I recently took the Gregorc Style Delineator, a self-assessment tool designed to identify how a person makes decisions and processes information. Dr. Gregorc, who created the instrument, came up with four groupings of characteristics, which he refers to as "channels": Concrete/Sequential (CS), Abstract/Sequential (AS), Abstract/Random (AR), and Concrete/Random (CR). Although each of us functions in all four channels, he stated that most of us were strongest in one or two. When I took the assessment ten years ago I was strongest in CS. A person who is CS approaches reality in an ordered, sequential, and logical fashion, is very deliberate and aims for perfection. But this time, when I retook the self-assessment, I was surprised to discover that I’m now Abstract/Random. I actually scored lowest in the CS channel! A person who is AR lives in the realm of feelings, emotions, and imagination; makes decisions based on prior emotional experiences, not what’s most logical or sensible; is intuitive and good at connecting with others on an emotional level. An AR is more interested in quality of relationships, not quantity. I probably adopted CS characteristics based on cultural and familial conditioning. That was the “me” I thought I was supposed to be; or the “me” I choose to be to thrive at work and in the world. Today I am free to be who I truly am, which apparently is an AR!
The Gregorc Style Delineator is a great tool to help organizations operate more effectively. My husband, Jeff, was the former CEO of Atkins Technical, a manufacturer of temperature instruments. The engineers who worked for Jeff were talented inventors and problem solvers, but often failed to deliver projects on time, and had difficulty understanding how product features they believed were “must haves" were not necessarily features that customers valued. Jeff had his engineers take the assessment and discovered that all but one was Concrete/Random. CRs are grounded in the concrete, physical world, but they follow their intuition to see beyond the realm of possibilities. CRs are pioneers and inventors, but they have difficulty with deadlines, can forget promises or even abandon projects before they have been completed. One engineer was Concrete Sequential, so when Jeff learned this, he placed the CS guy in charge of his engineering department, and from that point forward, projects were delivered on time, and communication with the rest of the organization improved.