About the Institute

"A use-inspired positive change Institute dedicated to creating proven solutions and tools leveraging our biogenetic needs; creating a happier, more effective person, team and organization"

"You can tell how great a CEO is by how far the culture goes into the company.”  


That was Jim Liautaud's observation.  Jim Liautaud had already started four very successful high-tech manufacturing companies by the time he was 52 and was ready to retire.  He decided that he no longer wanted to use his brain to make money but wanted to figure out why people do the things they do.  Why did CEOs and executives go through their ups and downs?  He began researching the best Positive Psychologists, and discovered that the best group leaders shared common characteristics.  


We then thought, if we could now break down each of these characteristics into small learnable sequential steps, just as Jim did in the manufacturing world (ISO), we could teach these characteristics with the same predictable outcome every time, producing a process directed system to bond and optimize teams.  After generous endowments and working with the top Neuroscientists, Psychologists, CEOs and researchers that's just what we did, and the EI leadership Institute was created.  


 Jim Liautaud passed away in 2015, but much of the work and solutions that were created live on at the EI Leadership Institute.


Who are we? 

We are passionate about changing the norm for leaders and organizations by developing evidence-based solutions, tools, research initiatives and development programs.


The Institute’s work is driven to creating a culture of membership, empowerment and meaning; breaking down barriers and shifting cultures to a more collaborative environment where they are creating innovative and customized solutions to improve their job, company and personal life.


The Institute's work has been ranked as one of the top 40 Executive Education programs along with the likes of Northwestern (Kellogg), MIT (Sloan), Columbia (Business School), Stanford (Graduate School of Business),  University of Chicago (Booth), and University of Pennsylvania (Wharton).  Our SEMCO program was ranked as one of the Top 5 programs for Organizational Development by Leadership Excellence and HR.com in 2016.  Our work has been cover storied by Leadership Excellence (Jan 2015) and featured in, ILA (2016), Research on Emotions in Organizations (2016), Forbes (2015), Inc. (2015), Time (2014), headlined by the EI Consortium and featured in the book "Extraordinary Leadership". 

Some of our Research and Case Studies 

Chicago School Principal Study: 2006-2008-- Implementation and Evaluation of the Peer Development for Emotional Intelligence Initiative for Principals of Chicago Public Schools.  The Chicago School System first applied PdEI in a two-year study with two groups of nine volunteer principals to relieve the stress of reporting to multiple supervisors. Dr. Roger Weissberg, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), successfully directed the study, which resulted in a Federal Grant to extend that program


EI Leadership Institute Corporate Study: 2007-2009-- Published in the Journal of Management Development Article, this two-year Control-Study with nine companies and 162 total participants, documented a 23% overall increase in Emotional Intelligence in the cross-section of the 81 entry, mid and senior level mixed-gender executives in the EI Leadership Institute intervention group, and also evidenced increased salaries (39.3% superior increase) and promotions compared to the control group. 

Authors: Cary Cherniss, PhD, Rutgers; Larry Grimm, PhD, UIC , James P. Liautaud, UIC.  Academic Advisory Committee: Dan Goleman, PhD; Harvard;  Roger Weissberg, PhD UIC;  Kathy Kram, PhD, Boston College,


ISO Emotional Intelligence Training Applied to Families: 2006- 2013--International Congress on Emotional Intelligence: “ISO Process-Designed-Training applied to increasing Family Social Behavior.” This seven-year, IRB Pilot Study documented the correlation of an increase in Emotional Intelligence (29%) combined with an increase in transparency (47%) among family members, correlated to an increased frequency of social gatherings (87%), among 75 members of 13 related nuclear families. The study was directed by Dr. Larry Grimm, Emeritus Chair Graduate Studies, Department of Psychology, UIC.


The EI Leadership Institute Solution's Affect on Employee Engagement- Corporate Study: 2014-2015 -- Will an Increase in the Emotional and Social Competence (ESC) Scores of Leaders Directly Correlate to Higher Engagement of their Direct Reports?  Emerald Publishing, book chapter, release July 2016.  


