• César Idrovo, The Influence Ecology Podcast, Transactional Competence, Transactionalism

A Leadership Hypothesis with César Idrovo

César Idrovo is a Business Agility Consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His clients span North America, Europe, and South America and range from startups to companies in the Fortune top 10. He helps leaders generate valuable outcomes in the market by embracing and taking advantage of business uncertainty. His focus is to develop a highly tuned organization that responds to leadership and market signals quickly and is made up of unstoppable teams delivering great products.

During his journey with Influence Ecology, he’s overcome prior sacrifices and developed a leadership framework for professionals based on deliberate practice. His goal is that aspiring leaders can experience the freedom and safety to practice small acts of leadership continuously.

Below you’ll find a transcript of this podcast episode that has been edited for your reading pleasure. You’ll also see links at the bottom of this post where you can find more information on the people and ideas mentioned in the episode.

by John Patterson
Produced by: John Patterson & Tyson Crandall

“By focusing on small acts of leadership, you also turn leadership from something competitive to something that is nonthreatening.

Because if I’m allowed to perform an act of leadership that vanishes, that expires, that concludes within 24 hours, then other people’s opposition to that will be much less than if I am appointed as a leader in perpetuity therefore blocking their ability to occupy that space.

So it’s a very strong shift to the things that would need to be in place for leadership to be truly emergent and be truly transactional.”

John Patterson: Welcome to the Influence Ecology Podcast. It’s great to have you with us.

César Idrovo: Thank you very much. It’s great to be here. Yeah. My name is Cesar and I work as a business agility consultant out of the San Francisco Bay Area. But I do work with clients in North America, in Europe, and South America, ranging in size from small startups to a couple of the Fortune 10. So quite a range and little bit of specialization in the actual work that I do and how I target those companies. But I guess very broad on the kinds of companies or even industries that I work with.

John Patterson: And can you tell me a little bit about that specialization?

César Idrovo: Yeah. Business agility is about how organizations are able to understand and embrace uncertainty in a different way than traditional organizations normally handle it rather than through enormous efforts in heavyweight planning to lock everything down upfront and then set that as an aim, set that as a fixed goal and just execute on that. It’s more about adaptive, ongoing discovery and recognizing that just like we know the most about a product when it’s launched and in actual use by customers, we know less earlier than that and therefore we know the least at the beginning. So that’s the wrong time to lock things down.

So I work with organizations, particularly with leaders and their teams to make sure that they understand that relation and that they don’t over commit too early prematurely and instead they retain the level of optionality, they retain a level of adaptability and use it for maximum advantage to generate value in market.

John Patterson: What does that look like to develop those people so that they can be in that kind of dance with uncertainty?

César Idrovo: One of the patterns that I work with leaders on is how they relate to uncertainty. It’s mostly mindsets and then a supporting set of mechanics, supporting set of tooling and other frameworks. But the leadership behavior that shows up is one where leaders exchange declarations of certainty in order to address their needs, in order to address the commitments that they’re required to make. And if all you have at your disposal are declarations of certainty, then you’re not going to be able to handle the uncertainty because it doesn’t describe it. And therefore it remains hidden only to show up later when it’s too late to act, too late to course correct or too late to make any decisions about it.

You’ve already removed all of the optionality if you only look at the certainty. So the first thing for leaders to understand and that I focus on is how they perceive that uncertainty and how they value the real options that they have and they do not destroy those real options prematurely. Options, particularly when they’re free, should be allowed to exist for as long as possible. And it’s not a matter of saying when something will be completed in terms of work, but deciding when the decision actually has to be made after which it’s too late or risk actually increases.

So that dance is a lot about representing the world, the experience of the teams, the impact to the organization, cause and effect relationships to those leaders in a manner that they might question some fundamental principles of how they’ve been acting and how they’ve been leading.

John Patterson: And do you have an example to bring that to life that you can share?

César Idrovo: Yeah. I worked with the founder of what was a $2 billion a year revenue company, but he was still in charge. The company had grown to a great size. I came in originally to address, I’m doing air quotes here, to address the loss of productivity in technology in the software development teams. It took me probably three or four days to do a full analysis. They had a lot of data which I was able to manipulate and demonstrate and use to answer the question. And they had about six and a half years worth of data. And I showed them that their productivity had indeed been going down as their size grew, but it wasn’t the skills of the teams. It wasn’t the work that they were doing or the composition of the teams.

