Celebrate differences

by Catherine Mattiske · 4 min read
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Global Business Educator and Author Catherine Mattiske Shares Why (and How) to Have Diversity of Thought on Your Team.
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People often hire people exactly like themselves, which is a big mistake, according to Global Business Educator and Author Catherine Mattiske. Instead, high-performance leaders seek out opposite and contrasting opinions. Because if you have a team thinking just like you, you end up spinning your wheels and never getting anywhere.

A balanced team is one constructed of people who differ widely, bringing a variety of mindsets, points of view, and opinions, Catherine says. Each works on a different part of the puzzle, seeing the task at hand from their unique perspective, which allows them to come together to create the most robust and most viable solution.

How can such a team be constructed? How can you make sure your team has a balanced diversity of thought?

Catherine is founder of The Performance Company, a leading training and consulting organization that has worked with Fortune 100 companies around the world. A globally-recognized training expert and author/creator of the “Inner Genius” book and e-suite, she has focused her 30 years of experience on creating the Genius Quotient (GQ). GQ maps 12 learning, listening, and communication profiles; with knowledge of these 12 profiles, high-performance leaders are able to populate their teams with contrasting opinions plus perfectly balance them out with a diversity of thought.

Why Have Diversity of Thought on Your Team?

Everyone has their unique way of learning and taking in information. Catherine calls this our “Brain Fuel.” Everyone processes the information they learn in different ways. Some of us focus on the big picture, others zero in on the facts and concepts, others want hands-on practice, and others explore every variation and variable. Catherine calls this our “Processing Power.”

Everyone’s learning gets energized in different ways. Some of us learn better while alone, others in groups; some are fueled by the written and spoken word, others numbers and data; some of us want to classify and sort, and others enjoy a rhythmic flow, beat, or sequence. Catherine calls this our “Power Up.”

As a leader, to strive for a diverse, balanced team, you want these varied types of learners, listeners, communicators, and thinkers on your team. A team that approaches problems differently, providing a different perspective, results in inclusion, ideas that you may never have considered, and coming up with solutions you may never have thought of. Imagine a workplace where different thinkers work together in harmony and tinker to provide solutions to the problem at hand. Now contrast with a team solely comprised of people fueled by numbers and data — those solutions are bound to be one-sided and static, especially if the leader is fueled by numbers and data. “It’s easy to hire people like ourselves,” says Catherine. “And, just because they are like you doesn’t mean that they provide the optimum mixture of thought, productivity, and ideas to the team. Balance and diversity are the keys.”

How to Have Diversity of Thought on Your Team

With her 30 years of experience, Catherine has compiled each of the “Brain Fuel” and “Processing Power” profiles down into 12 “Inner Genius Archetypes.” This is known as the Genius Quotient (GQ). Every one of us fits quite snugly into one of the 12 Archetypes. After gaining knowledge of which Archetype you are — and which 11 you aren’t — you can quickly identify them in others and create perfectly balanced teams. However, this doesn’t mean you need to recreate a Round Table of exactly 12 employees with each of the 12 Archetypes — though it would be nice! Catherine instead suggests:

1. Avoid hiring anyone who matches your own Inner Genius Archetype. You already have you — why do you need someone to parrot your same thought processes back to you?

2. Populate your team with at least one Archetype of each of the four “Processing Power” profiles. This ensures your team members are tackling the problem from a different angle.

3. Use the “Inner Genius Wheel,” a communication tool used to design emails, presentations, reports, and any other form of communication. When people use this tool, they can ensure that everyone will be hooked in, engaged, and influenced to action.

4. Use the “Inner Genius Team Map,” a leadership tool used to determine which Archetypes to create your team from. The Team Map quickly shows which Archetypes are related by “Processing Power” profiles. This tool is valuable for a team-building session to bring the entire team on board with who’s who and optimize working together.

About Catherine

About Catherine mattiske

Catherine Mattiske, best known for creating ID9 Intelligent Design and the Genius Quotient (GQ), is a leading light in the corporate learning and team-building industries. She regularly works with large and small organizations to help team members better understand one another while effectively collaborating and boosting individual and team morale and productivity in the workplace.

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