In a tactical military flight squadron, every aviator is dressed the same, from the olive drab Nomex flight suit to the standard issue shades. There is both utility and conformity in the attire. And yet, inside of each of those uniforms is a truly unique individual, with his or her own personality, ideas, philosophies, and approaches to life.
Perhaps your “uniform” is business casual, or medical scrubs, or athletic wear. You all may look similar. Yet, you can think of the guys or gals who are funny or serious, organized or free-spirited, deliberate or extemporaneous. Outwardly, they share a lot. Inwardly, they’re amazingly different.
Those differences are not a source of conflict to avoid. They are a source of power to embrace.
When assembling a team, it is extremely advantageous to leverage a diversity of thinking amongst members. Though incomplete, there is ample neuroscientific research which indicates that different people can perceive information and synthesize responses to it distinctly. Whether through empirical observation or electrical brain monitoring, it is a given that two people can approach and solve a problem in different ways. So, if someone on your planning team thinks exactly like you, one of you is unnecessary. Unity of effort, yes. Conformity of thought, no.
Naturally, the team must be comprised of well-intentioned participants. No saboteurs in the name of variety! But assuming that each is committed to the group’s success, a well-built team possesses a range of artistic creators and logical planners, optimistic promoters and contrarian questioners, rational thinkers and holistic feelers.
Do not assemble a team of people that remind you of yourself! That’s a collection of validators.
With each member bringing his or her own experiential schemas (mental models we build over a lifetime) and neuropsychological approaches, the team is more likely to benefit from all-aspect analysis of the challenge and a range of solutions that are feasible, creative, well-founded, and actionable.
Diversity of thinking is a power to be built, led, and unleashed!