Just as we saw four profiles emerge from the Personal Style abilities, there are four profiles that come with the combination of the Driving Abilities of Classification and Concept Organization.

People high in both classification and concept organization fit the “consultative” problem solving style. Not only do these people thrive in a chaotic environment and love solving problems (high classification), they are also very effective at communicating the solutions to the problems (high concept organization). They are able to walk into a situation, identify the problem, and explain some logical solutions. Consultative people are much more comfortable with the big picture and explaining the big picture to others. Because they thrive on challenges and change, these are not the folks you’d want to implement the solution, nor would they want to do it if you asked them too.

People low in both classification and concept organization are considered “experiential” problem solvers. They are naturally wired to be patient with process and allowing people to grow at their own pace (low classification). They can also act decisively and quickly since they don’t have a pressing need to work through all the steps of a solution (low concept organization). Experiential problem solvers may well be the fastest problem solvers in a group. They may take a little longer on the front-end but once they’ve experienced a problem, they are quite adept at applying what they’ve learned to similar problems. They may not be able to explain how they got to the solution, but the solution usually fits. And, because they tend to be patient with people and process, they can be terrific implementers.

This is probably the ideal executive or managerial problem solving type. Given their ability to apply past experiences to present situations, it may be advisable for people with this combination to get as much varied work experience as possible early on in their careers.

People high in classification and low in concept organization are considered “diagnostic” problem solvers. They like a fast, seat-of-your-pants work pace (high classification) and are able to go into a situation and “just know” what is going on. It’s as though they grab the answer out of thin air. The low concept organization helps them to identify a problem even more quickly, since they don’t have a need to work through all the steps of the process. But diagnostic problem solvers aren’t naturally adept at articulating what they see (low concept organization). They can do it; they just need to give themselves adequate time.

Finally, people low in classification and high in concept organization are called “analytical” problem solvers. As people low in classification, they aren’t going to rush into a situation and quickly try to fix it. They’re much more comfortable with a stable work environment and with structure (low classification). They are good listeners and can be very accepting. Because they naturally create systems and structures (high concept organization), analytical problem solvers are very good at researching a problem in depth.

We need all four problem solving types in our fundraising effort. The analytical problem solvers might be very good at ferreting out a longstanding dysfunction that’s affected donors and staff members in an organization over a period of years. The consultative problem solver can quickly see what needs work and explain it well, but others will be better suited to implement it.

There are so many possible implications but let’s look at a capital campaign. A diagnostic or consultative type may accurately identify the items needed in a capital campaign. But you’ll want an analytical person drawing up the blueprints. And you’ll probably want an experiential problem solver at the helm to make the plan a reality. When the going gets tough, they often won’t get as flustered as others. That is a definite asset in a campaign!

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