It was none of that. It was the way that work had changed in how it was prioritized as the organization grew to such an extent that to this top leader in the organization, the turning point was when we helped him to realize that every success that he had had came about when he gave a small team of highly skilled people say, 10, 12 people, that sort of size a very specific focus that wasn’t in conflict with any of the other priorities elsewhere in the organization. Either they were free and had full resources at their disposal to act independently or the priorities in the organization were clear and that was the top priority. What those 10 to 12 people were doing.

When that realization came, he immediately changed the way that he was sending messages into the organization. Those messages propagate and they turn into action and it was a wrong action because it was the wrong message to begin with. So he was sending the message to the product team, you must launch more products. But to the manufacturing team, he was sending the message of lower costs, lower costs, lower costs. Between those two tradeoffs intention, the lower cost one tends to always win. And that’s what was happening. They went from launching 12 products a year to only two and only in a good year because of these conflicting signals.

So once we unraveled all of that in his mind, he was able to set up very different teams, sent very different instructions and it made all the difference.

John Patterson: Fantastic. And we’re going to talk about the leadership hypothesis in just a moment, but is some of what you just said a little bit of insight into where that heads?

César Idrovo: It is because it is, well, my professional lifetime so far focusing on helping leaders come to these realizations, inspecting systems, and revealing those systems to the people that lead the systems that has inspired me to codify what I do and codify what I know into a repeatable process that can be taught, that can be deployed at an organization and that has some self-propagating characteristics so that as more people use it, it propagates more rapidly.

John Patterson: That’s fantastic.

César Idrovo: In fact, one of the other members of our ecology who’s an expert in marketing suggested that I change the name from the Leadership Hypothesis, which is the working title at the moment to Atomic Leadership because it should propagate like an atomic bomb just everywhere, instantly. It’s a little violent for me, so I’m not quite there yet, but that’s the intention.

John Patterson: All right. Understood. Well, first of all, it’s a pleasure to have you with us because just listening to you now, you’re already demonstrating the capacity that you have to visualize and address larger frameworks, the frameworks of course, that allow enterprises to grow or succeed or thrive or scale. So it’s great to have you with us. I want to take you back though for just a moment to the journey that began where you and I met. You and I met at an event in San Jose. How long has it been? It’s only been a year and a half or two, maybe.

César Idrovo: Yeah. It’s a year and a half. I think it was August. It was basically the week that FOT 58 had just started or was about to start that next day or roughly those days.

John Patterson: Something like that, right?

César Idrovo: Because I signed up for a FOT that evening and joined in session two a week later or something like that.

John Patterson: Yeah. And you’ve been extraordinarily ambitious in so many ways from your participation in the fundamentals and your participation in map and so forth. I know that you attend many fundamentals of transaction programs.

César Idrovo: As many as I can.

John Patterson: Glean as much as you can. I appreciate it very much, but let’s go back and talk a bit about just your journey as you said in some of your notes, the way that you came to that very first meeting where you and I met, you were eyes wide open, really wanting to take something in because it sounds like you were observing something with some of the others, Alex Bould and some others. Can you say a little bit about what you had observed and then how you came to that meeting to learn something?

César Idrovo: Yeah, it was an invitation from Simon Chesney and he had initially brought in Alex Bolt to help him transform the organization where he works, Western Digital. And then Alex in turn brought me in as the next person in to help him deliver and work with the teams for the change that was needed. But I observed how they were able to perceive and respond to the world that was also around me in a way that for a very long time I hadn’t seen that occurred as magic to me. And of course any technology and also any skill that is sufficiently advanced to the uninitiated might as well be magic to us. And that’s what it looked like.

So I was able to observe it and see it in action, see the two of them communicate in a very effective coded language, but that was fairly accessible to me. And eventually Simon sent me this invite after maybe I’d been seeing this for six months and of course I showed up and really wanted to, I think the expression was open the aperture of my mind as wide as possible to take as much of the message as much of the light as you had to share. And it was you who were leading that workshop that day in early August last year.

