We need new ideas for our future – And the courage to put them into action. Analog skills such as communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration are becoming increasingly important.
Diversity is a topic everyone is talking about. So is creativity. But the powerful tool of cognitive diversity is still largely unused in German-speaking countries.
In this article, I explain how I came across the topic of cognitive diversity, what benefits we all derive from consciously using diversity in thinking, and how this knowledge can be used for more creativity and constructive communication in teams.
I myself have always met people all over the world who try hard to do their best. For themselves and for their team. And really every person I know wants a workplace where he or she feels valued and comfortable. And in the vast majority of cases, people would like to develop personally. These are fantastic conditions, aren’t they? Unfortunately, this further development is extremely difficult for a lot of people. Many seminars and courses are attended, everything presented is understood and noted down, but then not actively used. I have always wondered what the reason for this could be.
The problem is not that there are no offers. There are countless offers for personal development, personnel development, team building, communication etc. But most people attend these seminars and workshops without having learned to “read” themselves. And this is exactly where the issue lies, because only those who know themselves and thus their own approaches and preferences, are aware that other people have different approaches and preferences. So empathy starts with oneself.
Another conspicuousness that I have noticed repeatedly in connection with different teams: There is very often a great deal of dissatisfaction within teams that is based on communication difficulties. Why is communication better with some colleagues than with others?
A solution approach – Cognitive Diversity
Cognitive diversity is a method of resolution that can answer many questions and create the necessary awareness.
Have you ever asked yourself HOW you solve a problem? For the most part, it is only the outcome that is of interest, right? Yet, the “HOW” is one of the most important questions of all.
The creative thinking process
We all go through the four phases of the creative thinking process every day as we solve small, as well as complex, problems.
These four phases are:
- Generate ideas
- Develop solutions
We master these phases more or less well. But what is crucial at this point is the fact that every person has completely individual thinking preferences within this process.
This explains, for example, why one repeatedly gets “stuck” at the same point in a thinking process. Or, why one can cooperate better with some colleagues, whereas with others the communication is already misdirected in phases of consultation. And whenever things do go wrong, the result is frustration and disinclination to work
And the consequence: One looks for team partners who have the same “thinking style” as oneself. This is a fatal mistake, because to be an effective, creative team that solves problems sustainably and delivers innovation, it is imperative that all phases are considered.
But how do you find out your own thinking preferences?
To find out about one’s own thinking preferences, you can have individual thinking profiles created for yourself and also for teams and learn the corresponding communication tools. The second way to find out people’s thinking preferences is to take a closer look at your own characteristics and the characteristics of the people you work with.
Clarifiers, for example, tend to be detail-oriented, focused, serious, and well-organized,
Ideators stand out for their ingenuity, playfulness and flexibility.
Developers are cautious, planning-oriented and structured and
Implementers tend to be determined, persistent and action-oriented.
In addition to the clear thinking profiles (founded by Dr. Gerard Puccio) within the four phases, there are 11 other different basic thinking profiles with an infinite number of individual variants.
Cognitive diversity, as a powerful tool in communication, can also be learned. In order to motivate excellency, it should be formulated and asked according to the thinking preferences
Clarifiers need numbers, data, facts and everything as detailed as possible
Ideators love good storytelling and big visions
Developers perform best when they are given enough time and good arguments an
Implementers like to feel like they are in control and getting into action.
From the valuable information of individual thinking profiles, teams can be assembled and trained to be so diverse in their approaches, that changes in perspective and diversity can blossom into the highest level of creativity. And the most beautiful side effect is that the people within these teams feel real empathy and appreciation and are more motivated to give their best. That’s why knowing your own thinking preferences is a real bridge builder and eye-opener.
With these requirements, personal development and soft skills training is individually possible for oneself and for teams.