2020 has brought with it some tough lessons for the entire world, on that we can all agree. But the approaches we choose to deal with issues – from the pandemic to politics – certainly don’t bring about quick consensus. Perhaps the best lesson we can take away from our current challenges is the simple recognition that people view concerns through different lenses.
One of the breakthrough areas in human psychology in the past fifty years is the work done by Harvard professor Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences. Gardner studied different categories of intellectual aptitude people possess. The two areas that have historically been given credence are Linguistic and Mathematical (think of your SATs, ACTs, and nearly every other standardized test ever given.) Clearly, these two areas are important and linked to success – with good reason. But to discount others – visual, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, environmental intelligence – is to miss a vast resource of human purpose and productivity.
Nobody has just one intelligence. We tend to peg people as the tech person, the graphics person, the word person, etc. But you may be surprised to learn Graphics Guy plays out in an R&B band, or Word Woman may be a celebrity gamer on Twitch (we actually had a former co-worker who was). This type of information may come to light on its own, but without taking initiative to find out, it’s surprising how often it never does
Knowing the varied learning styles of your colleagues and clients may bring benefit to an ongoing project. Or, perhaps more importantly, you’re building foundational work by providing a sense of recognition and belonging – stronger connections, the promise of more buy-in and ownership toward your organization.
There’s been a major shift in the recognition of other intelligences beyond linguistic and mathematical. The rise of video as a central component of communication and marketing has been emerging for some time, but in recent years it has exploded. Websites, social media, and digital campaigns are largely built around video now, as well as the music, audio, and graphics that enhance it. We’re in a visual age of ever-growing inclusion that demands varied skill sets – personally, professionally, and societally.
As we roll into a new year with challenges that are likely to be different than most we have ever faced, there are also great opportunities to find new paths and try fresh approaches. We will need a wide array of viewpoints and intelligences to navigate the terrain to make the most of them.
Are you best utilizing your human resources at work? Are you stepping out of your comfort zone to explore your own various intelligences? Are you sharpening your interpersonal intelligence – really listening to others rather than just waiting for them to finish speaking so you can inject your viewpoint?
At Steven James Media Group, our passion for storytelling stems from the fact that there are so many diverse elements involved in the modern form – verbal, visual, musical, physical, spatial, and more. It forces us to consider numerous perspectives. Stop in for a coffee to our Water Street offices sometime soon – we’d love to learn about your perspective!
Your story is our story.