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Corporate Culture’s Role in High Organizational EQ

Most emotional intelligence (EI) material focuses on an individual's EI, which is essential for leaders to influence high engagement, productivity, and performance. Yet the lack of emotional intelligence within the organization could undermine one’s efforts—even if they possess high EI.

Organizational EQ centers around empowering and nurturing relationships with and between people who interface with your company: employees, customers, subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, and people within the community, industry, and marketplace.

Everything from core values, working environment, attitude, leadership actions, and decision-making play a role in how the organization is perceived. And everyone’s relationship with your organization influences their level of engagement.

An organization’s ability to sustain operations and thrive rests in its people and, ultimately, its culture, which is determined by leadership’s ability to nurture and empower its employees. Your company’s culture can be the crux of your organization’s competitive advantage.

People feel valued in their roles

In conducting real-time polls to groups of hundreds at conferences, I ask attendees whether the following statement is true or false:

“Certain positions are necessary overhead and the cost of doing business, and don’t contribute to improving the bottom line.”

Over seventy percent of leaders believe this statement to be true. However, over seventy-five percent of employees across various industries declare this statement false.

When separating employees from individuals in leadership roles, the consensus of ‘false’ increases to over ninety percent because employees believe they are valuable assets to an organization.

This disparity between leadership and employees is not surprising. A 2019 Gallup poll confirmed that only thirty-five percent of employees are fully engaged. With the Great Resignation in 2021, it is clear that organizations’ EQ is in dire need of nurturing across the globe.

Rewards and acknowledgment company-wide

As Maya Angelou’s saying goes, “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” When people feel valued and supported, they are more impassioned to serve.

During a meeting with a client, a high-growth mortgage company of 200+ employees, our CURx2 corporate culture assessment results revealed that more than sixty-five percent of the company’s workforce disagreed or strongly disagreed that they feel valued and appreciated for the work that they do and the competencies/skills that they bring to their job. Only fifty percent looked forward to going to work each day.

The CEO was a high-energy, personable, friendly, accessible, and motivating personality who was devastated to learn that most of his team didn’t feel valued.

The culprit? Falling prey to only recognizing the sales efforts.

During one of the company’s monthly “Great Game of Business” team meetings, I asked to sit in and audit. While the meeting appeared to be a highly engaging, motivating experience, actions were not aligned to valuing everyone in the room based on who was recognized and acknowledged. Only the loan officers were celebrated in the Multimillion Dollar Club. This single-focused recognition not only discarded any contributions made by teammates, such as administrative support or underwriters of these closings but also mortgage officers focused on first-time or lower market value properties. A majority of the company was feeling unacknowledged and unappreciated.

After sharing this perspective with the CEO and his leadership team, an entirely new rewards and recognition program was initiated. In the following months, the company exceeded its performance goals four-fold, reinforcing that people who feel valued are also compelled to do their best to contribute to the bottom line.

Consider everyone in your recognition efforts.

  • Team-based productivity recognitions

  • Peer-to-peer recognition (catching others excelling or helping)

  • Customer satisfaction and retention

  • Zero tolerance efforts (safety, errors, maintenance, compliance, etc.)

  • Practicing what we preach award (mission and values)

  • ProfitSizing award (increasing profits in unexpected ways)

  • Velocity award (efficiencies, effectiveness, and responsiveness)

Engagement beyond employees and customers

Do your vendors, suppliers, and subcontractors covet their relationship with your company to the point that they will drop everything when you need something, even over other companies they also do business with? How do you treat them and include them in your communications? How conscientious are you in how and when you pay them? Do you hide behind net-term policies, or do you respect their cash flow as much as you respect your own?

Dry Farm Wines, based in California, took a stand in their approach to working with their supplier network of family-owned wineries across the globe. Many of these natural winemakers have been cultivating their land for generations and share a deep love for it. In his mission to bring biodynamic wines to households, founder Todd White was determined that their suppliers should also have an enlightening experience, one of the company’s core values. To reinforce Dry Farm Wine’s commitment and appreciation for these suppliers, Todd took the middleman out of the equation so he could nurture each relationship the Old-World way. Additionally, he established a no-payment terms policy with suppliers to solidify their commitment.

Dry Farm Wines determined from the onset that they would pay suppliers fifty percent up front and then the remainder upon delivery. This payment method shows how much Dry Farm Wines values these wineries, and as a result, it empowers the family producers to focus on what they are so passionately good at—as families were no longer waiting to be paid, which was the dilemma they faced until Dry Farm Wines entered their ecosphere.

PHARR, a three-generation textile company out of McAdenville, North Carolina, is another example of nurturing relationships beyond employees, customers, and suppliers.

McAdenville has become world-renowned as Christmastown USA for its festival of lights during the holiday season. The idea began as a small gesture of holiday cheer in 1956 when Pharr’s founder, W.J. Pharr, president of the men’s club at the time, conceived the idea of red, green, and white lights adorning the trees around the McAdenville Community Center. This spark of inspiration evolved into more than 375 trees, and all the homes in the historic downtown are participating today.

PHARR covers the electricity bill of the town’s public areas and supplements the electricity bills of all participating residents during this month-long celebration of lights and holiday spirit. PHARR’s commitment to the community is extensive, including contributions to the McAdenville YMCA, named after the Pharr family. And PHARR donated sixty-six acres, known as the Pharr Family Preserve, to the Catawba Land Conservancy, which includes a nature trail and a kayak/canoe launch off the South Fork River.

Valuing everyone associated with your organization’s existence cultivates high engagement and a high-performance corporate culture and is a pivotal place to start building an emotionally intelligent organization. When people feel valued and appreciated, the ripple effect of positive impact will be felt in your recruiting, retention, supply chain responsiveness, marketplace reputation, and the organization’s bottom line.


What is Organizational EQ? The Emotional Quotient (EQ) within an organization is centered around people and the company's ability to effectively engage and empower them. This includes employees, customers, vendors and suppliers, outsourcing partners, and people within circles of influence, including communities, marketplaces, and the industry the organization conducts business.

A high EQ embraces corporate culture as a true asset, measured through:

  • Everyone is being valued in roles

  • Ongoing engagement, interaction, and collaboration

  • Emphasis on relationship-building and nurturing

  • Formal and informal communication practices

  • Loyalty, retention, and longevity

  • Vision, mission, purpose, and passion are shared by all

Economic Vitality® Model

(IQ+EQ+VQ) x PQ = Economic Vitality

The EQ of an organization is a critical success factor in an organization’s ability to operate at high levels of engagement, performance, and profitability. To learn more about the Economic Vitality Model, click here.


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