By Guy Higgins

Recently, I read a transcript of an excerpt from an interview with Daniel Kahneman. Daniel Kahneman is a behavioral psychologist and Nobel Laureate in economics. The work for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize was performed over decades, and much of that work was done in collaboration with Amos Tversky. Doctor Tversky died in June 1996 and was ineligible for the Nobel, but Doctor Kahneman maintains that neither of them could have accomplished the work alone.

Both men were, undoubtedly, very smart. Yet, while either of them could wax eloquent at length about their joint work, neither of them thought they could have done it alone. Why? What was the secret sauce that enabled their joint work to be greater than the sum of its separate contributors? Continue reading

Identity Groups and Diversity

By Guy Higgins

Reading the local newspaper before the recent elections, I was struck by the headline, “Pursuing City Council Diversity.” The city in the headline is not the city in which I live, but my city council is also pursuing diversity. I want to start by outlining what the two cities are considering.

The city in the headline is considering a couple of new ordnances that would impose strict term limits on members of the council. The idea being that by compelling election of new members via term limits, they would increase the chances of electing people other than the “usual suspects.” The city council where I live is considering establishing advisory councils to bring different ideas to the city council. Continue reading


By Guy Higgins

I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review, Neurodiversity: The Benefits of Recruiting Employees with Cognitive Disabilities. I’ve posted on cognitive diversity (which the article does discuss – from the perspective of cognitive disabilities) before but had never considered this aspect of cognitive diversity, and I found the article to be very interesting. I also think that the work done in this area is only a small beginning and that there remains much to be learned. Continue reading

Putting Cognitive Diversity to Work

By Guy Higgins

I’ve discussed cognitive diversity several times, addressing some of the factors that contribute to it and the potential for it to yield superior decisions and insights. I’ve discussed how easily the cognitive diversity of a group can be impaired or even destroyed, but I haven’t talked about how to actually take advantage of it.

Today, I’m going to try to provide one way to do that – to put cognitive diversity to work.

But first, a little background on how I came to this approach… Continue reading

Innovation, Diversity and Disruption

By Guy Higgins

There continues to be a laser-like focus on innovation in every imaginable market with the possible exception of antiques. Most of that focus is on technological innovation, but equally fertile opportunities exist in the fields of business models (think about how the iTunes model completely reshaped the music business) and organizational models with the Morning Star (the tomato processing company, not the financial company) manager-less structure supporting double-digit revenue growth for many years.

The topic that seems to be at the top of many (if not all) lists is, “How do we continue to innovate?” In greater detail, that question becomes: Continue reading

Doctor Martin Luther King Day – a Prospective

By Guy Higgins

Today, we honor the memory and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King. Almost fifty-three years ago, Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave his I Have a Dream speech. If you haven’t listened to it or read it, I urge you to do so. You can find it here. The speech is certainly stirring, and Dr. King spoke of many injustices that needed to be righted. Many of those injustices have, for many people, been righted, but it is still a work in progress. However, I want to focus on one very small (albeit oft quoted) part of that speech.

Dr. King proclaimed, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Continue reading

Diversity in the Workplace

By Guy Higgins

important information. The post is titled Workplace Diversity Policies ‘Don’t Help. Mr. Moyer references a study done by Tessa L. Dover, Cheryl R. Kaiser and Brenda Major in which they conclude that in terms of increasing “demographic diversity”… corporate diversity policies don’t increase the representation of minorities and women (i.e. they don’t work). They also conclude that such policies may be counterproductive in that they can, “1) blind white men to racism and sexism at work and 2) lead to resentment.” In the first case, if the organization has implemented a diversity policy, then “the problem is solved,” and I, as a leader, don’t have to focus on diversity. In the second case, adhering to diversity policies may result in the perception (and sometimes the reality) that less qualified people have been hired or promoted because of their demographic identity, it should come as no surprise that the policies may be creating resentment and are proving to be ineffective. Continue reading

Tapping into the Other Half of the Workforce …

By Guy Higgins

On January 30th, I had the good fortune of being able to attend an evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Doctor Tyson is an astrophysicist and the Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York. He is also a successful advocate and “popularizer” of science literacy. He was also the host of the recent Cosmos television series. His talk, including questions and answers, ran three hours and not a second was dull. Continue reading

Compromise, Consensus or…

By Guy Higgins

The boss gets a call from one of his direct reports.  “Boss, Jill and I are at loggerheads with the folks in Finance.  We’ve been working with them on financing for new-product development and we haven’t made any progress, and it doesn’t seem like we’re going to make any progress.  We’d like to work through this with you.”

Now, you’re the boss.  Since Ghostbusters aren’t available, who ya gonna call?  What are you going to do? Continue reading

Pessimism is Important

I’ve posted about cognitive diversity before, and I’ve posted about temperamental diversity (extroverts and introverts).  I think that it is also important to include optimists and pessimists on a team.

No one ever has any trouble including optimists – they’re out there, bright and sunny, always seeing the bright side of things and explaining how “whatever” is going to come out right.

No one ever likes having a pessimist on the team because they are always looking at the down side and saying things like, “You know that the schedule you just proposed requires you to complete 15,000 hours of work next week, and you only have two people (while the optimist is saying, “No problem, we won’t take coffee breaks”). Continue reading