Science Says “Like Minds” Don’t Spark Innovation – Here’s the 10-Minute Fix

It’s easier to agree with someone you enjoy being around, right? Turns out, science backs that up! A new study at Lund University in Sweden (The brain is ‘programmed’ for learning from people we like | Lund University) reveals why that happens. Our brains are wired to prioritize information shared by people we like. But, we often like folks who think similarly. Great for happy hour, bad for groundbreaking ideas!

So, what’s the answer? Force ourselves to become best friends with everyone at work? Research from Stanford over 30 years suggests a different approach. Teams with a mix of thinking styles achieve better results, but only if they can learn to work effectively with those differences.

You may be surprised that a 10-minute conversation with a teammate can unlock the power of diverse viewpoints. This is the core of the Communication 1:1 activity – a well-received part of most NeuroColor workshops.

How does it work? We follow three simple steps:

  • Build Self-Awareness: Participants first complete our personality assessment and receive their individual report results. The questions don’t assess competency, skill, or intelligence and there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. The assessment simply measures each person’s preferred style of work.
  • Identify Workstyle Preferences: After reviewing their reports, each individual participant chooses key statements that best describe their preferred work style.
  • Structured 1:1 Discussions: Participants pair up, share their chosen statements with their partner, and give a short real-life example of how these preferences have played out in their work. Five minutes per person – so 10 minutes per round. If time allows, participants do another round with a different partner.
    • Larger teams can make these structured discussions part of subsequent team meetings. By rotating partners over several sessions, everyone gets to connect with most of the team in a time-efficient way.

This “work style decoding” isn’t just fascinating, it’s powerful. By appreciating other approaches, you’ll find yourself tuning in – not out – even when a teammate is coming from a different perspective. You may also discover that you enjoy being around your colleagues more – even that guy from accounting (no offense, Harold!).

#Innovation #EffectiveTeams #Collaboration #Communication