It is always thrilling to see the application of Whole Brain® Thinking have significant impact! This week in South Africa I was delighted to honor that achievement by bestowing our Big Thinker Award to Pieter du Toit for his application of Whole Brain® Learning Design to Higher Education.
We are thrilled to participate in the CEO Action Day of Understanding this year, during which organizations encourage their teams to have discussions to further understand and embrace their differences and work to educate their people to build more inclusive cultures.
Our bet for the biggest idea in management for 2020? Cognitive diversity.
Cognitive diversity is broad concept, but we define it as the differences in the thinking (i.e., cognition, perspective or information processing styles) that people use to process the world around them, collaborate, solve problems, and make decisions.
Understanding these differences in thinking, and how to harness them, enables teams to tackle problems in new ways and increase their productivity. For organizations, building a culture of inclusion around these varied perspectives strengthens that culture, builds agility in change, and ultimately drives better business results.
More and more organizations are recognizing that a team approach can be a key driver of business performance. But just having teams isn’t the answer, of course. Those teams have to be productive and able to work together to deliver more value as a whole than they would as individuals.
The stakes are high: If the team breaks down or can’t get it together, the business suffers. So we decided to take a look at what some of the world’s best-performing teams are doing to see what we can learn from their productivity and performance secrets.
For many, the word “diversity” brings up images of staid EEOC training or well-intended but not necessarily critical programs—the “have-to-dos” that don’t get much buy-in or enthusiastic support across the business. So it’s probably not the first word that comes to mind when you’re talking about innovation.
But here’s why it should be.
For the past few months I’ve been focusing on creating products for our customers to help them understand and adapt to change. The challenge is that change isn’t going to stop for any of us, so the best we can do is learn how to adapt as quickly as possible. Inspirational blogger and author Seth Godin might say it’s more about responding and less about reacting. When we respond we are present and can take action, but when we react we resist, complain, and get stuck. And that’s exactly what happened to me and my cat this week.
Good design is about good communication. It’s a type of conversation between the designer and the user that just happens to not use any words. When you think of it that way, it’s no surprise that Whole Brain® Thinking can have just as much impact on design as it can on any verbal or written conversation.
One of the most important parts of the Scrum process is the Sprint Review. It’s the chance to show your work to a broad audience, get feedback, and get aligned on where to focus next. Whole Brain® Thinking can be applied here to ensure the outputs land with as many different Thinkers as possible.
Here at Herrmann, our team members are big believers in Agile software development philosophy, particularly the Scrum variety. We've been using Scrum since I started here almost five years ago, and in that time we've been able to expand on the baseline Scrum processes and add a Whole Brain® Thinking spin to them. The place where Whole Brain® Thinking has made the biggest impact has been how we write our user stories.
Even in normal times, managers in the core of any company face significant challenges; they have to communicate up, down, and laterally in order for everyone to be productive. But, in a merger all of those relationships change all at the same time.