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Organizer and Visionary: What is possible when these seemingly opposing forces come together?

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 12, 2014 3:04:40 PM

One needs control, the other thrives in chaos. One is meticulously calculating, the other willing to change as fast as the wind shifts. These two patterns truly are paradoxical forces but what becomes possible when we learn to manage this paradox? When we learn to use both of the powerful energy patterns of FEBI?

First, a bit of background. What we are describing here are two of the four energy patterns of personality measured by the FEBI personality assessment. Although all patterns serve an important purpose in just about any situation, most of us have a strong preference for one of these four, which we call our home pattern. As a coach that works with leaders around these patterns, I also often see that two patterns can merge together to form a personality style for that individual. More times than not, we see pairings of Driver with Organizer or pairing of Collaborator with Visionary. These pairings do make intuitive sense given the nature of the patterns, Driver/Organizer being patterns of what is rewarded in many companies such as meeting goals, following through on commitments and pushing for greater success. Collaborator/Visionary are patterns of creativity and art such as seen in these street art pictures. These, however, are far from the only styles that can exist and some pretty interesting things happen when some of the more opposing patterns pair together. Extraversion, for example, appears to be a combination of Driver and Collaborator. The Driver side of extraversion is the side the steps up in leadership situations, taking charge when the task calls for it. The Collaborator side of extraversion, on the other hand, is all about being the life of the party and connecting with people. Two very different expressions of the widely known extraversion trait but when combined creates a charismatic, engaging leader that gets things done!

Another interesting pairing is the Organizer and Visionary energy patterns. The Organizer energy pattern is defined by its systematic approach to problem solving, its attention to details and its overall demeanor of conscientiousness. High Organizers tend to thrive in situations that have, well, order! They like to know what is coming, they create plans and they stick with them. An Organizer has a place for everything and everything is in its place. This is very different from the Visionary energy pattern which instead thrives in chaos. This pattern has an ability to sense the flow of shifting winds and the agility to move with it. Visionary is about innovation, freedom and big picture thinking, a far cry from the structure of the Organizer.

From that description it sure seems like these two forces are destined to compete but what happens when they come together? Well, this…

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What you are looking at is snow art by Simon Beck. These are massive pictures created by pressing snow that take Simon endless hours and require him to walks miles for every piece. To create these truly sensational works of art, two energy patterns are required. First, you need a vision. Remember the scale of these art pieces, a big canvas indeed. Simon has to envision what he wants to create with the space he has and make it work to scale. This of course requires Simon to summon the creative and big picture energy of the Visionary. Vision will only give you an idea, however, so another energy pattern is needed to ensure the vision is realized. Execution requires a very meticulous process of ensuring every step is in the exact right spot to create that bigger picture. As these pictures below show, the Organizer can be of great help when creating these massive art pieces one step at a time.

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We can find a rhythm of using both these patterns, you have the vision to create great things and the discipline to execute that vision. This can certainly be tricky since they really are paradoxical forces, however, as Ginny Whitelaw describes in The Zen Leader that being able to manage this paradox is imperative to leadership success:

“Paradox takes us into the realm of not knowing, of not solving a problem once and for all, but rather managing an ongoing dynamic two (or more) “right” answers, neither of which is sufficient by itself. To embrace and work with paradox, we have to suspend our mind’s pull to nail down an answer. We have to accept the more complex dynamism of And, while relinquishing our grasp on the simple stasis of Or.”

Simon found a way to manage the paradox and rather than just envisioning the snow art or methodically walking in the snow he created this art by effectively managing the And. To learn more about how to do this, I recommend reading the chapter of The Zen Leader “From Or to And” dedicated to this topic. Want to learn what your energy pattern style is? Take the FEBI report for yourself.

