Do you know what your cognitive style is?

Do you have a lot of great ideas but rarely get the chance to put them into action? Or do you lack good ideas but always seem to be the one who gets things done? Your cognitive style – also known as your chosen manner of understanding and approaching issues – may be related to the group you fall into.

What exactly is it? We all have a favourite hand, foot, eye, and ear, and we all have a favored method of thinking as well. In fact, Ned Hermann, author of The Creative Brain, identified four different cognitive styles, two from each hemisphere of the brain, for a total of four thinking quadrants.

Analytical thinking, a penchant for data, facts, figures, and rationality, is found in the left hemisphere. Procedural thinking, on the other hand, is concerned with processes, logistics, operations, and tactics, such as precise step-by-step protocols. Relational thinking, which is all about feelings, morale, teamwork, and human development, is found in the right hemisphere. There’s also future-oriented thinking, a cognitive predisposition for newness, possibilities, strategy, and the big picture.

Not only that, but each thinking ability is linked to a cognitive style, implying that you have natural strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you or your team has a lot of inventive thinking abilities, such as being extremely adaptable and always learning, but lacks procedural skills, you’ll probably have a lot of ideas but struggle to make them a reality. In reality, research show that only 3% of people have innate abilities in all four domains.

However, understanding your own and others’ cognitive patterns will increase teamwork and communication. When you’re presenting a new idea, for example, it’s normal to get “yes-but” queries like, “This sounds wonderful, but how can we get enough people on board to actualize it?” Many people feel attacked or stressed when they are asked such questions, but it is important to examine where the person is coming from. This will show you that your interrogator is truly supportive of your proposal, just from a different angle.

When confronted with a question to which you have no response, how long do you take to accept your ignorance? People who take a long time to admit their guilt in such instances may benefit from knowing that intellect is something we develop rather than something we are born with.

That’s because believing intelligence is fixed makes people feel obligated to know everything and hide what they don’t know in order for others to think they’re intelligent. A growth mind-set, as defined by psychologists, is the belief that intelligence evolves with time and that problems are opportunities for learning.

With this mindset, every encounter is viewed as an opportunity to learn something new. As a result, asking questions is the best method to learn, grow, and connect with people. That’s because effective questions connect us to what we already know while also inspiring us to explore new possibilities by looking at the world from other angles. A fantastic inquiry is the starting point for any amazing idea.

However, in order for inquiries to be useful, you must be okay with uncertainty. That’s because the most important questions aren’t easy to answer, and we shouldn’t expect simple answers. However, we are taught to come up with answers at school, and there are even competitions to see who can answer the fastest.

As a result, unsolved questions irritate us, and we want to avoid them. Being able to cope with uncertainty, on the other hand, is similar to strengthening a mental muscle. This is because it allows your mind to open up to new possibilities.

Have you ever been in a meeting when nothing seemed to be getting done? Well, there is a way to prevent this dilemma, and it all boils down to asking success-oriented and deliberate questions. When you’re stuck or overwhelmed, questions like these can help you or your team get rolling again.

This is how they function. A success-based inquiry is intended to remind you of a past success while also increasing your current confidence by analyzing the conditions that made it possible. “When have we faced a comparable challenge in the past, and what did we do to overcome it?” for example. Using the intelligence of team members to encourage a growth mindset, you can bring the wisdom of one experience to bear on another by asking questions like this.

An purposeful inquiry, on the other hand, reminds you of what’s important in order to clarify your priorities. “What’s challenging me?” might be a good question to ask if you’re feeling lost, overwhelmed, or puzzled. “What is the most essential aspect of this to me?” “What do I want to take away from this?” or “What do I want to learn from this?” Each of these is an unanswered question that only you have the ability to answer. They’ll give you the courage to succeed in the face of adversity and complexity.

Not only that, but by asking powerful questions about all four quadrants of cognitive styles, your team will be able to explore different views by focusing on differences. That’s because, just as each of us has a favored way of thinking, each of us has a chosen way of asking questions.

To get the most out of this diversity, have each team member ask questions that come easily to them, ensuring that the problem gets looked at from all angles. “What is the most logical solution?” would question someone with an analytical mindset. “How much time will it take?” a procedural thinker could ask. In this approach, impactful inquiry will help you and your team reconnect with your natural talents while also pointing up areas where you might need extra help.

It’s satisfying to hold a group’s attention. So, what can you do to keep them interested? By focusing on the present and taking into consideration individual variations, you may match your attention with that of your team. Identifying the various assets and skills in the room can help you catch everyone’s attention in a meeting. You could do so by recalling each person’s previous contributions and what they excel at.

Then it’s critical to give everyone a chance to share what keeps them focused on a personal level, and to urge them to take the necessary actions to stay on track, whether it’s going for a walk or having a moment of silence. But bear in mind that purpose drives behavior, and it’s critical to keep it focused on a specific goal. If you’re working on a group project, have everyone bring in a photo that summarizes their motivations for taking part. The group’s aims will be unified if all of these images are hung together on a wall.

Then, by combining these techniques with an inventive perspective aiming at a common vision, you may develop the motivation your organization requires to achieve its goal. It’s simple to direct your imagination; all you have to do is recognize the worth of your shared desire to create and explore possibilities.

These three elements of mindshare, when combined, will generate an unstoppable trajectory. For example, South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup just one year after apartheid ended. In an effort to unite the country, the national team visited all of the country’s poorest townships and played with local children, resulting in increased goodwill and support. As a result, the nation’s focus, intention, and creativity were directed toward a unified goal, and they were able to win the cup.

Everyone has their own way of thinking, questioning, and tackling problems. It’s critical to understand both your own and your coworkers’ working styles in order to collaborate effectively. Exploring your group’s diversity will greatly increase your group’s capacity to communicate and collaborate.

In conclusion, try putting together a collaboration guidebook for your team. Write a one-pager for each member of your team on their mental patterns, thinking talents, blind spots, cognitive styles, and anything else that can benefit them, such as how they prefer to receive information and feedback. Then get together as a group to share and explain your results before compiling them into a booklet that everyone can read.

Check out my related post: How do bees, deep learning and an iPhone go together?

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