The EQ Toolbox will assist you to launch an emotional intelligence project in your organization or community. This introduction walks you through the EQ Toolbox and action steps you can take as you move ahead.

Launching an EQ Initiative

First of all, thank you for your commitment to building a more positive world by teaching the core human competencies of emotional intelligence.

In our work, we get frequent calls and emails from people who have learned about emotional intelligence (EQ), and made a decision to help bring these skills to their communities. Some of them are experienced in this kind of work, others are just learning. Some are involved with a particular organization (such as a school, youth group, or charity), while others are citizens committed to their local communities. Some are well underway, and others are just starting. If you fit into this description, then this site is for you.

If you are already experienced in creating projects, or your EQ initiative is already launched, we suggest that you jump into the toolbox. If you are earlier in the process, the rest of this article may help get you going.

This site has three main sections:

Project Support is a helping hand to those who could use some advice on how to run a project. The chapters on Planning, Meetings, Developing a Team and Setting Goals, point the basic things to think of when starting a project. The keyword is respect for those involved, which is a crucial aspect when designing a sustainable project.

The EQ Toolbox gives you a brief introduction to the most important skills of EQ and also provides exercises to improve those, both for the project team and the participants in its activities. The structure is based on Six Seconds’ EQ model, which aligns well with the Salovey/Mayer/Caruso definition.

Resources is a gateway to useful material on EQ, both on the Internet as well as in print. A collection of articles is available for your learning and to share with others. There are also samples of documents to help you create the materials you need as you launch your project.

First Steps
Ground Zero
To continue launching your EQ initiative, start by figuring out where you are. Get out a notebook, and write down your answers to these questions. Write as if you were talking to us — this is just for us to think together and get a handle on where things stand.

Why do you want bring EQ into your world?

Where do you envision doing this? In an organization, in your community as a whole? Why this audience, and what is your connection to the audience? For example, “Start with my daughter’s youth group, because we already have strong connections to that circle…” or perhaps, “This will be for our entire county of some 3 million people because of 10 years as a community activist, I have the connections to enough movers and shakers to start at that level, and I’d rather go big!”

What have you done so far?

What do you have to work with? Who, what skills, what resources, what connections?

What are your commitments and feelings about this work? What are your inner motivations, your fears, your excitements? How committed are you? How do you know?

Setting it Up
Your next steps will be to define an initial plan and to figure out who will be involved. Generally I recommend that 3-6 people be involved in launching an EQ initiative. It will depend on the scope of the project… but doing it alone is too hard. On the other hand, having a huge leader group is also too hard.

Have you managed a project like this before? If you would like some ideas about project management, read this introduction.

Key Steps
As you launch your project, you probably will accomplish several key steps — here are some of them, along with links in the toolbox to help you.

Develop a Leader Team
You may already have other people involved in your initiative, or maybe now it is time to get some allies. Read “Team Development” and consider how you are setting your team up.

Initial Plan
You will need to set some goals and objectives. Draft a project plan and set some initial “goalposts.” Goal setting explains how to make goals actionable, and Fredrik’s sample project plan can help you envision your steps. This list of Key Steps could be used as your initial project plan.

Leader Meetings
Start meeting with your leadership team, we sometimes call them the, “EQ Champions,” and begin the work of planning. Remember that the process is the content, and so if you want to build EQ, start by building EQ.

Ensure that your leader meeting and community meetings are fabulous — here are some meeting guidelines. Make sure that you have a specific agenda for each meeting, which is shared with everyone attending. After each meeting, quickly summarize the meeting, and write down commitments and agreements. I personally like to take my powerbook to meetings, and write the minutes in real time. For larger meetings, I use a data projector, and let people see what I am writing — especially when it comes to action plans (commitments). Then, I take a few minutes the same day and “tune up” my notes, and email them ASAP. These minutes can be shared with everyone who was invited to the meeting.

Community Meetings
Early in the process, hold informational meetings to get people excited about EQ. Build concentric circles, starting with your leader team as the tightest circle. Then reach out to larger groups of stakeholders. Start with people who are already ready to be on board — ideally you develop a group of “true believers” pretty quickly. You need different kinds of people to become involved — other leaders, people willing to do the hard work, influencers, decision-makers, funders, spokespeople, and related experts. Your stakeholders will depend on the audience of your project; if it is a community-wide project, you will want people from all kinds of community organizations, such as local government, schools, community centers, museums, youth groups, police and fire departments, religious organizations, and foundations.

You want these initial presentations to be outstanding. You can go to the toolbox page and choose an activity and design the presentation. You can also bring in a guest speaker to set the stage for you. Later we will make a listing of dynamic EQ speakers, for now email and ask us.

Pilot Groups
We’ve found it much easier to ask to run a pilot project than to ask to run a new program. Depending on your audience, this might be a six month pilot. Plan to do a pre-assessment and a post-assessment, there are several EQ tools you can use for this, again email and ask us. It

For the pilot, you will need to have specific outcomes in mind, and deliver curriculum closely targeted toward those goals. For example, if you are using Self-Science, you might pick one or two of the goals, and deliver lessons on those goals.

It is critical that you find people to deliver the lessons who have the skills to do excellent EQ teaching. You can find training opportunities on the EQ Event Calendar, or look to Six Seconds’ training courses.

As you wrap up the first six months of your project, it is vital that you give yourself time for assessment. Look at your project plan, and see which objectives were and were not met.

What did you have or do that allowed you to be successful in some areas? What did you have or do that led you to not be successful in some areas?

Send a report on your results to all constituents, along with a new action plan.

Source: Joshua Freedman, Six Seconds EQ Network