SNC Spotlight

Insurance can be complex. Turn to our blog for up-to-date, relevant content to help you make the best decisions for your financial institution. With expert knowledge from seasoned industry professionals, we simplify insurance topics so you can get back to business.
All Posts

Emotional Intelligence Is the Key

Director of Learning and Development David Holmes shares how combining social and emotional awareness with a client-first mentality is paramount in creating a culture of constant service at State National. Find out 3 components of this awareness you need to develop strong EI and ask yourself, “How will this idea improve the client experience?”

Emotional Intelligence Is the Key

State National Fuses Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Culture To Foster an Atmosphere of Continuous Improvement

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)? Also sometimes called emotional quotient or EQ, emotional intelligence can be defined in several ways. Some would say it’s your ability to communicate well with others. According to Google’s English dictionary provided by Oxford Languages, it’s the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Social scientist and science journalist Daniel Goleman, a pioneer of EI research and author of books including the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, defines it as the ability to recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence Is Essential for Both Personal and Professional Success.

EI is a frequent leadership and personal development topic. In his book Working With Emotional Intelligence, Goleman presents a multitude of research spanning over twenty-five years showing that EI is much more closely correlated with long-term career success than traditional IQ-type intelligence is. In fact, EI is one of the best predictors of success. As Goleman describes it, it’s “a different way of being smart.”

Here at State National, it is a given that all of our employees are highly intellectually capable, because that’s part of our hiring process. So we are able to place a focus on teaching EI and infusing it into our culture, and it’s an important part of what makes us a highly effective organization.

How Does State National Look at Emotional Intelligence Differently?

In our Learning and Development Department, and throughout our company, we agree with EI experts’ position that emotional intelligence isn’t something fixed at birth, or that each person only has so much of. We know it’s something you can learn, and a skill you can continue to develop throughout your career and your lifetime.

Although presentations of this concept vary, EI is most commonly broken down into 4 main categories:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

Each of these categories contains different competencies that make up overall EI. Today I’d like to talk about three of them that are especially fundamental to our culture at State National.


This includes the ability to accurately pick up on the emotions of other people and understand why they feel the way they do. It involves skillful and attentive listening, the ability to see another’s point of view, and knowing how to express your ideas in ways other people will understand.

Organizational Awareness

On an individual level, this includes having the ability to notice and identify influencers, networks, power relationships, and other dynamics within your company, as well as knowing and understanding its goals, values, norms, relationships, and “unspoken rules.” At an organizational level, it reflects the degree to which the company itself operates congruently and with integrity — that its day-to-day operations as well as long-term strategies are in agreement with its stated mission and values.

Service Orientation

This is a critical part of creating a superior customer experience. It involves anticipating, recognizing, and meeting customers’ needs, and seeking ways to increase their loyalty and satisfaction. It’s being a trusted advisor who genuinely wants to see the client happy and successful. It also applies to how employees respond to each other as colleagues and teammates. A true service orientation can’t be faked — others can sense when assistance is being offered begrudgingly or in an uninterested way vs. proactively and gladly, with a true wish to solve problems and be of service.

“By teaching people to tune in to their emotions with intelligence and to expand their circles of caring, we can transform organizations from the inside out and make a positive difference in our world.”

Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

These three essential components of EI are not only important for training and development purposes, they are the cornerstone of an emotionally intelligent culture. When these three components move beyond training and permeate your company’s everyday culture, the results are far-reaching.

At State National, we passionately believe in these principles, and we instill and encourage all of our employees to ask questions, to listen to and respect other views and perspectives, and to approach every aspect of their job with a service-first mindset. Opening with a more empathetic, aware, and service-oriented approach results in project teams working outside the box and developing the best solutions for our company, our products, and our clients.

How Does State National Infuse Emotional Intelligence Throughout the Whole Organization?

Organizational awareness is reached through ongoing open communication from the top down, from the bottom up, and laterally among peers. We encourage all employees to use their daily work to look for new and better ways to perform. Management has clear communication with employees, utilizing a two-way town hall approach that lets employees communicate and solicit questions at all levels of the company directly to our internal leaders. This communication ensures that everyone at State National understands the direction of the company and knows their voice matters.

Combining social awareness with a client-first mentality is paramount in creating a culture of constant service, which ultimately translates to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Because of our purposeful EI orientation, everyone at State National is always asking themselves, “How will this idea (or decision, or action improve the client experience?” It is one thing to read articles and books, listen to podcasts, watch TED Talks, and learn new emotional intelligence techniques — but it is truly an enlightening experience to be part of a company that has critical EI elements built deeply and solidly into its culture.

Want to explore working for a company that values emotional intelligence? Check out careers at State National today!

Additional Tools for EI Development

David Holmes
David Holmes
David Holmes has held the position of Director of Learning and Development at State National for 12 years. In this time, he has been able to build a learning culture and expand the sense of “customer first” throughout the company. David focuses on employee skill-building and preparing associates to grow and advance within the organization. He and his team are responsible for all aspects of business, service, and leadership training within State National.

Related Posts

Celebrating Our Partnership With Filene!

Innovative Research From Renowned “Think and Do” Tank Drives Real-World Results for Credit Unions With service as a core value, State National not only puts maximum effort into providing the best portfolio protection anywhere, but we also actively look for ways to help move the industry needle and be a part of a larger mission. This includes actively seeking to expose our clients to opportunities with leading organizations that explore innovative, growth-oriented ideas. What Matters to You Matters to Us The renowned research firm Filene is a credit union and consumer finance think tank headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. As an Inner Circle member and research sponsor, we provide support for their mission to connect credit unions with insights and innovations to change people’s lives. Their research ventures connect credit unions with the most impactful technology and drive forward-thinking business decisions. Through investing in organizations like Filene, State National further supports the credit union mission and helps our partners benefit from the latest insights into solutions to their industry's unique challenges. This partnership also gives us access to original research to better focus future advancements and technology innovations on collateral protection insurance (CPI) program improvements for our credit union partners. Keep Good Company At the start of 2020, State National joined forces with Filene by sponsoring their Center of Excellence for Emerging Technology, working with their industry experts to explore the future of digital financial services. This year, we are proud to also provide support for Filene’s new CoE, the Center of Excellence for Innovation & Incubation, which helps credit unions explore solutions to assist them in remaining adaptive and nimble as member and community needs continue to shift. Filene’s Centers of Excellence are identified based on the needs shared by hundreds of credit unions and created to empower them with the data they need to make decisions that will best serve their missions now and in the future. Filene's Center of Excellence of Innovation & Incubation — A Milestone Worth Celebrating All of Filene's Centers of Excellence are doing life-changing work to help credit unions — and their members — thrive. As a sponsor of the Center of Excellence for Innovation & Incubation and the Center of Excellence for Emerging Technology, we could not be prouder to support the amazing work Filene is doing to help credit unions succeed and to advance the credit union mission. We look forward to seeing these dedicated scholars and credit union advocates as they move into their second year of investigating ways to create, implement, and measure innovation in credit unions, identifying opportunities for credit unions to differentiate with innovation, and building a playbook of effective and consumer-friendly social innovation approaches for the future of all financial services! Check Out These Guest Posts From Filene Experts: Relationship Banking in a Digital Age Credit Union Digital Transformation in the Age of COVID – 19

10 Advantages of Partnering With SNC for CPI

There's everyone else — and then there's State National  

To Improve Is To Change

Using Change To Accelerate Innovation and Drive Success