Spiritual Quotient: Is it relevant in MBA?

Right-brained individuals are artistic, creative, emotional and good at big picture thinking while the left brained individuals are analytical, logical and comfortable with numbers. Believing in this conventional wisdom, we quickly jump to the conclusion that those who consistently operate from their right brain have a high Emotional Quotient (EQ) while those with an active left -brain have a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Preponderance of this traditional view of the human brain leads to erroneous career choices, limiting behaviors and in some cases psychosocial disorders such as identity crisis, social alienation, anxiety and depression.

Between the two hemispheres of the brain, there exists a group of fibres. These fibres connect the distant neurons that reside in the right and the left side of the brain in a way that they function together. For example, if you enter a friend’s house and observe a nice looking chair, while the signals about the contours and aesthetics of the chair are processed by the right half of the brain, your friends’ comment regarding its factual aspects will be registered by the left half of the brain. Thus, different nerve centres across the brain get activated to grasp a holistic experience of observing the chair. If this is the case then stereotyping individuals as IQ-driven or EQ- driven becomes a baseless exercise of an ignorant mind. Rather the endeavor should be how to expose the entire brain to varied experiences so that different nerve centres continue to make connections to enable a holistic development of the individual. In layman’s term neuroscientists refer to this phenomenon as“rewiring the brain”.

Even if we train ourselves to dissolve this dichotomy between IQ and EQ, the holistic development is not complete until and unless the Spiritual Quotient (SQ) does not become a part of this trilogy. In the simplest form spirituality by itself is religion agnostic and it refers to an alignment of the individual to a higher purpose to accomplish worthy goals.

It is interesting to note that with the right combination of IQ and EQ, society can produce an intelligent, ambitious, relationship oriented investment banker working on the Wall Street capable of raking in millions of dollars for himself. As part of his EQ, if the empathy is high, this individual may exhibit philanthropic tendencies that will benefit the masses. But typically these altruistic actions come alongside a desire of material gratification. On the other hand, with the right combination of IQ, EQ and SQ the society gifts itself individuals such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Chinamayananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and others who devoted their lives to the wellbeing of their countrymen and citizens of this world.

The importance of this trilogy is as follows – while IQ and EQ without SQ may create mascots who become servants of themselves and their desires, the combination of IQ, EQ and SQ create mascots who become servants of God and masters of their desires.

By Dr. Snehal Shah, Program Chair, HR Leadership Program, School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL)

Dr. Snehal Shah holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, USA with specialization in Organization Behavior and Human Resources. She has 12 years of varied experience in Industry, Teaching and Consulting in the US and in India. In addition, her work has been published in renowned journals in the US and has been presented at International conferences. 

Snehal’s experience includes Leadership Development Engagement with a wide range of companies, backed by a strong foundation in research and teaching:
– Vice President of Leadership Development at Bank of America, Charlotte, NC: Initiatives such as Talent Management, Culture Assessment (specifically with regard to acquisition integration) and Evaluation of Leadership Development programs.
– Consultant representing TV Rao Learning Systems: worked with multiple clients to deliver workshops on 360 Degree Feedback and Retention.
– Researcher at McNeil Research and Evaluation Associates: Led projects to improve effectiveness of Department of Labor Programs.
– Academic Faculty: Taught courses such as Organization Behavior at Carnegie Mellon University, Organizational change and learning (Masters level) and Statistics and Applied Research Methods (Doctoral level) at North Carolina State University.

Currently, she is the Program Chair of Human Resources Leadership Program at School of Inspired Leadership. She is also a co-author of a book titled “Research Methods for NGOs in South Asia”.

SOIL Gurgaon

School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) founded in 2008 and a member of the AMBA development network is among India’s leading business schools. SOIL was co-created by 32 companies with the aim to build global leaders that make a difference to the community. SOIL’s new 2 Acre Green campus in Gurgaon - School of Business Design will begin offering a new 2 year PGDM in Business Design starting in 2018 and will offer the best of business, design and liberal art management education to students. SOIL now offers 2 recognized programs – One-year PGPM in Business & HR Leadership and & Two Year PGDM in Business Design