Brain Boon: 4 Lesser Known Types of Intelligence That Impact How Successful You Are

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

There are certain types of intelligence that help determine how well you will perform in the real world.

An old IBM survey revealed that 75 percent of success is determined by things other than data and technology, and those other things are people (20 percent), process (15 percent), organization (10 percent), culture (20 percent), and leadership (10 percent).

This survey was meant to look at success in IT in general, but is very much applicable to business success.

Certainly choosing the right technology for your business takes some intelligence or at least the acumen to be able to find someone who does.

Intelligence is also needed to look at data from sales, marketing and other areas, to recognize the trends the company has navigated through and to be able to anticipate where the company or corporation is headed.

Being able to learn from the lessons of past experience so that those can be applied to the experiences to come is paramount to business success.

But this really isn’t the same as “business intelligence.” Or, at the very least, is certainly not the only piece of the puzzle.

Related Article:10 Principles of Success: Quotes to Inspire from Jim Rohn

Definition of Business Intelligence

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Stephen Hawking.

There certainly have been many theories and business success strategies to come out over the last few years, all of them claiming even promising or guaranteeing success though really, no one can guarantee that.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but success in business can really be related to the business intelligence of the business person. But what exactly is business intelligence? It’s actually more of an umbrella term. It’s not just one kind of intelligence, but a combination of several different types.

Types of Intelligence That Impact How Successful You Are

Some of the types of intelligence that make up business intelligence are really no-brainers. These include:

  • Number-smarts, which is obviously logical, mathematical and accounting intelligence, which help a business owner know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em when potential business opportunities present themselves;
  • Word-smarts, which obviously have to do with linguistic intelligence, being able to communicate effectively with words to help lead and build teams and business relationships;
  • People-smarts or interpersonal intelligence, which has to do with being able to build relationships with clients by recognizing the emotions, motivations and temperament of the people they come in contact with. They love solving people’s problems through their services or products. They have the insight to know what a client is really asking for, to ask the right questions, and provide an overall solution.
  • Self-smarts or intra-personal intelligence is all about knowing yourself well, as an individual, as a business person. As an individual you may know that you need better sleep habits. As a business person, you need to know those related weaknesses and strengths, and bring people into your life who can help fill in the gaps effectively and move the business forward. According to this article by Diana, "Those who have a high intrapersonal intelligence are those who are more motivated, independent, organized, goal-oriented, positive and confident, among other things. These are all the qualities that you need in order to be successful in life."

Related Article:10 Customer Success Tips That Will Skyrocket Your Business

4 Lesser-Known Types of Intelligence

But business intelligence is much more than talking, writing, self-analyzing, and being able to add and subtract.

  • A successful businessperson also has to be sensitive, ethical and have a holistic understanding of their place in the business world and in their community. This is called “naturalist intelligence” or nature-smarts. This allows a person to notice new markets, anticipate world trends and develop effective marketing campaigns to maximize on those opportunities.
  • Business intelligence also includes spatial intelligence or “picture-smarts.” This part allows the entrepreneur to see the big picture. He or she is able to mentally visualize situations, excels at spatial reasoning and has an active imagination that aids in developing solutions to problems and promoting brands. This is particularly important in today’s Internet marketing world which is moving more and more to graphics and symbols which convey the business message rather than words.
  • Business intelligence also includes what’s called “kinesthetic intelligence.” A successful entrepreneur has a seemingly innate sense of timing and is able to coordinate the mind-body connection. This comes out in their innovative products and services to provide solutions for clients. This also plays a huge role in effective public speaking.
  • The last perhaps lesser-known type of intelligence that can impact how successful you are is musical intelligence. This is not so much about being able to sing on key, but really has to do with recognizing patterns in the rhythm of life and business around you, your conversations and interactions. Reading classical piano scores can develop a brain’s ability to multi-plex, operating similar to a computer with multiple processors able to quickly switch between tasks while doing them all simultaneously. Successful business people use this musical intelligence to be better listeners, coordinate events, and develop marketing strategies.

Related Article:How Employees Make or Break Business Success (And How You Can Lead the Way)

Take Away

Again, true business intelligence isn’t just one type of intelligence, but the ability to successfully develop, harness and use the above eight types of intelligence. It’s really this multi-faceted approach that breeds success.

Bill Gates summed it up this way, “It’s [intelligence] an elusive concept. There’s a certain sharpness, an ability to absorb new facts. To walk into a situation, have something explained to you and immediately say, ‘Well, what about this?’ To ask an insightful question. To absorb it in real time. A capacity to remember. To relate to domains that may not seem connected at first. A certain creativity that allows people to be effective.”

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