Roger L. Martin has an interesting way of framing the style of thinking: Reliability and Validity. Reliability is “intended to produce identical or consistent results under all circumstances, often by analyzing objective data from the past.” (source) “To achieve high validity, however, systems must take into account a large number of variables and use subjective measurements. Adding squishy variables and using gut feel allows for outcomes that are more accurate, even though the processes may not be able to deliver accurate results consistently.” (source) These two styles of thinking are completely opposite of each other and businesses need talents from both sides to operate a scalable business and innovate. Roger L. Martin emphasised that “It’s almost impossibly hard to design something compelling for a person whom you don’t respect or attempt to understand.” (source) I would expect the same in reverse. So, it’s important for people on both spectrum of reliability-validity spectrum to understand each other and interact with consideration of the other’s perspective.
This is a similar idea to what David Keirsey presented in his book, Please Understand Me II: “that members of families and institutions are OK, even though they are fundamentally different from each other, and that they would all do well to appreciate their differences and give up trying to change others into copies of themselves.” (source) The similarity is within the concept of understanding the differences and respect such qualities. When people can start respect differences, they then start focus on ways to work or live together, i.e. play nice.
However, the two concepts are very different by how each individual wants to resolve issues that stem from differences. David Kerisey believes that the differences are essentially hard-coded into one’s temperaments, therefore immutable. So, he believes that people should give up change one another. On the other hand, Roger L. Martin believes reliability and validity types of thinking are acquired through education, practice and cultural environments. One example for such change is how a start-up company grows from a validity oriented thinking with their new ideas/products/solutions to a reliability oriented thinking with the need to apply reliability oriented processes: Six Sigma, CRM, Sarbanes-Oxley (see: source) So, he is hopeful that with the redesign of his business school, he can make a difference to increase the innovative practices (validity/design) among the shool’s MBA students.
No matter which approach you might have a preference to use or believe, both approaches start from the point that respect the differences is crucial and that’s where constructive next steps are possible.