In September 2018, days before his fifty-fourth birthday Jack Ma announced his intention to retire. Ma founded and built Alibaba Group Holding Ltd into a multi-billion dollar company, one of the largest in Asia. In 2013 Ma appointed CEO, Daniel Zhang while continuing to wield significant influence as Group Executive. Ma expressed his wishes to withdraw to his first passion namely teaching and has been increasingly involved in educational philanthropy. On the 10th September 2019, one year after announcing his retirement Ma will step down.
Ma is one of the most prominent business leaders to use the term LQ. As we study the man and the company he built, we see many similarities and parallels making Ma one the best examples of a high LQ leader. Given that this is his last year as steward of internet giant Alibaba Group, we list our favorite Jack Ma quotes and discuss how they relate to LQ.
“We should teach our kids the EQ, IQ and LQ”Gateway ’17
We love this quote because it brings to mind a long-term way of thinking. It reminds us of our responsibility to the next generation. While IQ is not necessarily something we can teach our kids we can create the conditions for our children to develop high IQ’s. See How LQ Can Make you More Intelligent.
When it comes to EQ and LQ, the best thing we can do is to embrace these ideas and apply them in our own lives. When we develop our own emotional and love quotients, it is something our children will naturally pick up from us.
We teach our kids about LQ by living a life embodied with love and consistently raising our own LQ. It’s about how deeply we love ourselves. Having done the work on ourselves and having raised our love quotients our kids are going to naturally reflect a similar LQ.
It’s the same for EQ. When we raise our EQ, have an awareness of our emotions and an ability to communicate about them. This is behavior we model to our kids and teach them through our example.
The way to teach our kids starts with us as parents, teachers and role models. Kids will naturally pick up on that even if they never know the terms EQ and LQ.
“If a person wants to be successful, you should have a high EQ, if you don’t want to lose quickly, you should have high IQ, but if you want to be respected you should have a high LQ”Gateway ’17
EQ and LQ in particular really open the door to earning the respect of others in the long term. There are many smart people who gain the respect of others. Likewise, there are many people with high EQ’s who are great communicators, who have a high level of empathy and who respond thoughtfully to challenging situations. Like Jack Ma, these individuals are often among the most successful.
“If you want to survive the next thirty years, you should teach our kids…the care of others, in this way you can survive.”Gateway ’17
This is part of a response often given by Ma when asked about artificial intelligence and the role human beings will play in a world where machines can perform most jobs. One of things which differentiates human beings from machines is the spark of life or a soul and the energy and intention behind the acts of kindness, compassion and care. Because of these factors there will always be a need for human beings, especially individuals with high love quotients. Somebody with a high IQ or EQ could survive in the age of machines but somebody with a high LQ will thrive.
“I think in the future technology has to be fun. Alibaba has the 2H strategy for our future: happiness and health. If the advent of technology cannot make people happier and healthier, there is no point doing it.”South China Morning Post, April 2016
We think it’s wonderful that Alibaba is embracing happiness and health as part of their culture. This is such a great way of guiding the company’s objectives and really something we should all adopt in our own lives and organizations.
We also subscribe to a work culture in which work and play are in harmony and there is balance between our personal and professional lives
“I use Tai Chi philosophy in the business… Calm down—there is always a way out. And keep yourself balanced. Business is a competition, and competition is fun. Business is not like a battlefield—you die or I win. Business, even if you die, I may not win.”Quartz, Nov 2017
Love enables us to stay calm and not get wrapped up in that fight-or-flight experience. If you have a higher LQ, you’ll be calmer in these kinds of situations. Even for those who have not embraced themselves with as much love, when they’re in a company that is embracing happiness and health i.e. a company that has values that are LQ centric, this will help people not to step into fight-or-flight mode.
“When you are open-minded, when you learn from others you make progress.”Gateway ’17
Having a high LQ opens up a space for vulnerability. As we raise our LQ, at a certain point our minds and our hearts become connected and we are able to live from our hearts with our mind as a support tool. Prior to entering the heart we’re just living life from the mind alone and when we’re living life from the mind alone, it can be harder to have an open mind because vulnerability has not been fully accessed. The access to an open mind is vulnerability, vulnerability is accessed through an open heart, an open heart is accessed through raising your LQ.
“We should support more young people. We should support more SME’s. We should support more women. If they are successful, we will be successful.”Interview, Tel Aviv University, May 2018
As we’ve stated in our article on How LQ is Healing the Workplace, when a leader has loved himself then he/she will naturally want to love and support other people. Supporting someone is love in action and what love does is ask how can I be inclusive? How can I include everyone in what I am doing so that everyone can win? How can I make sure that everyone has fair access to resources? This intention is rooted in love.
With 700 million users, 70 thousand employees and a market cap of 400 billion plus the Alibaba business case shows that not only does high LQ leadership feel great it also produces results. This statement is something that comes from someone with a high LQ and we think it’s just such a great position.
“Don’t hate your competitors, respect your competitors, learn from him.”Jack Ma on IQ, EQ, LQ
This is another quote that is in alignment with LQ principles. Respect is an aspect of love accessed through self-acceptance. When we respect ourselves it gives us a greater capacity to respect differences in others or those who have interests that are not exactly aligned with our own such as competitors. We can take on a view that competitors aren’t necessarily taking away from us but can be the spark that causes us to improve and perform better. It’s all about how we view a situation.
