Open Ended Decision-Making Approach

These individuals have no pre-set bias toward one Approach over the other. They, therefore, can participate effectively in whatever way others wish. A key skill we have as Open-ended Decision-making people is that we don’t judge others where they are and we don’t take on the judgments of others about decision-making. Instead we feel internally abundant and connect with others wherever they are and in whatever way they want. This requires us to understand the full range of Divergent to Convergent decision-making positions. While most individuals have adopted a position that reflects who they are so others don’t take advantage of them, an open-ended decision-maker knows that any position diminishes their effectiveness.

An Open-Ended decision-maker is connected to others without feeling compromised. We encourage others to evolve and develop a sense of direction in each situation that reflects the best way to deal with that particular situation. For this reason, Open-Ended decision-makers look at the task to see if it’s more effectively done in either Divergent or Convergent ways and then consider the people and their pre-existing biases before adding our own perspective to the situation. Usually, the view that we take is one that compliments the people and the process so that a decision can be made for the highest good of all. An Open-Ended decision-maker is truly a facilitator of action and not an obstacle to it. Another quality that can be seen in us as Open-Ended decision-makers is our lack of self-importance that comes from our natural humility. Since we don’t view ourselves as anything special, we actually are unique in what we do.

Energies that amplify an Open-Ended decision-making process are Pioneering Affirmation style (See Chapter 5), an understanding of our communication process and natural creative expression, and an ability to see through the imprinting of people around us. With these abilities, we can engage people in flowing ways without creating reactions in others. Of course, as Open-Ended decision-makers, we have to love ourselves enough to love others where they are.

Examples:(D1) Open-Ended Decision-making Approach (7% of the U.S. population)

Oprah Winfrey – Talk Show Host, Actress, known for movie, “The Color Purple” (comes from a Convergent background)
Steve Martin – Comedian, Actor, known for movies, “The Man With Two Brains”, “All of Me”, and “Roxanne” (comes from a Disarming background)
Ellen DeGeneres – Comedian, Talk Show Host, “Ellen”

Decision-Making Differences by Environment

Another way of observing our natural decision-making preferences is how we use different approaches in different environments. The three frameworks we examine are: work, personal relationships and personal creative projects. In work, it tends to bring out our more masculine expression, no matter what gender we are. In personal relationships, the decision-making process reflects our feminine or more undefined nature. In personal creative projects, we tend to be true to our authentic decision-making approach because we have the ability to do things the way we want to without the concern of pleasing others. It is important to remember that each individual receives a variety of messages about what is expected and that these assumptions can distort of distract us from our natural impulse in making decisions. Our intention is to highlight your natural propensity to engage in a certain way to bring a deeper understanding of yourself in different situations.

Convergent and Divergent behavior is many times context sensitive. Our upbringing, imprinting and training can effect decision-making at work, in relationship, or in personal creative time. These factors are heavily influenced by parental imprinting that can result in confusing, mixed messages. For example, a person could be extremely organized or convergent, yet because they don’t want to be compared to someone (usually a parent), they will keep their work desk or creative space messy. If there is a distant background where the child was criticized and needed to be perfect, some individuals rebel by dong particular things that don’t match the overall pattern. This is why we are general in our classifications. Determine how your decision-making assumptions are modified in different situations.

Work And Convergent Decision-Making

Our society currently expects you to be more focused and prioritized when you are at work. This supports you in structuring yourself for quick response situations where you incrementally make changes. This is usually in response to perceived shifts to what is needed by others around you. A sense of urgency pushes you to be part of the solution rather than hold on to the past, which is now perceived as the problem. This Convergent decision-making is time sensitive and allows you to best co-ordinate with others by taking small steps where feedback allows you to shift in a different direction if it is needed. In this situation, others respect and admire your ability to define yourself in terms of what you are able to do quickly.

