31 May 2011 - Realise2 Strengths Dynamics #11
We all face problems from time to time - but we likely differ in how we feel about those problems. The problems themselves will also vary in their nature and their degree. Keith Grint at Warwick Business School distinguishes three types of problems, each with inherently different implications. First are Tame Problems, like what to do when you don't know where you left your car keys. Retrace your steps, ask the kids to help you look, follow a logical path and everything will fall into place. There is a simple answer, and a logical route that we follow to find that answer.
Second are Wicked Problems, like how to solve world poverty. There is not a logical, linear solution; there is no simple pattern of cause and effect. Instead, there is a multiplicity of variables which are all changing constantly in their relationship to each other, with the result that what was effective at one particular time and place could actually be destructive elsewhere.
Third are Critical Problems, like what to do when on a country walk and your child falls into a canal. Do you jump in and save him or her yourself? Call the Fire Brigade to assist with a rescue? Hope that the child manages to get out on their own? Critical Problems have no clear solutions, but require immediate attention due to their potentially dire consequences.
Our strengths profile will have a significant impact on how we approach the problems we face. For example, with Resolver, we'll relish the challenge of getting stuck in and sorting the problem out. This will be especially the case when Resolver is paired with Action (think of Harvey Keitel as 'The Wolf' in Pulp Fiction). In contrast, Resolver paired with Incubator may lend itself to a more typically cerebral response - the person who likes to ponder and puzzle things through as they work out what to do.
With Prevention, we'll question how we ever let the problem come about in the first place. So while we might work on solving it for the here and now, our focus will always be sliding back to how we could have stopped the problem coming about in the first place. This tendency will be exaggerated if we also have Persistence, since we're then likely to be relentless in our questioning as to what went wrong and what we could have done differently to prevent it.
Prevention may have its sharp edge blunted, however, when it's paired with Optimism - we might be living in blind expectation that the problem would never arise and so fail to attend properly to the possibility that it just might.
But here's an interesting thing. How Resolver and Prevention interact through their location in a person's Realise2 profile can also have significant consequences. With both as strengths, the person's tendencies and abilities are clear. But with one as a strength and the other as a weakness, the pattern can look quite different. For example, Prevention can work well as a strength, even if Resolver is a weakness - because hopefully, with Prevention doing its job, Resolver will never be needed to any great extent.
In contrast, imagine someone with Resolver as a strength and Prevention as a learned behaviour or weakness. Here there is the risk of finding someone who loves to sort problems out when they arise, but where the situation might actually need them to do more preventative work to eradicate the potential for the problem in the first place! As soon as we introduce dynamics between strengths, weaknesses and learned behaviours, the potential combinations become enormous - such are the inherent complexity and joy of human beings...
In thinking about how best to tackle problems in your own life, then, be clear on the intersection of the problem type and the strengths you bring to the situation. Different problems require different strategies, so our dynamic use of strengths - what we call strengths rotation - can come into its own as we work on different ways of dealing with the problems that life throws at us.
Good luck in your resolution, but more power to your arm for prevention.
With best wishes,
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