Memes & The Ladder LO7190

Dr. Scott J. Simmerman (74170.1061@CompuServe.COM)
05 May 96 14:32:25 EDT

Replying to LO7163 --

Ben Compton, in Memes & The Ladder LO7163, had a lot to say about

He said, in part,

>When I was 12 or 13 I came to the startling realization that I spent every
>minute of my life thinking . . . and my thoughts determined both what I
>learned, and the rate at which I learned.

Man, Ben's a fast tracker on this stuff. About age 38, I got interested
in thinking and thinking about thinking and I was thinking to share some

The Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) literature has some excellent, yet
simple writings about information sorting styles or information
processing. It takes all the various possibilities and establishes a
non-scientific but extremely practical set of tools -- They represent
preferences in thinking patterns. I have used them in team building and
can explain them easily.

Some of the 15 or 20 patterns are as follows:

* - Fast sorter versus Slow sorter -- Some people like to sort through
information quickly (me) while others like to take a slower and more
methodical pace.

* - Random versus Sequential -- some like to grab ideas off the walls (me)
and some like to go in a step-by-step process. Listen for a moment and
you will hear a Random sorter pull ideas from anywhere / everywhere with
linkages that you might find unclear. Sequential sorters will often say
things like, "Well, first..." "Secondly, ..."

* - Big Chunkers versus Small Chunkers -- Big chunkers think in Big Units
whereas Small chunkers like to get into the detail. Big Chunkers think in
programs and small chunkers think in segments.

* - Future sorters think ahead - Past sorters like to link to past events.

* - Possibilities sorters versus Outcome sorters. The former are
characterized as "throwing mud at the wire fence to see what sticks"
whereas the latter are looking for specifics.

And so forth. There are a number of these styles.

It took me a LONG time to recognize that my thinking style was very
different from others. When styles match, thinking is often
collaborative. When styles mismatch, thinking can be a problem.

Bad Example: Me with a Slow, Sequential, Small, Past, Outcome sorter (to
give the opposite styles). I'm flying around with ideas of Big Programs
and Possibilities for the future and they are looking to take some time to
discuss the specific steps of what we'll do based on past history.

Good example: I get heavily involved in the brainstorming process to
generate ideas and back out a bit when we move into program planning
because I tend to add new ideas after decisions are made.

Good example: I recognize and understand my style and adapt my "output"
into a style that matches the preferred thinking patterns of my associate.

While Ben figured this out at age 13 or so, it took me a Long Time trying
to match with my school teachers who tended to be a bit less random and a
bit more structured and who were looking to test for outcomes as opposed
to listening for possibilities.

Now, in 15 minutes and you can figure out how you think (preferred
patterns) and be more observant of the styles of others around you.

Take a guess at Rol's preferred styles and contrast them to If's. Or

Hope that this has been of interest and informative. Apologies for a bit
of thread drift but thinking is an interesting topic. And my preferred
style of Big Chunks has kept me a bit less interested in the details of

The Learning Organization link comes from undersnatning personal styles
and better using the thinking resources already within the organization to
make it more functional. We can take advantage of the diversity of
thinking patterns to better understand each other and to make better and
richer decisions.

Why use Square Wheels when the round ones are already in the wagon?


Scott Simmerman Performance Management Company, 3 Old Oak Drive, Taylors SC USA 29687-6624

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