- On October 23, 2018
“Emotional intelligence” is a concept that has been popularized for years and there‘s practically no discipline in which its influence is not noticed. However, little is known about its importance in the world of entrepreneurs. That is why we present some keys to emotional intelligence and its value for the development of your business model.
Emotional intelligence raises the importance of developing some qualities that help us face different situations and make better decisions. Although the capacity for reasoning is fundamental in the human being, emotions play an active role in our lives and often influence our actions without our being aware of it.
Emotional intelligence has to do with qualities such as self-control, enthusiasm and empathy, rather than learning of logic. Daniel Goleman, author of the pioneering work on emotional intelligence, considers that emotional skills, play an important role in our lives and that they can be perfected with certain methods.
Thus, our mind has two distinct spheres: rational and emotional. For cultural reasons, we tend to consider the rational sphere more important than the emotional sphere. But the truth is that emotions play a fundamental role in our development as human beings. In fact, knowing and learning to manage emotions is a necessary condition for making rational decisions.
Emotional intelligence for entrepreneurs
By “emotional skills” we could understand the set of abilities that allow us to control our destructive emotions and enhance constructive ones. It’s not a trivial matter: if it’s considered that 80% of plane crashes are attributable to bad decisions of pilots, how can we underestimate the importance of emotions in our flight plan?
The following data provides some coordinates to understand the skills of emotional intelligence:
- Anger: the anger arises from the perception that something threatens our person, in material terms (like our goods) or subjective (such as self-esteem). The emotion of anger feeds on itself and renders us deaf to dialogue. Some ways to ward off anger are to re-frame the threatening context and avoid the situations that trigger this emotion.
- Sadness: it can serve to reorder our emotions if its handled effectively, as for example in the case of a sentimental loss. To avoid falling into excess, you can compensate with the analysis of negative thoughts and the performance of recreational activities that serve as a distraction.
It’s not necessary to defend that these types of emotions are detrimental to the personal relationships of the members of a Startup, not only because they undermine their ability to work, but also because they generate unnecessary frictions that harm the team. Now let’s see another type of emotions, constructive, those that need to be developed:
- Enthusiasm: it convinces us that what we do will have positive results and influences our performance. Enthusiasm fuels the ability to plan, make decisions and focus on objectives. Enthusiasm is a necessary skill for self-motivation and thinking, and therefore can infect all team members.
- Empathy: is the ability to emulate the emotions of other people and is important for activities such as staff management or customer service. Empathy is closely related to personal interaction and non-verbal communication, so it is usually a common feature of people who demonstrate ability to maintain good interpersonal relationships.
Sometimes it seems that these types of emotions belong to the sphere of our private life and have no relation to professional performance. But Goleman insists that they have a lot to do with the good development of teamwork. Constructive emotions influence our ability to sustain successful relationships, bond with key people, maintain the motivation of the work team and perform our tasks effectively.
Emotional intelligence and business model
After the success of Goleman’s book, he began to collaborate with different authors to refine his model. Today, emotional intelligence is considered to encompass four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. These four domains encompass different competencies necessary for a leader, such as empathy and self-control, but also orientation towards achievement, conflict management and ability to influence others.
Let’s do an exercise to relate emotional intelligence with the design of business models. Imagine that we are in the task of formulating a Value Proposition for our Startup and think about how emotional intelligence can help us do it.
According to Osterwalder and Pigneur, the best value propositions are based on the recognition of the tasks, frustrations and joys of the people. In addition, they do not concentrate only on functional aspects, but also emotional and social. The Value Proposition Canvas has three parts: Customer Profile, Value Map and the Fit, which is where both parties coincide.
- Customer Profile incorporates the Customer Jobs, Pains and Gains of a customer segment. Basically, it’s about knowing what customers want to solve, what are the risks and obstacles, and what are the benefits they seek.
- Value Map describes the characteristics of the Value Proposition and is integrated by Products and Services, Pain Relievers and Gain Creators. It includes, in addition to the products and services, the description of how they reduce frustrations and generate joys in the client.
- Fit is the result of making the Value Map coincide with the Customer Profile, because the Products provide Pain Relievers and Gain Creators for the Customer’s Jobs, Pains and Gains.
It’s true that there are many tools to collect this information, but it’s also necessary to have certain other qualities to interpret it and generate useful results, such as the planning of a content strategy or the development of prototypes adjusted to the interests of a market segment.
For example, empathy is a necessary quality to recognize ourselves in the Pains and Gains of a segment of clients. Likewise, when we perform exercises such as the Customer Journey or the design of the Buyer Persona, we must place ourselves in the situation of the clients to imagine how they feel when using our services.
Likewise, enthusiasm, seen as the conviction that our goals are possible, is a condition to think efficiently in the design of the Value Map. The exercise of calculating how products become Pain Relievers and Gain Creators is preceded by the ability to imagine, which is nurtured in the hope of the future, and by the motivation generated by the recognition of the value that our proposal brings to the segment of the market.
This does not mean that the formulation of a Value Proposition is exclusively an act of good faith. What emotional intelligence teaches is that the formation of emotional skills is a condition for making rational decisions in all areas of life and, therefore, that the emotional and rational minds are interdependent.
You can learn more about the instruments to formulate the value proposal with Innovation Hacking Lab, which has at its disposal tools and methodologies for the design of sustainable business models. It also has a highly motivated team that will support you on the way to turn your idea into a successful value proposition.
Although our emotional pattern begins to develop at an early age, the truth is that we can always cultivate our emotional skills to have better performance in the professional career. Gaining awareness of emotions and learning to cultivate them in a constructive way is, without a doubt, a strategic skill for the entrepreneur.
Emotional skills are necessary for various activities, whether we are designing the business model, organizing the team or expanding our network of relationships. Therefore, it’s important to learn to listen to them and know what we can do to manage them.
For the generation of sustainable business models, it’s useful to have people who understand how the market behaves in all its dimensions. At Innovation Hacking Lab we have experimental tools that will allow you to get rid of technical tasks such as market research and focus on growing your business. To know how we can help you, contact us.
 Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. USA: Bantam Books.
 Goleman, D. y Boyatzis, R. (2017). “Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?”. Harvard Business Review. Disponible en: https://hbr.org/2017/02/emotional-intelligence-has-12-elements-which-do-you-need-to-work-on
 Osterwalder, A.; Pigneur, Y.; Smith; A.; Bernarda, G. (2014). Value Proposition Design. USA: Wiley.