Their work was pretty amazing in action because you had examples like Simon saying very strong and hard truths to leaders such as declining their assertions as opposed to doing what I might have done more of an Aikido move to receive it, change the lens and then play it back to them in a slightly different light. He just went ahead and declined the assertion, which was a very fast mechanism to point that group and that leader in a different direction that was required. And Alex, one of the things that really grabbed me was in a very large forum at a very like 300 people are planning event.

There was a group of about 50 leaders that were trying to make a critical decision as to the direction to finalize the planning of 300 people so that we could succeed at completing the planning. We were experiencing a number of people offering their intelligence and offering their assessments and offering all of these things and he was basically just sorting it all down, but in a manner that was extraordinarily elegant, not offensive, not dismissive, but parking it and placing it in this location that we were going to come back to when it was needed and letting them know that it was needed just not right now.

And that elegance and that flow of action to drive towards the decision that needed to be made and remove all of the distractions was also particularly amazing to me. And I didn’t know how to do that then and I’m still learning it now, but it’s one of the things that attracted me to come to the workshop in the first place.

John Patterson: That’s great. I think what we would call that now is he could see the transaction and where we were in the transaction and what was required and what was actually costly. It sounds like before Influence Ecology you had whatever skills you had and whatever aims that you’ve got, but I love this term that you use. You say your daily micro sacrifices across some conditions of life added up, right?

César Idrovo: Yeah.

John Patterson: Can you say something about that?

César Idrovo: Yeah, the micro sacrifices are the way that I observe leaders and I hadn’t realized that I was doing the same, making a trade off that seems small, that seems inconsequential in the moment. But they add up and they add up quickly and they bring with them compounding interest, a debt that you’re going to struggle to pay now. So for example, in terms of health, if you choose to sit for eight hours, that’s bad enough. But if you sit for 12 or 16 hours, which I did at the beginning of my career, I was very dedicated, new graduates at a new job and for the first couple of years I would just sit at my desk and just look at the screen and just get the job done and demonstrate my value that way.

But that had consequences on the health and the structure and the strength of my back. If you choose to not exercise or chose to not go to the gym that one time you get away with it, but you keep making that micro sacrifice and eventually it adds up. And for me, with respect to health in particular and with respect to legacy in the last five years at least, those two had particularly added up. I would struggle to go up a flight of stairs. I mean, struggle not just to the extent that I would be breathless when I got to the top, but that the pain in my legs would cost me to not make it all the way up.

Just the need to use those muscles in a way that I wasn’t used to using was that bad. I was experiencing that and not doing anything about it. So what do you do? You take the escalator and that’s exactly the wrong thing to do because it just makes it worse. So the day that I attended your initial workshop, I had a few realizations and that was one. And I started taking the stairs just at a slower pace, but always the stairs, never the elevator, never the escalator. And not if I’m going up 30 flights when I’m only just getting started. But now I could do that.

And then more recently I’ve started playing soccer twice a week. And so my habits have modified, have adapted since I started to study transactional competence first with FOT and then with mechanics and practice and yeah, my health, my stamina, my sleep, all of these health patterns are just improving. So I’m now making micro investments instead of micro sacrifices. And those add up as well.

John Patterson: That’s fantastic. I want to just ask you a little bit about some of your biggest lessons, takeaways that we can give away to some of our listeners. What are some of your biggest lessons participating here at Influence Ecology? And then let’s go ahead and get into the atomic leadership.

César Idrovo: Or something like that.

John Patterson: Or something like that. Right?

César Idrovo: So I’ve had the opportunity to discuss what I get and what I have experienced with Influence Ecology a number of times, particularly with people around me that were in consideration about joining and wanted to hear what it was like and for whatever reason came to me for that perspective. It might be the pattern that I tend to give this sort of advice and this sort of guidance that might have something to do with it. But there are three, four or five things that I tend to focus on.

So, for example, one of is that having this framework and this awareness allows me to not just see the world through a new filter, but it’s more like you are turning the lights on in the room and it’s otherwise dark so you find it difficult to see or it might be the dark of night and you’re seeing that. But imagine that you’re doing that not just outwards into the space and the ecology and the environment that you occupy, but inwards, inside of your head. So the thoughts that you have about what’s happening in front of you, what’s happening around you are also in the dark.

