Friday, July 24, 2015

A Practical Guide To Thinking with People Who Think Differently - "Collaborative Intelligence" by Dawna Markova, Ph.D. and Angie McArthur

Authors Dawna Markova, Ph. D. and Angie McArthur are like the biblical pair of Ruth and Naomi - mother-in-law and daughter-in-law who like each other and work well in collaboration with one another.  They share a consulting practice in which they serve as "thinking partners" to clients who need insight in how better to achieve synergistic collaboration within their firm.  And they have taken their experience in working with these clients and shared the gist in "Collaborative Intelligence - Thinking with People Who Think Differently."

This book is full of practical guidance to help the reader to discover his or her own "CQ" or Collaborative Intelligence Quotient.  Each person has a characteristic Mind Pattern, or ways of processing cognitive challenges.  There are three kinds of attention that our brain utilizes: Focused attention, Sorting attention and Open Attention.  The first is used in concentrating on accomplishing tasks and in decision-making.  Sorting attention is used when we are trying to understand something more deeply, or need time to digest new information.  Open attention is the state of imagining possibilities and exploring different options and scenarios.

Each individual has three languages of thought - Auditory, Kinesthetic and Visual.  These languages can be categorized in any of six patterns.  My pattern, for example, is VAK.  This means that I use visual cues and stimulation to trigger concentration , Auditory cues to Sort, and Kinesthetic stimuli to trigger imagination.  In practical terms, this means that I may first approach an issue by reading about it, ruminate on it while listening to Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and take a walk to trigger creative ideas of how to apply my new knowledge and understanding.

The book is full of charts to help each person understand their own Mind Pattern, and how to maximize that pattern for effectiveness in personal work and in collaboration with others.  Subsequent chapters demonstrate how the knowledge of these languages and triggers can be used in building teams and in optimizing team interactions.

This book is a helpful addition to the body of work used by those who wish to be more effective team leaders, managers or coaches.  It is filled with theory and  myriad examples of how those theories work in practice.



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