Why the ‘learning quotient’ is the future of business


Joanna Swash Group CEO of Money token. Moneypenny handles outsourced phone calls, live chat and digital communications.

We have IQ, we have EQ and now we have LQ. That’s a lot of Q’s. The question is, why is “LQ” important and what does the “L” stand for?

If you search for the term “LQ,” you may see a collection of concepts related to leadership, love, or an acronym for silent laughter. The first two options have advantages, but the descriptor that makes the most sense to me is “learning.”


What exactly is ‘LQ’?

It’s been an interesting few years for companies and leaders alike. There have been many bumps in the road and I am sure many more will follow; it is the future of work and business. We needed to efficiently adapt to market changes, meet new and ever-changing customer needs and requirements, and respond to supply chain fluctuations – and we had to do it all quickly.

This is how the business community has remained relevant. To not only survive but also thrive in this landscape, a business must remain agile, adaptive, innovative and resilient – ​​not just in response to change, but in spite of change. We’ve learned that this is the future of business, which is why I think the “learning quotient” is so crucial.

How much space would you give the LQ slice in your quotient pie chart? There’s probably already a good portion of intelligence quotient (IQ), which can be equal to – or possibly even greater than – your emotional quotient (EQ), but we need to make room for learning. From my perspective, there’s no point in having the aptitude and attitude if you can’t adapt and change. Where LQ comes into play is one’s willingness, desire, and capacity to learn.

Why is LQ so important?

To thrive and develop an agile business that can run on a dime, you need to hire the right people – people with the right mindset. You must nurture the right culture and leadership, and everything must be aligned with the right fundamental principles. Agility must run through the DNA of the organization if you want to make it future-proof.

Take the huge and exciting technological advances we see every day: they are changing the way we work and how we learn. And think about how we had to flip our office situations from personal to home to a mix of both; this required us to learn new skills and embrace new technologies in order to survive. We had to learn, adapt and deal with change. It is this ability to learn that we need throughout an organization; it’s something individuals should look to as an indicator of career progression and mobility and something companies should use to create a sustainable business model.

How can leaders leverage LQ?

As with all things, LQ starts at the top. Moreover, I also believe that you cannot have leadership without learning.

I am a student of the everyday. I’m curious. I always ask questions and listen to my people, the markets, my fellow leaders, academics, my friends and my family. I always learn from them, even if I don’t realize it at the time.

Learning offers endless possibilities and opportunities. Mistakes will happen, but if managed within limits, this is an experience we all need from time to time and is essential in business. If we don’t test a theory or new solution, how can we know if it would work? And how else do we learn?

Leaders who want to maximize their LQ must welcome diversity of thought, question their assumptions, and not just take the easy way out. You have to start at the beginning, accept that you don’t know everything and open your mind to the fact that there is often, if not always, a better way to do something.

Developing your LQ is also about sharing your learning. That’s where the real value lies. It’s not just about exchanging opinions and learning experiences with others, but also being open to learning from others.

LQ is the future of business.

As a leader, there are many quotients to fill. Whatever label you put on it, the model of creating and cultivating a learning culture can put you and your company at the head of the pack. It has to be authentic, reflected in your philosophy and constantly invested in it. A culture of learning starts with you, and if done right, will flow throughout the entire organization to the newest recruit coming in for the first time.

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