Several years ago as a leader in a Fortune 500 company, our Training and Development Manager brought Emergenetics to my team. At first, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into, but it came with high remarks from people I respected, so I agreed to a Meeting of the Minds (the introductory workshop) with my team. There I learned I was a “trimodal: Blue, Red, Yellow.” In other words, in the four thinking preferences, I had strong preference in Blue or Analytical; Red, otherwise known as Social; and Yellow, Conceptual thinking. The fourth preference which was almost unidentifiable in my profile was Green, the Structural attribute. At this point in my career I had led teams for more than two decades and felt reasonably successful, and I thought, “what do people with Structural thinking preferences do? After all, if I’ve made it this far without it, why does one need it?”
Honestly, it’s hard to admit to such arrogance, but at the time it really was an honest question. During the Meeting of the Minds I learned, my honest question was “exactly the kind my profile would ask.” Imagine that. Later I asked a manager more experienced with the Emergenetics profile if he could explain. The explanation was swift and simple: “they clean up your messes.” Immediately, the lightbulb came on! There were three or four people on my team who had a Structural preference. They were exactly the people that could build any program I dreamed up. They were the ones who made complicated concepts easy for the rest of us to understand. They always brought simplicity and reasoning to discussions with multiple, passionate viewpoints.
Ever since that personal epiphany, I’ve worked to improve my structural abilities. While it’s not a natural thinking preference, I can work to maximize what I have. Typically, it takes me more time and discipline, but I can now determine answers to some of the structural questions that arise. After I exhaust my own capability, I have an amazing collection of teammates who quickly and easily build upon my initial thoughts.
Bottom line, I’ve learned that sometimes what I don’t possess as a preference or talent is exactly what is most valuable to me. I don’t need more people like me on my team. I need more people who are as diverse as can be – especially in how they think. When I need to make changes on the team, I will use additional Emergenetics products enabling me to hire candidates who have complimentary competencies and motivations. Once we have this objectivity built into our hiring process, we can have confidence that the new team member will be properly skilled and a good fit.