How your Thinking drives your Behaviour

This is a critical analysis technique for identifying your Utility / Hard-coding Profile. This personal exploration provides insight into your unique personality and behaviours. Perform the analysis, discuss the result with somebody you trust, and then consider how you will use this new information to improve your relationships and behaviours.

Matching Strategy
A new person / object / idea is evaluated in one of 4 possible ways:

a) on the similarities between the new and the known;
b) on the differences between the new and the known;
c) on similarities, allowing for a few differences;
on differences, allowing for a few similarities.
Apply this concept when you see a new model of car, or hear about a new invention, or meet a person for the first time. What do you notice or check first – similarities, or differences, or option c), or d)? When somebody shows you a replacement acquisition, what do you initially focus on regarding appearance or functionality – how is it different from the old one, or how similar is it to the old one? Do you avoid people who are “not like me / us”, or do you delight in the richness which interaction with different people brings to your relationships?

Motivation Strategy
(away from-----towards)Do you remain in a job or relationship until the discomfort forces change, or have you been known to change your perfectly good car for a different one that attracted you irresistibly? How about your last job conditions versus your current job – did you remain in the last one until your discomfort level forced you to look for another one, or did you leave a relatively good job situation for one that seemed more attractive? Are you more likely to remain with what is known and comfortable, or to seek out what is new and unknown?

This governs the impetus for change. Someone with a repelled motivation strategy is likely to remain in an uncomfortable situation, unless and until the situation becomes unbearable. Someone with an attracted motivation strategy may abandon a perfectly comfortable situation, in favour of a more attractive one.

Innovation Strategy
Do you prefer the tried-and-tested methods of performing a task, or are you constantly looking for different ways of doing things? Do you follow the recipe, or try to combine the ingredients in new ways?

Necessity/procedures describes doing things “by the book”; possibility/options describes a “green fields” approach. The first prefers the known and proven; the second looks for new / better solutions.

Attention Focus
In a social setting, do you focus on what others are seeing, saying, and feeling, or do you focus on yourself – how you feel, how you look, how you sound? Bear in mind that focusing on what others think of you is still self-focusing.

Differentiates the degree to which a person focuses on her/himself – either of the extremes can inhibit intelligent learning and communication.

(detail-----big picture)
Describes the degrees of perspective of the individual viewpoint.
When some new idea or concept is introduced, do you immediately zoom in on the detailed aspects, or do you look at the overall concept? Perspective, for our purposes, refers to the initial response you have. If somebody asked you to describe a situation how do you tell them about it – all the important bits first, or do you make broad, sweeping statements?

Locus of Control
Locus of control refers to the point of reference used for individual self-esteem, achievement, quality etc.

What is more important – what you think of yourself, or what others think of you? To what extent are you influenced by a compliment, or a criticism? When you complete a task, how do you know that the quality is good – according to your standards, or according to the standards of others? Was it a great presentation because you know it is, or because others say it is great?

Time Orientation
Describes how the individual experiences time – as a continuous stream, like a diary, or existing in-the-moment with little regard for the past or future.
This one can cause a little confusion, both in practice and in explanation, so we present you with illustrative scenarios.

Scenario A: You have a social event at 2pm, and another appointment at 5pm.

At 4:30, you are still having a fabulous time, so you remain where you are, possibly calling to say that you will not make the 5pm appointment.

Scenario B: You have a social event at 2pm, and another appointment at 5pm.

At 4:30, you are still having a fabulous time, and you leave, so that you can make the 5pm
Appointment, on time.

Scenario A: You have a meeting at 2pm, and another meeting at 5pm.

At 4:45, you are about twenty minutes away from finishing the meeting, and finalising everything.
So you remain where you are, possibly calling to say that you will not make the 5pm appointment, or be a little late.

Scenario B: You have a meeting at 2pm, and another meeting at 5pm.

At 4:45, you are about twenty minutes away from finishing the meeting, and finalising everything.
You leave the meeting anyway, to be on time for the 5pm meeting.

Which Scenario best describes your natural behaviour, A, or B? A tends to be oriented through time; B tends to be oriented in-time.

Decision Evaluation Basis
This continuum is best described in terms of food: quantity, or quality? Tons of cheap carbohydrates and sugar, or modest portions of high-quality protein?
Another way of looking at this – reframing – do you have over 50 acquaintances (it is important to interact with many people), or a handful of close friends (it is important to build strong relationships)? Bear in mind that most of us have some close friends and a larger number of acquaintances – the question focuses on the relative importance of each set to the other. Which matters more?

Activity Level
Innate critical analysis of a situation, in order to avert discomfort/disaster, or belated crisis management after the fact?

A proactive approach includes ongoing evaluation of a situation to identify potential problems or opportunities; a reactive approach means that while the situation appears to be stable or satisfactory, there is no evaluation. How much contingency planning do you do in your general life? How prepared are you to cope with crisis – do you have measures in place just in case something goes wrong or not according to plan?

Activity preference
Immediate frenzied activity with all resources, or thoughtful contemplation on the best solution?
For practical purposes, exclude the meetings which you attend in the work environment, when evaluating your activity preference – the individual often has little control over this. Exclude situations of extreme crisis, for the same reason. Consider your immediate reaction when made aware of a change in an existing situation. Do you immediately start doing things, instructing people, asking for advice, OR do you first consider the implications of the change, generate a few courses of action, think about the implications of the different courses of action, before actually implementing your chosen option?

Activity Content
Which are more important – people who perform the work, or the work itself? The car, or the teenager taking the car for an unauthorized joyride?

The best way to evaluate this is to consider what you focus on when a specific task needs to be performed - what is more important to you: the person doing the work, or the work itself? Does it matter if the person is unhappy, provided the work gets done? As long as the person achieves satisfaction from the task, does it matter that the task is done late?

Remember: Utilities direct our attention; they create systematic, consistent patterns in our thinking and behaviour. Understanding Utilities, and learning to identify them, provides a tool for understanding behaviour patterns. NB: These are patterns, not labels.

Be brutally honest, for the best results. Some behaviours are in our blind spots. If you work with your partner or a friend, do their Profile as well. This would test how well you have synthesized the information in the model, and whether you can apply the principles in a practical situation.

Further learning comes from looking at historical situations in the light of your Utilities profile, to gain understanding in how the profile prescribes automated responses in a diversity of situations. Often past disagreements provide rich material for learning; comparing different responses to the same situation gives similar benefits.

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Author's Bio: 

Evolution of Learning is committed to developing Individual and Professional Leadership, through offering focused and professional training courses and articles. The experiential learning explorations entail critical self-analysis through specific behaviour profiling techniques. Although professional with a sound practical component, the learning is creative and fun, allowing for the emergence of the individual's unique characteristics. Benefits include clearer communication, and higher quality relationships. The training is fully supported via email.