And I’ve worked fairly consistently at eliminating different aspects of my thinking. And this aspect of my thinking was way darker than I realized. In fact, so much so that I didn’t realize it existed. And then that brings me to the other point of what it is that I didn’t realize that existed. Actually, Alex said it at another workshop that I attended. If I’m to ask a performer how they perceive the world, it will not help me as an inventor to perceive the world that way. I might be lucky if I’m able to understand how the performer perceives the world as a constructivist, but my interpretation of the words that make it out of their mouth and into my ears and into my brain will be the inventor subjective version of what I just heard.

I will pass it through that filter and that realization is what makes me want to be in more study groups and attend as many of the FOT calls as I possibly can because I want to perceive the world through those lenses, through those eyes, through those brains, because otherwise I am totally incapable of doing that at all. My anchors, my constructs that have built up over time throughout my life have placed me somewhere. And that somewhere is the subjective world of an inventor. And I may never be able to occupy the constructive world off a performer or the objective world of a producer or the skeptic world of, well, I’m sometimes skeptic, but truly the skeptic world of a judge. But I need to try, I need to invite myself into that world.

John Patterson: That’s great. It’s really good. And just to make it very clear, so I’m going to say it this way, simply as an inventor, you can see that you can’t see the way that a performer sees or hears or relates to the world and you’d like to, and then if you couldn’t see it that way, it’d make you more effective both in your own ability to transact with them, but also your ability to understand their values, roles, needs and so forth. Right?

César Idrovo: And there’s a little bit more to it that I would add. So yes and it has been very useful for me to perceive at the very least when the clues, the hints of when I might need to get out of the way, and this might be an inventor characteristic or it might just be me, but getting out of the way turns out is needed way more than I’d realized.

John Patterson: Yeah, you do.

César Idrovo: You need to create space. that I would otherwise be usurping for that performer to show up, for that producer to show up, for that judge to show up. And sometimes to be honest for another inventor to show up and perceiving that and being able to tell, “Oh, that’s a clue. Let me step back a little bit, see what happens. Oh, let me step back a little bit more. Oh look, space occupied.” I don’t need to handle that anymore and this person is just thriving and enjoying what they’re doing for something that would have been a slog for me.

It would have been just a real effort and would have required micro sacrifices all the time to try to step in to fill that space. So that is very important as well and has been making quite a difference in how I operate inside of a team myself and how I’m able to guide leaders for their effectiveness inside of a team of leaders.

John Patterson: You’re describing some of the work that we do in, the work with enterprises. The beauty of it has been frankly, that when we watch a group of people in an enterprise applying transactional competence to whatever the initiative it is that they’re at work on, there’s this big shift that happens where people go from the leaders trained action is the one we’re working on or the person that’s most popular or the person that’s the biggest complainer or however things normally happen within an organization where somebody’s guiding the activity now all turn their attention to wait, what’s the transaction we’re working on?

Where are we in this transaction? Who’s best suited for this aspect of the transaction? Who should, as you said earlier, keep their mouth shut?

César Idrovo: Exactly. My contribution is going to be silence.

John Patterson: Yeah. Exactly. And it’s been phenomenal on two fronts. One, of course, the transactions accelerate tremendously, but also as individuals within the transaction, there is a sense of an elevation of one’s value and acknowledgement of that very specific value whereas without transactional competence, I’m more likely to just want to contribute my value like machine gun. I’m just going to give you my value all the time. In other words, I’m going to give you, I’m going to construct something all the time where I’m going to try to bring some doing to it all the time. So there is something beautiful that happens and we’re frankly loving what we’re saying.

César Idrovo: One of the things that really jumps out at me is connecting back to the business agility type of work that I do is that it’s a very common phrase that is all too empty in reality that leadership should be emergent, that anybody in a high functioning team should be able to step up as a leader when the need arises for whatever it is that they bring to the table. But it is empty in the world of business agility, in the world of agile overall because we don’t have that much material, that much to draw from that we can use to build such an environment and to truly give people that opportunity.

If anything, we live within the ecosystem, within an environment that I tend to describe as, well, the example that I use is imagine if you were being asked to play the piano at a concert starting next Monday, and I think this might be an example from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Imagine that you were asked to play the piano at a concert on Monday and up until the day that you were asked or even up until that Monday, you weren’t allowed to touch an instrument because you’re not a musician. Only musicians are allowed to touch instruments, but now we have a gap.

