To know ourselves and those around us

Jack pointed to a test for assessing one’s own innovation style, and he values the mutual awareness of styles:

“the better we know ourselves and those around us, the better we can work together”

1. I wonder how this applies to the relationship between consultants and their clients. The latter will probably not be considerate of the former’s styles and of the possible reasons for misunderstanding. In a paper I cited recently, Mullony (PDF) explored the analyst-user cognitive style differential and found out that a mismatch causes problems.

Perhaps this is a good reason why some use to work closely together with a complementary partner. Perhaps the tandem of a right-brainer and a left-brainer is a competitive advantage (just as, for owls, looking at the same object in the darkness using their left and right eye in parallel, is an advantage for them, such that their gaze appears almost “wise” to us and they are often taken as the symbol of wisdom.)

2. A remaining problem is that often these style tests are not clearly enough restrained from ability tests, and it is certainly difficult to design a fair test: either it uses self-descriptions and may therefore be biased by ambitions, or it needs to measure some performance in solving some tasks and therefore the scores may correlate with abilities. Although the above cited test claims that it does not measure the amount of innovativeness, I think just by emphasizing that everybody is sufficiently innovative with varying flavours, the prejudice is enforced that being innovative is a must. Mullony, in contrast, measured innovators vs. adaptors and stated that

“According to Kirton, the presence of both cognitive extremes are necessary for the well-being of the organisation; adapters to improvise to make up for a lack of technology, and innovators to prevent organisational stagnation.”

Appreciating such equipotence of styles will probably make it easier to know ourselves and those around us.

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