Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Attitude - getting the best from everyone

In a requirements workshop we are always faced with a variety of participants, some of them are motivated, interested, others may not care to be there, yet others tell you that nothing works and so on.

I was shown a simple useful model a few years ago that i often try to apply in these situations to steer the group towards - for want of a better term - Good Attitude.

There are 2 axes ...

x: apathetic (lazy, directionless) through to goal-oriented (motivated, productive)

y: empathetic (friendly, encouraging) through to hostile (sarcastic, arrogant, cold, cynical, pessimist)

... each representing a dimension of behaviour as a continuum.

We end up with 4 areas, quadrants ...
  • empathetic & goal-oriented
  • empathetic & apathetic
  • hostile & goal-oriented
  • hostile & apathetic
... and broadly speaking we can categorize people into one of them.
Some (extreme stereotype) examples:
  • Delivery driven but impatient - project managers sometimes (goal driven/hostile)
  • The cynic - What's the point? It won't work. (apathetic/hostile)
  • The friendly joker - everybody loves him (empathetic/doesn't deliver)
  • The positive, friendly, engaged solution seeker. (That's you, right?)

The goal is to foster and promote behaviour, to guide, encourage, gently coax people toward the upper right quadrant - empathetic/goal-oriented.

Easier said than done, i know.

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