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How change affects intuitive thinkers and what you can do about it

by | Sep 30, 2019

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According to the Whole Brain® framework, workers who prefer relational and experimental thinking styles tend to be more intuitive. They use their gut instinct and emotions to guide decision-making processes, rather than relying on fact-based analysis of the situation at hand. An intuitive thinker might be better at reading the emotions of those around them, or be able to make quick decisions under pressure. They’re good at reading between the lines and figuring things out without having all the information at hand.

But when it comes to change – whether that’s a pivot in strategy, a new team member, or an unfamiliar process – intuitive thinkers will react and respond differently to someone who relies more heavily on facts, logic, data or detailed plans.

For intuitive thinkers, managing change is all about relationships, emotions and the bigger picture.

Where does the intuitive thinker sit on The Whole Brain® Model?

Whole Brain® Thinking ModelThe four-colour quadrant graphic and Whole Brain® are registered trademarks of Herrmann Global, LLC. ©2015 Herrmann Global, LLC

Those who tend to be more intuitive sit on the right-hand side of the Whole Brain® Model. The model suggests that these intuitive minds are more relational and experimental in their thinking preferences.

Unlike those on the other side of the model, relational thinkers are people-oriented and place great importance on emotions and feelings, while experimental thinkers are more holistic, and like to look at the big picture.

These characteristics are important because they impact how intuitive thinkers react to change.

The relational thinker won’t put much stock in the facts (the whats, wheres and whys), but will be very in tune with how the change affects their own and other’s emotions and the relationships within the team. Will this change negatively impact my colleagues’ emotional state? How will the team cope?

Similarly, the experimental thinker won’t get bogged down in the facts either, but will prefer to look at the big picture – how will this change affect my life, freedom or ability to work?

Together, these intuitive thinkers tend to take on a more holistic approach when dealing with change or decision-making – they focus on the future, as well as what’s new and different. They see the big picture. They focus on relationships between people and between the moving parts, and they’re especially attuned to seeing future possibilities.

Why is it so hard to change?

When we talk about changing people, we’re really talking about changing mindsets. Everybody has a rigid set of beliefs and opinions that they believe to be true. They’ve formed these ideas from a young age and they’ve been developed over the years. These mindsets are really difficult to change.

Because they’re so rigid, facts, no matter how logical, will do little to convince anyone. But there is another way. To alter someone’s mindset, you need to get to the bottom of how that person thinks. Whole Brain® Thinking gives you the tools to do this.

Changing the mindset of an intuitive thinker

The key to managing change is to recognise, understand and engage with that mindset in a language they’ll understand. Once you can identify what is important to the intuitive thinker, you’ll be able to tackle those issues head on, helping them come to terms with the change.

It’s about identifying what information these thinkers need, and then giving it to them. With Whole Brain® Thinking, you’ll be able to recognise the intuitive mind and adapt your communication and leadership style to lead them through change in a positive way.

For the intuitive thinker, focus more on the big picture. What’s the point of this change and how will it affect them, not just at work, but in their present and future lives? How will it affect interpersonal relationships within the team? How will you ensure that everyone’s emotions are considered when implementing the change?

Intuitive thinkers need a clear vision for the future so they can see how the dots connect to create the bigger picture. And they need forums where everyone’s voices can be heard, where they can share their feelings and the impact the change will have on them and their relationships. In other words, they need time and space to reflect on the present and look towards the future.

This is actually a great way to approach change, because in today’s world, change comes fast and complexity is the norm for many businesses and industries. While facts and data are important for many, new, unique and complex challenges mean workers of today often have to deal with change when there isn’t a lot of information available. To feel secure in this change, it helps to be able to draw on a more holistic and intuitive way of thinking.

Want to help ease the transition for your team of intuitive thinkers?

Download our Change Management whitepaper to learn how to appreciate, understand and communicate with intuitive minds to get them on board with change.

Change management

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