Validating Our Decision Making Approach

1.   When you have a problem to solve, do you prefer arranging all the facts, analyzing them, drilling down to the most effective solution, then going all out to make it happen (Divergent); do you start doing something (understanding you will never have all the critical facts), adjust your plan along the way and watch things unfold in new and creative ways (Convergent); or do you see yourself doing both in different situations based on the situation or other people involved (Open Ended or Variable); or do you react to others and do the opposite (Switchable)?
2.   Do you think or feel that you work best by slowly circling a problem, working from the largest framework down to smaller and smaller ones until the problem has been solved (Divergent)? Or do you prefer to work from the critical issues outward by identifying the issues we can quickly solve (Convergent)?
3.   Do you think that you work best by making a plan and then working the plan (Convergent), or do you collect information until you feel comfortable enough to proceed (Divergent)


Convergent Individuals:

•   Minimize the scope of a project to produce a quick cycle result.,
•   Reduce the timeframe so that non-compliant others will be noticed quickly.
•   Schedule interactions with others up-front at predefined times.
•   Establish clear and defined roles in advance.
•   Feel they need to complete what they set out to do, even if it turns out to be something they do not want.
•   Would rather feel that something was accomplished, even if it is not the absolute best solution (best choice for the time and place).

Divergent Individuals:

•   Find a direction to go, but do not define the ultimate result.
•   Maximize the scope of a project for the purpose of providing flexibility in the way it can be accomplished.
•   Do not limit timeframes so they have space to collect all the information they need.
•   Explore possible choices or means in an expanded manner.
•   Attempt to implement multiple choices, simultaneously, just to see which way turns out to be easiest.
•   Require a greater degree of interactivity to establish deadlines in a group because initially no one knows where they are going.
•   Believe a goal or intention needs to be accepted by the group or person as worthy, otherwise the energy will fade.
•   Would rather not accomplish something that was not right on the mark (holds out for best choice overall).

Convergent Imprinting

Imprinting is when we act consistent with learned behaviors that help us prove our value or gain acceptance in life (often from our parents). When someone is Convergent imprinted, it mandates that they should make all decisions as quickly as possible or else someone might consider them to be procrastinators. Our fear is that others will doubt our capability to make a decision if we do not do it in a particular timeframe. This means we frequently over-simplify our problems and can try to force short-term solutions that are often not effective. We become driven to break each decision down into a series of small concrete steps to see that we are making progress. Over time, attempting to be what others want us to be, drains our energy and we become more resistance to compromising ourselves. This naturally increases our reluctance to define our decision-making processes in a way that others expect. This is why we become more intense over time and attempt to structure the standards by which we will be measured. As a result we create structures, rules and roles that make it more difficult for others to hurt or judge us. With Convergent Imprinting, we are upset when others do not appreciate our meticulous organization. The main problem with convergent imprinting is that while we want to consider all the options, we frequently feel unable to examine our choices, for fear that others will consider us incapable of making quality decisions.

It is confusing to us when we are identified with convergent imprinting, that others do not seem to appreciate our effort. Underlying this convergent imprinting is usually a more divergent side that reveals itself enough to confuse and/or create concerns about our capacity to make things happen. If we examined our process more closely, usually we would discover times when we were unclear about what to do and/or felt unable to take action. Since we are superficially fearful about chaos, we become fixated about time frames and meeting schedules. Sometimes we attempt to ignore the complexity of the issues, which leads to situations where we get caught up and are unable to implement our initial vision. What we seek is for others to acknowledge the incremental improvements that we make in each situation. Ironically, we are satisfied when we reduce the amount of time it takes in any decision-making activity, even if it diminishes our natural flow.

Divergent Imprinting

Divergent imprinting mandates that we should be open and flexible regarding time in all decision-making processes. When overwhelmed we allow chaos to reign because it is better than the inner pressure we feel we need to perform. While inwardly we possess a sense of order, we usually do not feel able to present a sense of external mastery in our lives. We, therefore, use the confusion of others to create more room to do things in our own way, by frustrating others when they become too demanding. We believe that we need others to agree with us, before we can move forward in making any decision. Sometimes it can be taken to extremes by an unwillingness to discuss options until everyone is present or until we are all in consensus. When we feel trapped, we commonly and if possible covertly take unilateral action, which reveals our frustration at not being able to move forward. We can also create a project so big, that it never seems appropriate to move forward. The main problem with divergent imprinting is that we do not know when we will be able to make a better decision, so we frequently give up and just allow things to happen.

With divergent imprinting, we doubt we know what to do and when to do it. This second-guessing makes it extremely difficult for others to count on us. It also confuses us because we are naturally convergent under this superficial way of being which creates mixed messages about how we want to engage and move forward. As a result, others often feel frustrated that they cannot count on us to take action and make things happen. This is particularly true around others because when we are by ourselves, we are usually good at getting things done. What we seek is for others to acknowledge that we have their interest at heart and that we want to create the most powerful solution for all. We are most satisfied when others believe the process is fair, which ironically usually means everyone must compromise equally.


Switchable Imprinting

Switchable imprinting usually means that we feel the need to take an opposing viewpoint from our partners in order to balance out the process. In other words, if our partner wants something, we need to investigate it and propose a counter solution, which allows us to debate the merits of each option. We also tend to define how we decide things by the people, environment and time pressures in a particular situation. The result is that we end up going along with what others want, rather than clearly asking to be met the way it would work for us. We then end up with compromised, unconscious decision-making processes, which serve no one. The usefulness of this approach is that as we become more conscious of the various styles, we can more effectively influence outcomes to serve everyone. This requires that we not be attached to any particular outcome, and to be attached to systematically examining all the options before moving forward. Usually, this creates a sense of inertia and/or resistance from others when they are not clear about their own style and not conscious about to connect with different styles. Ironically, the more conscious we become, the more demanding we may appear to others about these choices. At least, engaging others in a more conscious way, keeps us from assuming the burden that we have to compromise ourselves to get anything to happen. Switchable imprinting can be most confusing (to ourselves and others) when we do not know where we are in the moment. We need to learn to practice examining our natural response to different situations, so we can begin to have greater fluidity in our decision making process.

This encourages us to constantly remind others that we are only doing this examination for the good of both of us. Our partner can react, believing that they are being sabotaged in a way that eliminates any sense of progress (especially if they have no switchable imprinting themselves). This can also lead to attempts to convince our partner to do what we want by subtlety reminding them of their weaknesses and how we are committed to being supportive of them. In return we would like them to be supportive of us in particular areas. The more we get caught up in this form of behavior (usually because it works to restore a sense of personal power) the more likely it will escalate into full-blown seduction pretenses. We can heal this by honoring our partner’s needs as well as our own and coming up with mutual solutions that work for both. It is also useful to break our personality attachments by serving our partners’ needs first as a practice of defensive healing, particularly when we have no substantial suggestions to make. What we want to accomplish is for them to know our commitment to mutually working in alignment as a team.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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