Embracing Diversity of Thinking: A Catalyst for Inclusion and Innovation.
Of all the factors that drive personal and organizational effectiveness, diversity of thinking stands tall as a crucial element in decision-making, team dynamics, leadership, and board effectiveness. It is widely acknowledged that biases in the diversity of perspectives hinder progress and inhibit innovation at all levels. Yet, in our pursuit of diversity and inclusion, we often overlook the importance of cognitive diversity—diversity of thinking. Today, we invite you to explore the concept of diversity of thinking and discover how it can be fully leveraged by integrating it into your training and facilitation practices. This fosters an environment that cultivates creativity, critical thinking, accountability, and collaboration.
Understanding the Essence of Diversity of Thinking
Thinking, as a shared human experience, drives our words and behaviors—our cognition. However, the complexity of cognitive diversity, typically described with many dozens of traits, poses challenges for us when it comes to creating a clear dialogue about our differences, and their collaborative value. We need a comprehensive framework that encompasses all thinking traits without explicitly naming them, thus allowing a universal understanding and appreciation of diverse thinking styles and how to include them effectively in our processes.
Embracing Thinking Diversity Through a Time-Based Framework
MindTime®, a theory of mind based on the concept of time as the framework of thought, offers a profound way to comprehend and appreciate diversity of thinking. Developed over a span of 25 years by a team of thought leaders, scientists, designers, and engineers, MindTime has proven itself to be a simple yet powerful tool for understanding thinking diversity and showing a clear method for successful inclusion. By recognizing the underlying motivations behind our individual thinking traits, MindTime provides a holistic perspective on why people behave the way they do. As Simon Sinek aptly stated in his famous TEDx talk, “It’s not what you do that’s important, it’s why you do it, it’s in your biology.” Embracing diverse thinking styles requires acknowledging the inherent value each brings to the table, unlocking the true potential of diversity.
Moving Beyond Inclusion: Leveraging the Benefits of Thinking Diversity
While diversity and inclusion have become central themes in organizational discourse, their impact will remain limited unless we unlock the deeper and broader potential of thinking diversity. By establishing a common framework of understanding, we put in place the necessary foundation for exploring and building on its potential. We can move beyond the notion of inclusion and leverage the actual benefits and results offered by diverse thinking styles. The value of thinking diversity extends far beyond surface-level improvements. Organizations that embrace the diversity of thinking witness a host of positive outcomes, such as enhanced innovation, collaboration, personal commitment, retention, relationship health, and increased efficiency in meetings and communication. The key point being made is this. It is not enough to merely have diversity; true value emerges when diversity is fully included by design.
The Power of Acknowledging Differences: Introducing the 22 Golden Minutes Program
Recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion, it is crucial to acknowledge the individual needs and communication styles within a group, be it a training session, a board, a team, or any other group of people engaged in some activity with each other. The transformative impact of acknowledging people’s differences from the very beginning is usually self-evident. By explicitly addressing the diversity of needs and communication styles present in a group, a safe and inclusive environment is created where every participant feels seen and valued. This paves the way for more meaningful interactions and experiences.
The 22 Golden Minutes program was developed based on this insight, it’s about people, start with people. It is a simple and effective way to recognize and honor diverse thinking styles within any learning environment. It literally plugs in at the beginning of training or a class. Built on the insights provided by the MindTime framework, it takes only 22 minutes to recognize everyone in the room while preserving anonymity, allowing individuals to fully engage without the need to disclose their own thinking styles. This is the power of MindTime, one framework, all people included. And, it allows the instructor to tailor their approach to meet the actual needs of people in the room.
Embracing Diversity of Thinking for a Brighter Future
Trainers, facilitators, and learners have a unique opportunity to drive change and cultivate an environment that celebrates diversity of thinking. Embracing diversity of thinking fosters inclusion, innovation, and resilience—an environment where every voice is valued and where collaboration thrives.
It is in our hands to create a future that honors the richness of our collective thinking. There is a huge opportunity to reshape the landscape of organizations and drive meaningful progress that benefits individuals, teams, and society as a whole. It’s About People.