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Topics: zen leader, paradox, FEBI, Visionary, Organizer

Tales of Bad Bosses and why they don't need to be

Posted by Anthony Attan

Dec 17, 2013 12:43:00 PM

Question: What is the #1 reason people quit their job? /br Answer: Their boss

 

4patterngraphic-new3This is probably not surprising to you, as almost all of us have encountered the dreaded bad boss. The micro-managing boss. The only-care-about-the-bottom-line boss. The disorganized-and-has-no-clue boss. Or the can’t-make-tough-decisions-and-just-wants-to-be-friends boss. Sound familiar? Even this post was inspired by the experience of a friend who recently asked her boss for bereavement days off to attend an out of state funeral of a close relative.  The bosses response, “Can’t you just Skype in?” SKYPE IN!!! I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that one. And I’m sure you have your own horror stories of bosses who seem to want to sabotage the productivity and well-being of their employees.

So why is it that some bosses are great and others are so bad? One big reason is an empathy deficit that seems to get worse the higher up you go in an organization. In Robb Smith’s TED talk he notes how CEOs have the lowest emotional intelligence in the entire workforce. Empathy, what Dianne Stober calls, “one of the most basic capacities required for understanding one another,” is often lacking in leaders. Oh yeah, and it matters to business success! Forbes notes that “the reality is that for business leaders to experience success, they need to not just see or hear the activity around them, but also relate to the people they serve.” We already know how important engagement is, and you can imagine how much engagement falls off around a lack of empathy.  Just think of the shift in engagement when being told to Skype in to a funeral!

With empathy so important, how does one develop this quality that seems elusive to so many leaders? In Ginny Whitelaw’s latest book, The Zen Leader, she describes how to boast empathy in her chapter on the flip From Controlling to Connecting. She describes how the energy patterns of FEBI can be a power tool to help summon real empathy that fully allows you to ‘become the other person.’

“In a pattern sense, we can make this flip by starting in a quiet, listening, Organizer place, and then relax completely. We invite a kind of permeability into the boundary of our self-in-our-skin and sense another’s rhythm. We can listen for their breathing, their pulse, sense their entire being all at once, and we enter Collaborator’s empathetic engagement. If the talkative Collaborator is Home for you, your challenge might be to access the quiet listening of the Organizer as a starting place. If you normally live at the Driver’s speed, you may find it hard to slow down enough to sense depth, rather than racing over the surface. If you normally live with the Visionary’s expansiveness, you may need enough centeredness to connect without losing yourself. Whatever your challenge, you now know how to access the energy pattern that can support you in building a practice of connecting with empathy.”

There are two important points that Dr. Whitelaw makes here. First, we see that the energy patterns can be a great supporter of our effort to summon empathy. If we need help seeing someone else’s vision, we can enter the Visionary energy pattern, which feels comfortable suspending prior beliefs and is open to new possibilities. If we need to better understand someone’s passion and enthusiasm we can enter Driver and use its intensity to better feel into their sharply-focused excitement. As we’ve seen with applications such as virtual leadership and creating a climate of engagement, each pattern has value when it comes to engaging in empathy.

The second point here is that it isn’t enough to just know about the patterns in general, rather we must understand how these patterns show up within ourselves. Our ‘personality’ is our individualized preferences for each of these patterns. Often times, one or two of these patterns are much more preferred, and thus utilized, over the others. When one of these patterns is used at the exclusion of the others, this can result in a gaping hole in leadership abilities.  For example, that micro-managing boss may be over using his or her Organizer pattern while not using enough of the Visionary's willingness to let things play out.  The bottom-line-above-all-else boss may be over using his or her Driver pattern, while not using enough of the Collaborator's concern for the impact on other people.

Before we are able to truly understand where someone else is coming from, we must first have a deep understanding of our own lens, which we use to interpret the world around us. This self-awareness provides us with an opportunity to see any distortions this lens creates.  With a deeper understanding of ourselves, we can begin to understand others from a much more authentic place. This skill is how we close the empathy gap, which is simply imperative for leadership success. In the words of Dr. Whitelaw, “Become the other, and it opens up a world of understanding, in which communication becomes naturally influential, and influence becomes just another authentic dialogue.”

