Cognitive diversity versus personality tests

updates + insights » Cognitive diversity versus personality tests

Decipher Group has recently announced a partnership with Lloyd Mander, creator of the Diversity of Thought ScorecardTM a specialised tool that quantifies the potential for wide-ranging thought diversity within groups.

In the blogpost below, we delve into the world of personality assessments and provide some insights into the differences between measuring the personality of an individual versus the cognitive diversity of a group.

Greater diversity of thought enables groups to make better choices when addressing complex problems - by guarding against unchallenged, deficient decision-making (groupthink) and creating capability to generate more innovative and comprehensive options for challenges and opportunities.

The Diversity of Thought ScorecardTM (DOT ScorecardTM) quantifies a group’s overall potential for diverse thinking and the potential of individuals within the group to contribute to that group’s diversity of thought.

In contrast, personality assessment tools categorise individuals’ thinking styles and predicted behaviour so that individuals can understand how to communicate and interact more effectively with those around them. This also allows team members to be allocated roles that fit well with their natural tendencies and preferences.

As an analogy, if a group were a symphony orchestra, the DOT ScorecardTM would quantify the orchestra’s potential performance based on the presence of different instruments with their specific  musical characteristics, whereas personality assessment would provide insight into how best to play each individual instrument and how two instruments might harmonise together.

Essentially, the DOT ScorecardTM is both distinct from, and complementary to, personality assessment tools.

Personality assessment tools

Personality testing has a long history with a wide range of personality assessment tools subsequently developed. Many of these include assessment of the “Big Five” factors: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

You might be familiar with tools such as:

DiSC - measures an individual’s preferences and tendencies; the understanding of differences in style can be used to improve workplace communication.

Team Management Profile (TMP) -  categorises an individual’s major and two secondary areas of work preferences; used for development at the level of the individual, team and organisation.

Opportunities Obstacles Profile (QO2) -enables individuals to review their approach to work and improve both the way they seize opportunities and foresee obstacles.

Belbin for Teams - assesses how people behave in the workplace.

The DOT ScorecardTM versus personality assessment

  • What is measured?

While personality testing is based on measuring traits that underlie individual thinking styles and related behaviours, the DOT ScorecardTM measures the potential for wide ranging diversity of thought within a decision-making group and between groups.

  • Factors assessed

Most contemporary personality assessment tools and the DOT ScorecardTM system use an online questionnaire to gather self-reported, structured information. However, the information gathered through the respective questionnaires is quite different. The DOT ScorecardTM assesses factors related to experiences, perspectives/beliefs and thought preferences – preferred ways of addressing problems. This data set is quite distinct from personality assessment factors with the exception of thought preferences which will have a degree of correlation with personality assessment.

  • The methodology

Personality testing has an absolute methodology and can be performed on an individual in isolation of a group and provide useful insights into their thinking style and behaviour. In contrast, the DOT ScorecardTM has a relative methodology with findings only generated when individual responses are combined with those from other members of a group. Within a given group, some individuals will think more similarly (or differently) to the group or each other, which is revealed by the DOT ScorecardTM, however these findings are specific to the group being evaluated and are inevitably different for each individual if they are evaluated as part of multiple groups with different membership.

  • The outputs

When multiple individuals within a team or group are assessed with a personality assessment tool the identified types, styles or other profiles can be compared and contrasted. This could inform the roles individuals are best suited to and how they can communicate and interact more effectively. Both the DOT ScorecardTM and personality tests can provide information on which individuals have the potential to think differently to each other, although this evaluation is based on different information - experiences and perspectives are included for the DOT ScorecardTM, whereas personality assessment tools focus on thinking style only. Unlike personality assessment tools, the DOT ScorecardTM provides an overall evaluation of the potential of a group as a whole to think differently and quantifies which individuals within the group have the greatest potential to contribute to the group’s diversity of thought.

  • Insights

The use of personality assessment tools can be accompanied by a facilitated session to ensure the types, styles or recommended roles are understood. Specific guidance can also be provided on how individuals with a particular type, style or recommended role can best communicate their thinking and interact in the workplace. In contrast, the facilitated debrief session or interactive workshop delivered in conjunction with the DOT ScorecardTM builds capability across universal principles that all decision-making group members should use to fully realise their group’s potential for diverse thinking.

Essentially, the DOT ScorecardTM quantifies the substance behind ideas, opinions and thoughts at a group level, whereas personality assessment tools have a greater emphasis on how individuals communicate their thinking and interact in the workplace and other settings.

To learn more about the Diversity of Thought Scorecard visit [LINK] or contact Decipher Group.  

The Decipher Team      

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