AQ is more important than IQ?

I remember being confused what to do after my SSC board exams. That’s when my uncle and aunt from Bombay recommended meeting Fr. Terry at Xaviers where I took his IQ test which measures memory, analytical thinking and mathematical ability. This was thought of one of the best ways to predict our future job prospects.

Of late there has been a lot of attention on EQ – Emotional Quotient. This is broadly characterised as a set of interpersonal, self-regulation and communication skills and is now widely seen as a tool kit that plays an important role in helping us succeed in multiple aspects of life.

Both IQ and EQ are important, no doubt. However today as technology evolves at such a rapid pace and redefines how we work, the set of skills we need to survive in the job market are evolving too. Regardless of our career paths, technology is playing a big role in changing how we work. Technology has vastly improved how many jobs are done, and the disruption will continue. Hence we are now hearing out the Adaptability Quotient – the ability to pivot and flourish in an environment of fast and frequent change. 

IQ is the minimum you need to get a job, but AQ is how you will be successful over time 

Natalie Fratto

AQ is not just the capacity to absorb new information,but the ability to work out what is relevant, to unlearn obsolete knowledge, overcome challenges, and to make a conscious effort to change. AQ involves flexibility, curiosity, courage, resilience and problem-solving skills too.

Amy Edmondson, a professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School, says it is the breakneck speed of workplace change that will make AQ more valuable than IQ. Every profession will require adaptability and flexibility, from banking to the arts. Say you are an accountant. Your IQ gets you through the examinations to become qualified, then your EQ helps you connect with an interviewer, land a job and develop relationships with clients and colleagues. Then, when systems change or aspects of work are automated, you need AQ to accommodate this innovation and adapt to new ways of performing your role. As we see, all three quotients are complementary, but no AQ would leave you struggling to embrace new ways of working using your existing skills – and low AQ makes it harder to acquire new ones.

source: Forbes

One thing we do know is that the workplaces of the future will operate differently. We may not all be comfortable with the pace of change – but we can prepare. As Edmondson says: “Learning to learn is mission critical. The ability to learn, change, grow, experiment will become far more important than subject expertise.”

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