The power of teamwork to improve your thinking - THINKERS Notebook

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The power of teamwork to improve your thinking

What will be the most important skills needed to succeed in the future?

This answer often gets boiled down into a simple statement like: humans need to be good at the stuff machines don't do well.

And that's correct.

If something can be automated or solved with machine learning, it will be. Humans will not be able to add value to these types of tasks. 

This is why the two specific skills that get brought up when we talk about the future are critical and creative thinking.

While machines can already run circles around us when it comes to organizing large data sets, and new developments in A.I. actually enable machines to produce text that is indistinguishable from humans, humans are still needed to evaluate the data or to tell a story in a new way.

But there is a skill we'll all need to be able to succeed in the future that often gets overlooked. It affects our ability to think both critically and creatively. It is uniquely human.

In fact, the way our species evolved to select for this skill over thousands and thousands of years is one of the main reasons we're still around and that we were able to rise to the top of the food chain.

It's our ability to work well in teams, our ability to thrive in small groups.

Being good at working in teams requires us to lean on so many important elements of our humanity -- few of which computers are anywhere close to replicating.


Working well in teams helps us to think more critically and more creatively than we ever could on our own.

Our thinking has the chance to grow, improve, and evolve when it comes into contact with the thoughts and ideas of other people, and more diverse ideas leads to a higher likelihood of a better solution.

I was reminded of this when I had a conversation this week with Ed Hess, author of the book Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change. (You may remember Ed from a previous edition of this newsletter, when I wrote about his book Humility is the New Smart.)

If you want to learn how to prepare yourself for the technological changes that are reshaping our world, I highly recommend Ed's books.

In this week's edition of the THINKERS Roundup, you'll find three articles that will help you understand the value of working in teams and how to be better at it.

Diversity is the path to better team performance in the future


According to American Sociological Review, companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity in their organizations bring in nearly 15 times more sales revenue than those with lowest levels. With the trend of globalization, international talents mobility continues. By 2065, no racial or ethnic group will be a majority and therefore there will be no US corporations that have employees consisting of a single race.

We can expect that there will be more culturally diverse teams in the workplace in the future.

Read: How to build a high performing team for the future (TTI Success Insights)

Team diversity isn't just about identity and background, it's also about role and experience


Create teams that include employees from all parts of the organization. For example, if the marketing department is working on a new strategy, include members from sales and product development. While these people may not be marketing experts, the team will benefit from their knowledge and create a more well-rounded strategy.

Watch: The Future of Work Relies on Your Developing These 5 Team Skills (Entrepreneur)

Teamwork helps us think better


Albert Einstein gets all the credit for discovering the theory of relativity, but the truth is that he relied on conversations with friends and colleagues to refine his concept. And that’s almost always the case.

“Behind every genius is a team,” says Murphy. “When people play off each other’s skills and knowledge, they can create solutions that are practical and useful.”

Read: The importance of teamwork (as proven by science) (Atlassian)
Quote of the week

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

-- Charles Darwin