Experiential Intelligence: A book review by Bob Morris

Experiential Intelligence: Harness the Power of Experience for Personal and Business Breakthroughs
Soren Kaplan
Matt Holt Books/An Imprint of BenBella Books (January 2023)

How to embrace your experiences, decifer them, and then use them to your advantage

According to Soren Kaplan, “Experiential Intelligence, or XQ for short, is your combination of mindsets, abilities, and knowledge, gained from your unique life experience. Just like memorizing facts doesn’t give you a high IQ, your Experiential Intelligence isn’t merely what you’ve learned over time. It’s how you perceive challenges, view opportunities, and tackle your goals. Your XQ includes the beliefs and attitudes you hold about yourself, other people, and the world in general, along with the unique abilities that you’ve developed that make you, you.”

Kaplan carefully organizes an abundance of information, insights, and counsel within three Parts: First, in Chapters 1-3, he provides an outline of “what Experiential Intelligence (XQ) is, why it’s so important today, and how it relates to IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional intelligence).” Then, in Chapters 4-8, he describes “specific strategies and tools that you can use to further develop your XQ by growing it in yourself, amplifying it in your personal and professional relationships, and assessing it over time.” And then, in Chapters 9-13, he highlights how XQ ‘applies in different contexts, including organizations, leadership, teams, and communities.”

These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Kaplan’s coverage:

o A New Lens for Understanding Experience (Pages 19-22)
o Changing of mindsets (23-27)
o Emotional Experience (34-35, 41-4@, 43-44, and 111-113)
o Howard Gardner (37-38
o Connection through shared experience (52-54 and190-194)

o Creating the foundation for Experiential Experience (54-57)
o The XQ Snapshot (65-68)
o Little Impacts (77-78
o Big Impacts (81-82)
o The Mindset Map (96-99)

o Remaking mindsets (99-103
o Positive relationship “loops” (!20-122,161-162, and 181-183)
o Amplification (122-124 and 168-169)
o The XQ Assessment Scale (126-134)
o Five effective leadership strategies (146-153

o Diversity within teams/team-building (158-160
o Create psychological safety through vulnerability (162-166 and 168-169)o Fostering of abilities (166-168)
o Ability development within organizations (173-174, 178-179, and 183-184)
o Communities of shared experience (190-197
o Overview of Experiential Experience (199-203)

According to Kaplan, “Many organizations haven’t fully tapped into the mindsets, abilities, and know-how that inherently exists across their people and teams. Leaders first need to recognize that the reality of life, including in business, is that everyone brings the whole of who they are with them wherever they go, including both their strengths as well as self-limiting beliefs. Until companies embrace this fact, they’ll never reach their full potential…Organizations that recognize XQ as a strategic imperative can more fully leverage their talent and transform their cultures by scaling the assets that exist across their people.”

When I came across those remarks just cited, I was again reminded of what major surveys revealed, based on exit interviews of thousands of talented people who have “fired” one employer to work for another. When asked what was most important to them, almost all ranked [begin italics] feeling appreciated [end italics] at or near the top of the list. It is no coincidence that companies annually ranked among those most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those most profitable, with the greatest cap value in their industry segment.

I presume to add two suggestions of my own. First, when reading this book, highlight key passages; also, keep, a lined notebook near at hand in which to record your own comments, questions, page references, and sequences of action steps to harness the power of experience for personal as well as business breakthroughs. These two simple tactics will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material.

I congratulate Soren Kaplan on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.