Joanna Swash Group CEO of Moneypenny. Moneypenny handles outsourced phone calls, live chat and digital comms.
We have IQ, we have EQ and now we have LQ. That’s a lot of Q’s. The question is, why is “LQ” important, and what does the “L” stand for?
If you search the term “LQ,” you might see a collection of concepts related to leadership, love or an acronym for laughing quietly. The former two options have merit, however, the descriptor that makes the most sense to me is “learning.”
What exactly is ‘LQ’?
It has been an interesting couple of years for both businesses and leaders. There have been many bumps in the road, and I am sure there will be many more; it’s the future of work and business. We have had to adapt to market changes with efficiency, fulfill new and ever-changing customer needs and requirements and react to production chain fluctuations—and we’ve had to do it all with speed.
This is how business has stayed relevant. To not only survive but also thrive in this landscape, a business has to remain agile, adaptive, innovative and resilient—not just in reaction to change but also in spite of it. We have learned that this is the future of business, and that is why I believe the “learning quotient” is so critical.
In your quotient pie chart, how much room would you give to the LQ slice? There’s likely already a good serving of intelligence quotient (IQ), which might be in equal measure—or quite possibly outweighed by—your emotional quotient (EQ), but we need to make room for learning. From my perspective, there is no point in having the aptitude and attitude if you can’t adapt and change. Where LQ comes in is in one’s willingness, desire and capacity to learn.
Why is LQ so important?
To thrive and develop an agile business that can turn on a dime, you must hire the right people—those with the right mindset. You must nurture the correct culture and leadership, and everything needs to be aligned with the correct fundamental principles. Agility needs to run through the very DNA of the organization if you are to future-proof it.
Take the massive and exciting technological advancements we are seeing reported every day: They are altering how we work and how we learn. And think about how we had to pivot our office situations from in-person to at-home to a mix of the two; this required us to learn new skills and embrace new technologies to survive. We had to learn, adapt and manage change. It is this capacity for learning that we need throughout an organization; it is something that individuals should look into as an indicator of career progression and mobility and something businesses should harness to create a sustainable business model.
How can leaders harness LQ?
As with all things, LQ starts at the top. Plus, I also believe that you can’t have leadership without learning.
I am a student of the everyday. I am curious. I am always asking questions and listening to my people, the markets, my fellow leaders, academics, my friends and my family. I am always learning from them, even if I don’t realize it at the time.
Learning offers endless possibilities and opportunities. Mistakes will happen, but, if managed within boundaries, this is an experience we all need from time to time and one that is essential in business. If we don’t test out a theory or new solution, how could we possibly know if it would work? And how else do we learn?
In looking to maximize LQ, leaders must welcome diversity of thought, challenge their assumptions and avoid simply taking the easy route. You must start from the beginning, accept that you don’t know everything and open up your mind to the fact that there is often, if not always, a better way to do something.
Developing your LQ is also about sharing your learning. That is where the true value lies. It is about not only exchanging views and learning experiences with others but also being receptive to others’ learning, too.
LQ is the future of business.
As a leader, there are lots of quotients to fill. Whatever label you place upon it, the model of creating and cultivating a learning culture can place you and your business at the head of the pack. It has to be authentic, reflected in your philosophy and invested in continuously. A learning culture begins with you, and, if done well, it will cascade throughout the organization to the newest recruit walking through the door for the first time.
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