What does Ashton Kutcher, a college visit and going back to school have in common? Well-roundedness. We are all created differently, but have four foundational quotients: intellectual (IQ), emotional (EQ), executional (XQ) and spiritual (SQ). In today’s fast-paced, changing world, excelling in only one function could severely limit you.  As we send our kids back to school or universities, the conversations likely center heavily on grades, SATs and study habits. Though we should expect an academic focus, I feel compelled to push back on the importance of being well-rounded. All of us, including me, must continue working towards a balanced IQ and EQ.

College Visit

The first college visit with our daughter was a positive experience. As I’m sure many of you with college-ready kids have experienced, these visits generate lots of energy and often anxiety and questions. Reflecting on our visit, about 80 percent of our time and conversations focused on academics and intellect. Knowing that today we have a record unemployment rate with college graduates, the need for a balanced EQ and IQ is more important than ever. The best thing we can do for college students is support well-rounded learning experiences aimed at developing a variety of intellectual and emotional qualities.

Back to School

As our kids start back to school, we’re encouraging them to find the IQ, EQ, XQ and SQ balance. School, grades and smarts are important (especially with my boys). But, I believe the ability to manage yourself and your interactions with others will become increasingly important. This type of intelligence functions independently of IQ and academic and technical aptitude, and is acquired through life experience, not schooling.

Ashton Kutcher

If you haven’t seen Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the Teen Choice Awards, I encourage you to watch it. He spoke to three things that lead to success: working hard for opportunities, being well-rounded and building your own life. We can all learn to lead by identifying the qualities we want to develop and consistently practicing them. The ability to be smart, thoughtful and generous contributes to excellent leaders.

CHALLENGE: How do you find balance between IQ, EQ, XQ and SQ? How are you incorporating that balance into conversations with your colleagues and family members?


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