Archive | March, 2012

Sorting Styles, In-Time, Through-Time

28 Mar

In the sorting styles trilogy, I think this is my favorite! I have taught this to people all over the world.  It is a very practical tool in every walk of life!

In-Time or Through-Time is about how we code time; the duration from event to event creates our image of time.  Do any of the following situations frustrate you, or even more dramatic, do they actually offend you?

  • People that arrive late, seemingly unaware or caring that they are late.  When you address it their response is usually “I’m late?”
  • When you ask “Are you ready to go?”  “Yes” means it will be 30-60 minutes before you’re leaving.
  • People who constantly rush you!  Rush you off the phone, into decisions, out the door, and through your meal.
  • People that tap their watch and give you “the eye” as if you can’t tell time.

Time issues tend to be at the center of conflict, arguments, hurt feelings and even CLMs (career limiting moves).

For In-Time people time is sort of like bubbles.  Once they have climbed into a bubble, time is pretty irrelevant – the task, relationship or conversation is most important.  In-Time people are often offended if an activity ends based on some artificial time constraint.  “Of course I was a couple of minutes late, I was on the phone finishing up a conversation.”

Through-Time people are pretty much the opposite – time resembles a series of blocks that you walk along side, moving from one to the next at an even pace.  A day is 24 one-hour blocks that are assigned – so many units for sleeping, eating, working, playing, etc.  A Through-Time person will typically pack-up their materials 5-10 minutes before the end of a meeting so they can transition smoothly from one block to the next.  They are often offended when time is not adhered to and valued as a resource.

Are you starting to see yourself in one of these?  This sorting style is very closely tied to feelings of respect, which is why it’s also tied to conflict.  In-Time people tend to feel respected when they are allowed to experience the freedom of exploring or completing the process, conversation or idea.  Through-Time­ people tend to feel respected when others use their time wisely

Yes, of course, everyone can and does function in both types of time, however, most of us have a preference.  The good news is that both styles contribute significantly in life.  A friend once said, “It’s great to have a Through-Time person plan a vacation, but you want to go on vacation with an In-Time person!”

CLICK HERE for the paper and quiz! Please remember – this information is to help you appreciate and manage different preferences, it is NOT to justify bad behavior or condemn others!

Sorting Styles, Move Towards – Move Away

25 Mar

Notice the difference?“

  • You can go outside, as soon as your room is clean.”  OR “You can’t go outside until your room is clean.”
  • “This room will look so great when we finish remodeling.”  OR “We won’t have to live out of boxes once the remodeling is done.”
  • “We will greatly improve productive with the changes we’re putting in place.” OR “ We can avoid a lot of rework and loss of revenue but putting these changes in place.”

Where you able to pick up on the difference?  Did you find yourself more drawn to one over the other?  This sorting style addresses the reward strategy that is most likely to motivate you – Moving Towards or Moving Away.

Some people are inclined to see the bright shinny things in front of them and are motivated to go after it with minimal concern for the risk (Move Towards).  Others are more motivated to create a safe, stable environment where risk is minimal (Move Away).

Just to be clear – everyone is motivated to move towards absolute pleasure and away from obvious pain – this strategy is a bit subtler.

Interestingly, the end product or result of a project may very well be the same regardless of which strategy is employed; the key is to use the best strategy for the person you want motivated.

Let’s face it, very few kids really want to clean their room.  The question is, did they even hear the entire request?  Often a Move Towards kid (or adult) wants to know about the bright shinny thing they can have, then, they can hear what the cost of acquiring it is.  For a strong Move Towards person, if the request starts with roadblocks, barriers, obstacles or threats their brain is likely to tune out and miss the reward.  “You can’t go outside, blah, blah, blah.” All they heard was what they can’t do – not a motivator for them!

Likewise, the Move Away kid doesn’t really want to clean his room either but he really wants to avoid the reality of having to stay in doors so there is motivation to take down the barrier.

All of us tend to motivate others using the strategy that is most comfortable to us – often this happens at an unconscious level.   So, your first choice is to figure out what your preference is.   To read the short paper or take the 15 question quiz CLICK HERE.  Then really pay attention to your kids, co-worker, and family member’s to find their preferred patterns.  If you consciously look for clues, you’ll find them.  Consider starting with people that don’t seem to respond to your requests with enthusiasm – they probably have the opposite style.  If you aren’t sure of a person style or you’re talking to a group – say  it both ways!


Sorting Styles, Sameness and Difference

20 Mar

Do you know someone that says “Yeah, But” to almost every comment or suggestion made?  Or, “That won’t work” before you’ve even finished your thought?  A self appointed “devils advocate.” They are a total killjoy when it comes to brainstorming.  Even though it was clearly explained that there is no evaluation during idea generation – they pick apart every idea brought up!  Does it ever feel like you just can’t win with some people, they always point out the other side of the story?  Are you one of those people?

On the other hand, do you know someone that can’t make a decision, all wishy-washy?  They jump on the bandwagon of whatever idea is being promoting? They often skip details as if they’re irrelevant.  Everything is a brainstorming, including where to eat; we could go here or here or here or here!  And, yet for all of their brainstorming, most of their ideas are the same – they resist new ideas and change?

OK, before you get all caught up in judging you might want to learn about this particular Sorting Style.  We all have two basic ways that we work with and compare data.  Those of us that tend to match information to what we already know have a Sorting Style of Sameness.  Those of us that tend to look for what is mis-matched from what we already know have a Sorting Style of Difference.

