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What is Emotional Intelligence?

What is emotional intelligence (EI)? This is one of the most frequently asked questions that Daniel Goleman (Dan), psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ,” gets from his audience. 

If you’re new to the work of EI or if you’re in need of a refresher, this article will define emotional intelligence and break down the four domains and twelve competencies that make up Dan’s framework. We’ll also provide guidance for how you can assess your own emotional intelligence and outline some resources you can use to continue your EI learning journey.

What does Emotional Intelligence (EI) mean?

Emotional Intelligence refers to a different way of being smart. EI is a key to high performance, particularly for outstanding leadership. It’s not your IQ, but rather it’s how you manage yourself and your relationships with others.

—Daniel Goleman, Crucial Competence: Building Emotional and Social Leadership

The 4 Domains and 12 Competencies of Emotional Intelligence


There are four domains and 12 competencies in Daniel Goleman’s model of EI

The four domains are as follows:

  • Self Awareness
  • Self Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

Under the four domains mentioned above, there are 12 competencies, which are as follows:

  1. Emotional Self-Awareness
  2. Emotional Self-Control
  3. Adaptability
  4. Achievement Orientation
  5. Positive Outlook
  6. Empathy
  7. Organizational Awareness
  8. Influence
  9. Coach and Mentor
  10. Conflict Management
  11. Teamwork
  12. Inspirational Leadership

What is a Competence?

A competence is a skill needed to perform a role, or task. There are two types of competency: Threshold Competencies and Distinguishing Competencies. Threshold Competencies are the minimum one needs to handle the cognitive complexity of a given task. Distinguishing Competencies are those traits found the the highest performers that set them above the average. Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis analyzed the internal competency models of dozens of organizations to identify Distinguishing Competencies common to all, and built their model of Emotional Intelligence from that data.

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The 12 Emotional Intelligence Competencies Defined

What is Emotional Self-Awareness? 

Emotional Self Awareness lies at the heart of emotional intelligence. Emotional self awareness is the ability to understand our own emotions and their effects on our performance. You realize how your feelings affect you and how well you’re doing. Your values and sense of purpose help set your course of action. 

What is Emotional Self-Control?
Emotional Self-Control (also known as emotional balance) is the ability to keep your disruptive emotions and impulses in check to maintain your effectiveness under stressful or even hostile conditions. With emotional balance, you recognize disruptive emotions—emotions that get in the way like high anxiety, intense fear or quick anger—and you find ways to manage your emotions and impulses. You stay calm and clear headed under stress, even during a crisis.

What is Positive Outlook? 

Positive Outlook is the ability to see the positive in people in situations and events. It means persistence in pursuing goals despite setbacks and obstacles, you can see the opportunity in situations where others would see a setback that could be devastating, at least for them. 

What is Achievement? 

The Achievement competence means that we strive to meet or exceed a standard of excellence. We look for ways to do things better. We set challenging goals, we take calculated risks. There’s a big paradox about achievement orientation, and that is when you have positive goals, it’s very helpful. But if you stay in this overdrive all the time and try to drive other people in the same pace, you can become a toxic leader. Even though achievement drive helps you get your career goals, it may make you unhappy in your life.

What is Adaptability? 

The Adaptability competence is flexibility and handling change and juggling multiple demands, adapting to new situations with new ideas or innovative approaches. It means you can stay focused on your goals, but easily adjust how you get there. You can meet new challenges and you’re nimble and adjusting to sudden change. You’re comfortable with the uncertainty that leadership can bring.

What is Empathy? 

The Empathy competence means you have the ability to sense others feelings and how they see things. You take an active interest in their concerns. You pick up cues to what’s being felt in thought. with empathy, you sense unspoken emotions. You listen attentively, to understand the other person’s point of view, the terms in which they’re thinking about what’s going on. empathic leaders are able to get along well with people of very different backgrounds and cultures, and to express their ideas in ways the other person will understand. Empathy doesn’t mean psyching out the other person so you can manipulate them, but rather, it’s knowing how best to collaborate with them.

What is Organizational Awareness? 

