This happens when you get to know your colleagues mind patterns

By Arbresh Useini, 01. April 2019

Recently, I read a book about collaborative intelligence called (drumroll) “Collaborative Intelligence” By Dana Markova and Angie McArthur. A google search showed me that it’s a new trend but not that widespread. Collaboration isn’t a new thing, but us recognizing it as a new professional currency may be.

It’s time to recognize collaboration as an intelligence

During the 1980’s, we started to be aware of intellectual intelligence (IQ). Our societies have been formed by rational intelligence values, and we have built our organizations around it for many years. Leaders hire people who look like them and boardrooms are full of people who look exactly alike. Then, in 1990, Salovey and Mayer introduced us to the term Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and it remains one of the most valued leader intelligence types. Since, many forms of intelligence has appeared.

I find one of them more relevant to discuss: Collaborative Intelligence (CQ). As mentioned, collaboration isn’t a new thing, but maybe we see and do it differently than before. We have even begun to look at how our economy can be based on collaboration and collaborative economy. So, maybe we have always done it – without knowing?

Understand how they think, but understand yourself first

It’s that unique capability your team has together that makes you powerful as a unit. It’s precisely your composition in the team that gives you a special capability which can’t be copied. To understand the unique capability, you need to understand how your team absorb information and express ideas.

Does it seem like someone withdrawn when important decisions need to be made? Or maybe you keep misreading one another? The first part of collaborative intelligence is to understand one’s mind patterns – both your own and others. Mind pattern is how you think, learn and communicate. Especially in situations where the same message must be given to many different people. This understanding will help you design a work environment.

The 3 stage of attention

The 3 stage of attention explained:

  1. Focused attention: when you’re able to ignore everything else around you. This is beneficial when doing a task that requires your full attention, but also when learning something new.
  2. Sorting attention: changing between internal / external to capture the big picture. Considering options, for example “on one side…”. We experience this, when considering a decision.
  3. Open attention: when rethinking ways to solve an old problem. You remember old things while producing new things / thoughts.

Without knowing it, we trigger each other in different stages

The shift between the attentions happens so quick that you’re not aware of it. But the hurdle can be that you might not know, what kind of attention you have triggered in your team members. Without knowing it, we can trigger each other in different stages of attention, which can lead to unproductive meeting and the misreading each other.

Furthermore, “Collaborative Intelligence” says that there are three languages in how to be sure to trigger people in the different stages of attention. In a former blog I describe the representative system, which in this book corresponds to the three languages. It’s based on the visual, auditive and the kinesthetic system. This will help you read your team members behavior and understand that one language may have triggered them in a state of attention that are not intended at that specific meeting.

Take the mind pattern test, to see how your mind patterns work based on the representative system.

When the corn has popped

When you start embracing differences instead of convincing others that you’re right, your team will start being more productive, because your collaboration will go smoother. The next time you have a meeting and one nods all the time, someone looks out the window and the third interrupts you all the time, it might just be a mind pattern which you haven’t embraced yet.

I told my colleagues about the topic, and then something interesting happened, one of them said:

“Is that why you always take a step back when we have a decision to make? You start arguing in your head, while we have the need to discuss them out loud?”

And yes. I become auditive, when decisions need to be made. You know, that type you think sits and daydream, but is really arguing back and forth. That’s me.

At the latest brainstorming workshop my colleague and I had, I started to walk around waving with my hands describing to her all my ideas, while she started to paint and draw on paper. We understood in that moment that we both were in the vortex of creativity and trying to resolve old problems. She was visualizing it and I was kinesthetic, and in this moment, we knew that our popcorn had popped. And this is what happens, when you get to know your colleagues mind patterns.

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