One of our top pianists left the company and we need somebody to step up and we’ve selected you to be in front of that audience and play. Well, that would be preposterous. We would never do that. And yet we do that with leadership all of the time. I’ve been on leadership programs that have had some aim to try to reduce that effect to prepare aspiring leaders or perhaps people that have some limited leadership responsibilities for that possible opportunity. But what it doesn’t do is provide the space to practice and then that’s what I would like to make happen.

And the transactional competence for cross functional teams, transactional competence for the enterprise is very much aligned with that and those are the signals that I’ve been receiving.

John Patterson: And that leads me to what we’ll refer to as atomic leadership or the leadership hypothesis, or I’m going to say it this way, Cesar’s intention around developing, it sounds like the fitness or the environment in which fitness can arise for leadership. So can you say a little bit about that?

César Idrovo: Yeah, so what I’m developing is a framework for a hypothesis driven leadership development and there are frameworks in the world that exist that have a similar characteristic. Essentially it’s the application of the scientific process or a variation there of for the incremental growth and execution off a goal. There is hypothesis driven product development in software where you build a minimum viable product, you build a fairly basic version of the product that you intend to launch in market and with that software you might launch it to a very limited customer base, but it’s launched for the intent of learning.

And with that learning, you add functionality to that product, to the next version and the version after that. And many versions might occur that are launched, that are put in front of users, in front of customers before you go public with the real version 1.0 of your software product. So I’m using similar techniques but applied to leadership as one of the aspects of business agility and business management that is the most consequential and later to work on some additional aspects.
But as I focus on leadership first, I run a workshop at a conference recently to introduce this framework, the broad strokes of this framework. And the first step is an invitation for attendees, for aspiring leaders. I’m assuming who self selected to come to my workshop, to think accurately about where the boundaries are near or far from them for them to perform acts of leadership in a safe and free manner. And most of the attendees, as I had also experienced and demonstrated with the limited audience prior to this workshop in other tests that I conducted, they didn’t even know where to begin.

They had no way to perceive whether there were any boundaries or where the boundaries were. They hadn’t even thought about it. So the challenge that I put to them was, if you cannot see where the boundaries are, and if you cannot think about what those boundaries might be, are you even in the mindset for you to be a leader? You need to know that it’s okay, that it’s safe, that you have the support from your peers, from your superiors, from your subordinates for certain acts of leadership. So I’m shifting the lens from the leader and leadership to the acts of leadership because I can practice that. I can structure that and I can practice that.

But leadership is more abstract. So this audience got to an answer as a group. It varied from subgroup to subgroup, but overall that was the first hurdle for them to overcome. And then once you overcome a number of these hurdles that reveal that environment inside of which you can operate as a leader and perform these small acts of leadership, then the next half of the structure is about the designing of an appropriate act of leadership with a hypothesis of the cause and effects that you’re expected to have with the measures that you will pay attention to in order to figure out whether it worked or not, whether it moved the needle.

And the reason for that structure is because I observe a high frequency of retroactive declarations of leadership, meaning I was there at the beginning, I’m here now and this thing happened. Therefore, I am a leader because it happened because of me. That’s very self-actional. The world happened because I was there and I’m creating a structure that reduces that. It doesn’t remove it completely, but it reduces that occurrence and dials up the accurate thinking by having participants, having people going through this declare upfront what is the hypothesis relationship between cause and effect, how are they going to measure it?

Once all of that is set up and the intent is for the structure to be simple enough for that to happen with a short description, with a short burst of effort, then designing an experiment and executing on that should be such a small act of leadership that maybe within 24 hours you can make a change and see the effect so that you can incorporate that feedback into the design of the next act. But one additional feature to this is the starter portion of the framework. This is how people will begin to participate in it, which is that by focusing on small acts of leadership, you also turn leadership from something competitive to something that is nonthreatening or way less threatening.

Because if I’m allowed to perform an act of leadership that vanishes, that expires, that concludes within 24 hours, then other people’s opposition to that will be much less than if I am appointed as a leader in perpetuity therefore blocking their ability to occupy that space. So it’s a very strong shift to the things that would need to be in place for leadership to be truly emergent and be truly transactional that I’m not aware of them existing anywhere else in the world, either through university education, through corporate application, or through my own experience.

John Patterson: That’s fantastic. All right, well done. Cesar, thank you for being a guest today on the Influence Ecology Podcast. It’s great to have you with us.