Organizational awareness means the ability to read a group’s emotional currents and power relationships, identify influencers, networks, and the dynamics that matter in making decisions. A leader who can recognize networking opportunities and read key power relationships will do a better job at leading. Such leaders not only understand the forces at work in an organization, but also the guiding values and unspoken rules that operate among people.

What is Influence? 

Influence as a competence refers to the ability to have a positive impact on others, to persuade or convince them to gain their support. If you’re strong in the influence competence, you’re persuasive and engaging and you can build buy-in from key people. Remember, leadership is the art of getting work done well through other people. And influence is the most powerful way to do that. 

What is the Coach and Mentor Competency? 

The Coach and Mentor competency is the ability to foster the long term learning or development of others. By giving feedback and support. You have a genuine interest in helping them develop further strengths. You give timely, constructive feedback, you understand the person’s goals, and you try to find challenges for them. 

What is Inspirational Leadership? 

The Inspirational Leadership competence is the ability to guide people to get the job done to bring up their best. With inspiration, you can articulate a shared mission in a way that motivates and offers a sense of common purpose. Beyond people’s day to day tasks. 

What is Teamwork? 

The teamwork competence is the ability to work with others toward a shared goal, participating actively sharing responsibility and rewards and contributing to the capability of the team. you empathize and create an atmosphere of respect, helpfulness and cooperation, you can draw others into active commitment to the team’s effort. Leaders skilled at the teamwork competence build spirit, positive relationships, and pride of identity at being on the team. And it’s not just teams. This competence holds the key to collaboration of any kind. 

What is Conflict Management? 

The conflict management competency means the ability to help others through emotional or tense situations, to tactfully bring disagreements into the open and to define solutions that everyone can endorse. leaders who take time to understand the different perspectives work toward finding a common ground on which everyone can agree. They acknowledge the views of all sides, while redirecting energy toward a shared ideal, or an agreeable resolution. Clearly being able to manage conflict matters for leaders. But that doesn’t mean convincing other people that yours is the correct opinion. There’s a difference between winning and effectively managing conflict.

How to Measure Your Emotional Intelligence (EI) Competencies

Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis developed an instrument in partnership with Korn Ferry to help people who want to develop their strengths in emotional intelligence. The assessment tool is called the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI). The ESCI is a 360 degree measure meaning that you first evaluate yourself, and then you ask up to 10 people who know you well, and whose opinions you value and trust, to rate you anonymously. The information collected is then fed back to you as an aggregate with a profile of your strengths and weaknesses. 

The value of the ESCI is that you can understand how others see you in relation to each of the emotional intelligence competencies. The tool also helps you identify which competencies you are skilled at and which you may need to strengthen in partnership with an EI-certified coach or develop on your own.

Emotional Intelligence Resources

If you are just beginning to explore emotional intelligence, our hope is that this article served as a valuable starting point. If you’re interested in delving deeper into emotional intelligence, below is a list of resources which may further your understanding of the brain science behind the work.

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The First Season of First Person Plural (FPP) is Here!

Welcome to First Person Plural!
Episode 0: Who We Are, and Where We’re Going

For years, Daniel Goleman’s work has been applied in personal development and business contexts to help people become better leaders. But what does emotional intelligence look like when we go beyond the first person application? 

The day we’ve been waiting for is finally here! Today marks the launch of the First Person Plural: EI & Beyond (FPP) podcast. 

Over the course of the first season, we hope to inspire FPP listeners to apply emotional intelligence to their lives, their relationships and the systems they are a part of — including their families, communities, workplaces, and society at large. 

This podcast will take you on a journey, shifting from the individual “I” into the plural “us.” In a world that has become increasingly more isolated, independent and Individualistic, we will explore how our emotions and actions cast ripple effects throughout the world.

Emotional intelligence will always begin with us — by looking within and honing our strengths in self-awareness and self-management. But this podcast will take you on a journey, shifting from the individual “I” into the plural “us.” In a world that has become increasingly more isolated, independent and Individualistic, we will explore how our emotions and actions cast ripple effects throughout the world. Using the theory of emotional intelligence, we will learn to ask deeper questions about change and collective good.

