Posts tagged

It’s worth it to see it through.

Dave Brunn in “Translation and Teamwork: A Conversation with Dave Brunn, Part 2”

What’s worth it? Working with people. Partnership in the gospel. Brotherly love.

Intellectual diversity addresses a fundamental problem in human cognition: we seek out information that confirms the views we already have. As Jonathan Haidt has argued, this instinct is well-adapted to creating intra-group solidarity, which is useful when competing for power with other groups. But if the goal is to seek the truth, it’s poison. If everyone in your group shares the same biases, that group will block new information that doesn’t conform to those biases. Since no one is right 100 percent of the time, this dynamic guarantees that falsehoods will persist.

One solution is to attempt to purge individuals of their biases. But cognitive psychologists don’t yet understand how to do this. The only method that reliably solves the confirmation bias problem is to create groups made up of individuals with different biases. In such an environment, countervailing biases checks one another, prodding at weak points and raising questions a colleague didn’t think to ask. This dynamic is highly adapted to truth-seeking, because it forces every person to justify their biases on grounds other than tribalism.

Nick Phillips, “Does Paul Krugman Understand Intellectual Diversity?” Quillette (May 3, 2018)

Via Alan Jacobs.

Dave Peth, “Feedback That Gives Focus,” A List Apart (Nov 14, 2017)

Multipotentialites: “Why some of us don’t have one true calling” /

Notes on Emilie Wapnick, “Why some of us don’t have one true calling”
TEDx Bend, April 2015
In TEDTalks Business Podcast

There’s nothing wrong with pursuing varied disciplines and passions. One focus (specialization) may not be all that we can be. There may be more than one great thing to do.

“Multipotentialite” — someone with many interests and creative pursuits, a.k.a. polymath, renaissance man, scanner.

There are strengths to being this way…

  1. Idea synthesis — combining fields and creating something new at the intersection; innovation happens at the intersection
  2. Rapid learning — observing everything, trying new things, transferring skills across disciplines
  3. Adaptability — morphing into whatever is needed in a given situation

Some of the best teams have a specialist and generalist paired together, for both depth and breadth of knowledge and skills.


[Emilie had a few more multipotentialite “superpowers” listed on her website, puttylike.com: contextual thinking, translating between modes of thought, wearing many hats, concoction.]

Holding a reflection huddle with your team once a week. Teams we’ve worked with hold an hour-long huddle once a week in which each person answers three questions directed at encouraging: 1) Play: What did I learn this week? 2) Purpose: What impact did I have this week? And 3) Potential: What do I want to learn next week?

Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi, “How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation,” Harvard Business Review (Nov 25, 2015)

Energize Your Team: “At the end of the day, everyone is a volunteer” /

Highlights of Michael Hyatt, “6 Ways to Energize Your Team.”

As a leader, you have an effect on people. When you leave the room, people either feel taller or smaller. This is an almost super-hero power, but, unfortunately, leaders are often unconscious of it…

[A]t the end of the day, everyone is a volunteer. People will only go so far in the performance of a duty. If you want their very best, you have to have their hearts. You can’t demand this or even buy it with a paycheck. You have to earn it.

In my experience, there are six ways to do this:

  1. Assume others are smart and working hard.
  2. Listen intently and ask thoughtful questions.
  3. Acknowledge the sacrifices others have made on your behalf.
  4. Express gratitude for their effort and their results.
  5. Remind them why their work is so important.
  6. Put slack in the system.

… [C]onsider, How do I want people to feel when the meeting is over? Begin with the end in mind.