Outgoing Intel CEO Paul Otellini recently confessed that Intel turned down the original iPhone and as a consequence lost a multi-$bn leadership position in the booming iDevice market to ARM.
What's revealing to us at Saffron is Otellini's frank admission that Intel messed up because they let their IQ decision making culture dominate their own EQ marketing and business instincts.
"The lesson I took away from that was, while we like to speak with data around here, so many times in my career I've ended up making decisions with my gut, and I should have followed my gut," he said. "My gut told me to say yes."(Source: guardian)
This is a common challenge for all brands and businesses, and particularly one for once nimble businesses that get very big and as a consequence inadvertently begin the stifle and deny their own EQ. It helps explain why brands that for many years could seemingly do no wrong suddenly seem to lose their magic touch. The list is a long one: Microsoft, Tesco, IBM, Nokia, United and American Airlines, British Airways... All of whom have failed to maintain their magical touch as they got big.
What's also interesting is that Otellini seems to suggest that he (and Intel) still 'knew' how to make the right decisions, they just allowed IQ to snuff out their instincts.
It's not a simple task to give more space to EQ in decision making processes and brand building decisions in big business cultures dominated by IQ - the two don't easily mix well together - but the Intel experience should highlight the importance of trying.