For more detail about what we can expect from the FPP podcast, we invite you to listen to the first introductory conversation ( “Episode 0”) between Dan and Hanuman Goleman.

Then, Be sure to keep an eye out for a bonus episode coming next week entitled, Emotional Intelligence 101: The Basics of EI. This episode will offer a brief overview of the theory of Emotional Intelligence for those new to the work or for anyone who could use a refresher.

Our first official three act episode, which explores wellbeing and purpose, will be released on February 9th. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest. 

None of this would be possible without the generous support from our Kickstarter supporters who helped us raise an incredible $12,000 to support the production of our first season! Thank you for believing in us and the power of emotional intelligence. Your enthusiasm and generosity has been a beacon as we delve into this adventure. 


If you’re interested in supporting our work and getting special behind-the-scenes access, consider becoming a monthly Patron!

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NYT Best-Selling Author, Daniel Goleman Launches First Person Plural—An Emotional Intelligence (EI) Podcast

First Person Plural Kickstarter

For Immediate Release

November 24, 2020

Northampton, MA

On the cusp of the release of the 25th-anniversary edition of his New York Times best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Dr. Daniel Goleman is launching the First Person Plural: EI & Beyond podcast. The podcast promises to go beyond the theory of emotional intelligence, presenting an array of stories that illuminate how emotional intelligence is being put into action. 

“A key component of emotional intelligence that is so particularly relevant these days, with crisis on top of crisis is resilience, or what we call emotional balance,” said Dr. Goleman. “It’s handling your upsetting emotions so that you can think clearly and stay calm, despite the craziness that’s going on.”

Beginning November 24, 188金宝搏 is launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to curve the production costs for the first season, which will serve as a resource to those experiencing heightened levels of stress and uncertainty.

Daniel Goleman will be co-hosting with his son Hanuman Goleman. This will be the father and son duo’s podcasting debut, propelled by their desire to share the emotional intelligence tools with as many people as possible and help them meet the challenges of the day. 

“I believe that a lot of the crises that are happening are a result of or have a direct line back to a lack of emotional intelligence—a lack of empathy, self awareness and understanding of the ways that we impact the world,” said Co-host and producer Hanuman Goleman. “If this podcast can be a part of spreading the urgency of the need for emotional intelligence, then I’ll be very happy.” 

The first few episodes will address a range of subjects from the social-emotional implications of online learning, to understanding the role of constructive anger when addressing racial injustice, and how to foster wellness and resilience through change. 

“I started out as a teacher,” said Dr. Goleman. “I later went into journalism, which I thought of as adult education, bringing information from a place where it was sequestered. My job was to translate for the general audience what was interesting, new, important, and might help improve lives.” Dr. Goleman continued, “I don’t think writing is enough these days. Podcasts are the new format for news, so I’m starting this podcast to continue educating the public on these topics.”

The 25th-anniversary edition of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ will be available on December 8, 2020. The First Person Plural: EI & Beyond podcast, brought to you by 188金宝搏, is scheduled to launch in early 2021. 

Please direct press inquiries to:

Gabriela Acosta, Communications Lead and Executive Producer. 

pr@keystepmedia.com

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Aiding Trauma Recovery With Emotional Intelligence

Executive Producer, Gaby Acosta

For the last few months, I’ve been working with a team of creative, passionate, and talented folks to conceptualize and develop a podcast about emotional intelligence and the systems we are all a part of. Hosted by Daniel Goleman and his son Hanuman Goleman, the First Person Plural: EI & Beyond podcast will encourage us to be more self-aware and deepen our understanding of how our actions influence others at a time when we need it the most.

Emotional intelligence is personal for me. 

Serving as an Executive Producer for this podcast is particularly meaningful because as a queer bi-racial Latina immigrant born at the tail end of a civil war in El Salvador (a tiny country in Central America), I’ve witnessed first-hand the aftermath of trauma. I’ve seen what it does to people and communities feeding disconnection, conflict, and violence. Trauma can also cause us to lose our sense of self and our ability to regulate our own emotions, often leading to challenging relationships with ourselves and others. 