Yes you can do both, sort by Sameness and Difference, in fact mot of us do.  However, we usually lead with one  – that’s our preference – and then maybe, we consider the other.   Statistically there are more Sort for Sameness people, but doesn’t it seem like there are more Sort by Difference?  Maybe the Difference sorters are more noticeable?!?!  Opps, I’m one of them!  I like to think of myself as appropriately managed – it’s a choice (both doing it and thinking you do it.)

As you might imagine both sorting styles have a purposeful role in work, play and life.  And, both present challenges.  Sorting styles aren’t good or bad.  Like any other personality or temperament trait – they are something to be understood and managed.  (You might want to check out the March 17th blog for an overview of Sorting Styles.)

If you’re curious about your preference, or someone else’s, you can  CLICK HERE.  You’ll find a very short paper explaining the concept in a bit more detail along with a 15 question quiz to help you sort out your style!

Your choice for today is to learn more about your gift and consider how to use it without annoying the heck out of others!


Sorting Styles, training stuff

17 Mar

Do you ever notice that some of your family members, co-workers or other drivers on the road seem to see the world though a different lens than you?   As you probably already know – the do!  The question is, how are they doing it?  Or maybe the question is… how am I doing it?   One considerations could be your sorting styles.

What are Sorting Systems? We all have internal filters or sorting programs that we use to take in information, process the events around us and dictate how we think about that information.    Our behaviors reflect how we sort this information, even though the filtering systems work at an unconscious level.  By observing our behavior in a given situations we can identify our current sorting systems. Understanding our sorting preferences will provide context for behavior patterns and awareness that will help us adjust or change our behavior if we choose.

Each person filters or sorts information uniquely however, general patterns have been identified.  This week I will outlines the general patterns for 3 specific sorting systems.  Most people will find they are not 100% of any one sorting preference, but most everyone will be able to identify a stronger tendency or preference.

This learning process is not about “changing” your sorting systems, but learning how you might “manage” yourself to be more effective.  Understanding these sorting systems will help you adapt your behavior and suspend judgment of others

No sorting system is inherently good or bad nor are the associated behaviors inherently good or bad.  However, some behaviors are more or less appropriate given the situation and the preferences of the people you are in relationship/communication with. By recognizing your sorting preferences and the sorting preferences of others you may be able to stop reacting to behaviors and choose responses that will increase your ability to better communicate and relate to others.

How we sort information in any given category may change based on the situation or the people involved.  It is possible that people will sort differently in an intimate or close relationship than they do in a work situation.  Also, all sorting is on a continuum from one extreme to the other.  Few people operate at either extreme, all the time.

My next three blogs will cover 3 sorting styles.  Each blog will have a short paper and assessment that I wrote for one of my classes while getting my master degree in Human Development.

  • How we work with and compare data (sorting for sameness or difference)
  • How we’re most likely to be motivated (move toward or move away)
  • How we evaluate and refer to time (in-time or through-time)

If you find you’ve become a sorting styles junkie, you could check out  the book Figuring Out People,(2002) Hall& Bodenhamer, the authors explore 51 different Meta- Programs, or sorting systems.


MBTI, DISC, Learning Styles, Enneagram

8 Mar

My guess is most everyone reading this has taken an assessment of some kind.  My burning question… did you make any life enhancing choices based on the information?

Personally I am a huge fan of assessments, and, they scare me.  Well the assessment doesn’t scare me – the users do.  I have seen too many well-intended HR people or trainers use assessment to pigeonhole people or label them.  “You’re an ISTJ?  Go sit in the corner and work, you’re not a people person!”  For anyone that has been abused by an assessment process, I apologize.

Even if you’re not currently a fan of assessment – I’m going to ask you to consider my argument FOR assessments.  If you are a fan, or at least a willing participant, do you get the full value?  Follow the rationale…

“Top performers extract 3 – 5 times more information from feedback then average performers.” (The quote is from IHHP, a super groovy company I have the privilege of working with.  If you’re into Emotional Intelligence check them out  Back to my point… If a top performer and an average performer were each given the exact same feedback, a top performer would learn more from the information.   Let’s apply this to assessments.

Starting with a low performer… “See, this is just how I am!”  Assessment results tend to be justification for not playing well with others.  “Now that you know who I am, get over it – I can’t change.”

An average performer will consider their results and often learn a lot about themselves; their preferences, tendencies, how and why they behave the way they do and try to adjust some of the behaviors that are career limiting and relationship stunting.  That’s all good stuff!

However, a top performer will mine the full value of an assessment.  They’ll do the same great work as the average performer in terms of becoming aware of and monitoring what they learned about themselves – that is step one.  Then, a top performer will seek understanding about others; their preferences and the ways they do things.  They understand that for others, doing things in a different way is as natural to them as your way is to you.  The top performer will put themselves in others shoes and try to see the world from their perspective.  They will consider what it feels like for that co-worker, boss, employee, spouse, friend, or family member to have to live and work with YOU!

Learning more about yourself and others preferences does not mean you have to change who you are – to the contrary – it helps you understand your natural abilities and strengths.  The key is to understand how others function at their best and, how to bring out the best in one another.

Today’s point of choice…dust off your old assessments, or take some new ones, be a top performer.  What can you learn about yourself and equally as important what can you learn about being in relationship with others?

If you’re interested, I created a Quick Reference Guide for 13 assessment tools while working on my Masters.   It’s only 2 pages CLICK HERE.