Work And Divergent Decision-Making

Our society does not know how to deal with you if you are more Divergent at work unless you are considered a more creative person, homemaker, inventor or artist who creates your own timeframe for making things happen. This supports you in letting circumstances define how you respond based on a comparative sense of urgency or bottom-line priorities. In other words, your decision-making approach is to postpone or delay until you have to make it or lose the opportunity. The only thing that redefines what is important is some external event that can upset you or preemptively limit some choice or option. You learn to be careful about issues, which can negatively impact you in this way. This is why we suggest that this form of decision-making rely on spacious presence and integration with many possibilities simultaneously. This facilitates your work when your job is to bring together many different people, events or processes so that they are made more complete. In this situation, while others may not know how to acknowledge you immediately, over time they may esteem what you do even though they don’t know how you do it.

Work And Switchable Decision-Making

Our society has mixed feelings about individuals who are Switchable in their decision-making. This is due to the fact Switchable decision-makers who tend to deny themselves their own preferences can sometimes explode unexpectedly after long periods of self-denial. While society appreciates the flexibility that Switchable decision-makers exhibit, they are repulsed by the unpredictable, periodic explosions that occur. As Switchable decision-makers, you tend to respond to others in ways they expect the decision-making process to be. Eventually, suppressing your own wishes drives you to do your own projects or to impose your own needs in some situations. What is frightening to you is how unexpected these shifts can be, where you need to honor yourself despite the social consequences. Most of the time, you enjoy the changes between Convergent and Divergent styles because of the differences in the people around you. Your capacity to be detailed or to engage the big picture tends to stretch and expand your perspective in new ways. Being able to see different views and address the underlying fears of others, by doing things the way they need them to be done, is definitely a useful skill at work. The more you learn to honor your own choice, the easier it is to work out ways, which serve everyone around you. This reflects that when you appreciate and love your own natural approach, you eventually become more fluid and responsive in your decision-making.

Personal Relationships And Convergent Decision-Making

Convergent decision-making in personal relationships means that you attempt to pre-select a few likely options and then seek to get others to agree with this plan.  You believe your value is in simplifying and pre-screening various options. You are helpful to the degree that others appreciate your investment in eliminating the vast majority of options. As a more Convergent decision-maker in personal relationships, you like to envision that small changes over time will produce exceptional results. You enjoy bringing up issues, believing that small decisions about them will help make the transition easier to where you want to be. You tend to assume that if people understood how easy this process is, they would naturally engage you in a way that would make this work. Unless another individual is also Convergent in personal relationships, this is unlikely to be so. These different individuals tend to believe that constantly bringing up these issues to make the incremental adjustments would be, in fact, both irritating and difficult for them to engage. Divergent decision-makers would be particularly upset because they need more time to absorb a problem and formulate a response to it than Convergent decision-makers. Since Divergent decision-makers see this engagement process as counter-productive, if only a small change is sought, they naturally resist it. As Convergent decision-makers in personal relationships, this resistance is seen as an unwillingness to engage change. Unfortunately, this is seen as necessary to maintain the relationship. It becomes a red flag, which indicates that it is likely that each individual is going their own way.

Personal Relationships And Divergent Decision-Making

Divergent decision-making in personal relationships means that you see it as your duty to open up options and to honor the unknown opportunities, which may arise in each situation. You believe your value is in exploring and deepening various options by following your nose to what seems to have the greatest potential. You are helpful to the degree that others perceive that the decision-making process can be open ended and is not constrained by external time deadlines. As a more Divergent decision-maker in personal relationships, you like to envision that others are open to making big shifts a pivotal times when you know where you want to go is different than where you have been. You tend to assume that if people understood the value and effectiveness of making these changes all at once, they would naturally be willing to move with you. Unless another individual is also Divergent in personal relationships, this is unlikely to be so. These different individuals tend to believe that big changes create more insecurity and greater potential because of unanticipated interactions in the variables. Convergent decision-makers would be particularly upset because they need faster decision-making processes that constantly take on and make small changes so they limit the degree that things can go wrong. Since Convergent individuals see big changes as problematic, they naturally resist it. As Divergent decision-makers in personal relationships, this resistance is seen as an unwillingness to take risks to make things better. Unfortunately, Divergent decision-makers see this as a big problem because others will not be able to incorporate the changes they are going through. Their fear of being rejected becomes progressively greater because of the increasing differences.

