Friday, March 28, 2008

Visualize - Think - Command

A colleague sent me a self-assessment test recently, from the firm Wallace & Washburn. The test is ten simple questions, and the end result is your profile, in terms of three distinctly different decision-making modalities: Visualizing, Thinking, and Commanding.

My profile revealed that I am:

40% a Visualizer
50% a Thinker
10% a Commander

I'd agree very much with the assessment (although there is always the cynical voice in the back of my mind that says, "how accurate is an online quiz anyway?").

From the Visualizer description:

Visualizers like you look at the world from a wide-angle viewpoint. When buying, you notice things that others don't see. You are practical and intuitive, seeing things as they are. You see many things at once and are strongly influenced by first impressions. You can absorb a lot of information quickly, particularly if it is visually presented.

You are friendly and typically have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. You work well with other people and in teams, without having to be the leader or the loner. You are aware of the feelings of others, but don't get carried away by sympathy. You use words like see, picture, clear and focus. A Visualizer might say "Just show me the big picture." When Visualizers search their memory to access information, they tend to look up to the left or right. That's where the "visions" are.

Your approach to business is decidedly practical. You can bring a fresh new creative viewpoint to a business situation. Visualizers excel as COOs or in operations management. Visualizers like to talk about seeing, looking, noticing, and searching for creative solutions.

From the Thinker description:

You're an analytical type, inclined to use logic to make buying decisions. You enjoy taking your time making decisions. You hate to be rushed. You like thinking because it's easy and fun for you. You want to understand how things work from a logical perspective. You like to analyze the details. You want to understand the underlying reasons why things happen. You like knowing the answers, and you like advising people on what's the best buy, better than taking action directly yourself. You like being right and you like being the expert. You express yourself in words like think, sounds, understand and logical. A thinker might say "Sounds like a plan."

Thinkers are time-sequence oriented and are concerned about the steps needed to accomplish something in the future. You want to know options and the likely outcome of each. You have an intellectual bent. You are often musically inclined and may have some instrumental musical talent. You are less likely than average to be athletic. You may not be outgoing to non-Thinkers, and may be a loner. But you will respond to anyone if they speak your language and follow your thought processes. CFOs, engineers, scientists, and technical types are often Thinkers. Underneath, Thinkers are analytical types. You are more sensitive to logic and the sense of hearing when you buy than you are to gut-feelings or visual input.

What I keep seeing in all these assessments is my "big picture" tendency. I want to see the whole thing, and then look at the details. So how do I translate that when I am selling myself as a job candidate, or assessing my interest in a job?

In some ways, just having the language laid out here for me gives me a sort of a script to work from when asked the standard: "What is your working style?" One way to describe my style is to look at challenges mechanically. Identify the parts of the problem, how they fit together, and then re-engineer the parts to work together in a new and better way.

The more assessments I look at, the more I'm able to really create a concrete vision of who I am, and where I want to go. I want to go somewhere where I can see the big picture, where I can be creative, and where I can think, analyze, and compare. I'm finding a balance in my personality and attitude toward work between crazy creativity and rational analysis. Now to take this balance, and apply it.

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