for Leaders, stresses the need for a change in our approaches to leading people. I, like many people I suspect, have developed a rather sceptical view of capitalism since 2008. I couldn’t fail to imagine the only scenario which might provoke intense emotion in our eponymous capitalists: a huge fall in stock markets. HSBC’s Swiss misadventures notwithstanding, there are signs that we may be on the verge of a more ethical approach to our economic landscape. If taken seriously and applied thoughtfully, EQ might well be a catalysing force for good.
Dan Pink is a highly-acclaimed author of books that deal with the condition of human beings and being human in the modern world of work. He is arguably best known for unleashing on an unsuspecting corporate world the three words that give those of a Taylorist disposition sleepless nights: autonomy, mastery and purpose. He also gave us the surprising truth about what motivates us (spoiler alert: it’s not money) and that’s what prompted this image. It’s not about the money, and the carrot and the stick won’t cut the mustard either. Understanding human behaviour and motivations and developing an empathic leadership style might just help us chart a course through choppy VUCA waters. Although VUCA’s a whole other topic of it’s own.
Eve is an interdisciplinary scholar, researcher and trainer in the fields of stress management, empathy, mindfulness and the psychology of wellness. The kind of CV that makes me feel hugely inadequate. What the hell have I been doing with my life? She even delivers a programme that was commissioned by the Dalai Lama. I think I need a lie down just thinking about all that. Mind you, if you are employed in 2015, you’ll be familiar with stress and burnout. We might not work in Victorian dark satanic mills but a command and control mentality persists. We’ve got KPIs and SLAs coming out of our ears and there are three letters hanging over all of us: ROI. I couldn’t help thinking of battery hens.
Diana is Head of Talent and Executive Development at Network Rail and is instilling a coaching culture at the owner and operator of Britain’s rail network that is collaborative, challenging, accountable and customer-driven. She aims to have everyone capable of being coach-like; her goal is to make the railway operator safer and more inclusive. It’s an ambitious mission. If she could also get the trains to run on time, she’d be carried shoulder high through the commuter towns of the South-East and given the freedom of cities the length and breadth of the UK. A safety-conscious image seemed most apposite.
Alan is one of the world’s leading authorities on the practice of mindfulness. He’s acted as an interpreter for the Dalai Lama and is a trained Buddhist monk. To be honest, when I read his biography I thought it was going to end up with him making his own lightsaber. Perhaps more valuable to those attending the summit are Alan’s practical strategies for developing the mind’s potential. Considering mindfulness always makes me think of happiness and optimism so this cartoon guy has both in spades.
Geoff has focused throughout his career on understanding the neuroscience of social interaction – how it is the brain enables us to learn from others, feel empathy for them, and influence how they feel and think. I couldn’t help it. That description made me think of Professor Charles Xavier from the X-Men films. Come to think of it, with his CV, Geoff might actually be Professor X.
Jeremy is Chief Executive and Executive Director at Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company (their description, not mine), with 20 million customers, revenues of over £11 billion and 31,000 employees. That sounds like a big job. But Jeremy looks very relaxed in the photo I saw. Jeremy’s session is titled Better Self, Better Leadership, Better Business. The way businesses work today often acts like Kryptonite on potential leaders. I imagined a gone-to-seed Superman surrounded by empty beer cans and pizza boxes, dreaming of a better self. Faster than a speeding bullet. Leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Getting this year’s performance review paperwork in on time.
This one was easy. Magnus describes what he does as “intellectual acupuncture.” He’s also got a name that makes him sound like the villain from a Stieg Larsson thriller. People describe him as having a delivery like a rock star. He’s a trendspotter and futurologist. He always appears on lists. According to him, to be a speaker is to have “a license to interfere and interrupt.” Try heckling. So, that’s my round up of the speakers you’ll hear at the summit. I’m really looking forward to casting a critical eye over happenings on the day. If you’re coming along (or even if you’re not), tweet me @SimonHeath1. I’d love to say hello.