Personal Relationships And Switchable Decision-Making

Switchable decision-making in personal relationships means that you either do Convergent or Divergent approaches based on your perceptions of how others are being. You tend to lose yourself in the perceived needs of others without honoring your own choices. This is not only confusing to you but also to others who see you shift in your ways of addressing issues and therefore others become concerned because they don’t know how best to support you.  What others are attempting to do is to establish a set pattern for supporting you so they don’t have to think about it. You of course, perceive this as a good intention (that is attempting to meet you) but it does not work for you a majority of the time. What you would like is a person who can adjust to you and can sense what is needed and simply provide it. In everyday terms, this is called “being able to read minds”.  You expect this because in many ways, you actually do provide this. When others are different in their decision-making process, it does not work for you because their perceived lack of flexibility guarantees that you will not be seen and supported in you decision-making approach a majority of the time.  The answer, of course, if for you to let go of this expectation and to begin to articulate to the best degree possible, what type of decision-making works best for you in different situations. This not only encourages you to become conscious of the contextual factors that affect and inform your decision-making approach, but also helps others to know how and when to meet you in a particular decision-making process. Ultimately, you heal this pattern by being able to embrace any decision-making approach at any particular time, regardless of circumstances.

Personal Creative Projects And Convergent Decision-Making

When you are able to do projects in your own way, it is much easier to establish your own timeline and pace the process in a manner which supports its unfolding. Since you enjoy breaking the project down into small components that you can address in a sequential way, daily goals appeal to you. There is a sense of satisfaction in being able to see projects progress step-by-step and to see your vision manifest. It is fun to push yourself to make that next step happen. While others may not appreciate the pressure you put yourself and them under, it promotes a sense of urgency that is important because you said you would accomplish a certain step. The most interesting aspect of being Convergent in your personal creative projects is that you don’t have to compromise or delay due to others inability to organize themselves. Instead you can see the goal and knock off each step in exactly the way you imagined it. There is also a joy in seeing the feedback that occurs from each problem/solution cycle so that you can incrementally address larger issues and see the results. In this way, change is progressive and based on previous known results.

Personal Creative Projects And Divergent Decision-Making

When you are able to do projects in your own way, it is much easier to formulate an outcome that is worthy of you addressing it. In others words, it is big enough to motivate you and yet small enough for you to accomplish. Since you enjoy seeing the larger picture, it is no surprise that you have to view the problem from every angle so that you can anticipate every issue in advance. There is a sense of satisfaction in addressing each issue in a way that can work with every other component of the problem. It is fun to not be defined by other people’s timeframe so that you can allow the solution to emerge naturally.  As others are unlikely to appreciate the messiness of the creative process, you are usually unwilling to share your ultimate goals until you are clear you can manifest them. The most interesting aspect of being Divergent in your personal creative projects is that you don’t have to perform to meet the expectations of others, particularly when you don’t tell them your goals in advance. There is also a joy in every option researched and examined as you begin to create an integrated solution that can meet your total requirements. In this way, when you are ready, it all comes together to the amazement of those around you.

Personal Creative Projects And Switchable Decision-Making

Being Switchable means that you keep your options open when you are doing your own creative projects. Many times this reflects how you look at a project and get a sense of what is necessary to produce it before you choose a decision-making style. For example, if the timing is externally fixed and others need the benefit of what you are creating in a certain timeframe, it will naturally suggest a Convergent approach. On the other hand, if a project is not time critical and others are not yet involved, perhaps a Divergent approach would be better, particularly if the end result is not clear or needs more development. Your opportunities in being Switchable also make it possible to switch from one framework to another in mid-project. This usually occurs as a result of getting others involved who have particular contributions and different decision-making styles. It is also likely that once a contribution has been made, the structure can revert to its previous framework, particularly if it was working well for you. The only problem with being Switchable on your own creative projects, is that in some situations it may be difficult to determine the best way to approach an issue.  This confusion can be greatly amplified when other decision-makers are involved who have different decision-making approaches. They may find your lack of decisiveness a problem, rather than a flexible opportunity that can be utilized to make things happen.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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