How do you work? Part 2 (with others)

In my last blog post I talked about the four different types of workers

1. Meaning 2. Structure 3. Caring 4. Action

Oftentimes you’ll have different types in your team and with differences, frustrations will occur. Here's a cheat sheet so you can start to understand the relational dynamics within your team.

Meaning with Action: common frustrations

Meaning gets upset because Action cuts off his process and doesn’t value his intellectual discussions. Wanting to jump in without much thought is insanity to Meaning and completely disconcerts him. When he doesn't understand why, he feels there is no point to the project and he will dig his heels in until he gets an answer.

Action thinks it's foolish to waste time sitting around talking about the project when they could be half done with it already. He sees Meaning's resistance to moving and he feels like Meaning is trying to undermine the project.

Meaning with Structure:  common frustrations

Meaning struggles to converse and get on the same page with Structure. Meaning wants everything to make sense based on the vision and goals. And Structure doesn’t talk in those terms. Meaning feels Structure is asking the wrong questions. Meaning wonders... Why ask how when we don’t even know why? Or even if this project matters at all.

Structure doesn't know why Meaning has to talk so loftily and conceptually. It's all hot air to him. He wants data and a decision made so he can make a plan.


Structure with Action: common frustrations

Structure wishes Action would stop to think before diving in. He would be so much more effective and not waste time doing things without a plan or direction. Structure wishes Action would stop shooting and aim first.

Action feels like Structure is too slow to get moving. He wishes Structure would plan a little less and do a little more.


Caring with Action, Structure, Meaning: common frustrations

Action doesn't want Caring to be asking if he's okay and whether he has any thoughts. Of course he's okay! He just wants to work.

Structure is looking for someone to stand up and make a decision. He's annoyed that Caring is trying to get a consensus in the group, it's wasting time and he just wants a decision. Who cares if everyone likes it as long as it's the most logical.

Meaning doesn't like that Caring isn't concerned with the purpose behind the decision, but rather the feeling that the decision evokes.

Caring only gets upset (with any of the above people) if he feels hindered from taking care of the needs of the group, or that everyone's contribution isn't being valued and considered.


How to avoid these frustrations:

1. Be aware that Meaning, Structure, Caring, and Action, all have different agendas. 2. Recognize the role each plays and why each agenda is valuable to the group and needed for a successful project. 3. Have stages to address each person’s agenda and role. First a stage to talk about why we’re doing the project, then a stage to talk about how we’re going to do the project, a stage to make sure everyone is in agreement, and then finally give it to Action and let him take it away.

How do you work? Part 1

There's four types of "business personalities" important to know if you're like most people and have to collaborate or work on a team. The four types (meaning, structure, caring, action) Meaning people don’t necessarily care if the work gets done until they understand why it needs to be done in the first place. They seek to understand the value and meaning of the work before doing it. They always go back to the goal and will ask questions like:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Why are we taking this approach?
  • Why don’t we try this instead?,
  • Why is this important?

Structure people don’t care so much about why they want to know how. They want to know the path and will ask questions like:

  • How are we going to accomplish this?
  • Whats the best approach?
  • What are the different strategies or angles we could take to conquer this?
  • How long, How much, and what’s my role

Caring people don’t care if the work gets done as long as everyone is satisfied and heard. They ask questions like:

  • Are we all in agreement?
  • Is everyone happy with this approach?
  • Did we make sure everyone got a chance to voice their opinions?
  • Any concerns?

Action people. Don’t care why or how, or who. They care about GO. As soon as a project is presented they’re off to do it. No questions asked.

Obviously each person takes an entirely different approach to starting a project. And since differences often create conflict, you'll have to be able to understand all sides in order to fight fair. So in the upcoming blog post I'll be talking about how the personalities interact with each other. But first...what type do you think you are? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

An odd way to motivate yourself to start

Do you have trouble starting something?

A great way to encourage action in yourself is to start writing your to-do list differently.

Don’t write yourself “reminders” that you have to sort through to understand.

You will find yourself starting projects and tasks faster, if you write your to-do list in active language

instead of passive language.

Using a verb will help to compel you to action.

The action is so clear it feels more like a command than a suggestion.

