Back to Blog

What kind of smart are you?

#cognitive #eq #eqfit #iq Jul 10, 2023

Having utilized psychological assessments in the business world for more than 35 years, I get a lot of questions about intelligence. There is so much confusion about what intelligence is and how it plays into our lives and work. There are actually many different types of intelligence:

  • IQ (rational intelligence)
  • EQ (emotional intelligence)
  • AQ (acquired intelligence)
  • CQ (conversational intelligence)

These are a few of the primary types of intelligence. If you research intelligence, you will find that while this is one of the most talked about topics in psychology, there is no one agreed upon definition.

IQ yesterday and today

In the past, IQ was considered the most predictive of success. If you had a high IQ, you were going to be successful. As logical as that sounds, it never really worked that way. Yes, many people with high IQ have achieved success but others with the same or greater IQ measures were not successful. Then other people with lower IQ measures were wildly successful.

I remember a story I read about a Tech CEO that said their company only hired Ivy League MBA's with high IQ. He went on to say that after a few years they realized they had hired, in his words, "highly intelligent jerks." I wonder how much that experiment cost?

We know from research that EQ (emotional intelligence) is actually 2-4 times more predictive of success than IQ. I do not currently use any IQ measure in our work...but I do measure cognitive skills.

Cognitive measures

So...what is a cognitive measure? It is a measure of a specific cognitive aptitude. That explains everything, right?! Cognitive aptitude measures are how fast and accurately someone uses a specific mental skill. Such as:

  • Abstract reasoning
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Comprehension
  • Spatial ability
  • Language usage
  • Retention
  • Verbal dexterity
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Logical reasoning

Have you ever found yourself talking with someone about a specific situation and they seem to be processing at a different speed than you are? They probably are. As an example, if you are working through numerical calculations with other people and you have a high aptitude for numbers, you probably get the answers first and find it easier to work through the problems. You may become frustrated with others and wonder why it is taking them so long when you could do it in your head. That is what I call an aptitude gap. Two or more people working through the same issue with different levels of aptitude. It is not good or bad, right or just is what it is.

Cognitive aptitude applied

Why is all of this important? For several reasons.

  • Personal development and growth - I believe that there is huge value in understanding your own capabilities. It removes doubt and uncertainty and provides insight and direction to grow in the ways you want to grow. That is where cognitive assessments can help. You can measure your cognitive skills and decide what will help you the most. I have found many people who actually have high measures of a cognitive skill that do not do it well because they have created a story about why they are not good at it. It is a self-limiting mindset, not an aptitude problem.
  • Professional development and growth - there may be aspects to your job, or a job you would like to have that will need certain levels of cognitive skills in specific areas. Knowing where you are today will help you to decide/prepare for that role. Leadership is one of the most common upward moves most people can make in their professional lives, no matter the industry. Leadership requires some specific abilities to be successful. NOTE: EQ is the best indicator of leadership success, but cognitive skills are also important.
  • Hiring - cognitive measures can be crucial when hiring for certain roles. You want to find the right fit candidate and that includes their cognitive skills.
  • Team building - building high functioning teams is a hallmark of successful organizations. Gaining insight on the cognitive capabilities of team members allows for individual growth, team growth, and accelerating success by leveraging complimentary strengths within the team.
  • Leadership development - cognitive capabilities for leaders is critically important to their success. BUT, it must be combined with EQ, AQ, and CQ to truly become effective.

What kind of smart are you?

This is a question I would like to provide some context around. It is easy to fall into a judgemental mindset when we compare measures of any kind with other people. Whether it is bank accounts or cognitive measures, neither one is a true measure of success. I promote curiosity instead of judgement. It frees us up to accomplish so much more.

Being "smart" is really a combination of many factors:

  • How well you use your cognitive skills (high measures to not necessarily result in better application of those skills)
  • How much you integrate IQ-EQ-AQ-CQ into a whole brain approach
  • Wisdom - the effective application of skills, intelligences, and experiences to get the best outcomes

With that definition in mind, the question of what kind of smart are you affirms how unique each of us is. The combination of how you apply your skills, intelligences, and wisdom creates your unique approach to life and work.

Measuring cognitive skills gives you valuable information and insight so you can make better decisions. Better data - better decisions!


For more, check out our other resources:

EQFIT® YouTube Channel


EQFIT® Podcast

 Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected].


Don't miss a beat!

New tips, motivation, and releases delivered to your inbox. 

It's free, and you can unsubscribe at any time!