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Identifying Strong Suits: The Key to Successful Innovation & Collaboration

Identifying Strong Suits: The Key to Successful Innovation & Collaboration

There’s More to Innovation than Idea Generation

Innovation -- real change that will stick and make a positive impact -- is the corporate buzzword of the 21st century. In today's competitive world of business, organizations are forced to innovate and grow at a faster rate than ever. There's often an assumption that "innovation" is a word reserved for the creative types amongst us -- the people with the wacky ideas that move our organizations forward in quantum leaps. But idea generation is only one part of the innovation process.

Real, lasting innovation, and the collaboration required to bring those solutions to reality, requires the input of diverse personalities and approaches. It requires different 'strong suits.' You just need to know when and how to best utilize each one.


Identifying Natural vs. Adapted Strengths

We all have different strengths and aptitudes, both professionally and personally. Some of these come easily to us -- we’re naturally good at it and it gives us energy when we do it. Some of them are 'adapted' -- we’ve developed the strength because the people around us have expected it, but it drains our energy.

Our natural strengths can assist (or hinder!) innovation and collaboration. So, understanding how you’re wired, and how each individual on your team is wired, is paramount to your ability to lead that team to success.


The Communication Conundrum

"You will be more effective if you provide feedback that is pertinent to the style of the other individual."
-- Stephen Shapiro, Personality Poker


Just as people have different strengths when it comes to innovating, they also have different ways of communicating. To effectively engage people in successful projects, we not only want to identify their natural strengths but also engage them with language to which they’re more likely to respond. Learning to listen for language that ‘identifies’ each personality type, and then in turn, using language that resonates with them, will lead to more successful collaboration.


How You Fit the Puzzle

All personalities play a role in innovation and collaboration, but we’ll generally be most comfortable working with people who have personalities complimentary -- not the same -- but complimentary to our own. Conversely, we’ll be least likely to see eye-to-eye with people who innovate differently (i.e., introverts vs. extroverts) and have priorities (i.e., data vs. people) that are different to our own. Knowing where and how you, and those you work with, fit into the innovation puzzle is key to successful collaboration.

So, what if there was a quick way for you as a leader, to identify your team’s natural skills when it comes to innovation and collaboration? Stephen Shapiro serves up a fun way to do this in his book, Personality Poker. With an integrated card game, Shapiro has created a practical tool that helps determine how to best utilize the skills of team members to ensure innovation, job aptitude, and workplace happiness. Try it out at CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau’s upcoming 017 Round Table Discussions!



Kevin Barwin is a Founding Partner of Clariti Group, a firm that provides career coaching, leadership & team development, and knowledge management services. Kevin is one of the moderators for CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau's upcoming 2017 Round Table Discussions in Ottawa.


Register to Attend the Round Table



Kevin Barwin, Innovation, Leadership


Guest Contributor, Governance / Leadership



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