“Executive intelligence” as the best predictor of in-house counsel managerial success

An article in the Harvard Bus. Rev., Nov. 2005 at 100, explains a test for “executive intelligence.” The author, Justin Menkes, writes that “studies have shown that [IQ tests] predict work performance at least as well as competency interviews do (the most common assessment tool used today for hiring and promotion) and about ten times better than personality tests do.” (id. at 106) (See my posts in 2005 of July 31 on the predictive accuracy of emotional intelligence (Ei) instruments, July 14 on another set of definitions, Nov. 13 on four attributes – one being Ei, and Dec. 21 on Ei diminishing with rank.)

Even so, Menkes faults IQ tests for being limited to assessing academic abilities that have scant bearing on managerial thinking. His instrument, by contrast, depends on the three skills his research has identified as crucial for thinking critically as a manager: accomplishing tasks, working with and through others, and judging oneself and adapting one’s behavior accordingly. It is certainly possible for in-house lawyers to view their work in these categories, but I feel they are too broad.

Each of these three all-encompassing categories have five or six cognitive skills associated with doing them successfully, and taken together how a person fares when employing those cognitive skills makes up the person’s executive intelligence. (See my post of today on behavioral interviewing.)

Law departments should consider using tests for executive intelligence. Someday, I predict, there will be an instrument that assesses lawyer intelligence

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