We are all biologically hardwired to come from 1 of 4 survival concerns; Certainty, Freedom, Stability, and Security. You can find out which one you were born to come from in the one hundred and fourth episode of Hunting for The NEXT American Dream.
What enabled mankind to prevail for thousands of years even when our slow feet, furless bodies, and small teeth made us no match for the hostile environment?
The answer is interdependent tribal coordination.
A useful example of this is Lewis and Clark’s expedition, which was ignited by Thomas Jefferson who foresaw the threat of not being first to claim the western territory.
We didn’t have a land shortage in the east; there was no immediate need to risk the investment of an uncertain exploration. But in the face of resistance and uncertainty, Thomas Jefferson gave the certainty needed for the expedition to be funded. He harnessed his biological need for certainty to make others feel certain.
The men that actually did the exploring were a volunteer group of 27 lead of course by Lewis and Clark. This group was composed primarily of volunteers whose biological need was freedom. Their resistance to rules made them the perfect team to go do something that had no instruction manual and a high probability of violent resistance from Native Americans.
Many years later their route and others were ‘stabilized’ by hard-working individuals whose biological need was for stability. Their efforts made efficient and safer wagon travel possible.
And finally, there is the fourth contribution for security when the western territory was mapped and surveyed by members of our tribe who excel at analysis and evaluation. It is with their contribution of security that travel became even more efficient.
This is a basic illustration of how an effective team collaborates.
This story illustrates the four basic concerns from which we operate. Sometimes, we incorrectly assume that others have the same perspective as our own. When we are aware of these different concerns and perspectives, new possibilities become available for coordination of action and community.
The North Clan
a.k.a. Control the “Director”
People of this style are often characterized as being independent or strong-willed. They are decisive and they expect direct answers from those around them. They are determined to make things happen, usually conveying a clear idea of what they want to accomplish before they begin working.
They may become critical of others when things don’t go their way. Best categorized organizationally as visionaries or entrepreneurs, they are creative and bring astonishing new ideas to the world. They work impressively by themselves, although they can fall into a mode of procrastination without an impending deadline.
North Clan members crave immediate results and may have a low tolerance for regarding the feelings of others. They are good at advising self-improvement, but, if not careful, this skill can deteriorate into micro-management and demoralizing criticism.
People of this style often find it difficult to share leadership and can be argumentative when others do not see things their way. They accept challenges and prefer things to be accomplished at a fast pace. When they are at their best, they are magnanimous and generous, using their strength to improve the lives of others. These are thinking people who seek competence in themselves and others. They need to understand life.
Communication style: Direct, “tell it like it is” style. Focused on the bottom line, they communicate with a purpose, preferring to skip any idle “chitchat.” They use verbal skills to mentor others and do not take criticism well. Their talking skills are stronger and more refined than their listening skills.
How to talk to them: Be clear, specific and brief but do not oversimplify. Present possibilities in a logical fashion, with an overview of the relevant facts, then move to potential solutions. Focus on the anticipated results for the future. Keep the pace fast and decisive, geared toward long-term objectives. Avoid wasting their time with “touchy-feely” conversations or behaviors that could block the path to results. Do not review the past!
Descriptives: Cavalier, logical, focused, driven, purposeful, decisive, commanding, willful, self-controlled, independent, dominant, blunt, aggressive, businesslike, structured, inventive, conceptual, ingenious, and principled.
The East Clan
a.k.a. Influence the “Facilitator”
These people are often characterized as enthusiastic, talkative and stimulating. They are emphatic and sensitive, often times putting the needs of others above their own. They usually have a positive attitude toward people and are outgoing, persuasive and friendly. Most people find them easy to get to know and to be around.
They are good at multi-tasking, operate on intuition and flourish in a flexible environment. They will, however, sometimes cut corners because of their impatient concern for time.
Easts can be undisciplined with their time and often find it hard to follow through on their commitments. If overextended, they may deteriorate into endless chatter and become a distraction, scattering their energy and leaving many projects unfinished.
They do love a good challenge though, and are competitive and not deterred by high-risk situations. People of this style are dramatic entertainers, often using exaggeration as a means of effective storytelling. They like getting recognition and are attracted to success and positions of prestige.
At their best, they are able to shape the environment and negotiate differences in a way that produces momentum. These are perceptive people, who must be free to act. They find joy in being impulsive and acting upon the idea of the moment – “free spirits”.
