Did you clone yourself at the office?

July 30, 2021

  • Kolbe Wisdom

While genetic cloning may seem like something from a science fiction movie, there’s another form of cloning actually happening in the workplace today: team cloning.

If you’re serious about forming a collaborative team, you should increase your awareness of team cloning to avoid its pitfalls. That way, you can start building a truly successful team that exhibits dynamic growth and progressive teamwork.

Cloning in the Three Parts of the Mind

To start, if you are not familiar with the Three Parts of the Mind, find out more here.

1. Affective (Personality) Cloning

Affective cloning happens when you hire and build a team of people with similar personalities. We see it a lot when teams focus on hiring for “culture fit.”

It’s only normal to gravitate towards people you enjoy being around, not just in your personal life but also in your professional life. Do you want to have a beer with them? Great, they’re hired. But here’s why you should be careful with that approach.

Since people with the same personality types generally agree with each other, it can promote smooth interpersonal relationships and reduce major conflicts within a collaborative team.

Good team dynamics are not enough to radically boost your teamwork and performance. If you’re working with clones, it’s likely that you’ll often make similar decisions because you are motivated by the same principles and ideals.

The lack of a pushback factor or a variety of approaches within the group can cause the team to become stale and mediocre. You may not be motivated to grow and change.

2. Cognitive Cloning

Cognitive or knowledge cloning is hiring professionals with the same skills and expertise, and cognitive ability. It’s understandable to want to work with people whose work experience, skill level, and educational backgrounds are comparable to yours, but that won’t always guarantee team success.

On the one hand, your team will have a high level of knowledge in one aspect of your work, at least in your area of focus. But, you may experience knowledge gaps in your team if most members have skills and education that mirror each other. Similarly, intelligence does not equate to success in a specific role because formal training or learned experience won’t guarantee that people have the instinctive strengths required to do the job how it needs to be done.

3. Conative Cloning

Conative cloning is the tendency to work with people who utilize the same problem-solving methods. Each person has a natural way of performing tasks and problem solving based on their instinctive strengths.

When you’re hiring, and a candidate answers questions like you would answer them and seems to solve problems in the same way you do, it’s natural to hire them because you think you’ll work well together. And, maybe you will! But, if you have too many team members with the same conative instincts carrying out different jobs, you risk a lack of true team synergy. For example, if you have a team of risk-takers full of continuous ideas, but you don’t have anybody around who can build systems and get those ideas completed, you’ll never get anything done. Or, if you have too many people who stick with what’s working and constantly push back against innovation or ambiguity, your team may become stagnant.

If you aim to form a successful team, your group needs to be composed of the right mix of people with the conative strengths needed to carry out each specific role.

So, when SHOULD you use team cloning?

Cloning isn’t always a bad thing. If you have multiple people carrying out similar tasks on your team, you likely need them to have similar conative strengths. We see this a lot in sales, customer service, or manufacturing organizations. You should also identify what level of collaboration your team requires, try out our free Team Collaboration Survey to identify if you are managing an Independent, Hybrid, or Collaborative Team.

Successful team leaders run high-performer reviews to identify the strengths of the people who are currently the most successful in a specific role. That way, if they’re hiring for that same position, again and again, they can look for people who have similar instinctive strengths.

In a team or organization where individuals don’t have similar tasks, it’s essential to build ideal team synergy with a diversity of instinctive strengths. The best way to identify your team’s strengths and make sure you have the right people in the right seats is by first getting Kolbe A Index Results for each person.

Get started today at Kolbe.com.

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  • Kolbe Wisdom


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