It’s a well-known fact that the most diverse teams are also the most effective teams. Gartner has published research demonstrating that diverse teams can improve performance by up to 30%. Likewise, McKinsey & Company has reported that the most diverse companies outperform their less diverse peers by 36% in profitability. Those are some pretty impressive statistics!
Granted, these studies were focused on gender and ethnicity. But wouldn’t it stand to reason that similar statistics might apply to neurodiverse teams, as well? (While the term “neurodiversity” is often used in the context of describing autism spectrum disorders, strictly speaking, its true definition is broader, according to this article by Harvard Health.)
What does a “neurodiverse” team look like?
ThriveWorks, a company that matches therapists with clients seeking help to manage depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and more, describes five distinct thinking styles:
- Synthesists are “big thinkers” who thrive on creativity and curiosity. When looking to solve problems, they do so with a wide lens.
- Idealists are at their best when setting and achieving goals.
- Pragmatists are most attracted to logical problem solving and tend to be focused on immediate results.
- Analysts work systematically, using facts and data points to solve problems and make decisions.
- Realists are folks who habitually face challenges head on and are happiest when solving big problems.
The characterization of thinking styles doesn’t end there. An article published by Marcia Hart of Magical I Am™, makers of “Sky Village,” an app for dyslexic readers for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, describes three other thinking and reasoning styles:
- Verbal thinkers, whose thought processes are linear in nature and who learn best when concepts or ideas are presented in spoken/written form (as opposed to mullti-dimensional, sensory experiences).
- Non-verbal thinkers, who conceptualize information with visual or tactile reasoning—making sense of the world without necessarily employing words. Hart describes this style of thinking as mainly thinking “in pictures and sensory patterns created in their brain, below conscious awareness.” This thinking style involves identifying words and objects through an association with visual perspectives.
- Visual thinkers, which Hart characterizes as “multi-dimensional and multi-sensorial,” as opposed to the linear patterns of verbal thinkers. Hart characterizes visual thinkers as “very intuitive.”
Most people probably employ a combination of the eight styles described above. And there are likely dozens of other ways to think, learn, and reason, as well.
The point is—we are all different. And if ethnic- and gender-based diversity increases team effectiveness, it makes sense that neurodiverse teams would also be a formula for greatness.
But there’s a problem: understanding each other
I am a linear, verbal thinker. I’m the queen of lists and spreadsheets. I understand things in words and in lists and columns. I can’t read a map to save my life. Presented with virtual whiteboards that have an unwieldy toolbar and complex interface, I immediately start to sweat and panic.
In contrast, I used to work with a woman who detested spreadsheets. She’s a whiteboarder, a visual thinker—someone who grasps and expresses concepts best in pictures. (I often thought that if we were one person, we could rule the world!)
So how can we bridge the gap between all of these different styles of thinking, communicating and problem solving, especially in a world where we are sometimes separated by thousands of miles and multiple timezones? And what about the situations in which we’re forced to communicate asynchronously and can’t use words in real time to explain what we mean?
It’s a real issue—one that could eclipse the benefits of diverse teams.
Alleo builds bridges between people who think, reason, and communicate in disparate ways
Today’s organizations include individuals with many different communication and thinking styles. They feature one-on-one interactions between individuals, team collaboration, company-wide presentations, and communication between individuals and teams in other organizations, as well. Our technologies are also diverse. Depending on the type of business you’re in, you may use a combination of tools that include videoconferencing, screen sharing, slide presentations, spreadsheets, virtual whiteboards (and physical whiteboards), email…the list goes on and on (and on!).
Alleo’s innovative technology can bridge all of these gaps—benefiting individuals, diverse teams, and entire organizations by fostering better collaboration, active engagement, and understanding—allowing us all to make better, faster, more informed decisions.
- You can share the same information in a variety of ways. You can display spreadsheet data (for someone like me), whiteboard out the data in a way that works for folks who think visually (graphs, anyone?), and so on.
- There’s no need to switch between videoconferencing and the data you’re sharing onscreen—you can have it all.
- You can combine multiple forms of data on the same canvas (video, videoconferencing, whiteboards, spreadsheets, graphics, websites…the works).
- You get an infinite canvas. Whereas most video conferencing tools restrict you to one screenful of information at a time, Alleo lets you add as much information as you like (in whatever form you prefer). Just zoom out to see it all.
- Multiple people can interact with content simultaneously. Content creation doesn’t have to be a one-way street. For example, you can have multiple people writing on the same electronic whiteboard at the same time.
- Your content persists after a meeting ends. This is one place where Alleo really shines. While the best you can do with some videoconferencing tools is to share a recording, Alleo preserves all the content on its canvas and allows the interaction and collaboration to continue afterwards. In fact, you don’t need to have a meeting at all—collaboration can be synchronous, asynchronous, or both!
- You can use Alleo when you’re in the same room with meeting participants or when some or all participants are remote.
- Alleo is also a great tool for customer experience centers, especially those with giant, high-resolution screens. It’s the perfect way to make an amazing impression on a potential customer.
In short, Alleo isn’t just a great way to collaborate in real time…it’s a great way to collaborate—period. Visual, verbal, and non-verbal thinkers can all use Alleo to find a common “language.” Synthesists, idealists, pragmatists, analysts, and realists can find ways to bridge their gaps in understanding, allowing everyone to express themselves and solve big problems as teams. Alleo turns our differences into our strengths. Because when we are able to communicate effectively, we truly are better together.