Collaborative Intelligence Networking Event
How do you define collaboration? I recently attended an event in San Francisco where, Angie McArthur author of Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking with People who Think Differently, defined collaboration and how to bring it to fruition. As she discussed, we often assume that collaboration is synonymous with cooperation. But is it? Angie McArthur does not think so, and I agree with her in this regard. During the event she delved deeper into what it takes to collaborate effectively. What really resonated with me was when she said “Collaboration is more than just cooperation or teamwork. It invites different perspectives to meet an ultimate goal.”
It is easy to overlook the components of successful collaboration. True collaboration exists when each individual is not only cognizant of his/her own process of thinking, but also aware of the processes used by the people they are interacting with. As Angie McArthur emphasized: “The only way to form relations is to find the opening of the mind through questions.” Some individuals are more self-aware than others, and therefore may find collaboration to be a simpler process fueled by their ability to identify their own strengths and weaknesses. Others, however, may require external tools to assist them in their journey to self discovery.
There are a variety of different tests out there that can help bring about a better understanding of oneself. In my opinion, I wouldn’t necessarily consider this self-awareness, since self awareness is a long journey requiring more than just completing a few Personality Tests. However, it can definitely help highlight aspects of yourself that you may have neglected to notice otherwise. Some of these tests include, Myers-Briggs Personality Test, Color Personality Test, and the Thinking Talents Quiz, that Angie McArthur shared during her presentation. This quiz maps your thinking talents within four quadrants, Analytic, Innovative, Procedural, Relational, and some specific talents like, humor, fall under a category labeled “All.”
Angie McArthur aims to highlight the idea of “Thinking Talents.” These are ways that we process various types of information. Thinking talents are not just activities we excel in, but encompass talents that also bring us immense joy, invigoration, and happiness. Ironically, others may often misconstrue these talents as something negative. This can be caused by a lack of awareness/understanding for how others process information. For example, an individual with a natural talent of leadership, may be interpreted by some as bossy. In reality, being a leader is a thinking talent for this particular person, and it is important for others to be aware of the various types of thinking talents that their colleagues exhibit. This understanding is fundamental in catalyzing genuine collaboration.
Collaboration is cultivated when people interact with those who don’t think like them, explained Angie. Through questioning, we can begin to understand others’ talents to build better relations and communication styles. In doing so, we may compliment each other’s talents, invite different and new perspectives, and ultimately work together to meet our goal.
The next time you are collaborating, pause and take a second to think about your own thinking talents, and strive to understand and be aware of the thinking talents of those around you.
P.S. Just in case you ever want to collaborate with me, check out my Thinking Talents results below. 🙂 You can also take the quiz by downloading the Thinking Talents quiz on your Iphone!