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StrategyMar 20, 2012

Heart of the Pattern

Brad Buhl

We are made to follow patterns.  You might not see it at first, but once you do see a pattern, you start to notice it elsewhere, maybe even imitate it without realizing what you’re doing.  Have you ever noticed when you’re thinking about buying (or lusting over) a new car, you notice it everywhere?!

Being around people and immersing ourselves in works that follow patterns naturally seep into our being and doing.  So what patterns do the people around you follow?  If you’re a leader, what patterns do you explicitly encourage and implicitly allow?

Patterns of discipline lead to consistency.  My eight year old son is very disciplined – and consistent!  He has a strong desire for perfection – whether in achieving his black belt in karate, A+ grades in school, or memorizing all verses PLUS the bonus Scripture for church.  He’s the kid you want on your project team – if anyone else isn’t pulling their weight, he’ll do their job and his!  But he’s also the one to watch out for burnout and discouragement, when he doesn’t take a break or make a perfect score.

Patterns of learning lead to knowledge.  My five year old son is in full on learning mode – and full of information for everyone!  He tackles everything from new relationships to his latest library book with a full on blitz of intense questioning.  He’s the one to have during an Assessment phase – because not only will he be comprehensive in his questioning, he’ll ask about things you’d never think to ask!  But he’s also the one who requires deliberate guidance in order to complete a task.

At the heart of both of my little leaders is a strong desire to both express themselves using the patterns that come natural to them, as well as be affirmed for their good work.  Funny thing is – it’s no different with me!

Recently my team at Credera was asked to take a Strengths Finder test, a positive method of quickly assessing an individual’s strengths.  The tool gave each of us suggestions regarding projects where we would excel and other people we should look to partner with in order to round out our own capabilities.  Whether using Strengths Finder, DISC, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the question for the leader of a team still has to be “so what?”  How can you unlock both the potential and the passion of your team members to achieve overall goals while stretching themselves and effectively collaborating?

So let me ask again, if you’re a leader, what patterns do you explicitly encourage and implicitly allow?  Many motivate according to strict behavioral guidelines, but it takes a true leader to unlock the individual patterns in people which lead to their fullest potential.