When we respect others and ask “How can we learn from them?” our perspective changes. Instead of hating our competitors or feeling like they’re taking from us, competition is then viewed from a place of how does it make us better? This is a productive space, a space of respect and learning. However, when we feel we’re getting beat up by our competitors, it can cause us to step into a battle mentality, which is a space that can cloud our judgement, create stress and drain our energy.
Raising our LQ gives us access to a whole new paradigm rooted in love where things that may seemingly be at odds with our own objectives can actually help us grow and evolve. When we can respect others, even if they may be our competition, it just feels a lot better and we’ll end up creating better results in the long run.
“People in China and America, one thing we have in common is the heart of love and respect… This is a common language we have. The first tech revolution caused WWI, the second caused WWII, now we are a third revolution, what’s gonna happen? It should be a war against poverty, disease et cetera.”Bloomberg, Sept 2018
We love this for many reasons. Firstly, because it highlights common ground between China and America and when we focus on what brings us together not just with China but with every nation, we see that it’s our humanity, that we have hearts and that we love. When we love ourselves and raise our love quotient, we begin to have access to this unity and to seeing that all hearts are connected. This gives us a foundation to build upon and create as opposed to tearing down or destroying.
In this quote Jack Ma uses the theme of war against poverty and disease, which is in keeping with the theme of the analogy. We would like to emphasize that love allows us to step into a new paradigm of ending the fight against life. From an LQ perspective, we would reframe this as a stand for food abundance, the end of disease or access to medicine as opposed to a war on poverty, disease, etc. A stand against something is better than a battle against something.
“If you find a job you like, the 996 problem does not exist; if you’re not passionate about it, every minute of going to work is a torment,” he added.CNBC, April 2019
996 refers to the Chinese tech industry’s work ethic of 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, six days a week. This is not the country’s normal working week, which according to their labor law should not exceed 44 hours a week. They therefore see additional hours as an opportunity to earn overtime and excel in one’s career.
When you come from a place of love, it puts you in a place of realizing that there’s an abundance of options. From an LQ perspective we think the most important thing is to choose how much you want to work.
There’s a realization that we don’t have to do something that stems from some external influence. Even in a culture where 996 is the norm, we may choose whether we want to be a part of that.
It’s great to be in a place where you get to choose what you do and you love what you do. Even having the intention of that being the case is great because sometimes not everyone has that luxury especially if there’s one job available and you’ve got to make ends meet. So, then there’s the realization that “Hey I’m choosing to do this right now but I have the intention of eventually getting to do something I love.”
“Ma is a perfect example of what happens when you completely live life from love, not from fear.”Business Insider Australia, Feb 2018
This is something that has been said of Jack Ma and while this is not one of his quotes, we included it in this list because the themes of love and fear are closely linked to the love quotient. There is sometimes a general perspective that successful people have to be a certain way. Jack Ma is a great example of what can be created from love. The world needs more examples of people like Ma who are successful and respected and actively speak about love.
“If you want your company to operate with wisdom and with care, women are the best,” said Ma.Jack Ma: High EQ important for success
The energy that women can naturally bring does play a role in masculine/feminine dynamic of a business. Women naturally tend to be more caring and intuitive, perhaps because they have an easier time accessing vulnerability whereas this is something men tend to struggle with.
“If you have a different mindset, you will have a different outcome.”Gecko & Fly, April 2019
There are numerous instances in-which we talk about what happens when we increase our love quotient and many times, when we love ourselves, we begin to see things differently i.e. we experience a shift in perspective / mindset.
We can bring about a change in mindset without love, but when we are living life from the heart, we have greater access to vulnerability, which means that we can more easily allow ourselves to be wrong. When we are just in our minds without love, there may be a strong need to be right, and when we have a need to be right and to be seen as right that can make it hard to shift into a different mindset. However, when we are rooted in the heart, when our thoughts and understanding of things begin to arise out of the heart then changing our mindset or perspective becomes much easier.
When the need or attachment to being right becomes less important, it creates a greater openness to look at other points of view and also to access our own intuition which will open up greater possibilities based on what’s currently happening.
“Only fools use their mouth to speak. A smart man uses his brain and a wise man uses his heart.”Gecko & Fly, April 2019
We love that this quote highlights wisdom being guided by love. This is another intersection where EQ and IQ interrelate with LQ. We want love to be guided by our emotional and intellectual intelligences just as we want these intelligences to be guided by love.
Paraphrasing “There are three Jack Ma’s…the first Jack Ma is people’s imagination…the second Jack Ma is the CEO and Chairman of Alibaba. This is not me, it’s my job. I love to make friends, I love to have fun so I want to get back to myself. Anything that a lot of boys want to do, I want to do. This is why I want to retire early, I can go back to myself. The real Jack is something that I always want to come out.“Interview, Tel Aviv University, May 2018
It is great when we work in jobs where our true selves can shine through because this is one of the most kind and loving actions we can take for ourselves and it is something worth striving towards. We therefore love Ma’s intention “The real Jack is someone that I always want to come out”.
This is in line with our idea of the inner child, the innocence with whom we want to create a better relationship. When we create a relationship with our inner child and love ourselves, we raise our love quotient. Through raising our LQ we discover that there is a way to build an incredible business or career from the spirit and energy of our inner child, from this place of innocence and wonder.
Jack Ma has been an inspiration to us and there are many perspectives and philosophies we share. Many of his ideas resonate deeply with us as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world. Given his astonishing success, Jack Ma’s advice, opinions and predictions are picked up by the international media and repeated many times over. We admire the fact that he has used his platform to highlight important issues, such as the importance of love in all spheres of life.