Mind the Gap

Anyone who’s ever travelled on London’s underground network will be used to the regular “mind the gap” announcements at many of the stations.

What the announcer means is “please be careful of the potentially dangerous gap that exists between the platform and the train doors. If you do not tread carefully with your feet and also pay attention to your possessions, you could lose both down the gap – a disaster you really want to avoid”. Of course, the implied meaning of the shortened version only makes sense to you if you also understand the long version! An example of simplifying cognitive complexity and of the use we so often make of metaphor in the language we use. Simplifying complex ideas or problems will be the subject of a future article. Today I would like to explore another kind of gap; Cognitive Gap Analysis. It’s a useful tool for all leaders and certainly something you should be aware of as a leader even if, like an unwary train traveler, you choose to ignore it, (which would be a mistake, but ultimately is a choice for you to make).

So what then is cognitive gap analysis?

It’s a diagnostic process we use to identify the cognitive skills, strengths and potential weaknesses of your team regarding how they think, how they make decisions, solve or recover from problems and errors, how they approach innovation and creativity and critically, how collaborative or competitive they are; both with each other and external colleagues. Understanding, valuing and respecting colleagues’ differences, particularly from a neuro-diversity perspective, is becoming even more important as we now have to work harder to achieve organisational objectives and goals in today’s hybrid, virtual environment.

We use a number of different tools to do the analysis, such as Thinking Styles™, Cognitive Team Roles™ and 1:1 interviews. These are used to profile your team with the intention of identifying any gaps in your overall Cognitive Fitness™, which, as you will know from previous articles, we define as “thinking in the right ways at the right time, with flexibility agility and strength”. It sounds obvious, but many people (especially some politicians it seems), apparently don’t understand that the quality of the thinking that’s done at the front end, is going to determine the quality of the resultant actions that are taken and the outcomes that are delivered. So if you do have any gaps, (or worse, gaping holes), in the thinking skills and abilities of your team as an overall group, you really need to know about them. Like the mind the gap warning on the underground, it can be quite easy to fall down a gap and potentially damage the outcomes and results you are trying to achieve.

The infographic will show you the process.

Cognitive Gap Analysis™

Within any important relationship it is critical to understand each person’s preferred working style and communication strategies. The Cognitive Gap Analysis is a team diagnostic which identifies and measures the cognitive and behavioural strengths and weaknesses of your team.

Completion of the Thinking Styles questionnaire and facilitated feedback to each individual. Team scores are aggregated and mapped against your business needs and your unique Cognitive Gap Analysis report is written.

Your team profile, with its inherent strengths and weaknesses, is reviewed in a team development session facilitated by one of our specialist consultants.

A facilitated exploration of the cognitive and behavioural development areas of the team as a whole as identified by the Cognitive Gap Analysis. A ‘route map’ is agreed to address these development needs.

Executive coaching and personal professional support to assist each individual to achieve their potential and to enhance all professional working relationships within the team.

The Cognitive Gap Analysis is completed again and the difference in previous scores calculated to identify and evaluate the improvements in individual and team performance. There are two elements within the Cognitive Gap Analysis. The first element is the Diagnostic, which encompasses stages 1 – 3; the objective is to develop a route map for individual and team development within the business context of your organisation. At this point, you may feel that it is enough for you to manage the development in-house. Alternatively, you may decide to continue to work with us, so that we can support you in the development of the route map, which will involve a combination of executive coaching, team development activities and a final re-evaluation. Cognitive Gap Analysis is ideal for: Teams, Boards, Partnerships, potential Joint Ventures and Management Buy Outs, or for any significant or critical relationship where the breakdown of effective working relationships simply isn’t an option.

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