Twelve Chicago area companies provided eight of their supervisors/managers to participate. This research was conducted in partnership with th Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Argosy University, and measured the correlation of how increasing the ESC (Emotional and Social Competence) scores of the managers, directly affects the increased Employee Engagement scores of their direct reports.


Final Findings of above study

-- In order to see if there was a correlation between Emotional Social Competence (ESC) scores in participants and the employee engagement of their direct reports, the participants’ self-reported ESC scores were averaged and compared to their baseline results before starting the training to their final results after completing the twelve-month program. We then compared this increase to their direct reports’ ratings of their employee engagement levels before and after their supervisors went through the training. Overall means of each construct show that ESC scores increased by 8.21%, with a similar increase in employee engagement of 5.62%.


We then broke down the results to see if there were any changes in correlation by industry. The hospitality industry showed the smallest increase in employee engagement (.96%) compared to a rather large ESC increase (12.96%), although it should be noted that the sample size for this particular industry was very small (only three participants from the final analysis), and employee engagement levels started out higher than all the other industries, as well. All the other industries showed similar increases in employee engagement relative to ESC.  the other industries, as well. All the other industries showed similar increases in employee engagement relative to ESC.


We also wanted to see if gender played a role in the ESC and engagement scores. The final analysis was composed of 20 female and 40 male participants. Both baseline ESC and engagement scores were quite similar for men and women, with a 0.01 and 0.04 difference between the two baseline averages, respectively. Increases were only slightly larger for females than for males in both categories. However, when we analyzed the ESC construct by its five components (Relationship Management, Self-Esteem, Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, and Self-Management), there were differences in ESC increases by gender; although it should be noted that two companies were left out of this particular portion of the analysis (all industries were still represented).


Women rated themselves highest in Social Awareness (3.95) and lowest in Self-Esteem (3.32), whereas men rated themselves highest in Relationship Management (4.00) and lowest in Self Awareness (3.46). Women increased in Self-Esteem the most, with a 16.51% increase overall, whereas the males’ biggest increase was in Self-Management, at 12.78%.


The EI Leadership Solution's Affect on Employee Retention in Healthcare - Healthcare Study: 2015-PRESENT -- Will an Increase in the Emotional and Social Competence (ESC) Scores of Leaders and CNA's Directly Correlate to Increased Retention of their Direct Reports?

Neuroscience Supports Our Need to Group and Contribute


"Neuroscience appears to evidence a biological need to Group and Contribute, evidenced by the four chemicals it produces which are triggered when achieved. This discovery provided the biological support for the continued development of  training platforms that enhance our ability to achieve these needs."


SUMMARY: This research appears to evidence we are biologically rewarded, to connect (group) with others*. We need to 'group' for safety, education, contribution, recognition, identity, friendship and intimacy. Any sustained environment that maximizes our connection to each other, creates a biologically rewarded, deep sense of well being. In addition, we appear to be biologically driven to contribute--to end our day feeling good about ourselves. Both accomplishments trigger these chemicals:

ENDORPHINS: Endorphins produce a chemical “high” when humans accomplish goals that serve their need to improve, or achieve anything that betters their wellbeing. 


SEROTONIN: Serotonin is triggered from centers located throughout the body and brain.  It becomes activated with any activity that contributes to feelings of wellbeing. It's the reason you feel great upon completing a difficult task, or ending a day of accomplishment. Positive, highly supportive work environments trigger serotonin to continually reward the body's need to perform, to operate at a higher level, and to maximize performance. 


DOPAMINE: Dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It feeds us the highs when we're in the “zone.” Dopamine triggers a constant balance of serotonin and endorphins to reward the habits that create a high level of contribution when you're at your most productive state physically or creatively. It's meant to reward good habits, via its reward of “good feelings,” to incentivize us to continue doing what we're doing well.


OXYTOCIN: Often is referred to as the “trust” or "group" hormone, designed to reward our biological need to group with others. 






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or visit us at: 350 N Orleans St Suite #9000N Chicago IL 60654
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EI Leadership Institute is a Registered trademark, and represents the copyrighted Process, Protocol, Systems, Tools and Programs offered.