The Role of Emotional Intelligence In The Big Rut and Death Rattle

Jan 24, 2004

emotional-intelligenceBy the time an organization has reached The Big Rut, EI is not only low – it has gone. Left the building. No longer necessary.

Think about the last time you had to interact with a bureaucracy – what was the level of EI in that interaction. I’ll gurantee it was either so non-existant as to be negligable, or it was so false you could almost smell the dry-erase markers from the training session everyone had been forced to attend a week earlier…

If challenged by any of the key stakeholder groups (employees, customers, suppliers, funders, shareholders) about the need for greater open-ness, two-way communication, less defensiveness, understanding shades of gray, relaxing the need for compliance and encouraging risk-taking and innovation, or any other EI related issues, senior management will ask for more information, inquire about specific examples, nod understandingly, empower a committee to investigate and report back, and do…precisely nothing.


One aspect of an organization in The Big Rut is that it is so deeply in denial about its faults that it has lost the ability to heal itself organically.

The only option is to sell the business, break it up, and/or swap out the leadership. An organization in The Big Rut cannot heal itself without dramatic external change.