Story of the 3 Masons


It’s an old story. It goes something like this – “Once there were 3 masons. Each one of them was asked what they were doing. The first man shot back - ‘I’m laying bricks.’ The second man said, ‘I am building a wall’. But the third man, brimming with energy, replied with pride ‘I’m building a cathedral’.

I just love this story. Hidden in its simplicity is a very powerful message of attitude, purpose and the ability to see the big picture.

Three men, three different attitudes. It was determining the level of enthusiasm and pride they took in their job. Being able to see the end result, rather than just the task as hand creates a strong sense of purpose and motivation to excel. Purpose has the power to transform not only the attitude about the work we do, but the quality of our work as well.

The other interesting thing I like about this story is that all the three men were doing the same job! They were, at the end of the day, laying bricks. We often hear people at work complain about their jobs saying they are looking for ‘interesting’ work. Maybe this story will help them see that everyone is aligned to the same end goal and essentially doing similar work – i.e. tirelessly building the organization brick-by-brick, one day at a time.


Educating the Heart


This morning, I was at my daughter’s school and noticed written in big letters in the reception area – “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. While I liked the quote, I did not quite grasp it fully. Isn’t all our education especially in our schools all to do with our head? It’s about facts of science, history etc. and being able to answer the questions in the question paper. Where is the place of the heart in all this?

I promptly googled it once I was home. Various interpretations exist for this quote from Aristotle.

Educating the heart entails an understanding of the meaning and use of the knowledge gained through educating the mind. It requires grasping a wide array of knowledge and the subtle ways they are connected.

It can also be interpreted that the cognitive part of education is as important as the affective (or emotional) part of education. The cognitive domain, as we all know, is more about reasoning, knowledge, analytical and tangible. The affective domain is intangible, unmeasurable and intuitive. It deals with meaning and values. 

In other words, it is the balance of IQ and EQ. While EQ as a concept has emerged only in recent times, Aristotle was giving us that message over 2000 years ago!

#FC2E #EQ #EmotionalIntelligence #SumanInsights

Emotional Contagion

It’s 9am on a Monday morning. You’ve had a nice relaxing weekend and are fully charged for the day and week ahead. You walk into the conference room for the weekly staff meeting and find everyone is smiling, joking and talking about how their weekend went. As others stroll in, they instantly feel the energy in the room.

Then, the inevitable happens. The boss walks into the meeting looking down and tense, and even before he says a word, his body language itself is enough to suck the life out of the room. The conversation that was in progress comes to an abrupt halt. Sounds familiar? Welcome to the world of emotional contagion.

Emotional contagion is the phenomenon of having one person's emotions and related behaviours directly trigger similar emotions and behaviours in other people. Neurologically speaking, emotional contagion is explained by means of mirror neurons which are involved in empathy. It is as though this neuron adopts the other person’s point of view.

Emotional contagion has huge implications in the world of business. We often come across managers who complain that their teams have all the resources, tools and database, but appear to lack energy. What they fail to realize is that the team’s energy is a direct reflection of the manager’s energy, thanks to emotional contagion. And leaders, because of the position they hold, exert a disproportionate impact on the moods and feelings of their team members.

So, if you are a leader or in a leadership position, remember, your emotions and behaviours can lead to tangible ripple effects in your teams and organizations.

#FC2E #EQ #EmotionalIntelligence #SumanInsights

Merit in EQ


The present education system was based on the needs of the Industrial Revolution. The world has changed tremendously moving into the Information Age and then into the Creative Economy. But changes in the education system move at a glacial pace. I would go to the extent of saying that it is totally broken.

At the undergrad level, the problem starts with how colleges recruit candidates. While it is supposed to be based on ‘merit’, that word has come to mean only academics, narrowly defined as marks and grades. It eliminates other promising candidates who may have high creativity, grit, determination, positivity and provide service to society.

The good news is that there may be changes coming soon. According to a recent study in the US, “…handful of colleges are planning experiments using alternative ways to measure student potential. One hopes to enable applicants to demonstrate their “emotional intelligence,” or E.Q., to showcase their ability to work with others…”. Read more about it in this New York Times article -

So happy to see EQ finally making its way into the education realm…

What constitutes a great leader


This one caught my attention. For one, the research findings were very interesting and goes against most conventional thinking. And it was done by Google, undoubtedly one of the world’s most powerful companies today.

The study (, on what constitutes a great leader, found that employees appreciate managers who care for them both professionally and personally.

Did you say ‘personally’? Oh, but for many of us, that’s a complete no-no in a professional setting, right?. We are trained to take care of our people professionally, by 1:1 sessions on Personal Development Plan, appraisal meetings, identifying trainings and what not.

But if it comes to connecting with them personally, being genuinely interested in their well-being is something that we don’t think is necessary or even appropriate in an office setting. And this is where emotional intelligence plays a critical role in a manager who is able to make the cut to a great leader. Because having EQ gives one the ability to better understand and empathize with people around them.