Cognitive Diversity and Jumping Off the Log

Key Point: Harnessing cognitive diversity, unleashing creativity and acting on it in the workplace, is every bit as important and transformative as embracing breakthrough digital technology. And as I emphasized in our previous blog, networks and the subsequent connectivity alters everything. So in this context, advanced human networks in organizations need to burst out like festival fireworks. The best organizations are creating new conditions to do that. The following strategic “people tenants” are, in my opinion, vital to open up the gates of those human networks. 

  1. Commitment to cognitive diversity.

I really appreciate the way Facebook embraces diversity. Regina Dugan is a senior executive leading one of Facebook’s most important “big idea” projects. According to a recent Fast Company article, she’s learned that assembling a diverse group of perspectives is essential to the creative process. I totally agree with her following comment:

“The ultimate goal is cognitive diversity, and cognitive diversity is correlated with identity diversity. That means it’s not just about [getting] women in tech. It’s about broad voices, broad representation. But we can’t step away from the idea that in the workplace, diversity also looks like identity diversity. You have to get to the place where you aren’t made comfortable by the fact that everyone is the same, but rather feel inspired by how different we are. We get better problem-solving that way.”

  1. Confidence to create and always ask “what if?”

Imagine an organization where everyone regardless of job description viewed themselves as creators, scientists, artists, and everything in between. Everyday, people would come to “work” bringing a confident “what if?” mindset, zipping past the daily challenges of resistance, self doubt and procrastination with a compelling need to create and continuously reimagine. When we are in the act of moving and building, we flow and generate energy. And when we create, fear and resistance tends to fall away. 

  1. Getting S!#% done by actually jumping.

There’s an old riddle that says, “Three frogs are sitting on a log. One decides to jump off. How many frogs are left?” The correct answer is “three.” One frog decided to jump, but the implication is that the frog never acted on jumping. Winning organizations are not your typical frog. What if the culture of an enterprise expects solid judgment through mindfulness, and values and rewards the jump (regardless of the landing)?

I want to advance our organization through creating and promoting breakthrough collaborative, networked human systems, embracing cognitive diversity, confident creativity and the courage to act. This generates flow and when people and an organization find this movement toward a greater purpose, something magical happens.

Character Moves:

  1. Evaluate yourself and your team on the three elements above. Do you bring your unique cognitive diversity, respectfully seek it in others, confidently create through relentless “what if?” and do you dare to jump off that log?  

Jumping off in the Triangle 

Lorne 

One Millennial View: I seem to hear reason after reason why it’s best to live in a state of discomfort, where cognitive diversity and “what if’s” also exist. It’s not as “safe” or easy, but the worst skydiving story I’ve ever heard is one where someone decided not to jump and safely landed back in the plane. 

– Garrett

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