Merlot Skin Care and a freelance writer for TRIBEZA.
Consider The Dog: What Our Core Energies Say About Us
"Redesign the dog kennel. You have 10 minutes." These were our instructions. Our complete instructions. “A dog kennel like the place or the object?” someone wanted to know. “For what size dog?” someone else asked. “Indoors or outdoors?” “Should it be moveable? Durable? Lightweight?”
All of a sudden my mind was flashing back to Mechanical Engineering 101, where we were given, say, a rubber band and a PVC pipe and told to create a device that would launch a baseball into the air. Trying to find a solution with very few materials.
Unlike ME 101 however, this design exercise was built to expose how we approach process, and what that says about our leadership styles. In our second EMERGE session, the class was divided into three groups. Thanks to a presentation from Bijoy Goswami, author of The Human Fabric, my group of fellow questioners learned we were “Mavens” – knowledge-seekers looking for optimal answers. The group to our right had another set of priorities – they were determined to make a sale no matter what, with a product that promised to be a vision of the future, and would be available at two price points. These were the future-looking “Evangelists.” And to the left, split into two sections, were folks who most wanted to know, “what does the dog want?” These were the “Relators,” empathetically putting themselves into the dog’s shoes (er, paws) to answer the question.
While one of the sections of Relaters presented a picture they’d collaboratively drawn of “Doggie Heaven” – a full-service spa-like kennel complete with petting stations – the Mavens admitted they’d never even considered the dog. The Evangelists chimed in that no matter what the kennel looked like, they’d figure out a way to convince you you wanted it.
Bijoy’s notion of the Maven/Evangelist/Relater (MRE) types spring from his “Core Energy” model – that we all have a natural energy that helps define us and how we process knowledge and relate to others. When it comes to leadership, having a deeper awareness of our type of core energy can help us better connect to colleagues and collaborators. Tuning into others’ energies can help focus and drive our own. Then, when we’re faced with needing to redesign a dog kennel (or build a better mousetrap), we’ll know that while some of us may prioritize acquiring the best materials or emphasizing the best price, others will be thoughtfully considering the dog.
NOTE: The opinions of Leadership Austin alumni, faculty members, and guest bloggers are their own, and do not represent an official position of the organization.