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.


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