Saturday, 12 December 2015

What's your thinking style?

Pic Source: Daily Telegraph
I came across this exercise recently from one of my holiday reading, Socrates' Way by Ronald Gross, that I thought it useful to share with others.  

I have always had a personal bias to IQ testing, especially the ones when applying for a job, HR puts you through a battery of tests, aimed at gauging one's IQ / Intelligence. Google & Microsoft too, up until a few years back, used brainteasers & other puzzles to sift out candidates at interview stages... 

So I've always had a natural aversion and impatience to these tests because I didn't feel comfortable with one number to be associated as a measure of me, my whole self...and thus resisted & challenged the point of such tests for the workplace...

The IQ test was supposed to measure your capacity to think and learn and therefore predict your success in school (and the workplace). However, contemporary psychologists have debunked this whole idea of a single capacity called intelligence. You have no one but at least seven intelligences, according to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner:
  • Linguistic intelligence
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence
  • Spatial intelligence
  • Musical intelligence
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
  • Intrapersonal intelligence (knowing yourself)
  • Interpersonal intelligence (knowing other people)

Simple Exercise to pinpoint some of your Strengths

Circle/Note the numbers of these descriptions that you fell apply to you:
  1. You easily remember nice turns of phrase or memorable quotes and use them deftly in conversation.
  2. You sense quickly when someone you are with is troubled about something.
  3. You are fascinated by scientific and philosophical questions like "When did time begin?"
  4. You can find your way around a new area or neighbourhood very quickly.
  5. You are regarded as quite graceful and rarely feel awkward in your movements when learning a new sport or dance.
  6. You can sing on key.
  7. You regularly read the science pages of your newspaper and look at magazines on science and technology.
  8. You note other people's errors in using words or grammar, even if you don't correct them.
  9. You often can figure out how something works or how to fix something that's broken without asking for help.
  10. You can readily imagine how other people play the roles they do in their work or families and imaginatively see yourself in their roles.
  11. You can remember in detail the layout and landmarks of places you've visited on vacations.
  12. You enjoy music and have favourite performers.
  13. You like to draw.
  14. You dance well.
  15. You organise things in your kitchen, bathroom, and at your desk according to categories and in patterns.
  16. You feel confident in interpreting what other people do in terms of what they are feeling.
  17. You like to tell stories and are considered a good storyteller.
  18. You sometimes enjoy different sounds in your environment.
  19. When you meet new people, you often make connections.
  20. You feel you have a keen sense of what you can and can't do.
If all three descriptions of these trios apply to you, you probably are strong in that intelligence, even if you haven't cultivated it:
  • 1, 8, 17: linguistic intelligence
  • 6, 12, 18: musical intelligence
  • 3, 7, 15: logical-mathematical intelligence
  • 4, 11, 13: spatial intelligence
  • 5, 9, 14: bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
  • 10, 16, 20: intrapersonal intelligence (knowing yourself)
  • 2, 10, 19:  interpersonal intelligence (knowing others)
When I did the exercise, I'd circled: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20.

Bringing it to the workplace

I have come across the Socratic Method which was used by Eli Goldratt in his Theory of Constraints books (I've got one last book of his to read), and hence started to study the method in more detail, to learn and adapt my own way of thinking, apply the methods to my work and life situations, and use it as tool in my day-to-day consulting engagements and coaching sessions. The agile coaching community also refer deeply to the Socratic Method of asking questions, not providing solutions - and it all starts with knowing one's self. If you know yourself, then you'll be aware of your own strengths & weaknesses, as well as being able to at least relate to others.

In the workplace, we often work with teams - and in the agile methods - we aspire to work in self organising, cross-functional teams. As a leader (Scrum Master, Manager, etc.) it is essential to know the dynamics of the team, right down to individual character strengths and motivational values...why not try this exercise with your whole team?? It's bound to shed new light on things?

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