IQ, EQ, CQ Intelligence! What about (Dis)Ability Intelligence!

Note: This article is authored by Hanane Anoua, originally published on the Flevy Blog. You can read all of Hanane’s articles here.

You may all have heard somehow about Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and Cultural Intelligence (CQ). Their importance in the work place has been proved since we are evolving in a more diverse and global environment. But what about (Dis)ability Intelligence?

Today, the world is shrinking and changing drastically because of globalization. We are experiencing a constant need of Emotional Intelligence within organizations to be able to manage our emotions and adapt them depending on the context and the situation. EQ is the critical factor that sets us apart from the others. Many organizations today consider candidates based mainly on their soft skills.

Cultural Intelligence is the ability to thrive and function effectively in different cultural contexts in line with the company’s strategy. Employees with a high level of cultural intelligence play a key role in bridging gaps and making communication smoother specifically in a multicultural workplace. People are no longer defined only by their creativity and technical competencies; they are distinguished by their ability to adapt to local cultures by understanding the different cultural dimensions and adopting them on a daily basis. Some companies are even engaging experts or consultants in order to adapt their strategies to local cultural aspects, including the language, the religion and the set of values and perceptions of the country.

We can also add to the list creativity and adversity quotients or intelligence, but what about (Dis)ability Intelligence within the workplace? Who has to adapt in this case in the organization: the people with (dis)abilities or the key stakeholders/decision makers? How many corporations are taking into consideration this aspect in their integration strategies or corporate social activities? Many companies are considering disabled candidates in their hiring process, but are they seeking to achieve this goal only for brand image? Or adopting such strategy for a real need of social integration? What is the utility then of hiring them without any further consideration?

(Dis)ability Intelligence implies from us a deep sensitivity and understanding of people with specific (dis)abilities in an attempt to improve their well being, motivation, and enhance their performance because “the only disability in life is a bad attitude” (quote from Scott Hamilton).

We are in an era where we often hear about disruptive marketing and technology, shift of economy, new paradigms, lean six sigma, zero defect, specific events in the work place like women’s day, kids day…but we rarely hear about a shift in our perceptions for a better understanding and adaptation of people with (dis)abilities; a lean thinking that search to eliminate biases and judgments.

This is a big debate that I prefer wrapping it up by my favorite quote:

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world” — Gandhi

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