DQ – The age of new leadership… (and what that means for us with “experience”)

02 Nov 11:00 by Clare Butler


My mum, who is in her 80s, loves her iPad.  She is a whizz at FaceTime; she sends and receives e-mails; she is the definition of a Silver Surfer. She has a reasonable level of aptitude. Until her youngest grandson, aged 9, takes over the iPad and frustrates her by using it at a different level: that of a master.  He was born into a digital age. He clicks.  He shortcuts.  He uses voice command. His fingers and hands move over the surface of the device in a way my mother’s hands just can’t. He is digitally intelligent (no pun intended).

My team and I have blogged at length about intelligence (see Angela's AI blog here). The IQ of the audience with whom we interact daily is high. We have shared how emotional intelligence (EQ) is often a distinguishing factor in success; how authentic intelligence allows candidates to resonate with hiring managers. There is now a different intelligence in the market: DQ - Digital Intelligence. Technology, A.I, the internet of things, bitcoins and things that haven’t even been thought up yet are going to continue to make headlines as we move further into a digitally connected age. This DQ is making young people in their 20s - people who develop, create and bring to market these new innovations - leaders. They are CEOs of businesses with valuations in the crazy range of millions of dollars.

However, it is not necessarily just these new CEOs who are the DQ leaders. It also applies to our graduates and newly qualified lawyers - people who are entering the work place now.  They have grown up in an age of technology and connectivity. They have DQ. They have an understanding of it that GenXers and older generations simply do not. Or perhaps I should say that DQ comes more easily to those under 30. My question is, how can we ensure that our businesses are harnessing those with higher DQs to best effect? How can we build our DQ across organisations and look at this leadership in a different way? How do we embrace changing a leadership dynamic by giving leadership roles in non-leadership areas and ensure that support is given?

One thing we do at Laurence Simons is remain curious and open to technology, looking at how it can help support the business. We have several projects currently ranging from APIs to and from our CRM, to our marketing and accountancy tools, to new ways of integrating interview planning technology into our processes, to an application to help us… Ah, but that last one is too secret squirrel to share, yet. But the point is, all of these projects are being led by people under 30. They are gaining valuable experience in running projects, managing people, controlling budgets, negotiating and working with suppliers. When this is then overlaid with help and support from those of us with (many years’) experience, who can share our wisdom and can mentor them AND LEARN from them, then we are moving the DQ dial.

So, back to my mum, the Silver Surfer. What she and her 9 year old grandson do together on the iPad is sit and play “ 4 pictures, 1 word” (her only game) which is great. She is teaching him new words, he is teaching he how to increase the size of objects on the iPad using her fingers.  She is getting more digitally intelligent (pun intended). 

(We are also very interested in EQ at Laurence Simons and use a tool called Lumina Sparks.  Find more about it here.