Posted by: knightbird | October 16, 2010

Increasing the IQ of an Organization

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” (Albert Einstein)

Jeffrey Liker and David Meier say in their book, Toyota Talent, that “The secret to Toyota’s success is getting extraordinary results from ordinary people.” (Page 33). I am convinced that the Lean workplace creates an environment in which people actually increase their individual IQ, as well as their own skill set for performing their work. By creating a learning environment, eliminating the stress that comes with uncertainty, and dedicating more resources to training, employees actually like their work, and put greater effort into it. That greater effort makes them perform better. Praising effort, and not IQ, talent or intelligence, encourages an employee to tackle ever more difficult problems and issues, from which they learn and raises their IQ. Purposeful effort, which I have explained before and attributed to Matthew Sayed in his book, “Bounce,” or “Deep Practice,” the phrase used by Daniel Coyle in his book, “The Talent Code,” both increase the output and knowledge base of those who practice either phrase.

Carol Dweck (Mindset) states the difference between learners and non learners by explaining that learners are not afraid of problems, and welcome them because problems challenge them and help them learn. Learners are not afraid of the potential for criticism or ridicule. Non learners, on the other hand, are fearful of criticism, require praise, and rarely tackle the tough problems for fear that their failure will lead to tarnishing their reputation.

Changing the mindset of non learners is difficult, but possible. According to the authors cited in this blog, the key is to provide direction (a clear goal), training and instruction (preferable in chunks, short, sweet and to the point of performance), and ever more difficult challenges. The purposeful effort and deep learning comes when we take on increasing more difficult challenges.

If we let our employees learn, make lots of mistakes with responsibility for fixing the mistakes and learning not to repeat them, and then repeat the skill over and over again, their IQ will increase. As their skill and IQ increase, the organizational IQ will increase as well. Talk about a competitive machine. Try it. No one would argue with the statement that Einstein was smart. And if he stayed with problems longer, his effort was purposeful, and he certainly engaged in deep practice.

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Responses

  1. This is what I have seen myself: “Non learners, on the other hand, are fearful of criticism, require praise, and rarely tackle the tough problems for fear that their failure will lead to tarnishing their reputation.” Thanks for the post. Keep it up.


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