Projects fail. Every day. All over the world. In small firms and large organizations. Reasons for this can be listed easily: there are unclear goals and requirements, project planning is insufficient and the stakeholder management is lacking. The qualification of the project participants is too little and the support of the management lacking. Interestingly, the interaction between the project employees is rarely named as the reason for the failure of projects. Employees fall out over this regularly and is it not surprising that each person has different motives and goals and so lives their life individually. Despite the countless life plans and concepts, three strategies in my daily work as a communication and relationship profiler always stand out.
The highway strategist
From the completion of school, university up to entry into the corporate world, this type is very structured and quickly en route. They don’t have kids accidentally. Family planning has to be thought through. Nothing is left to chance, each career step is precisely considered and weighed up. This type has a chronological resume. They already completed a semester abroad years ago for their goal of working in an international business.
Like other roads, the highway has its disadvantages: you might reach your goals more quickly, but because of the high tempo, you see less. A proactive life plan leaves less room for spontaneous trips or experiences on the other side of the fast lane.
Advantages: For the safety-minded, the rules of the highway are easier to understand. The street is paved and the petrol stations are clearly marked. In comparison to an offroader, you have a lot less to worry about and can reach self-defined destinations more quickly. That is why their motto is: The goal is the goal!
The offroader’s scavenger hunt
This life path is characterized by a high fun factor. In a scavenger hunt, you follow the immediate clues and hopes that another chance is hidden behind the next corner. Like in this game, this type manages to collect as many experiences as possible in their life. In this case the use of health and financial resources is connected with risks. The off-roader likes to decide intuitively and can belt up more tightly if necessary. For them, the most important thing is that they are not exposed to societal obligations and dogmas. They can’t get on board with the definition of success of the highway strategist.
Disadvantages: This free way of passing through life as an offroader is characterized by strong highs and lows. Not every diversion leads to the goal. In the end one can fall into holes in open lands and stay in them for a while. Flops and disruptions have to be calculated if planning and responsibility are not always a top priority.
Advantages: This type sees more of the diversity that life has to offer at the most different levels. So environmental differences between diverse acquaintances just water off a duck’s back. On the other side, for many scavengers, the bumpy ride over uncomfortable terrain on the treasure hunt paid off. Their motto: The journey is the destination!
Quality is especially important for these people. They have a large repertoire of different themes and are therefore communicative generalists. Like with the bees, the life concept of this type, and their secret, is pollination. In most cases, encounters with others shape their individual decisions. It is quite possible that their career selection was influenced by engaged teachers who could attract them to their fields of knowledge. Partners who bring new sports or viewpoints into relationships can also pollinate them. Of course, this type also fertilizes others with energizing ideas. The exchange of information, knowledge, interests and viewpoints makes them an interesting discussion partner who already knows about a lot of different things. There is, of course, some eloquence required because they enjoy discussing experiential findings or interesting aspects of literature. For them it is not about somehow reaching a goal.
Disadvantages: Debates with others require time and money. After this type has collected ideas and impressions, like bees with nectar, they are quickly impatient in conversations. In the end, they don’t want to spend the afternoon with someone who is just empty kilometers. They want to take away new impressions and knowledge. As well as this, as the years pass, they find not as many discussion partners with fresh thoughts, and this can be frustrating.
Advantages: Pollination of ideas! Learning from others and being inspired by information or considering things is the best for personal development. Mentors at work can then help, like good advice or friends in life. The life motto of this type could be: The path crosses the goal.
Interaction within the project
Even in the jungle of business it helps to know which different types have to work together in projects and where, for example, loyalties will break. Car sharers can communicate well between offroaders and highway strategists. Just like the cliché says, the highway drivers prefer to work in accounting. Ultimately, no one wants a creative balance sheet. Whereas the offroaders are better to realize creative endeavors like advertising campaigns or social media. Many people are mixed types. Many were off-roaders in their youth and now have developed into highway strategists.
In profiling, apart from the contents, I also pay attention to the way that people present themselves. Often I sit in on hearing commissions with job applicants. No one knows beforehand how exactly the candidate will perform the work given to them. But the way someone speaks and how they order their thoughts in doing so already speaks volumes. Highway strategists strikingly use lists and order sentences, for example “On the one hand… on the other hand,” “first, second, third,” and they do this to keep an overview of what has been said. They are easily caught up in small things and consideration of details.
Car sharers already know about many life areas. They are generalists and are at home in multiple areas. They are good communicators and they are good for speaking to customers.
Offroaders, on the other hand, are generous with time. Punctuality is not always their biggest virtue and successful time management is not their best friend. But they can really impressive with innovative procedures and new angles. Many offroaders look a bit scruffy at first glance, like they could improve their personal marketing. But they always put their hearts into things and tinker with practical solutions after business hours.
For management teams, it is good to know that it is important for a highway strategist to be officially introduced to the team because this formality is important for them to integrate and conveys regard. This is completely different for offroaders. They prefer to be left alone for the formal occasions and official firm receptions. In comparison to the car sharer, their presentation to new colleagues is difficult and small talk an abomination. Leading a highway strategist is a lot of work if it is about formal rules that need to be kept. On the other hand, offroaders need clear target meetings and to be controlled every so often. Car sharers should have their tasks clearly marked together with their responsibility, because they will quickly make themselves responsible for many roles. Role diffusion is the result.
You can find more information about Tatjana Lackner at (in German) sprechen.com or in her German-language blog at sprechen.com/blog. Do you already know about the “Primacy effect” or the “Halo effect”? Then check out profilingvideo.com.