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Success isn’t just about IQ or EQ: You need love and adaptability

Left: Jack Ma; Right: Natalie Frotto. (Source: Getty; TED)

You’ve definitely heard of IQ, intelligence quotient; and by now, you've probably also heard of EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient.

But there’s two quotients you might not have heard of, and that’s ‘AQ’ and ‘LQ’: the adaptability quotient, and the love quotient.

And according to Alibaba founder Jack Ma as well as former IBM strategist and Goldman Sachs venture investor Natalie Fratto, these are different kinds of intelligences that will distinguish you and make you successful in the workforce of tomorrow, where machines instead of people are going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

What is AQ?

According to Frotto, AQ can be understood as a kind of offshoot of IQ, and it’s what she looks for when she assess start-up founders to invest in.

“I look for signs of one specific trait,” she said in a TED Talk. “It's adaptability: how well a person reacts to the inevitability of change, and lots of it.

“That's the single most important determinant for me. I subscribe to the belief that adaptability itself is a form of intelligence, and our adaptability quotient, or AQ, is something that can be measured, tested and improved.”

AQ isn’t just a quality that only start-up founders should have, however: the rest of us will need it, too, given the pace of change that we all now have to keep up with.

“Whether you're navigating changing job conditions brought on by automation, shifting geopolitics in a more globalised world, or simply changing family dynamics and personal relationships, each of us, as individuals, groups, corporations and even governments are being forced to grapple with more change than ever before in human history.”

Frotto says there are three ways she assess how adaptable people are: asking ‘what if’ questions to help them visualise multiple versions of the future; looking for “signs of unlearning” to challenge what they already know; and looking for how curious they are in “proactively seeking out what might kill you next”.

Asking these questions will put you in the driver’s seat, Frotto said. “The next time something big changes, you're already prepared

“We're entering a future where IQ and EQ both matter way less than how fast you're able to adapt.”

What is LQ?

According to Ma, IQ and EQ are both important – but LQ is going to be what sets you apart from machines.

“I believe if a person wants to be successful, they should have a high EQ. If you don't want to lose quickly, you should have a high IQ,” Ma told the Bloomberg Global Business Forum held in New York in September.

“But if you want to be respected, you should have a high LQ – the quotient of love.”

It’s about all three ‘Qs’ put together, he said, adding that many men have high IQ, low EQ and “very tiny LQ”.

Some people are better than others at getting this right, according to Ma.

“Women, balance-wise, they are the best,” he said.

“If you want your company to be successful, if you want your company to operate with wisdom, with care, women are the best.”

So there you have it: according to the experts, book-smarts and even people skills won’t see you go the distance anymore.

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