However, the skills of emotional intelligence serve as a countermeasure in trauma recovery teaching us to become more self-aware and attune to our emotions and inevitably enabling us to become more resilient over time. My experience has shaped me into a highly curious person, fascinated by people’s stories and the unique ways we each experience the world. 

Executive Producer, Gaby Acosta attempting to work from home with her needy pets (pictured are orange tabby, Noah and husky, Kyra).

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the events of the last year have left me mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. 

We’ve all had to adjust to life in quarantine during a global pandemic. Racial violence and injustice are playing out on the global stage. We’re experiencing the devastating consequences of climate change in real-time. Oh, and did I mention that we’re amidst one of the most intense Presidential election cycles in U.S. history? 

Still, contrary to what I expected, in the past six months, these events have motivated me. More than ever, I feel called to openly discuss the complex realities of 2020—to tell the stories of those suffering and thriving at the forefront of change to bring us all into the conversation. 

Here is what I know from my own experiences with trauma: the societal tumult and volatility we’re experiencing can trigger old pain, causing deep anxiety and stress. All of us have a response to this stress: fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. Personally, when I reach my stress threshold, I tend to go into hibernation mode—I shut down or sleep to escape it all. As an adult with responsibilities, this response is not a viable solution. It’s also contradictory to my deep want to be part of creating change.

To stay rooted, calm, and focused and override my automatic stress response, I always rely on the tools of emotional intelligence. 

If you’re new to the concept, finding emotional intelligence is like putting on a pair of glasses for the first time. EI offers us the tools to see ourselves and the world around us more clearly.

Gabriela Acosta

If you’re new to the concept, finding emotional intelligence is like putting on a pair of glasses for the first time. EI offers us the tools to see ourselves and the world around us more clearly. These new lenses adjust our focus and improve the way we navigate and engage with our surroundings. At the end of the day, this newfound clarity allows us to make better choices—we are better able to manage what enters our field of vision and decide how we want to proceed.

While I can’t control what’s happening in the world or my visceral emotional responses to current events, emotional intelligence has helped me find healthier coping mechanisms. As of late, I’ve doubled down on a regular mindfulness practice to strengthen my resilience and vitality. Rather than run away from my emotions, I acknowledge how they show up in my heart, mind, and body. I also lean more heavily on my relationships and community for moral and emotional support. 

Because of the role EI plays in my life, I could not be more excited to be a part of this podcast and I am energized to share the wisdom that Dan, Hanuman, and all of our guests can offer. I believe this podcast has real potential to help people process what’s been happening in the world and to develop healthy tools that will support their wellbeing. We’ll address some highly-pertinent topics such as the challenges of social-emotional learning in the age of zoom schooling, how we can leverage constructive anger to create social change, and how our systems influence the environment. 

I believe that emotional intelligence is the antidote to some of today’s biggest challenges like extreme isolation, animosity, and polarization. Author Robert Jones Jr. explains it beautifully when he said, “we can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” Our society would go a long way if we could all remember that we are all deserving of empathy, understanding, and human decency. 

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The Vernacular of Compassion

Bryant Johnson at Work
Bryant Johnson at Work
The author at his desk

As I type this (well, not literally), I’m putting the finishing touches on a promotional video for First Person Plural: EI & Beyond, a new podcast from 188金宝搏. While my brain is awash in keyframes, masking layers, and animated warp deformations, I thought I’d take a moment to introduce myself, and my role in bringing you First Person Plural.

My name is Bryant Johnson. I’m a graphic designer, illustrator, and lately, an associate producer on First Person Plural. I’ve been working with 188金宝搏 (né More Than Sound) for seven years, designing the visual look for books, videos, pamphlets, and online trainings.

This spring, as I hunkered down in the pandemic bunker with my partner, my cats, and more streaming video than one could reasonably expect to consume in a lifetime (actually, I should have written “more books”—pretend I typed that instead), Hanuman reached out to me with the idea of creating a podcast on emotional intelligence with his father Daniel Goleman. He wanted to do a more freeform exploration of the subject, emphasizing lived human experiences. And, he asked if I’d be interested in working on it.

