Hi, I’m Michael Potts.
In collaboration with my cofounder Brian Tsuchiya (LinkedIn), and with lots of help and support from others along the way, I have been researching the ‘Thinking Style’ space for now over a decade. I have always been interested in human behavior and how we conform and collide. Smile, people want to smile back, shout and we want to shout!
The research project EZOG (Entrepreneurial Zone of Genius) has attracted now well over 10,000 individuals and every day empowers people to visit www.myezog.com and discover more about themselves and hopefully the encouragement to spend more time in their #zoneofgenius.
Yes, we are all unique and…. at the same time most of us (~87%) are right- handed, fewer (~12%) are left-handed, and mixed in is the occasional (<1%) ambidextrous. In the early 19th century, left-handed children were forced to learn to write, right-handedly – the ‘RIGHT’ way. With time and education, we have become a more mixed and tolerant society — where handedness, gender, age and status describe, but no longer define us.
There are lots of observations and science to support different forms of brain lateralization, and although the classic left-brained vs right-brained (Analytical vs Creative) is a much disputed and over-simplified model, it is a useful starting point on the road to discovering your “zone of genius” thinking style. Some people think more creatively than others; they may not use the right side of their brain more, and yet they clearly exhibit more of what has been commonly called ‘right-brain’ thinking. In her 30 years of research on dominant and natural preferences relating to thinking styles, Dr Katherine Benziger (website) documents four key areas (Frontal/Basal: Left/Right) that have four distinctive behavior/thinking styles associated with them.
In his great book The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks (wikipedia) intuitively describes how all of our activities fall into one of four zones. These zones are organized in a hierarchical order–from when our activities are yielding the least effective results to the most effective. The zones described by Hendricks are the Zones of:
Incompetence => Competence => Excellence =>Genius
His observation is that we typically go about our daily activities muddling most of the time within our zones of incompetency and competency, instead of focusing on advancing through our ways of excellence, in order to break out into our Zone of Genius.
“Your genius is that activity or way of being that you are uniquely suited to do. It combines your innate gifts and practiced strengths. It feels effortless and creative and just plain good. It’s so natural, chances are you don’t even know when you’re doing it. Here, you live in the full rainbow of your potential and your very presence inspires others... ” ~ Hendricks
We agree with him about flow and genius. In our work with many small startups and solopreneurs, we found that their most common challenge was focus, and doing all the ‘stuff’ that needed doing — consuming their precious time and energy that would be better spent on growing and leveraging their unique talents. (The brain represents only 2% of our weight, but accounts for 20%+ of our energy consumption…making thinking smarter – what I call turning your brain on – a great use of our limited resources.)
Asked ‘How do you think?’ a typical response would be like me or logically or creatively, and on further probing it might become purposefully, holistically or even strategically. When encouraged to define one’s personal style of thinking, it is often difficult, since we sense our thinking style is our uniqueness, not our similarity to how others might think. Our thinking style research clearly shows that four thinking styles are common and dominant (~70%) in our research population of over 10,000. Look around you, you tend to gravitate towards people who think like you.
We named these four thinking styles:
Visionary / Architect / Builder / Cultivator
As our research findings expand and grow, I will continue to share insights on these four core styles, and their mixed-style cousins — and as always, I welcome all of your inquiry and feedback!