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EQR: Emotional Quotient Review

Is the eagerness of bank executives to spend heavily on retraining bankers to change their culture achieving anything?

A banker apologizes to Euromoney for calling short an informal meeting. He must report to compliance. Euromoney airily wishes him well.

“I hope it goes better than last time,” the banker admits.

He then recounts his last retraining session, where managing directors were split into groups by their facilitator, a psychologist who was on secondment from a leading business school. “She told us that we were to explore the emotions that determine our decision making and that this session was on anger. We had to write down what made us angry.”

The managing director, a thoroughly decent British fellow in capital markets, being the most senior in his group, urged his fellows quickly to jot down whatever made them cross.

“Bad driving,” said one. “It’s just so inconsiderate, not signalling at junctions and the like.” Another recounted how miffed he had been to queue up at the coffee bar before reporting for indoctrination only to be handed a latte that turned out to be barely lukewarm.

“It was awful,” the banker says. “The facilitator asked the first group what made them angry and they said ‘racism’. The next group said ‘poverty’. I think someone else said ‘disease’. Thank god we were last. We managed to mumble something about ‘intolerance’. I was just praying she wouldn’t ask to see our card.”

He may have been the very last person to get the joke behind his more knowing and cynical colleagues but this banker has at least had some fun with it since, trying the test on others.

“My favourite was asking a senior partner at our bank’s top outside legal firm. He told me that what made him angry was the memo he had just received banning anyone from claiming on lunch expenses bottles of wine that cost more than £75.”

It’s a sign that the lawyers are winning right now, suggests Euromoney.

“Not as much as the business schools doing the training,” says the banker.

“I have a friend who works there. Apparently they were all high-fiving each other wildly when our bank signed the contract for all this.”

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