Sorting for Success
by Colle Davis
Leaders who understand how to present information specific to each person are the most successful. Correction, good and excellent leaders know how to give each person information in a format that fits that person’s sorting patterns. How do these leaders know what the person’s sorting pattern is? Because they have asked this person about what is important to them, or they carefully listened to and watched each of them to determine their priorities, habits, and patterns.
- Most people sort for the same/same in everything in their world. They will choose the same kind of car, the same brand of coffee, the same type of clothing, the same music, and anything else they have a past relationship with that made them comfortable. These wonderful people comprise about 80% of the population. We love them, and they do all the work. They love routine and easy-to-follow directions and rarely need praise.
- There is a smaller group, about 15% of people, who sort for the same behaviors, but this time, they sort for same/same but with exceptions. They prefer sameness, but they are willing to accept some differences when those differences are presented with a positive spin. They are willing to try different food, a change in their hairstyle, a different holiday destination, or perhaps a different technology program to make their life easier. These are the people who implement changes to improve the workforce because they can speak the language of the same/same people. They also require more attention and praise.
- The tiny remaining group makes up about 5% of the population. This small group sorts for differences. They are the most successful people. They are extraordinary leaders, artists, thinkers, investors, innovators, and speakers. They are also the hardest to get along with because they are so bright and often change their minds when they get new information. Their life requires change and differences in everything.
Their daily routine is flexible, and they may take a different route to work. They may order new items off a menu. They may also experiment with clothing styles and colors, and their hairstyles may change.
How can you improve your sorting patterns? Only continue reading if you are willing to face some uncomfortable feelings.
- Shave by starting on the opposite side from your regular routine.
- Put your underwear on, starting with the other leg first.
- Put your shirt or blouse on the opposite arm first.
- Plan a trip to a new restaurant over the weekend.
- Play an auditory book to listen to on the way to work instead of listening to news or music.
- Pick up the phone and call someone you have not contacted in weeks or months because you fear their response.
- Greet the next person you see with a cheery hello.
- Send a ‘thinking of you card’ to an old friend.
Do not try all of these at once because you will feel crazy if you do. Do one for a few weeks, especially the different leg one, because it is hard to remember or even start a new behavior. Start small and then notice the difference in how you see the world around you.
What will this change do for you? The difference forces your brain to find new ways to accomplish what you are asking it to do. Any change means the brain is learning, and that requires energy. The energy expenditure is the same type of excitement you learned to appreciate the first time you learned to ride a bicycle or tried a new app.