Of course I said yes.

Audio isn’t exactly my medium—I’ve spent most of my life working in visual media: first in print, then video and board games, and later graphic design. But the subject is one I hold dearly.

Emotional intelligence is the reconciliation between the inner world of our thoughts, emotions, hopes, fears, and biases, with the external world of our interaction with others, and the systems we all navigate.

It’s a vocabulary to describe the dynamics we’ve observed and experienced for our entire lives, but didn’t know how to express. And when everything feels like it’s on fire, it’s a bucket of cool water within grabbing distance.

In the weeks since I first wrote this, much has changed in the world. We will have the opportunity to work towards a future without hate; without fear; without a cynical and mortally willful ignorance of reality.

What excites me is the chance to combine my experience in visual storytelling with a new [to me] medium: to craft new ways to make the material accessible, educational, and fun. To build an equitable future, we need more compassion. I hope that First Person Plural will make that abundantly clear, and give listeners a chance to build the skills of emotional intelligence—the vernacular of compassion—in themselves.

We have some exciting episodes in production, and I can’t wait to have you all join us in this endeavor!

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Integrating Emotional Intelligence Into the Fabric of Our Lives

CEO Hanuman Goleman in his Home Office
Hanuman Goleman is seen at his desk with podcasting equipment, desktop computer and TV in the background.
Hanuman Goleman, Founder and CEO of 188金宝搏, sits in his home office.

Dear Community,

I am pleased to announce a new chapter at 188金宝搏: a podcast with Daniel Goleman on emotional intelligence!

Over the last few years, we turned our attention to widening access to practical emotional intelligence development by launching the training and coaching certification programs now housed under the company “Goleman EI” — programs which offer top notch EI programming for businesses and individuals.

Doing that work, we learned a lot: we reaffirmed the importance of EI; we watched hundreds of people benefit from concentrated EI training and coaching; and we connected to a deeper mission, which is to take this work as far as we can, well beyond the realm of leadership development and business.

This is why we are launching a podcast — First Person Plural: Emotional Intelligence and Beyond. Each episode will explore conscious and unconscious ways that our beliefs and ideas create the systems we are a part of. And in turn, we will look at the impact of those systems are on our daily lives. This podcast will go beyond EI theory, diving deep into the waters of how EI is lived and applied across cultures, industries, and communities of interest.

Why now?

From a growing annual fire season to widening income inequalities — from racism to a divided political landscape — the conditions we find ourselves in did not come out of nowhere. When I look at the world these days, much of what I see is the result of acting without self-awareness or regard for others. We are living the results of decisions, actions, and inactions that we, collectively, have either taken or tacitly endorsed.

This leads me to believe that now, more than ever, emotional intelligence must be integrated into the fabric of our life. If there is going to be change, we must first widen our understanding of ourselves and one another.

What’s the podcast going to be like?

My team and I are putting together a three-part podcast. In each episode you will hear from experts, game-changers and community members who will offer their thoughts on topics crucial to reinforcing EI in society. The structure for this podcast reflects my belief that it is imperative for us to have a clear conversation about the systems we are a part of — the networks and circumstances we live in willingly and unwillingly.

Systems dictate our choices. We must understand them and our role within them to create a more sustainable and just world.

When I reflect on the rise of an authoritarian mindset today in the US and around the world, I remember what my ancestors faced during the rise of fascism and Nazism in Europe.

I remember what marginalized communities have faced in the US all of their lives with the ongoing violations of their dignity and their rights.

Like so many others, I wonder “What can I do?” The scope of the situation is daunting.

Creating An Emotionally Intelligent Future

If emotional intelligence has taught me anything it is not to underestimate the power of shifting our mindset, even a little. From our mindset we begin to shift our behavior, allowing ourselves to take new actions in service of our deepest values — in service of our community!

Social change is a tall order for a podcast. But I do hope that First Person Plural can further the conversation, instill a sense of hope, and inspire action. I trust that, together, we can create a more emotionally intelligent future — one in which everyone is recognized and treated as valuable and given the resources to thrive.

