My company is called Jeremy Marchant Limited, and that’s the name under which I originally traded. But that makes it all much too much about me, so I decided to trade under the brand emotional intelligence at work (the original strap line of the company). So, in a very real sense, that is the name of the business I do.
When I made the switch, naturally I promoted the new brand name around time. One person—a successful businessman—said to me, “If you send me an email with the word “emotional” in the subject line, I will delete it before I open it”.
Bearing in mind I knew this person from business networking, and it was in just such a context that we were talking, I asked him, “So, how’s business going?”.
He told me with considerable animation about a number of ventures he was engaged in.
“You sound pretty happy and excited about it all”, I said. “I am”, he replied.
“Well, they’re emotions”, I said.
“F*** off!” he replied.
He wasn’t angry. He was just signalling that, even though he was probably well aware of the importance of emotions in business, he didn’t want to talk about it then (and I’m pretty sure, ever).
So much of this interaction is about how things are said. I was teasing him, and he knew that and was prepared to play along up to a point. When I got to the point, he stopped the game.
In a very real sense, I couldn’t care less whether he is interested in EI in the workplace or not. I don’t have a need to persuade him, to show him how his business might be more successful if only he changed his views to mine. If I don’t care, equally I don’t not care.
If you start persuading, but the other person thinks you’re pushing (whether or not you think you are), they will start resisting. If you’re ever to be successful, you’ll now have to overcome the resistance that wasn’t there until you helped bring it about.
I believe, the meaning of a message is what the recipient makes of it.
So I suggest not having any expectations. That is not to say, expect nothing will happen, because that’s an expectation.
Empathy’s important, but it won’t do the trick by itself. The one thing I find which is more useful than anything else is simply to set an intention to be curious about what’s going on for the other person, and stick to it.
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2013 Jeremy Marchant Limited . added july 2013 . image: Free images