Tension exists everywhere. In structures, mechanics, processes, nature, relationships - and it also exists in business.
Our latest piece of research tells us that the most successful organisations, those who can weather the storms of market pressure, economic downturn and forceful competition, are the ones who embrace their tensions.
At a human level, conflict often exists amongst the differences (and similarities) between people and teams. If we are to embrace the tensions between us and exploit the mythical ‘creative tensions’ often spoken about then a safe, simple and transparent language is required - the language of Facet5.
Let’s explore some of the tensions shared in Rapid Evolution and see where Facet5 can help us.
Creativity vs. Conservatism: Control
Usually, those who challenge the status quo and like to disrupt the way things are done are not the same people who prefer things to remain steady and consistent.
The Control factor in a person’s profile can tell you lots about where their preferences could lie. If I have a low Control score, this would suggest that I work in a conceptual, instinctive way which will often show in things like how quickly I adopt a different approach depending upon the situation (‘winging it’, some say…) or how wedded to the way things are done I might be when coming up with ideas. Being able to challenge existing thinking is clearly crucial to the survival of business and can potentially unlock thinking to drive us towards the way things could be, which is what low Control approaches achieve so well.
We tend to associate higher levels of conservatism and rule-following with those scoring higher on Control, creating a more conscientious ‘by the book’ type of approach. The strength here is consistency, reliability and rigour. When examining how businesses can move forward, as well as the new ideas there is the continuous improvement of the existing ones; this is where a tendency towards high Control can prove valuable.
Do/Think or Think/Do: Energy
The difference between ‘doers’ and ‘thinkers’ when it comes to the behaviours associated with extraversion and introversion are generally quite commonly understood but are we managing the tension here well enough? Where prompt action is required there is no doubt that it helps to have a workforce which can turn on its heels and change direction; events of the past three years have taught us this, but we must make the most of those who can offer more insight at the same time. Agile responses are not just quick ones, but well thought-through ones. To evolve rapidly, businesses need to learn what they can do quickly versus what needs a more steady pace - fast, fast, slow.
Where a workforce (think team, department or even organisation) has a strength of high Energy its leaders should consider both how to harness this but also where to apply caution; if we look at a TeamScape report, the Work Cycle describes Implementation as a dominance of the Energy scores above the other three factors in question (Will, Affection and Control). Where Energy is lower, action is likely to be more thought through and considered.
Divergence vs. Convergence: Affection
As a third idea is it worth considering the tensions created from high versus low Affection. Our first thought is often to associate high Affection with the degree to which a person is willing to consider, or believe in another’s ideas, views or opinions. In other words, they place an immediate higher level of trust, or worth, in other people. Groups with a dominance of high Affection will be considerate, respectful and tolerant which, in turn, will generate more divergent ideas. Great for brainstorming and creativity in general; no idea is a bad idea!
But what happens when all of this creativity and craziness needs to be turned into action? Lower Affection preferences favour practicality and pragmatism. They tend to think in more convergent and critical ways. If we can make the most of their preferences at the right time it might even be the perfect combination, a team which comes up with an abundance of useful ideas. We can use those in the group with lower Affection as our sense-checkers. Our reality check.
The trick is for all businesses to be able to identify these tensions and make them valuable; this can be achieved through the application of Facet5 and its many products. Specifically, the Foundation Profile, Spotlight Coaching Affinity and TeamScape reports will unlock the meaning between the similarities between profiles across businesses. In particular, logging into myFacet5 and sharing profiles with coworkers could even be the start of a beautiful friendship…
“Diversity is what we have, inclusion is a choice” – Anon.
Ending with a quote I heard from a wise(r) colleague a while ago (I would use her name but I’m pretty sure she’d blush), we can use our knowledge of Facet5 as individuals and teams to create a work environment which harnesses the best of who we are.