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Beating low wage, high impact economies at their game

top South African corporates: Mvelaphanda, Discovery Health and CC South Africa use emotional intelligence as tools for success, AstroTech teaches it

If we are to beat low wage, high impact economies at their game, the old mantra of 'work faster' becomes meaningless. China and India have people power, we need to use brain power.Or as, Larry Page, one of the founders of emotionally intelligent corporation, Google, said in the book of the same name:

"There is a phrase I learned in college called 'having a healthy disregard for the impossible.' This is a really good phrase. You should try to do things that most people would not."

Within less than a decade of helping found Google and barely past his 30th birthday he was personally worth $10bn. At Google they have five star chefs churning out organic, healthy meals for staff and 20 percent of your paid work time has to be spent, each week, on doing a project that has nothing to do with your job - it can be anything from skydiving to art lessons.
More companies are closely looking at what first seemed to be 1990s psycho-babble: emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence comes from work on brain potential. If one sees the brain as an onion, it has a small inner core, the R-complex, surrounded by a larger limbic system, and an outer skin called the neocortex. The R-complex regulates reflex survival behaviour: flight or fight, social rituals (it's the part that gives you sweaty palms) and body language (tightly crossed arms during conflict).  The limbic system generates and controls emotions and motivation. If you pay attention to the limbic and R-complex elements of a situation your ability to make good decisions will be enhanced, especially if the mediating neocortex expresses its gentle pressure. If you ignore them, you're more likely to shout back at the boss and storm out. Major training organizations such as AstroTech now have it on their training schedule, because CEO Liza van Wyk says,

"more companies have a holistic approach to management. Development of the individual is as important as developing the brand, and teamwork in today's high stress environments is critical."

Mvelaphanda, Discovery Health and game resort emperors, CC South Africa, have emotional intelligence as core operating beliefs.
Samantha Burns, head: employer brand management at Discovery said most managers tend to be

"results oriented, but if there is not enough balance to the human element they get poorer results. Emotional intelligence from a manager improves focus and the results of a team and liberates the potential of people to get better results. Some managers feel uncomfortable in the beginning, because instead of just making demands they have to sit and discuss with staff. Once they realise the power of those conversations and too, the way their body language can shut people up and stop people hearing, and change that, they get much better results."

Emotional intelligence is the preserve of the super confident manager.
A natural at EQ is Tokyo Sexwale head of Mvelaphanda, a multi billionaire, his operations include South Africa's biggest producers of gold, second biggest exporters from South Africa of diamonds, world's fourth biggest platinum producers, and yet every Friday he sits down to lunch with his staff.

"EQ," he makes clear, "has nothing to do with IQ." He says EQ often fails when bosses, "demand outcomes on those who are wrongly deployed, this person may be a navigator, not a pilot.

"Emotional intelligence means I find time. Time to sit among my people and enjoy their company. I take time to listen."

It is in listening that an effective manager best discovers the passions of his or her team members and is better able to direct and influence them. Bev Riemer, an EQ consultant and trainer for AstroTech has been teaching emotional intelligence for five years. She says emotional intelligence is tapping into the primeval power of our instinct.

Instinct is the thing that tells you not to cross the road. But, you look and the road is empty, your rational mind thinks, 'I'm being silly', you step off the pavement and get knocked over by a bus. The primary issues Riemer focuses on are emotional honesty, literacy, debt, emotional fitness. For example, with emotional fitness, your instinct might be to give your boss a piece of your mind,

"but that may get you no further in business. Emotional intelligence guides you to the right approach. Many people don't like emotional honesty because it makes them feel uncomfortable, it may have something to do with the way in which you speak to a person, or the way in which the person receiving that information may pick it up."

Your negative filters; your perceptions that you will be discriminated against because you are black, a woman, Jewish, Muslim, disabled, can lead to your own fears realizing themselves, not because of the discrimination of others, but because of your own negative preprogramming.

Because of this, emotional debt is an important part of emotional intelligence, Riemer says it is

"recognising your own weaknesses, where is my potential, how do I overcome obstacles?" Riemer says that in those companies that implement EQ, "the levels of trust and energy are incredible. Heirarchy is not important, ability is." She says the greater sense of personal acknowledgement a person has in an organization, the harder they will work for it. "

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