Have you got the C Factor?


Sitting having a coffee with my husband Owain on Friday morning before an appointment in the city we were struck by the city zombies revolving around us. It’s not often I take myself out of the morning office commute to sit back and observe the system in operation.

In front of us was a long line of city workers walking through the train station and heading up the escalators. We could not spot a smile between people, eye contact or any indication of human connection. As people queued for their morning coffee there was minimal chatter and a lot of glaring at phones. A scene that has become all too common in modern day life.

Don’t get me wrong I fall into these habits when I’m on autopilot and not focusing my attention. It is so easy to do, getting from place a to b without any memory of the journey or who was around you. What I am learning however through mindfulness is to look up, connect with people and know where I am in each moment.

This morning in the supermarket for example I decided to look up and smile and connect with other shoppers and the store workers rather than keep my head down and simply go through the motions. A much more enjoyable experience, I’m sure for the check out workers too. Remember, in every moment we have a choice on how we respond and show up.

I spent about an hour mindfully shopping and loved it. Rather than seeing groceries as a chore it is now a time I really enjoy. A time out for myself to just be there and not to rush around. I shared with a friend recently how lots of things previously perceived as a chore can become like this…. emptying the dishwasher, washing clothes, taking out the rubbish. Good timing for me with my impending maternity leave and the house wife duties that await! Something to think about, what task could you approach with a new mindful attitude?

Humans we know are wired to connect, yet we can act like we’re repelling this, for instance in the corporate zombie situation described. What does this look like when we’re trying to work as a team, for instance in sport or the workplace?

I read an interesting article recently by Harvard Professor Cass Sunstein which discusses a concept called ‘Factor C’, a term describing Collective IQ. They has come out of the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

The article explores Factor C and team performance looking at the star studded 2010 Miami Heat Basketball team. Below is an extract of the main finding, link to full article here.

“Perhaps the most striking conclusion is that the Factor C measure predicted team performance better than conventional measures of intelligence did. (Compare the 2010 Dallas Mavericks, consisting of team players, to the star-studded 2010 Miami Heat.) Average IQ and highest IQ were not correlated with team performance nearly as highly as Factor C. More technically, IQ measures were correlated in the +.10 to +.20 range; Factor C was correlated at the high level of +.50 (+1.00 is the highest possible correlation).”

I have been aware of a similar idea for a couple of years through some thought leadership at IECL called Connected Leadership. We were exploring what a CQ measure could look like as a next tier to IQ, EQ and SQ. It’s great to see MIT progressing in this area and I look forward to watching this space.

So if Factor C can substantially elevate team performance, how can we draw on this idea by connecting with others more in everyday life? We are more as a sum of IQ’s than as individuals. A quote I love is ‘A team of A players does not equal an A team’.

Here are my quick tips to connect more in daily interactions and unleash the C Factor :

  • Look up when you’re next walking through a busy place, make eye contact with people, say hello, smile 🙂
  • Initiate a conversation next time you’re in a queue rather than being sucked into your phone
  • Brainstorm with others when you need to make an important decision drawing on the CQ of your network
  • Be curious and ask lots of questions
  • Join a team and embrace your local community
  • Hope everyone’s having or have had a great weekend. I’ll soon be starting a new section on my site called ‘Dani’s List’ where I recommend and review events. I get asked frequently to share events I’m attending and make suggestions so thought it would be great to share this in a central space. Look forward to connecting again soon!


    Image citation: http://www.humantific.com/brain-to-brain-communication/

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