What is your SQ?  

Maybe you’ve never heard of SQ, and if that’s the case – keep reading because this could be a competitive advantage that you didn’t know you had and can develop!

SQ = Strategic Quotient 

When I think about my SQ, I reflect on my visionary leadership, my natural gifts, my practiced skill set, and my network.  Without these elements, my SQ would be low.  For example, if I attempted to do it all on my own without the help of mentors, teachers, or my business network I wouldn’t get very far.  Alternatively, if I focused only on my learned skill set and not my natural gifts, I would be working so much harder, longer, and without as much enthusiasm if I worked within my gifts and delegated and asked for help for the rest.

Developing my leadership, gifts, skills, and network is crucial to developing my SQ! 

“More powerful network = more personal power.” – Jeff Bezos

“To me, the single most important skill needed for any CEO today is strategic acuity.” – Indra Nooyi, former CEO, of Pepsi

What keeps most leaders from developing their SQ?


The top three roadblocks leaders face in developing their SQ are:

  • A fixed mindset – blocks creativity and inspiration
  • Working in their 80% – focusing on to-do lists and being “busy” but not strategically focused
  • Alignment with a vision – embracing the broader ecosystem that shapes innovation

Often this comes down to one simple thing: Creating the space and time to THINK. 

Personally, for myself, and in our Beyond Management Training, we cherish and prioritize creating the space and time to think.  Creating this space systematically builds your SQ acumen, and leads to effective, inspired team planning sessions and extraordinary business results.

Let’s break this down a little more based on the research:

The Strategic Quotient is a measure of your strategic capabilities as exhibited through your mindset and behaviors. Your strategic capabilities consist of how you think, plan, and act strategically.

SQ is based on more than 20 years of research using a framework of three disciplines for being strategic: Acumen, Allocation, and Action. To break this down even further:

Acumen (Thinking) – The generation of insights to create new value.

Allocation (Planning) – Focusing resources through strategic trade-offs.

Action (Acting) – Prioritizing and executing initiatives.

Start here on assessing and developing your SQ:

Ask yourself-

  • Do I routinely assess my performance and results against our strategy and goals – and then act based on this assessment to get closer to reaching these goals?
  • Do I routinely schedule time in my calendar to think – and then communicate and update our strategy and team based on these insights? 
  • Do I routinely meet with colleagues and mentors who expand my thinking  – and then discern this information for my current business/career as needed?

Additional SQ Resources:

Rich Horwath, the New York Times bestselling author of the book Strategic,’ breaks it down into two crucial elements:

Insight- When you combine two or more pieces of information or data in a unique way to come up with a new approach, new offering, or new solution that moves the business forward. Simply put, an insight is a learning that leads to new value.

Advantage- Inherently an element of strategy. It commonly refers to a desired end in the form of gain, profit, benefit, or position of superiority.

Want to check your SQ?  

Rich Horwath is offering a Strategic Quotient (SQ) Assessment at no cost for a limited time when you click HERE and use this code: Allocation

I’d love to hear from you!  How are you implementing “thinking time” as a priority in your business?  Email us at hello@carmenohling.com to connect!


Are you finally ready to let go of doing it all, feeling overwhelmed and not finding joy in your life? I remember the day I said “no more” and  I let it all go!  I’ve created this guide with 3 simple steps for you to get started and find more joy in your everyday life and way less stress!

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