 

To learn more about the energy patterns within you, take the mini-FEBI for yourself.

Take Mini-FEBI for free

 

 

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Topics: zen leader, the zen leader, FEBI, energy patterns, Ginny Whitelaw, empathy

In Defense of Driver - Even for Servant Leaders

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Mar 21, 2013 9:02:00 AM

describe the image“I used to have a lot of Driver, but I don’t need it much anymore.” I’ve heard countless people comment as we reviewed their FEBI reports, especially those with low Driver scores, including many successful leaders and colleagues in leadership development. They’re not surprised by the low Driver score; they know it’s the pattern of pushing, competing – “the accelerator pedal of business” – we sometimes call it. And for people who recall earlier days of arrogant certainty and ambitious striving, it can feel like a pattern outgrown. Indeed, there’s a lot not to like in the Driver pattern. In our latest research comparing the FEBI against the NEO – more on that in other posts – Driver correlated as expected, showing up as the most disagreeable pattern. Among its significant correlations we find action-orientation – just do it! – but not trusting, not altruistic, not compliant, and prone to anger. No wonder so many people willingly relegate this pattern to their past.

But the last group who came through our core program at the Institute for Zen Leadership showed me anew what Driver energy is good for, even among mature, servant leaders, and certainly among people who would train in Zen. In The Zen Leader program (as in the book), we move people through each of the 4 FEBI energy patterns and let them experience the corresponding emotions, mindset and behaviors. As we were debriefing the Driver pattern, we talked about its role at different stages in life, from defining our boundaries during our terrible two’s, to teenage rebellion, to the warrior, the disruptor, and ultimately the guardian. I likened this more mature role to something of a temple guardian that, at a metaphorical level, keeps out evil spirits. In dealing with dozens of things to do and endless distractions, the Driver serves as our own guardian - helping us focus on what is most essential. As we put our ideas or work out into the world, the Driver protects them/us from being stopped by barriers or dismissed as lightweight. Even in Zen meditation, we subtly engage the Driver pattern during every exhale, as something of our inner temple guardian to keep the mind clear.

This remarkable group took it further. The jiki – that is, the person who leads the meditation sessions – is also a Driver guardian, they noted, that pushes us to get serious, be here now, and put everything into our sitting. “There’s yet another role the temple guardian plays,” offered one of the participants, already a seasoned Zen practitioner. “Because it’s counter-productive, even dangerous to open stuff in ourselves until we’re ready to deal with it.” I’ve come to trust that the mind-body doesn’t open something up until it's ready to deal with it. But the truth of his point hit home as my mind flashed to people who took mind-expanding, acid trips in the 60’s and were rarely able to integrate the experience and, at worst, were jumping off buildings thinking they could fly. “The fierceness of the guardian is supposed to give us pause at the gates of the temple,” he continued, “and we only enter if we’re ready to face whatever the training will put us through or pull out of us.” The fierceness is meant to either raise our own fierce determination or make us stay the hell out. For fierceness will be called for. As a Zen Master of old put it, “If you’re going to do battle with yourself, better go in armed to the teeth.”

So thank you, oh disagreeable Driver, for helping us be warriors when we need to be, great protectors of our work, our teams, families, companies and countries when we need to be, and great destroyers of delusion! -GW

For more ways to engage the Driver in you, download this Driver Pattern Energizer from the bestselling book Move to Greatness. 

Download Driver Energizer


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Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, energy patterns, Driver, Institute for zen leadership, zen leadership, zen leader

Welcome to the FEBI Learning Lounge

The official FEBI blog

The FEBI Learning Lounge is the official blog of FEBI Assessment.  In this blog we discuss all things related to the energy patterns of FEBI, digging more into each of the patterns of personality and discussing various applications that can benefit from a pattern perspective.

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