Watch the sparks fly when people, having radically different ways of thinking, interact with one another at work, home and social gatherings. If your cognitive strength is Sequential thinking (e.g. logical and orderly), you likely perceive people with Global thinking strengths as impractical and unrealistic dreamers. If your strength is Global thinking (e.g. imagination and ideating), you may view and describe Sequential thinkers as unoriginal and tedious plodders.
The Destructive Sparks of Judgment
People having similar interests, goals and personality tend to attract one another. Interpersonal conflict occurs when people are not aware of each other’s unique ways to learn, think, work, communicate, solve problems and make decisions. This potential conflict has no boundaries. It occurs between spouses, family members, friends and co-workers. Love, friendship and common goals are not always sufficient for harmonious relationships.
All too often, people hold the opinion that the way they think and process information is the “right way” and perhaps the “only way.” The destructive sparks from people with diverse brain strengths clashing with one another can cause interpersonal conflict and stress. Clashes like this also limit the possibility of mutual understanding and growth. These are the sparks of judgment and closed minds. Left unattended, they result in divorce, wounded relationships and unhappy careers.
Subtle and Big Dangers
People having the same cognitive thinking strengths often get along with one another and experience high levels of rapport and agreement. Similar thinking strengths attract. The absence of “sparks” gives them a false sense of security that all is well and they are on the right path. The danger is that they may be operating in a lopsided cognitive manner and missing a whole brained approach to life and what they are doing together.
Sequential Thinking “Blind Spots”
Sequential thinkers’ “blind spots” are what they pay least attention to and are the strengths of Global thinkers. Sequential thinkers tend to approach projects and problems in an organized and logical manner, overlooking the larger sphere of options and possibilities. Their focus and attention to detail, order, accuracy and timeliness shunts their attention from context, purpose and desired outcomes. While being highly productive and keeping within budget, sequential thinkers may not give adequate time thinking about the bigger picture, what’s changing in the world, optimum direction and best ways to proceed. They may miss seeing both risks and opportunities around them due to their “blind spots.”
Global Cognitive Thinking “Blind Spots”
Global thinkers’ “blind spots” are Sequential thinkers’ strengths. Global thinkers approach their personal and professional life from an orientation to the future. They live in their imagination doing creative problem solving, ideating new possibilities and inventing things. Global thinkers’ focus on future outcomes tends to isolate them from the practicalities of what needs to be accomplished to achieve the outcome they envision. Global “blind spots” include absence of time requirements, logic, orderliness, realism, identifying obstacles, getting other people on-board with their ideas and developing a comprehensive tactical implementation plan. Global thinkers have challenges getting single tasks accomplished with high levels of productivity.
The challenge is to acknowledge, respect and join global and sequential cognitive thinking strengths to create a “whole brain” approach. This applies to all human interactions from intimate relationships to entire organizations. Joining minds of diverse strengths is the key to creating positive and sustainable change through continuous improvement. The challenge involves suspending judgment that one way of thinking is the best way and to embrace brain strength diversity. Integrous people know and leverage their strengths and the strengths of others.
People who know how to identify, align with and leverage each other’s brain strengths experience rapport and understanding. They solve problems, make sound decisions and move mountains. Brains working together collaboratively are like millions of spark plugs creating new neural pathways, where every participant is a benefactor. The effect is radically different from watching sparks fly from people not acknowledging, respecting and leveraging each other’s brain strengths.