César Idrovo: Thank you very much for inviting me again and thank you doing this for all of us and helping us share and hear how we all perceive and how we all individually benefit from this study and this ecology that we all form part of.


 

John Patterson: In today’s talk, you’ll hear a segment of our program on personality and transactional behavior. This is a segment of the Fundamentals of Transaction Program led by program faculty Marne Power with guest speaker, co-founder Kirkland Tibbels. Here’s the talk.

Marne Power: So again, if you are one of our guests here today, we’ve invited you because you are likely involved in transactions with the person who invited you. Perhaps you’re working on something together or you’re part of a team, whether it be a colleague, a spouse, friend, or some other critical relationship. But what we wanted to you to start to see is that perhaps you and they occupy different places in this transaction. You might be skilled or gifted in different narratives of the transaction. And we wanted you to have the opportunity to learn this together and then engage in conversations about this together.
So again, when we identify personality and transactional behavior, we’re not just identifying it in ourself, but we want to identify it in all the people in the entirety of the transaction as well. Now, in terms of Influence Ecology, we’ve studied well over 220 different personality models and the majority of it is based in a four quadrant model. So what I’d like to do is I’m not the one who studied these 220 different personality models. I’m pretty certain it was Kirkland who did that. So I want to give Kirkland the opportunity to talk about this study and then really go into those four different personalities for us.
So Kirkland, I’m going to turn it over to you for a little while.

Kirkland Tibbel: Gosh, Marne, thank you. I appreciate that. You did such a great job. I don’t know how much more I can add to it. It was very well articulated and I’m just glad to hear it. It’s so codified in how you just demonstrate it. Good job. I appreciate that. What I will do though is I think I’ll just start with a little history. So I started in my mid 20s in business down in San Antonio and Austin, Texas. And I was with an HR consulting company at the time and one of the things that we were doing was personality profiling and testing for certain roles and occupations.

And I got fascinated pretty early on in my career as a young adult with the impact of recognizing certain characteristics and traits that people seem to inherently demonstrate in the world of their work. And it became pretty evident to me and it didn’t take much proof on my part to start to recognize that there are essentially people who are, I love this word, gifted, that you’re using, Marne. Several of our people in our advanced ecologies are using that word quite a bit around the way we tend to be wired or gifted with certain traits and characteristics in there. There were people I noticed who were just gifted with other human beings.

They were relationship people. They tended to like people, they were good in areas of immediate customer contact and sales and customer relations and support. And they also pointed to me a kind of characteristic that seemed to get kind of a bum rap back in those days. And even still today, a personality that’s often considered difficult because they’re eager to confront others. They tend to be judgmental. They’re not really that warm. They don’t seem to like people all that much. And they tend to avoid roles or ought to probably avoid certain roles of customer relations. And they didn’t like sales. They didn’t want to have to mess with certain kinds of occupations that tended to have a lot of people involved in them, internal and external relationships and they were best suited for other kinds of roles.

I got totally fascinated with that and started diving into the study and started digging up and finding and codifying certain kinds of tests and studies and I just started collecting them. And as of today, I’ve got, I think the notebook right now that I’m holding is 223 different personality models that start all the way back to the very first articulations that I’ve been able to find, which were among Plato and Aristotle all the way through Hippocrates and most articulated in terms of a application around the temperaments and carried all the way through to our modern age and up to today where just recently there was an article that appeared in one of the psychology periodicals on a concept of movable types, which is a four quadrant personality.

There was also a recent profile in the Harvard Business Review in April 2017 of exactly what it is we’re talking about in terms of how people can be modeled in their thinking and acting and how that affects the other relationships in their life, how it affects their satisfaction in what they do and how they do it. I want to just offer a couple of things and then I think we just open it up for questions. So those four kinds of personalities tend to demonstrate a set of characteristics. So we’ve named our particular personality types, our transactional types, inventor, performer, producer and judge.
Now these four are simply names that we’ve given them because they correlate and they coincide with the narratives of the transaction and when you match the personalities with the narratives of the transaction cycle, you can simply lay these personalities right on top of that cycle and see where personalities would be best suited. For example, if you take that kind of judgemental, skeptical kind of personality and you place them on the transaction cycle, you can locate them back in the back end of the transaction cycle, which deals with facts and judgments. It’s an area of the transaction cycle that deals with the reality of the situation, it sits between what’s going on in the real world of work in action and what might be possible in the future.

