Emotional Intelligence: Lessons from the Nez Perce Indians with Lewis and Clark



Picture Credit: Tanmay Gora for Daniel Goleman

Lewis’ celebrates his 31st birthday and vows “in future, to live for mankind as I have heretofore lived only for myself.”  Explorer Meriwether Lewis  on August 18, 1805

After signing the Louisiana Purchase on July 4th 1803, President Thomas Jefferson dispatched Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (leaders of “The Corps of Discovery”) to explore the new American territory leaving from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean – a three year, 3700 mile trek beautifully presented by the National Geographic here. During the expedition, the Corps met peacefully in Council with the Oto and Missouri Indians (8/3/1804), the Yankton Sioux (8/30/04), tensely with the Teton Sioux (9/25/04), the Mandan and Hidatsa (10/24/04), the Shoshone camp (8/17/05), the Nez Perce (9/4/05 and May 1806), the Clatsop Indians (11/25/05), and a long list of other Indian tribes. Twisted Hair, a Nez Perce chief that Clark described as “a Cheerful man with apparant siencerity” helped the Corps survive by feeding them, pointing out features of the route ahead, and took care of their horses until their return trip nine months later. PBS elaborates, “Lewis and Clark engaged in a diplomatic exchange with Nez Perce chiefs and the captains sought to establish trading posts and inter-tribal peace in the region.” Paty Jager documented the detailed roles (even when pregnant!) and community interaction of the the Nez Perce Indians of Idaho, NE Oregon, and SE Washington in a trilogy that reveals them as emotionally intelligent.

Emotional intelligence is measured by a person’s Emotional Quotient (EQ as opposed to IQ) is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others for personal and business success (as characterized by author Daniel Goleman in this BigThink.com video). In a 2013 study by American Express, EQ emerged as one of the biggest predictors of  workplace performance and a strong driver of leadership and personal excellence. As Goleman wrote in HBR in 1998, “Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”


Picture Credit: Charaktery Magazine

The heart and soul of a company’s culture is how the organization supports and promotes emotional intelligence, and EI proves to correlate directly to employee retention, as detailed here by Harvard Professor Leslie Perlow in this TED Talk entitled, “Thriving in an Overconnected World.” A 2009 EI study on group change across 6000 teams at Boston Consulting Group globally helped lead BCG to rise to number three on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2016—the highest ranking, by far, among consultancies, and a reflection of our commitment to career sustainability and satisfaction. The simple PTO formula: Predictability, Teaming and Open Communication. EQ is not authentically taught to machines, unlike business process IQ as IBM Watson explains in applying how its cognitive reasoning model powers AI in a four step process: Observe, Interpret, Evaluate and Decide.

None other than his Holiness the  Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, has endorsed a new EI book called Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by LinkedIn Influencer Dr. Travis Bradbury who offers a free EQ Test here. “What distinguishes human beings is that we are capable of positive change. This book succinctly explains how to deal with emotions creatively and employ our intelligence in a beneficial way.” IAI suggests that anyone aspiring to success in business and personal life embrace EI to enhance your IQ. Since the mid-1980’s, His Holiness has begun a dialogue with modern scientists, mainly in the fields of psychology, neurobiology, quantum physics and cosmology.  These disciplines are united by the Theory of One and All.


Picture Credit: BeliefInstitute.com on Pinterest

Another excellent EI book just released is Unequaled by 40 year (!) Morgan Stanley investment banker Jim Rundle who “shows you how to step up your relationships, strengthen your soft skills, and build your brand for success.”

  • Differentiate yourself and expand your career
  • Build relationships through planning and preparation and deliver commercial results
  • Lead effectively, increase productivity, and build a better work environment
  • Build, enhance, and leverage your personal brand to support your own success
  • Network effectively to find mentors and sponsors

“Without EQ, it’s likely that you will be your firm’s ‘best-kept secret’ — not recognized, not appreciated, not promoted and, often, not properly compensated,” Runde wrote recently in HBR. “Developing EQ is just as pertinent for the recent graduate who is starting out, as it is for the seasoned veteran.”

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