Sharon Taylor - Mar 20, 2020

Why Cognitive Diversity Drives Business Success

If you’ve participated in an Emergenetics® workshop, you probably remember one of our signature activities: Krazy Kontrapshuns. Without giving too much away, the exercise engages participants in a somewhat outlandish game of charades.

While the activity adds a lot of laughter to the session, what’s most impressive about it is its connection to business. What Krazy Kontrapshuns really highlights is the power, creativity and speed with which work can be accomplished when you engage a WEteam™ or a group of cognitively diverse individuals.

What we’ve found is when you bring together a competent WEteam that has trust in one another, there are few limits to what they can achieve.

As you consider primary drivers for your business’s success, I invite you to reflect on how cognitive diversity can propel your teams and organisation forward.

Seven Ways a Whole Brain Approach Strengthens Your Business

1. Diversity of thought increases productivity.

The Harvard Business Review reported on a study where teams with different levels of cognitive diversity engaged in a problem solving challenge. Of the teams with the least cognitive diversity, two failed the challenge entirely, while the others needed 34.5 minutes to finish.

By comparison, the top performing teams had the highest levels of cognitive diversity and each successfully completed the challenge in less than 23 minutes. Imagine how much your organisation could accomplish with the efficiencies gained from diversity of thought!

2. Cognitive diversity encourages origination.

We’ve all heard about the negative impact of groupthink:

  • The same styles of thought often lead to the same ideas.
  • People who think alike are more likely to experience confirmation bias when working together.
  • And, as author Matthew Syed shared, leaders who think the same tend to arrive at worse decisions than those that don’t.

With unique perspectives, teams enhance innovation by about 20 percent and see greater profitability and long-term value creation.

3. Different ways of thinking decrease risk.

Cognitive diversity doesn’t just contribute to new ideas and creativity, it also helps reduce risk by up to 30 percent. When you bring together multiple perspectives, you have a group of people who are well equipped to discover gaps in logic or ask questions that have not been considered. In the end, these actions lead to a decision that is less precarious – even if the idea is completely new.

4. Cognitive diversity supports employee engagement.

When you encourage people to share their insights and show respect for their perspectives, your employees will feel valued. When employees work at a company where they are appreciated, it’s no wonder that they are more engaged. In fact, research from Quantum Workplace found that employees who felt more confident in the cognitive diversity at the company tended to be more engaged than their counterparts.

5. Diversity of thought drives employee advocacy.

Building on point #4, engaged employees who feel respected and appreciated are more likely to become advocates for your company. When they actively sing your organisation’s praises, your company typically experiences greater employee retention and you may also find that recruitment becomes easier.

6. Cognitive diversity builds consensus at pace.

In addition to helping teams solve problems faster, diverse perspectives can help you build consensus. When a team approaches a problem from many lenses you can feel more confident that all sides of an issue have been explored, which means your chosen path has a much better chance of resonating with your broader employee base.

7. Different perspectives create options.

With the innovative ideas and unique insights delivered by cognitive diversity, you can have multiple avenues to choose from when approaching a challenge. And when you do make a decision you can feel confident in your direction.

If you’re ready to get serious about promoting diversity of thought in your company, the first step is to find an offering that can help you identify the different ways your teams prefer to think and behave. With this insight into your employees’ preferences, you can start to utilise the brilliances already available in your organisation and invite underrepresented perspectives to the table.

Interested in using cognitive diversity in your organisation? Connect with our team today to learn more about the Emergenetics Profile and our accompanying tools and workshops.

This article was originally published in Emergenetics International Blog Why Cognitive Diversity Drives Business Success" .

Written by Sharon Taylor