June 9, 2009

Cognitive Diversity

I am extremely bothered by the trend of business partners or colleagues to aggregate their years of professional work and declare in marketing materials, for instance, "Between them, they have 50 years of experience." I thought this bugged me because it is a meaningless statement. What knowledge does this offer? It merely serves to distract me from their following statements, as I mentally attempt to divide up and guess their respective ages. (If any readers have an inclination of the origins of this trend, please do let me know.)

I now realize that, rather than lacking in meaning, such pronouncements do indeed impart a message: that this team is offering More of the Same. Why, their work is so similar, it can all be lumped and added up together! Such mathematical trickery serves only to disguise empty value.

Please, tell me about the cognitive diversity of your team. Provide information about the idiosyncratic knowledge of your team members. How is your team's cognitive diversity affecting its performance, and resulting in positive effects for your clients? How is your brilliantly assembled team of varying perspectives going to provide me with more creative solutions than a group of like-minded colleagues?

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