“If your team isn’t cognitively diverse, you’re missing a huge opportunity.” Geil Browning, Emergenetics
How to Achieve It
by Geil Browning
Chances are, you’re not going to just stumble across a cognitively diverse team in the wild. You need to be deliberate. If you have a tool like Emergenetics to uncover preferences, that’s great, but if not, you can apply these tactics.
Ask for volunteers to fulfill roles. If you’re a team leader, you can see inklings of how team members think. Ask the team for volunteers who can naturally bring a perspective of analytical, structural, social, and conceptual thinking to the table. Make sure they’re responsible for the perspective. Do the same for expressiveness, assertiveness, and flexibility–you need representation from across each spectrum.
Put tasks and projects into a diverse approach. Any initiative the team works on can be seen through the lens of cognitive diversity. If you’re having a meeting, ensure that you approach it from all seven attributes. As you come up with solutions, put each into a framework and test it against the full thinking and behavioral spectrum–does the solution speak to analytical concerns, for example? Is it resonant for structural thinkers? Ask this question for each attribute.
The potential for cognitive diversity exists for all groups and teams whether they are naturally diverse or not. In reality, unbalanced teams exist. What’s important is that you as a leader are in touch with the team dynamic and take a deliberate approach to assigning work and creating teams. With conscious effort, balance can be achieved, and potential unlocked and channeled into results.