I recently conducted a workshop with a type knowledgeable group and they explored their Cognitive Styles related to a burning issue inside their organization. The insights that emerged were amazing and they were able to apply them immediately. What I noticed was that by looking at their Shadow Cognitive Styles, they were able to realize how they had discounted input from other styles and were extremely irritated by interactions with people who were habitually engaging in those styles. And this led them to disrespect the person even though they had tried not to. This new lens on type provided a leverage point for understanding and potentially resolving some very profound interpersonal tensions. It provided a language for the individuals to be more mindful as they could then control for their internal judgments. These individuals use Essential Motivators, Interaction Styles, and Cognitive Dynamics rather fluently to help them with clear communication, developing good relationships, and recognizing their own core needs, drives, and talents. The Cognitive Styles lens was helpful in ways that the other lenses had not been, so it confirmed to me that it adds information that the other models do not.
What is Cognitive Style?
Cognitive Style is a typology model that identifies the underlying intentions of our thinking patterns. It reveals a cognitive quest that never seems satisfied and the talents we have for satisfying that quest. In the table below are some essential qualities of the four patterns. In some ways the names give you a sense of the quest. Like our other lenses, this lens integrates with the 16 personality types.
Where did the Cognitive Styles’ model come from?
Since the late 1990’s I had noticed that some types seemed to be what I called, ‘the inside out of each other’ such that at times the whole type seemed to shift to a different pattern. Then after some workshops with John Beebe where he described the spine of the personality that had one of the eight cognitive processes at the head that we lead with and another at the tail that we desire to do well. Then I noticed that these processes seemed to work in tandem. Chris Montoya, one of my former students in our Certification Program, was seeking a simpler way to show his workshop participants about the styles. He said to me, “Where are the four patterns?” I said it wasn’t developed yet, but I had been seeing some and just hadn’t had time to research them. So Chris took on the huge task of reviewing transcripts of interviews for four people of each of the 16 types. This was huge because there were 40 pages for each of 64 interviewees. Putting each complete thought on an index card, he did continual sorts until he began to see the patterns that would meet our criteria for a good typology: a core driver, some values, and talents to satisfy the core driver. Five years later, we are ready to share this information with the world.
What are the four Cognitive Styles?
Here is enough information about the four Cognitive Styles to get you started.
|Enhancing™ Mind||Customizing™ Mind|
|Intention||Discovering inconsistencies||Discovering reciprocities|
|Seeks||What’s best||What’s vital|
|Approach||Thorough researching||Distilling information|
|Talent||Correcting inaccuracies||Tailoring processes|
|Contribution||Deep integration||Deep simplification|
|Authenticating™ Mind||Orchestrating™ Mind|
|Intention||Discovering verification||Discovering workabilities|
|Seeks||What’s right||What’s effective|
|Approach||Validating rightness||Noticing opportunities|
|Talent||Determining weighting||Compelling progress|
|Contribution||Deep investigation||Deep negotiation|
Why is it important?
We are often blind to our perspectives and this model helps us see some of our cognitive blind spots. During the workshop, one of the participants with an Authenticating Mind recognized how his shadow Style was Customizing. He said that he had tended to not respect the contributions of those with a Customizing Mind and therefore, tended to disrespect the individuals. Learning this lens helped him move out of fusion with his one perspective and see how they needed some of the contributions of his Shadow style. He said that when shifting into that perspective was hard and when he made the shift the products of that kind of thinking were inferior so he projected that inferiority onto the others who have that kind of talent.
Another example, one of the participants who recognized the fit of Orchestrating for himself commented to me how irritating it was to get so many suggestions from those with an Enhancing mind, his shadow Style. He didn’t want to be rude and dismissive, but knowing his own strengths, he preferred to see all the moving parts and then he arrives at a recognition of what will be most effective. I suggested to him that he could say to the suggestion giver something like, “You might be on to something there, would you please send me an email so I can consider it among all the other moving parts.” This helped him not feel so bombarded and he could relax and accept the input without promising to incorporate it.
In my own experience, working with this lens has opened up a window of forgiveness. I had harshly judged someone with a Customizing Mind as taking my rich concepts and ideas and, in my view, overly simplifying. I felt like he was taking my work without honoring the work and then leveraging it for his own benefit. I realized that he was distilling it down into what was most vital for his audiences so they could comprehend it and put it to use. And I also realized that he had been seeking reciprocity and with my Enhancing Mind, I was coming across as ‘one-up.’ So no wonder things were tense. I felt a great sense of forgiveness of him for what had felt like being wronged. I’ll still critique and enhance, but I will be sure to give more credit to his contributions.
I hope these examples have made you curious and you are interested enough to seek some more information.
Next week we will have available a free mini-workshop on Cognitive Styles. If you are interested in receiving the link to the workshop, send us an email at info (at) lindaberens.com.
And if you want even more, you can join us for the 2-day Cognitive Intentions workshop or our Human Agility Mapping Certification where we will integrate this lens into our multi-lens approach. (See the Training and Events page for current dates.)
More written information is available in Chris’ earlier article and his recently published article, The Cognitive Styles Lens: Deeper Type Clarification, Stronger Relationships, Richer Careers & Clearer Coaching Bulletin of Psychological Type, Vol. 37, Issue 3, Fall, 2014, a publication of the Association for Psychological Type International.
I hope you found this new lens intriguing and the examples helpful.