Once a month, we have Company Day at Carta, where I present monthly financials and discuss a topic that’s been on my mind. Below is a summary of a presentation called IQ and EQ (slide deck here). I’m sharing in the hope that it’s helpful for other CEOs wrestling with company building.
When I look at the problems we face building Carta, none are IQ problems. It is never the case that we are not “smart enough” to write an algorithm, build a financial model, or execute a transaction. Our problems are EQ problems. They are problems in how we engage with one another. The symptoms are misunderstandings, arguments, complaints, and frustrations. The consequences are failed execution and bad decisions.
A high EQ organization is a community of free-flowing ideas, daily progress, and accelerating execution. Teams execute well because they love working together. And teams love working together because they execute well. EQ and execution are reinforcing.
Low EQ organizations are engines without oil. Pistons grind to a halt, and rapid execution is replaced with bickering and frustration. Teamwork, the engine of execution, seizes. Without intervention, it is difficult—sometimes impossible—to add lubricant and restart.
The world over-values IQ and undervalues EQ. We will do the opposite. We will never assume success comes from being “smart.” We will never rely on “intellectual property.” We will never be complacent in “expertise.”
Instead, we will make Carta a high EQ organization. We will treat our ability to work with one another as our competitive advantage. When business schools write the Carta case study, they will not write about how smart, educated, or experienced we were. They will write about how well we worked together.
Tips and tricks for practicing EQ
- If you find yourself in an argument, you’re wrong
- Frustration means you don’t know what to do
- Be puzzled, not disagreeing
- Agree in ways you can
- Yes, and…
- Help people solve their problems, not your problems
- First person to be mature wins
- Do the right thing