Sternberg always found the belief that Intelligence tests could accurately predict business and personal success to be flawed. Most standard IQ tests measure a very narrow range of abilities, many of which aren't strong indicators or predictors of success itself. He therefore has begun presenting his thoughts on what he calls Success Intelligence, the ability to think in ways that help you to develop your personal excellence and to ultimately thrive and excel at work.
Your Successful Intelligence is made up of three key ways of thinking:
- Analytical Thinking, which is the ability to solve problems and judge ideas
- Creative Thinking, the ability to come up with new and innovative solutions to problems
- Practical Thinking, the ability to use and implement your ideas effectively.
Your level of Successful Intelligence is greatest, and most effective, when these three key types of thinking are operating in balance with one another. People with high levels of Successful Intelligence know how to make the most of what they have and are able to actively find ways to work around any of their limitations. In essence, this is very much in alignment with what I share with clients all of the time: the need to focus on developing your strengths, while finding ways to minimize your weaknesses.
J. Robert Baum, Director of Entrepreneurship Research at the University of Maryland, says that your learning orientation has a direct impact upon your entrepreneurship success. Those that don't learn much from their past experiences don't tend to gain much in the way of Practical Intelligence, thereby seriously impacting their ability to start or run successful new ventures. Those with high Practical Intelligence though, tend to learn best by doing and not by watching or reading, providing them with hands-on, practical experience they can apply to a variety of different opportunities in future.
Your Successful Intelligence, and in particular your Practical Intelligence, is completely separate from your IQ, which is why some with very high IQ levels can prove to be unsuccessful in business while those with comparatively lower IQs might enjoy a great deal more success. He and his group ran a number of experiments in which they determined that Practical Intelligence was a key determining factor in entrepreneurial success, rating much higher than IQ.
The implication for each of us is, of course, to let go of any notion that we might not be 'smart enough' to take on new tasks or roles and that we should consider whether we have Analytical, Creative and Practical Intelligence needed to be successful.
From childhood we have gotten too hung up on the concept of IQ being the indicator of how far we will travel in life. Today we are coming to recognise that there are a significant number of other factors that contribute to our overall success, IQ is just one, which helps explain why that 'guy' who kept getting A+ grades all through school may just end up reporting to you, despite your solid B-level grades. Turns out there's more to it, and to you, than previously was known.