A Way out of Mind-Full. Help in a world with too much informaiton
Here’s what Herrmann International says about the modern workplace and an opportunity to learn how to work better in it Timely in a new year. I continue to provide HBDI Assessment and training in Toronto.
The above chairs probably aren’t the kind that Ben Zander has in mind. (They are a welcome spot to sit on my city balcony). Ben is an orchestra conductor and the chairs that he is talking about might be occupied by violinists, trumpeters, or clarinet players. There is a lovely moment in a video of one of his concerts, where he gives the baton to a young musician and joins the cellists as a player in their row.
Leading is really about interdependence. He says that he conducted for 20 years before it came home to him that he was the only one on the stage who didn’t make a sound. His was a comment about real leadership – that the role of the leader is to enable others to do their best – not to be a star or primadonna. When he changed his perspective he realized that the results of his conducting results were much superior. It is a lesson for us all. to learn.
Ben Zander has some useful advice for us in dealing with other people. His own example is from the student orchestra of his music world, but it is intended to apply to all of us. It’s about expectation. He tells the students that they will receive a grade of A on one condition – that they write an essay to tell him, why at the end of the year they deserve one. It’s an interesting example of encouraging intention.
When I taught secondary school many years ago, I was about to meet a new class. A colleague and I compared notes. “This one’s lazy, I said. That one can be depended upon to be disruptive. I’m really glad that I don’t have to put up with this particular one again this year”. She rolled her eyes. “You’re not looking at my new class”, she said, “You’re looking at yours”. Severely chastened, I went to the classroom and told the group what I had done. Using myself as the bad example I was, I told them that I had thrown away all previous expectations and we were going to start with a clean slate. The class, of course, had matured over the summer. But so had I.
If we expect little of others, we shouldn’t be surprised if that is what we get. If we expect too much, that can do us in too. Zander relates a story later in the book when he expected one of his star players to meet his expectations – forgetting that she might have some of her own. By giving himself an A in admitting that this was unfair, he actually got her to return to the orchestra. We are not always that lucky when we admit we are wrong. Recognizing that we both have something to contribute nevertheless can increase the art of possibility.
Before Microsoft could develop “Kinect Adventures,” the game that ships with Kinect for Xbox 360, it had to get innovative with its design process. For that, Microsoft Game Studios and the Good Science Studio team turned to Herrmann International’s Whole Brain® Thinking approach to assemble the right team, generate the best ideas and develop a product that would appeal to everyone, not just the traditional gamer audience.
“Microsoft’s goal was to create the Kinect pack-in title with broad appeal and something for everyone,” says Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO of Herrmann International. “And in that way, it’s fitting that ‘Kinect Adventures’ is the first time a Whole Brain® framework and Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) data has been applied to the product development process from start to finish.”
“Based on the research, we know that innovative design requires a Whole Brain® process and team,” Herrmann-Nehdi says. “We also know that we live in a Whole Brained world. So if you want to appeal to a broad audience, you have to first understand how different people think.”
Shannon Loftis, head of the Good Science Studio, brought in Herrmann International consultants to work with the team as soon as the project began. To ensure all thinking styles were represented as they staffed up to meet development needs, the team was structured based on the results of the 120-question HBDI® assessment, which evaluates and describes the degree of preference individuals have for thinking in each of the four brain quadrants, as depicted by the Herrmann Whole Brain® Model.
The Whole Brain® Model also served as a filter for evaluating every aspect of the game as it was being developed. During the consumer testing phase, the team used criteria based on the each of the thinking styles (analytical, organized, interpersonal and strategic) to make sure the activities and game elements would have broad appeal.
“Our research has shown that you can use clues to diagnose the thinking styles of potential customers and then identify product features and benefits that will appeal to different preferences,” Herrmann-Nehdi says. “The development of ‘Kinect Adventures’ is a great example because they took this approach and used it to produce something that really is for everyone.”
Microsoft Game Studios believes that from the way “Kinect Adventures” was designed to the features it showcases, the Whole Brain® Thinking approach helped them create entertainment for a Whole Brained consumer base, just as intended.
Herrmann International is the originator of Whole Brain® Technology and the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®). Founded in 1981 on research into how thinking preferences can affect performance, the company develops Whole Brain® products and solutions that help organizations better understand and engage internal and external customers, get more from their collective intelligence, and achieve a significant competitive advantage.
With Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® – the highly validated assessment tool used by nine out of 10 of the Fortune 100 – clients gain a proven, practical method of harnessing the brainpower of the entire organization to improve productivity, creativity, teamwork, sales and other business results. Clients include American Express, BMW, Cisco, GE, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Shell Oil, US Navy and Wharton School of Business. More information: http://www.hbdi.com. You can also find out more about it at our website
In a volunteer project that I spend a lot of time on, we have been frustrated waiting for a reply for months from a funding body who promised to support a position financially. While a commitment was made by the leader, nothing has happened since the end of March. We have a potential employee waiting in the wings who would like an answer and so would we. The leader in the case has many commitments, local, national and international. So it not surprising that things slip through the cracks. A large and undoubtedly overworked staff work in silos that don't always communicate.
It wasn't supposed to be like this when we could copy a number of people on any e-mail transmittal – and we do. One even asked to be taken out of the loop. No one up to now seemed to want to take any initiative. So it was really welcome when someone stuck his neck out yesterday and actually did something to move the item along the line.
But it is the exception not the rule.
Author Matt Ridley used this rather provocative title recently to forward further ideas of a collective brain that is emerging. In spite of horror stories that populate our daily newspapers there are some amazing statistics about the state of human lives that re worthy of reflection. Our world does not rely on individual intelligence but on collective knowledge and skills that are interdependent on networks.
Matt spoke recently on TED talks and you can hear what he has to say here