I believe in humanity. I believe that we all want to thrive. When we pay attention, we can learn. We can find new ways to uplift us all.

As I write this I can hear my two children — home every day now — laughing in the background. Five and three, they bring tears to my eyes. I cannot do this podcast without thinking about the state of the world I want to see them grow up in.

There is hope. It is not over. We are still making decisions.

We are still creating the world that will become our future.

Thank you for being a part of this journey towards a wiser, kinder world.

Starting in November, keep an eye out for details about our podcast’s Kickstarter campaign. Scheduled to launch in early 2021, the first season will largely be funded by our incredible community supporters, like you. To learn more about the podcast, sign up for email notifications here.

With love,

Hanuman Goleman

188金宝搏 Founder & CEO

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Guests Inside My Head: How to Combat Rumination

How many voices chatter inside your head—especially during moments of stress? How often do they speak over each other—over you? All these voices, like guests who pop up unexpectedly to your house, demand attention. At times they are useful, for example, these voices help us intentionally look at a problem and come up with creative solutions, such as how best to navigate a difficult relationship with a new client. Sometimes they’re not helpful, and can keep us caught in a loop of repeating thoughts—we might relive a conversation from the previous day over and over again. In other words, productive mind wandering is different than what often happens—mindless chatter and unhelpful rumination. 

Particularly in moments of stress, or in the face of a setback or unexpected news, unplanned guests may storm the various rooms inside our heads, each voicing their opinions about what we should feel and how we might respond to a difficult situation. Be upset. Be generous. Be angry. Be elated. Without emotional awareness or regulation, the guests in our heads can easily turn a civilized tea party into an out-of-control rager.

These guests in our head often mill about unattended, and sometimes, undisciplined. Matt Killingsworth’s study found that 47% of the time our minds wander, mostly worried about and anticipating what’s to come, or ruminating about the past and what we coulda/shoulda/woulda. The good news: there is increasingly substantive research on how mindfulness can help us to focus on the present moment rather than get stuck in what was or what might be. Some of this research is documented in Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson’s book, Altered Traits.

Mindfulness certainly helps in situations in which the unexpected guests in our head demand so much attention that we become overwhelmed. It enables us to reduce mind wandering and focus better. We can also more effectively manage our triggers. However, as Matt Lippincott and Goleman note, we need more than awareness of our triggers. Otherwise, while we might be fully aware of these guests in our heads, we don’t know how to contain their energy. Without the other competencies of Emotional Intelligence, such as emotional balance and empathy, these guests can overwhelm us.

Whether at work or at home, practicing EI in real life is not easy. Yet without EI, the unexpected guests might overstay their welcome, causing disruption or longer-term harm to the integrity of the house. Mindfulness can encourage awareness and non-judgmental curiosity about the guests and allow us to observe them without falling down a rabbit hole of rumination. With greater self-awareness and self-management, we become more able to attend to each guest without pretending they don’t exist or trying to deny them entry. As studies have shown, suppression or avoidance of emotions and feelings generally result in the opposite of what we want—they eventually surface with even greater fury and demand for attention.

Contrary to some misconceptions, mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence don’t require that we “forgive and forget” when we are negatively impacted or triggered. The impact is still an impact. Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence offer us the tools to better manage how much we are impacted. Self-awareness helps us pay attention to the guests inside our heads without being held captive by them. Self-management enables us to not get carried away such that we forget that we are in control of which voices get to stay. Social awareness and relationship management offer us the capacity to navigate challenging dynamics with others. By practicing these competencies, we can intentionally shift from fruitless rumination to self-reflection.

We have the capacity to choose which guests inside our heads get to stay and which we release so they don’t occupy unnecessary real estate inside our heads. Then we can allow our own inner voice to speak with greater clarity and calm.

Want to develop your Emotional Intelligence in a supportive, virtual community? Over five, twelve, or twenty-four weeks, you can hone the skills that differentiate top-performers. Begin your learning journey this fall. You can learn more and register yourself or your team here.

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