Why It is Time to Focus on Cognitive Diversity in Healthcare

At Summit Talent Group, whenever we are engaged to conduct a search for a healthcare executive or c-suite leader, we always keep diversity in mind. When we think diversity, we go beyond the standard meaning of the word to also consider a very important aspect; cognitive diversity. When a healthcare organization does not have a team that is cognitively diverse, it is more challenging for them to complete basic tasks, to achieve extraordinary results, and to accomplish the mission they’ve set for patient care. When a team is not cognitively diverse, each task becomes harder to achieve. Today, we will discuss the importance of cognitive diversity and the different ways you can build a strong cognitively diverse team.

The Importance of Cognitive Diversity in Healthcare Hiring

What is cognitive diversity
The many benefits of Cognitive Diversity in healthcare hiring

Teams that are put together in a cognitively diverse manner are better able to dissect, analyze, and process information in order to create actionable items to address the issues at hand.

When you have people who think differently, problem-solving becomes a more effective process since you have different types of thinkers looking at the issue, coming up with different possibilities for solutions, and even thinking of all the different types of risks that may come about from the situation.

Cognitively diverse teams are also able to come up with different types of responses to the challenges being faced, which is of incredible benefit to risk assessment and legal teams in times when the unexpected is at hand.

When working with either your human resources team or your healthcare executive search firm to build teams or succession plans, be sure to discuss cognitive diversity. An analysis from the Harvard Business reviews shows that cognitively diverse teams yield faster and better results when problem-solving. How much faster? Cognitive diversity increases innovation by 20% and decreases risk by 30%. Those percentages can mean the world to patient care and satisfaction as well as to financial solvency and risk reduction.

There are many who tout the benefits of focusing on both cognitive and cultural diversity in hiring. Cultural diversity improves the caliber of communication and decreases bias while cognitive diversity elevates the power of ideas and thought processes of the group.

Other leading thinkers assert they go hand-in-hand because identity diversity increases the quality of dialogue, creates a safer space, and reduces the risk of biases, all of which in turn brings out the best thinking of the group.

It is likely that your team is already cognitively diverse, the question is – are you harnessing its power?

At Summit Talent Group, whenever we are engaged by a client, we begin by conducting an in-depth survey and discovery of the organization and its team. The goal behind this discovery is not only to have a clear view of the organization’s strengths and opportunities but to understand the inner workings of its team. By doing this, we can create a talent persona which then allows us to more easily recognize the traits that will make the talent being presented to our clients a perfect fit on paper, but also culturally and cognitively. 

For example, we recently conducted a search project that required that our healthcare executive search team identify individuals to fill three positions; CEO, a CFO and four positions for Regional Director. These individuals were to step in for the current executive team which was transitioning to Board positions and stepping away from the day-to-day operations of the business.

We conducted an in-depth discovery of the current executive team with the goal of getting a complete understanding of the different strengths and abilities of the outgoing executive team. This allowed us to ensure that the new team possessed those strengths and abilities, in other words, that they were cognitively diverse.  For example, in the case that the outgoing CEO was extremely analytical, the new CEO did not need to be, as long as either the CFO or the Regional directors had that type of mindset.

If you would like to speak with us about our process and your current executive talent needs, contact us. We look forward to becoming your healthcare search partners.

As Operations Manager for Summit Talent Group, Kyle is the primary resource for preparing client and candidate interview materials and supports the recruiting team with scheduling, organizing travel, and project management. She manages the office administrative function, including client contracts, proposals, invoicing and billing. Kyle also maintains the public website, manages all of the company’s technology and database tools, and researches innovative applications to ensure efficient recruitment operations. She is a graduate of Howard Community College in Columbia, MD, with an Associate Degree in Business Administration.