by Greg Krehbiel on 22 October 2013
Gee, what a surprise. Pop brain science might not be right. Who would have thought?
The two sides of the brain do have different functions, the article says, but ‘not sweeping distinctions such as being “logical” versus “intuitive.”‘
But the article now wants us to divide people into four new categories.
Depending on the degree to which a person uses the top and bottom systems in optional ways, he or she will operate in one of four cognitive modes: Mover, Perceiver, Stimulator and Adaptor.
I despise this sort of stuff.
These kinds of theories are used to categorize people, and I have never found them to be helpful. Rather, I have always found this psycho-babble to be a source of excuses (“Oh, I can’t read that, I’m an auditory person”) or grounds for condescension (“You only think that way because you’re a ____”).
In my opinion, most people can choose to adapt to most situations and can learn to do things the other way. They may prefer to do things a certain way, but even those preferences can be changed (or at least nudged) by practice or by necessity.
It makes good sense to understand general categories of behavior, including mental behavior, and to incorporate that into how you deal with people. But no matter how intuitive you are, you need to be able to think logically, and no matter how logical you are, you need to understand intuition. Or — to use the “four cognitive modes” lingo — no matter how much of a perceiver you are, you need to move every once in a while.
From the article …
Individuals who operate in different modes can complement each other to form a successful team.
I can imagine the management b.s. that’s going to come out of that.
“Let’s pay a consultant to categorize everybody, and then let’s make sure each team has at least one of each group.”
Putting people into these baskets is counter-productive. If a person is a “logical mover,” or whatever silly label they decide on, and is put in a “functional team” because they need one of that type, that person is going to see it as his duty to address things from that perspective in every meeting. Rather than becoming more open-minded and more able to deal with things from multiple perspectives, he’ll dig deeper and deeper into his category. He’ll become less useful and more of a pain in the rear.
These categories give people an excuse not to stretch themselves and look at things from the other perspective. They also give management an excuse to hold people back for crazy reasons.
“Sorry, you can’t be a VP because your profile says you’re a Perceiver / Adapter. We need Mover / Stimulators.”
The correct way to approach this stuff is to encourage people to be better at the areas they’re not good at. If they’re too logical, help them be more intuitive. If they perceive too much, help them to get up and move.
The goal is not to put people in categories and then make teams by combining caricatures of each personality trait. The goal is to make well-rounded people who can do what needs to be done in the appropriate situation.
-- 2013-10-22 » Greg Krehbiel