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Everyone has a different perception and things to offer us, so how can we take advantage?

As is becoming a theme through my articles, the importance of understanding people and taking appropriate time to develop their skills in problem solving should not be under-estimated.

Over the last couple of months, a friend of mine has been recruiting for several positions in her young business. As we started to talk about job descriptions and the required content, I offered up a slightly different approach of seeking out the right people for the jobs. To focus on problem solvers.

The job descriptions change dramatically when she applied this thinking.

The attributes of the required employees that float to the top of the priority list are around methodical thinking, a logical approach, creativity, a bias for action and a passion for experimenting with ideas.

This approach was aimed to sort potential applicants slightly differently. We found that there were plenty of good applicants that had the necessary qualifications and experience and so we needed a differentiator. It also meant that we had the ability to see a few different CV’s come through from younger applicants that were not put off by requirements such as a minimum of 10 years’ experience.

Of course, my friend is in a fortuitous position that she can look for a mix of these qualities before hiring but what would be the approach if the existing workforce aren’t what would seem natural problem solvers?

When we talk about different sociological groups we think of categories of personality type. Creative thinkers, drivers of action, relationship builders and the logical thinkers.

This isn’t to say however that only the last of these groups are the only good problem solvers. What we need to understand is that our team members are approaching tasks and problems from their own initial view point.

Our Engineers respond well to logic, control and an understanding of the possible future however can struggle with ambiguity. Our Creative people provide incredible originality and innovation but can feel constrained by process thinking.

The key is collaboration through dynamic facilitation that reacts to the situation and understands the team make-up. A mix of personality types and skills can be nurtured to be complementary not conflicting.

By creating a framework that guide all team members through a problem solving process, each member of the team can be engaged using different techniques determined by their starting point.

So the importance of having a mixed team that work collaboratively can easily be appreciated. We can take advantage of differing points of view and harness the different perspectives based on the experience of each team member. We can absolutely be greater than the sum of our parts.

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