More Than Your IQ

Skills are like atoms...

There is so much more to someone than their IQ – often used as shorthand for ‘intelligence’ with damaging consequences for people at school, in work and personally. People are so much more a blend of ‘human and hard skills’ – and the combination of these working together efficiently.

Skills are like atoms - they combine with different types of bonds into larger structures - allowing us to perform differently.

Take empathy and curiosity or creativity, problem solving and resilience. Put these combinations together and a job or task that demands these skills can be carried out effectively by someone who has these attributes. 

Creating an organizational skills graph and asking some of these questions can help identify what is needed: 


What skills are needed to achieve our goals?

Where do we have skill gaps that we need to fill?

What skills drive our competitive differentiation?

Are there potential skills, that we could develop or put to work?


Atoms, like skills, are distributed in the environment in various concentrations. Understanding what skills are present in your organisation or team suggests what kinds of performance are possible. Just as atoms combine to provide the nutrients needed for organic growth, skills are the nutrients needed for individual or company performance and activating one skill leads to the activation of others.

IQ is a narrow measure and has been around for over 100 years – created when we knew so little about the brain and other forms of talent and potential. It’s not a reliable measure for so many tasks or outcomes and downgrading its importance and promoting all skills – both human and hard – is the key to unlocking our education system, personal and working lives.


Sign up to our Newsletter 

Keep up to date with a collection of articles, resources and insights for people hiring, managing  and developing your people.

Asset 12

© Cognisess Limited, 2021