And it is articulated that way on purpose in the cycle to give a kind of honor the gift of those human beings who can be really judgy and sometimes difficult to deal with. I happen to be married to one of those personalities and sometimes that personality would rather not make any decisions about life, but they simply want to judge yours harshly. And recognizing those traits and personalities might actually be beneficial if you realize there are roles, there are occupations, there are things that need to be done in teams especially that require a judgmental attitude. They require a kind of orientation or gift of skepticism.

I’ve said this over and over for years and years that if it were not for the judges in my life, I could not have possibly been nearly as successful as I’ve been in business and in other areas because I need a personality, a strong, authoritative personality to continually remind me of those things that are in reality and those things that might be difficult to achieve. I need somebody who is skeptical about the grand visions of the future that I see possible and it really helps for me to have people around who don’t accept that everyone in the world is worth spending a whole lot of time with.

See, I’m the personality that’s on the opposite end of the scale. I’m a performer personality. I adhere to a constructive philosophy and essentially I’m a people person. I loved you before I met you, I’ll love you when I meet you, and I will love you long after you’re gone. That’s the opposite of a judge personality. Judges tend to say they didn’t love you before they met you. Probably not going to love you for a long time as they know you and you’ve got to go a long way to prove worthy of longterm judge love. So those opposites across the axis make for a pretty good partnership because I’ll take just about anybody that walks in the door, and it’s useful to have somebody around who is judging those kinds of things adequately.
Now, on the other axis, from up on high, the inventor personality who lives in worlds and worlds of ideas and possibilities and anything and everything that the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve lives in a highly subjective domain. It’s actually a philosophy that adheres to subjectivism, which essentially is the primacy of consciousness. So everything exists in the mind. It’s not real. It’s some perception of things. And then there’s the personality on the other end of the axis, the producer, which is the opposite of that personality. Someone who doesn’t believe that the world exists only in the mind of man, but in fact things are here.

They’ll still be here when the mind is gone, there’s a real world, it’s black and white and this is where things get done and there are personalities who are best suited for roles and occupations in a subjective domain where ideas are king, like say marketing, those ideas where people are coming up with new development, research and development, all kinds of things in the world of possibilities. Those are the best personalities and they’re best suited for that. And history has proven that there is a kind of human being that wants to go do those kinds of things and they can be very frustrating to the producer down at 6:00 that lives in an objective world where the reality of the situation is today, right now, right here where things get done.
And they can sometimes be a little frustrated with the rest of us because they tend to be the ones who actually do the work, they produce, they produce the world in which we live. They make the thing. And so you may know people in your world who make lots and lots of lists, for example, they’re doers. In fact, there are some producers in my life and some on this call that I can point to and we can call on and ask questions of who I promise you have lists of the things that they know what to do today, tomorrow and they have lists of where their lists are. In fact, I know one that’s got a list of where their lists live in their filing cabinets next to their office supplies where the lists are. It’s a doing personality.

John Patterson: My special thanks to our guest Cesar Idrovo. In our show notes, you’ll find links to connect with him and the links to websites, books or downloads mentioned in this podcast.

The Influence Ecology Podcast is produced by Influence Ecology, LLC in Ventura, California. This episode was recorded December 23rd, 2019 and was produced by Tyson Crandall and John Patterson. You can find a transcript for this and other episodes at InfluenceEcology.com. This episode is made possible through the assistance of the Influence Ecology faculty, staff, mentors, and students around the world. Co-founder Kirkland Tibbels and our colleagues comprise an international collective of professionals who are active in the development of the philosophy of Transactionalism and the discipline of Transactional Competence™. Kirkland is considered a leading philosopher and authority in the field and he has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline.

This episode includes contributions by Karal Gregory. The podcast theme is by Chris Standring and titled “Fast Train to Everywhere.” You can subscribe to the Influence Ecology Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or via email at podcast@influenceecology.com.

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Influence Ecology is the leading business education specializing in Transactional Competence™, having published and contributed to the only comprehensive text on the subject, Transactionalism: An Historical and Interpretive Study by Trevor J. Phillips. Co-Founder Kirkland Tibbels has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline of transactional competence and is a sought-after lecturer at universities, major corporations, and civic organizations around the world. 

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