True or False: Great Minds Think Alike

There is a common phrase that is said (and I have certainly used hundreds of times myself) that upon reflection is a lie: "Great minds think alike." And its corollary: "Fools seldom differ."

The truth is that great minds are composed of all sorts of different natural styles, curiosities, backgrounds, talents, and thought processes. This, of course, leads to wonderful innovation in so many parts of our lives and industries. If we all thought (verb) alike, then our thoughts (noun) would be too similar to generate anything new or inspirational.

However, it is human nature to rate ones' own abilities above average and then to seek like-minded (both in the verb and noun) individuals to associate with. This is never more evident than in the hiring process, where so often hiring managers hire people exactly like themselves, rather than hiring those who complement their skills or abilities and will challenge them to think in new ways. Diversity of thought is just as important (and certainly harder to judge from afar) than diversity of race, religion, or lifestyle. These people who think differently than ourselves, can cause us to be better business people, better strategist, better implementers, better managers, and possibly, better people.

This is a challenge for us all. We have to forget idioms (no matter how common they might be) and a little bit of our own tendencies, in order to benefit from great minds.