Communication style: They like to talk. They may talk too much, too long and consequently “oversell” or stray off the topic. They talk about ideas and feelings, and many times generalize the facts. They listen for the relationship, and may not remember the details. They quickly develop communication openness with others. They communicate for the sake of momentum and use their verbal skills to win people over.
How to talk to them: Plan time to communicate, preferably in a casual environment. Be friendly, ask questions, stay on topic, be open, express feelings, and have fun. Keep the pace fast, spontaneous and stimulating. Avoid telling them what to do and never assign them boring or repetitive tasks.
Descriptives: Adaptable, upbeat, attractive, charming, energetic, interpersonal, perceptive, provocative, curious, innovative, spontaneous, impulsive, scattered, friendly, open-minded, personal, playful, opportunistic, competitive, daring, fun, and active.
The South Clan
a.k.a. Power the “Builder”
People of this style are characterized as diligent, agreeable and dependable. They enjoy implementing structures to create stability and consistency for everyone involved. They thrive on managing many projects at once, feeling as though having lots to do makes life meaningful.
People of this style have a tendency to say “yes” to any and all requests made of them, causing over-involvement and an abundance of stress. They may have difficulty prioritizing their numerous tasks which can lead to inefficiency in their results.
They may express “frustration” when things are not going their way. They work steadily and cohesively with others; always making sure everyone is included in the process. As a result, they have an excellent ability to create alliances and gain support from others.
While they dislike personal conflict, if they perceive that their indispensability within a group is threatened, they may begin to gossip or blame others for project failures. People of this style approach risk cautiously and are somewhat resistant to change.
Trust and loyalty are very important to them. At their best, they are sympathetic, dependable and generous, and help to build interpersonal team connections. These are industrious people who produce great amounts of tangible value and seek to be accepted by all.
Communication style: Their speaking is less direct and it may take them time to develop an open form of communication. They may not speak their feelings openly, choosing instead to show them in action (i.e., by slamming a door). They actively listen to others, and they enjoy using their verbal skills to promote unity and consensus. They avoid confrontation and may even say what others want to hear in order to be accepted.
How to talk to them: Focus on the nuts and the bolts, and demonstrate that they will be included in the process. Present new ideas gently and provide them with guarantees and time to “let the seed grow”. Be agreeable and sincere. Concentrate on the specifics of “how” things will get done, and draw out their suggestions and opinions. Ask them what is on their list and then don’t interrupt until they’re done. Keep the pace casual and personal, yet remain focused on the production goals. Avoid pushy, aggressive behavior and don’t disrupt their work with conceptual conversations about the future.
Descriptives: Engaging, likable, responsible, amenable, supportive, inclusive, accepting, considerate, amiable, reliable, steady, feeling, loyal, pleasant, compatible, consistent, harmonious, compassionate, devoted, sympathetic, and fair.
The West Clan
a.k.a. Authority the “Analyzer”
People of this style are typically the rational, orderly type, ultimately concerned with maintaining high quality and standards. They dislike waste and sloppiness and are often characterized as conscientious, disciplined and serious. They like things to be logical, organized and to comply with any preexisting rules.
Wests are persistent when seeking clarification, often asking very specific questions about the minutest of details. They are deliberate and cautious before taking action, and many times work backward to reach their decisions by using a process of elimination. Most prefer to work by themselves in an objective, task-oriented, intellectual environment.
They may be hypersensitive to criticism and can deteriorate into moodiness or counter-attacks when they believe others perceive them as incompetent, unprepared or unorganized. At their best, they are discerning and rigorous, often calling a group back to its root values. These are exacting, judging individuals who thrive on their work- life. They demand professionalism, organization, and efficiency.
Communication style: They keep their distance communication-wise, and rarely ever mingle. Often times they conceal their true feelings and ideas when first asked, preferring instead to think through an entire topic before answering. People of this style focus on the details and consistently remember them. Typically, they communicate well with the written word. Their ability to listen is stronger than their ability to speak and communicate, though frequently they will use their verbal skills to pontificate and opine.
How to talk to them: Be prepared and organized. Present details along with the pros and cons. Document everything. Give solid evidence, be serious, and allow time for questions. Do not force a decision. Listen respectfully and take notes regarding their assessments. Keep the pace systematic and formal. Avoid surprises, inconsistency, and unpredictability.
Descriptives: Prudent, confrontational, precise, conservative, methodical, introspective, pensive, structured, organized, perfectionist, persistent, systematic, thorough, prepared, deliberate, formal, functional, credible, accurate, procedural, traditional, and conventional.
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