So keep in mind that your to-do list isn't a reminders list, but an action list!

PS.  If the action word isn’t compelling enough, change it to a stronger verb

Is this your final decision?

We dance at the starting line forever. We stand cautiously weighing the risk, the cost, and wanting to make the perfect decision before starting something.

We feel like a man jumping off a building. Once we jump, there's no going back. We can’t change, we can’t stop, we must see whatever we start to completion. This can cause a lot of anxiety and inaction. We feel like this is the final decision, and the only one we get to make.

But that's flawed thinking. The beauty is that we can be flexible. We can change mid sentence, redirect our course, or stop all together. Action even in the wrong direction is better than no action at all. If its no longer a good goal, we can let it go.

But when you stand, contemplate, consider and let everything swirl around in your brain. When you make no move towards starting until you know exactly where you are going, and know you're going to get there, you will start very few things.

Starting is clarifying: Once you have started something, you can have a more realistic picture of what it actually entails to finish the project. You'll realize whether you're still passionate about the project, whether it has value and whether you should continue.

Starting helps you to gain momentum. If you wait too long to start something, the excitement will die off, which you could have used to catapult yourself closer to success. You can spend a lot of valuable time and energy planning and thinking about starting your goal instead of putting that energy towards actually creating.

Also, the mental energy of thinking about something can be more daunting than actually doing it. When you have ideas swirling around in your brain that you aren’t taking action on, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still working on them. You are expending energy thinking about them which is the exact energy you would be using to actually do it! It's terribly inefficient and steals your productivity.

Of course planning is incredibly valuable, but too much planning can paralyze you to action. And then what good is a plan if you don’t put it into motion? All it is are words on a paper; dust bunnies collecting as proof that you didn’t have the gumption to start your dreams.

It's worse to have a dream and not do anything about it, then to not even have a dream.

So get started. Stop waiting for the perfect alignment of your thoughts, your plans and your circumstances.

When someone pushes your buttons

The actions, tones and phrases people use that tick us off, are usually because of past experiences. It could be they uncovered an insecurity we have or harped on something others have said over the years. Whatever triggers the flare-up, we automatically think they intentionally provoked us. We choose to think that because, it’s easier to justify an outburst, if we were set up for it. But the truth is, most people don’t keep a notebook labeled “ways to make Bethany angry” They aren’t scheming to trip me up, and cause tension. (unless we’re talking about a little brother!)

But people blunder, they step on our proverbial toes, and unthinkingly annoy us. If we exercise self control, and avoid assigning wrong motives, we can allow ourselves to graciously move past the moment. This will save ourselves and others a lot of needless conflict.

34 Things you can accomplish in 5 minutes or less!

People waste time because they think they don’t have enough of it to get anything worthwhile done. So why bother to start at all?

Well to give you an idea of the productivity you are capable of, here’s a list of items you can accomplish in 5 minutes or less. 1. Put makeup on 2. Shave 3. Brush your teeth 4. Put in a load of laundry 5. Iron a shirt 6. Write a note 7. Make a phone call 8. Read a chapter in a book 9. Load the dishwasher 10. Take a shower (okay that may be pushing it for some) 11. Scrub the toilet 12. Make a salad 13. Clean out car/purse or a drawer 14. Make your bed 15. Sweep a room 16. Update and throw out old food in your refrigerator 17. Watch a TED talk 18. Do 25 squats 19. Take your vitamins 20. Put on sunscreen 21. Fold a basket of laundry 22. Take the dog or kid for a walk 23. Have a cup of coffee/Tea

24. Learn a new vocabulary word

25. Memorize a scripture verse

26. Clean out your desk or cubicle (depends on how often you’ve done this) 27. Clean out your email inbox 28. Organize your computer desktop 29. Write in your journal 30. Read a chapter of your bible 31. Make a prayer list 32. Review your list of goals and do an action step from there 33. Vacuum a room 34. Weed the garden

Here’s a suggestion; why don’t you set a task and timer for yourself and see what you can accomplish in just 5 short minutes. After you’ve done that once, rinse and repeat. You’ll soon be flying through your seemingly insurmountable work load.