A different dimension of diversity... (P.S. Do you want to unsubscribe?)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of the most powerful, yet under-appreciated types of diversity: Personality Diversity.

Take my co-author Joe and I, for example. I’m highly driven by achievement and impact, and my ego comes out strong when I start to feel ashamed. Joe on the other hand is impervious to shame. (He’ll eat moldy pickles and insist that pickles can’t mold.) He’s driven in large part by passion and fostering community—and he really likes knowing the details about things he’s passionate about.

You’d better believe these personality differences make a difference in our work together. I don’t want to compare us to the Beatles, but um… John and Paul brought out the genius in each other. THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING, GUYS. (Also: John and Paul needed lots of other people in their worlds to really do what they did best!)

Our culture talks a lot about the obvious kinds of differences between people—our appearances, skin colors, ages, genders, cultures, etc.—but one of the most interesting things about these differences is the fact that they translate to different ways of thinking beneath the surface. In Dream Teams, I refer to this as “how you roll.” Your different life—which is very much a function of who you are, how you look, how you’ve been treated, and so on—has led you to have different perspectives and other internal attributes than other people.

And when we combine those different things in our heads, we all get better.

I bet you’ve probably taken a personality test for a job at some point. Most of these tests (Meyers-Briggs, The Big 5, etc.) are used to try to screen for people with similar personalities, so groups and companies can be full of like-minded teammates.

But if it’s true that we need people to roll differently in order to get better together, that’s EXACTLY WHAT WE DON’T WANT!

Let that sink in.

In the next couple of Snow Report newsletters, I’m going to dig deep into personality diversity and how better understanding its dimensions has helped me navigate relationships in and out of work much better over the last six months.

Please reply to this email with your thoughts and questions on what you’d like to see me explore on this front!

And in the meantime, speaking of different personalities, I have news:

We’ve decided to split The Snow Report in two!

If you’ve been getting The Snow Report over the last couple years, you know that this email comes about 2 times a month..ish. (If you’re new, hello!)

You’re getting this because you either a) signed up directly for updates from Joe Lazauskas and me; b) you took our course on Storytelling for Business; or c) you signed up because of my writings about Dream Teams and Intellectual Humility. Joe and I have taken turns writing the newsletter (early on it was a lot more Joe, and lately a lot more me), and you may have noticed that we tend to approach things from our distinct perspectives and personalities.

Well, at this point, things have gotten big enough that we’ve decided to lean into that and make our 2x a month email into two 1x a month emails. So…

  1. At the first of every month, I’ll send out the new Snow Report, which is going to focus on innovation and personal improvement—and their applications in work and life.

  2. Then around the 15th of every month, Joe will send out the new Lazer Show, which is going to focus on storytelling, culture, and advertising, and their applications in work and life.

  3. You can manage your subscription to the two parts of this newsletter separately at https://www.shanesnow.com/manage-subscriptions

  4. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GET ANY EMAILS, PLEASE UNSUBSCRIBE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS EMAIL OR THE LINK ABOVE! (Every time I say things like this my friends yell at me to stop encouraging people to unsubscribe, but I just want everyone here to want to be here. Thanks and I love you!)

For those who have chosen to be paid supporters of The Snow Report, you’ll still get occasional exclusive email updates from me, and you’ll get free access to the current ebooks and paid courses. And you’ll be grandfathered into future premium subscriptions for free when they come up in the future. THANK YOU SO MUCH for supporting our independent work!

Much love,

Shane and Joe

What brainwaves tell us about elections, storytelling, and making people care

Welcome back to the Snow Report, where we explore thinking and working differently! Today’s edition comes from the desk of my co-author Joe Lazauskas.

If you’re new (thanks for subscribing, taking the IH test, downloading one of our ebooks—or however you got here!), you can check out the archives here, and you can always unsubscribe at the bottom.

Why do we make the decisions we do?

by Joe Lazauskas

What makes us tick? What makes us really care—enough to buy something, or vote for someone?

This is the big question that Shane and I tackled in our book, The Storytelling Edge. We explored the impact that stories have on our brains, increasing neural activity and triggering the synthesis of oxytocin—the lovely neurochemical that fosters empathy and feelings of connection—and how stories build relationships and make us care.

After the book came out, there was a giant hole in my life. For a short time, it was filled by Breaking Bad, one of the best stories ever told. But then I finished season 5, and I returned, like a junkie, to investigating the neuroscience of stories. I wanted to go deeper, and spent a lot of time talking  to neuroscientists.

(Pro tip: If you ever want to feel like an idiot, spend a year talking to neuroscientists.)

Almost every neuroscientist I interviewed dreamed of curing brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, or brain disorders like ADHD and depression. But it turns out that if you are developing the kind of neuroscience tech to do that, there’s an easy way to get paid along the way: by applying neuro-tech to marketing.

It turns out that watching people’s brains as they see ads, TV shows, and political speeches can actually help us predict what those people are going to do next.  

This technology has gotten very, very good. I believe it could actually be the secret weapon to the 2020 elections—an essential technology for presidential and congressional hopefuls to track what messages are capturing people’s hearts.

