Information Governance

Ditch the IQ Score When it Comes to Organizational Intelligence

Don’t get fooled into thinking smarts can be boiled down to one number

Don’t get fooled into thinking smarts can be boiled down to one number

I believe that trying to represent a human’s raw intelligence with a single number is… stupid.

The most famous attempt to do this is, of course, the Intelligence Quotient or IQ score. IQ tests are composed of both visual and verbal sections, and gauge test-taker’s arithmetic, vocabulary, and memorization skills. There does exist some correlation between the score and indicators such as job performance and income. However, no hiring manager worth their weight in standardized test booklets would hire a candidate based purely on their IQ test’s results. This is because, more than ever, successful employees need assets including empathy, communication skills, and experience, as virtually any career requires successful teamwork. These skills are virtually impossible to quantify, and thus why I’m not buying the idea of judging someone and their intelligence based on a single number.

While an IQ score oversimplifies an individual’s dynamic interaction with the world, the concept of organizational intelligence refers to an organization’s complex processes for acquiring, processing, and utilizing knowledge. It is unsurprising that acquiring, processing, and utilizing knowledge productively is essential for organization’s success in a competitive knowledge economy, and there are three universal organization units where organizational intelligence is essential:

  • Product research and development - effective communication and analysis of testing trials can be more important than the actual testing itself
  • Employee onboarding and training – ensuring employees are equipped with the appropriate skills and performance expectations is a baseline for their professional success.
  • Account and project management – business relationships can quickly be delegitimized if clients hear two different stories from the same organization

Unfortunately I do not have specific, fool-proof ideas for making your organizational intelligent. Models and best practices for organizational intelligence are as diverse as the number of different industries companies compete within, and I won’t pretend to know the best one to present to you here.

However, I suspect an organization’s intelligence begins with its members. Employees with the right skillset to not only generate and cultivate knowledge but to also share it are at a premium, and help to foster overall organizational intelligence. With that in mind, recruiting individuals who bring more than an impressive IQ score is ironically the best general approach towards building a smart organization.

At work my job is to chase the elusive goal of team synergy. After work you can find me chilling in my hot tub, reading philosophy I barely understand, and literally chasing the elusive goal of a sub 3 hour marathon.