This century poses drastic changes in human safety, health, environment, quality (sheq), politics and economics. We could no longer act on human intelligence, emotion and spirituality in isolation.
Unemployment and unrest are now twin global problems, threatening the once vaunted intentions of sustainable development. We are in the cusp of a new era with new rules for business, industry, safety, health, environment and quality, and it calls for holistic thinking.
Economic models of the 1900s and early 2000s are being rendered useless. The names of Ricardo and Schumpeter are archived in business libraries, and they could not answer our challenges since two years ago.
George Bush senior noted a general approach his inaugural address, that also applies to sheq management: “I take as my guide the hope of a saint; in crucial things unity, in important things diversity, and in all things generosity”.
What kind of intelligence do we need in sheq to add value to business? We must not grope forward without synergising our God-given intelligences, since we have several types of intelligence.
Benjamin Franklin was fascinated by human intelligence, as evident from this quote; “He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine different languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.” (Cited in Anderson, 1997).
Intelligence as complex as kidneys
Could a learned man buy a cow to ride on? Human intelligence and training are complex subjects. Human intelligence is a complex as a kidney. Doctors specialising in nephrology tell us of kidney complexities.
It has been said that if the apostle Paul were alive today, he would not have been knocked off his horse by a ‘lightning bolt’ on his way to Damascus, he would have been a nephrology resident, struck speechless by the awesome complexity of a kidney!
While emotional intelligence (EQ) is already a buzzword, neither IQ nor EQ, separately or in combination, could explain the full complexity of human intelligence. Nor could IQ or EQ explain vast riches shared by human imagination and human souls.
Three factors in human behaviour
We need to add spiritual intelligence (SQ) to the human behaviour equation. Our basic intelligences work together and support one another (Zohar and Marshall, 2000). In a nutshell, there is some synergy between IQ, EQ and SQ in individual and collective behaviour.
Business is in a challenging phase. Old management beacon lights are growing dimmer, and the torch of new ideas has to be kindled for our guidance. The major challenge to managers is to integrate holism in daily operations.
As SA prime minister Jan Smuts wrote in 1927, “Holism underlies the synthetic tendency in the universe, and is the principle that makes for the origin and progress of wholeness in the universe”.
The world is becoming a very complicated and a dangerous place to live in and our natural intelligence is being stretched to the limit. The Arab Spring and other world events have graphically demonstrated that we need to take stock of how we use our intelligence to manage these largely man-made challenges.
C Wright Mills lamented the erosion of values of reasoning and rationality in modern society already more than fifty years ago, and many writers before him, back to classical Greek times, have lamented the same.
While classical scholars were in thrall of their intellectual achievements, they prized ethics, emotional logic and spiritual logic. In our age of thrall with our technology explosion, we no longer honour nor integrate nor mange our emotions and spirituality.
Intelligent Quotient (IQ)
Psychologists have always been fascinated by human intelligence. Their fascination has been tantamount to the interest normally displayed by naturalists and children towards chameleons. The advent of the ‘isolation’ of emotional intelligence (EQ) had sparked more interest among psychologists, academics and business leaders.
Intelligence Quotient, IQ, historically considered a key to identifying potential and capability of individuals, is now relegated to back benches. Some rather dumb people have risen to influence based on emotions, spirituality, or appealing to our less noble sentiments.
In the early part of the twentieth century, IQ was a big issue. Criticism, usually damaging criticism, have been launched against IQ applications. IQ is almost constant, varying only slightly in response to threat or comfort.
Hattingh (2000) argues that emotional intelligence could be strengthened and built upon; ‘Your IQ is fixed, regardless of how high it might be”.
What you know, and how you apply it
Hattingh’s view was enhanced by Weisinger (1998): “If you think that analytical skills… are the key to success in the workplace, think again. Most experts now agree that those who climb the corporate ladder more quickly are those who possess a high degree of emotional intelligence”.
Goleman (1995) pointed out that EQ is a basic requirement for the effective use of IQ, so IQ and EQ should work together, complementing each other another.
Emotional intelligence does not destroy other intelligences, but strengthen them. Japanese, of course, have a word for it; Kaizen, continued improvement. The word implies that it oculd not be based on constant IQ. The assumption behind Kaizen is that there is no perfect answer in a changing world.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
According to Weisinger (1998) emotional intelligence is the ability to make your emotions work for you by using them in ways that produce results you want. Emotional intelligence focuses on personal, social and survival dimensions of intelligence.
Stuart and Pauquet (2001) wrote that these dimensions are more important for daily functioning than traditional cognitive aspects of intelligence.
According to Fourie (2004) empathy is one of the difficult parts of being a leader. It does not come through a ‘sudden flight’, but from practice. Leaders are faced with a plethora of pressing issues, and are expected to be multi skilled and holistic in their thinking, to use a term coined by SA prime minister Jan Smuts, an intellectual and spiritual giant who may have been deficient on emotional intelligence, schooled in the SA War, Oxford, and WWII.
In the 1950s, leaders were deeply engrossed in activities, not in processes and strategies. Troubleshooting was a norm, but today leaders are faced with new challenges and new competencies are needed.
Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) renew values
English poet Kathleen Raine wrote; “Our society has lost the dimension of meaning and values, one could say the sacred, in the arts, and in life itself.” (Cited in Dossey, 1993). Neglecting the sacred bodes poorly for the future.
According to Zohar and Marshall (2000), “By spiritual intelligence we mean the intelligence with which we address and solve problems of meaning and value, the intelligence with which we can place our actions and our lives in a wider, richer, meaning giving context, the intelligence with which we can assess that one course of action or one life-path is more meaningful than another… SQ is the soul’s intelligence… with which we recognise existing values, and creatively discover new ones”.
These are some indications of a highly developed SQ:
• capacity to be flexible (actively and spontaneously adaptive)
• high degree of self-awareness
• capacity to face and use suffering
• capacity to face and transcend pain
• inspired by vision and values
• reluctance to cause unnecessary harm
• making connections between diverse things (being holistic)
• asking ‘Why’ or ‘What if’ questions
• seeking fundamental answers
• working against convention
• applying multiple disciplines, being ‘field-independent’ (Zohar and Marshall, 2000).
SHEQ practitioners would recognise most of these indicators of SQ. Some of us are even criticised for SQ behaviour, usually by people who practice mostly on IQ or EQ.
Non-injury is the highest virtue
Reluctance to cause harm to other people in Indian Vedic literature it is called Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah, Non-injury is the highest of virtues.
Ahimsa is none-injuring in thought, word and deed. World leaders have a titanic responsibility to ensure that they do not cause harm to citizens, nor to other people.
Spiritual values against harm
Maladies of the soul are multifaceted: anxiety, addictions, depression, emptiness, loneliness, relationship breakdown, violence, war, spiritual hunger, hunger for deep and wholesome connection with self, others, creation and God (Zukav, 1990).
People again realize that titles and money do not bring happiness, unless they connect with the Absolute.
Think with three IQs
Failure to acknowledge synergy between IQ, EQ and SQ will result in entropy, defined by the second law of thermodynamics as a measure of disorder or randomness in any system. Entropy means chaos, the tendency for things to fall apart when the centre can no longer hold.
Leaders in government and the corporate world need to synergise their three intelligences in order to lead the economy, organisations and people into the usual, and some unusual challenges in 2012 and beyond.
• Mabila Mathebula is the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) senior researcher. Views expressed are not of the RSR, but personal views.