The topic of diversity has been in the forefront for years with hiring managers across all industries. In the past, the focus primarily revolved around gender, race and age of prospective employees. Now a new category is coming to the forefront. Thinking Types. Adding a wide range of thinking styles to your team can help you to appeal to a larger customer set by adding a range of perspectives and voices,which in turn can lead you to new and exciting innovations. Here is a list of thinking types to include in your team to gain a diverse perspective:
The Subject Matter Expert –
Typically, the subject matter expert has obtained this title by spending a number of years working in their industry. They have an extensive understanding of your customer base and have historical knowledge of the ups and downs of the industry, which can provide you the opportunity to avoid previous mistakes and pitfalls. Although their experience and passion for the field is valuable it can also lead to “this is the way it’s always been done”.
Benefit: Depth of knowledge
What to watch out for: Tunnel vision
The Self-Taught Newbie –
These individuals are natural problem-solvers. They are new to the industry and are not clouded by past solutions or previous trial and error. They are also key to providing fresh perspectives and new ideas. As these are usually comprised of a younger generation they can also provide valuable insights into market changes and trends.
Benefit: Fresh approach
What to watch out for: The lack of experience can create fast-moving teams going the wrong direction.
The Global Thinker –
These thinkers have grown up in varying locations, either across the country or even across the world. Their exposure to alternate cultures and customs give them a wide perspective on how products are used throughout the world, which can be used to gather new ideas.
Benefit: Global perspective
What to watch out for: What works in one region may not work in all. Factor in your target markets culture when branching out.
The Empathizer –
These are not just thinkers but also listeners. They prefer to listen to the ideas and thoughts of others. They also highly value the needs of others, most commonly your clients or customers. They may be a quieter voice than the rest of the team, but they are focused on delivering what the customer wants vs. what the company wants.
Benefit: Sympathetic to customer’s view
What to watch out for: The customer is an important voice but don’t lose sight of the big picture.
The Taskmaster –
This teammate is focused on the end goal. They keep the team laser-focused on specific goals and are less concerned about asking “why” we should be working on a product and more concerned about execution. Having this person on your team will ensure execution on any given project and can be a highly effective way to drive value for customers.
Benefit: They get things done
What to watch out for: Sacrificing timeline for quality work, or adding excess stress to team members
Having a full range of thinkers brings a range of skills and perspectives to your team. This type of diversity in your team will set you up for project success. Each team member’s skills are vital to delivering a well-executed project.