I recently completed a survey to analyze my problem solving profile. This is based on a research-based instrument named Basadur which has been developed from fundamental theory and empirical data from a large sample of people working in a broad cross-section of organizations.
In short, four categories are identified, bearing in mind that everyone is a blend of of these:
Ideally, a heterogeneous mix of all four styles should be present in any organization in order to create balanced teams capable of tackling tasks from problem finding through implementation.
The research shows that certain industries or roles have a higher component in one of these categories. For instance, an artist or school teacher rates high in Generating, a scientist or strategic planner in Conceptualizing and an engineer or IT analyst in Optimizing. Turns out that a Project Manager typically rates high in Implemeting, and this is precisely the result I obtained upon completing the survey. An implementer is caracterized by the following traits (extracted from Basadur files):
- Enjoys getting things done and becoming involved in new experiences
- Excels in adapting to specific immediate circumstances to “make things work somehow"
- When the theory does not fit the facts, will discard the theory
- Likes to try things out rather than “mentally test” them
- Dislikes apathy and unmotivated people
- A risk taker: doesn’t need to completely understand something before taking action
- Willing to try as many approaches as necessary until one is found that is sufficiently acceptable to those affected by the problem
- Enthusiastic and at ease with people, but can appear impatient or even “pushy” in moving to action
- Interests in gaining acceptance and action
Thus, if you are a Project Manager, it is highly likely that Implementation is your most prominent problem solving trait.