This is part of the Layers of Performance framework: Click Here to read the introduction.
Our cognitive ability is another factor that can have a significant impact on the level of success we can attain. Cognitive ability is essentially the speed of the processor in our brain. Just like a computer processor, our cognitive ability determines how quickly we can process the information that enters our mind.
Some jobs simply require more processing power – does that mean that a person who is not smart cannot be successful? Not at all, however we must be aware of and understand our own abilities in this area and utilise what we have or compensate for what we don’t. Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie are both famous for surrounding themselves with people who had far greater cognitive ability than their own – what they did well was apply these great minds to problems that needed solving.
Since cognitive ability is our ability to process information and it is difficult and time consuming to improve, we have placed it close to the centre of the framework. Although some researchers and neuroscientists have discovered it is possible to increase our IQ, it is a process that requires a significant investment of time, energy and commitment. In this age of the knowledge worker economy, obviously cognitive ability is an important component of performance. One of the ways to quickly increase cognitive ability is to align ourselves with other people to help process information – much like a bank of batteries is able to power more sophisticated devices, a bank of minds is able to power more sophisticated thinking.