I just wrote a post about it, which you can read here, but for those of you short on time, here are four big things you should know:

  1. Human decision making isn’t rational. As neuroscientists have discovered, emotions, not logic, drive our decisions. It determines who we vote for and what we buy. It’s why we pay twice as much for an iPhones as an Android with the same features. And it explains why “experience” is a terrible predictor of who will win an election.

  2. While it was still in stealth mode, one major neuromarketing company studied the brains of independent voters in the summer of 2016 and predicted Donald Trump’s victory in key battleground states with uncanny accuracy while everyone else was predicting his defeat. Their technology has only gotten better since.

  3. They also identified big weaknesses in Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy… and the kinds of mistakes that most of the rest of us are likely to make when trying to be persuasive in our lives and businesses as well.

  4. With over $10 billion in ads expected for 2020 and close races expected across the Midwest, the use of this technology could be the difference between winning and losing for any candidate. But it could also really creep people out!

  5. The neuromarketing lessons from 2016 are crucial for anyone trying to sway people’s decision making—whether you work in marketing, sales, or want to be a better leader.

Here’s a link to the full post again!

If you want to nerd out on this neuro stuff with us, or just want to yell at Joe on Twitter, please share the post along! You can also find him on Linkedin here.

Much love,

Shane

P.S. I just posted this behind-the-scenes look at the new book Let Them See You, by Porter Braswell. It’s a practical and uplifting guide to bringing your unique self to teamwork situations. I highly recommend it!

Three charts and one shark comic about living with more Wisdom

Hello! And welcome to the latest Snow Report, where we explore thinking and working differently. If you’re new (thanks for subscribing, taking the IH test, downloading one of our ebooks—or however you got here!), you can check out the archives here, and you can always unsubscribe at the bottom.

What does it mean to be good?

Not just good at things, but a good person? The kind of person who makes everyone around them better?

(If you read my recent mega-post about intellectual dishonesty, you may have seen the comedy clip of the debate on whether “man” is inherently good or evil. If you didn’t catch that one, it’s a good one!)

Over the last year, I’ve been working on answering that question. This week I finally finished a giant post tackling one aspect of it: How better understanding Values, Virtues, and Principles can help us be more innovative, and better team players.

You can read the whole post here. But if you don’t have time to read, or just want to whet your appetite, here are three charts from it that can give you the gist—and hopefully help you think a little differently about how you’re living and working:

Here’s a link to the full post again.

If any of these resonate with you, I’d be delighted if you shared on Linkedin, Facebook, email to your cranky uncle, etc.!

Much love,

Shane

How to stop being intellectually dishonest with yourself (and spot when others do it)

Disagreement doesn’t have to be so awful. Our different viewpoints can make our families and communities and companies BETTER—but only if we learn to stop a subtle little thing called Intellectual Dishonesty.

I’ve written a lot about how two heads are only better than one if they’re different. In my books, I argue that the best kind of collaboration requires:

A) people who think differently (aka “cognitive diversity”), to

B) put their heads together (creating “cognitive friction”), and

C) be willing to change (using “intellectual humility”).

A group where everyone is equal and able to speak freely ought to be able to tap its cognitive diversity and make continuous progress on hard problems together—generating cognitive friction via:

  • Discourse (exchanging ideas); and

  • Debate (arguing the merits of those ideas).

But most of the time things don’t work out so smoothly.

Battles of different viewpoints can be painful. They often get personal. And very often, debates about ideas devolve into battles of people versus people, group versus group.

And so instead of epiphanies born from different viewpoints, we get government shut downs. Instead of civil discourse in our companies and relationships, we get backroom maneuvering—or all out war.

Perhaps the biggest culprit that gets in the way of unlocking our potential—together and in our own lives—is something called intellectual dishonesty.

No, it’s not quite lying. It’s more subtle than that. And that’s why it’s such a problem.

I’ve spent the last few months of my work exploring the concept of intellectual dishonesty and what we can do about it. Curbing it is very much a prerequisite to intellectual humility, which you can learn everything you wanted to know about it in this post here.

And I’m absolutely convinced: understanding intellectual dishonesty can help us live our lives with more integrity, wisdom, and courage.

It can help you be a better colleague. A better business partner. A better parent.

Since intellectual dishonesty is such a big problem in politics—and since politicians and cable news pundits employ it very visibly—I’ve decided to explore it through the lens of political debate. But once you see how intellectual dishonesty works, and just how easily we can fall for it ourselves, I think you’ll be better equipped to spot and curb it in your own life—as a parent, a partner, a collaborator, or even just with your own internal dialogue.

So what exactly is intellectual dishonesty? How does it work? How do we stop it?

Read about all that and more by clicking here: http://shanesnow.com/id

Here’s what the post contains:

  1. An Overview Of Intellectual Dishonesty

  2. The Six Big Problems With (Much of Our) Discourse

  3. The Art Of The Dodge

  4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Fallacy

  5. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck About The Truth

  6. Dirty Debating

  7. How To Get A Bad Debate Back On Track

  8. A Proposed Set Of New Rules For Political (and other) Debates

As you read, I’d ask that you take off your own “political identity hat” and focus on the behaviors being discussed more than the people (and parties they belong to) who I use as examples of these behaviors. That may be an exercise in intellectual humility itself, but hey—it’s a new year and a great time to work on that!

Once again, click here for the full post.

As always, much love,

Shane

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