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The Data Dilemma - a look into the life of an analytical thinker

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Yes, analytical thinkers are the ones that drive us nuts while they work diligently to save us from ourselves. An invaluable addition to every team, their insatiable need for information can cause friction with leadership and team members. So how can you effectively work with such an "In God we trust; all others use data" personality?

Exacting, careful, deliberate, conservative. These words describe the process-loving Analyzer. They consider themselves to be precise and disciplined. Others may find them difficult and locked in analysis paralysis. Without them, the Space Shuttle would have been launched years earlier. With them, it has the best chance of getting there and back again. These are the people that we need around when quality is Job One. If only we didn't have to spend time with them while they were doing it!

Recognizing the Compliance/Analyzer style:

Analyzers are data gatherers. They frequently take notes and are often reserved, especially in new situations (where they are absorbing everything). When you have a question about a process or standard, the Analyzer will usually have the answer and it will be right! They are often seen as skeptical and resistant, with a tendency toward perfectionism. They are not big on chit chat and prefer to stick to business and get to the point. Analyzers seem resistant to change and adverse to risk - they have a strong need to fully understand all the details before moving forward - but once on board, they are very loyal and constantly seek to improve things.

Seeing life from the Compliance/Analyzer perspective:

Analyzers measure others on objective thinking. They look for high standards and well thought out plans and see anything less as a potential risk. They become very frustrated if deadlines would require them to take shortcuts. They like leaders who are decisive and know what they are doing. They often see high interpersonal types people as ineffective (salesmen and analyzers typically don't get along). Analyzers love to plan their work and work their plan. They tend to feel uncomfortable when rushed or when their direction is changed without warning. They often see criticism as a direct affront to their professional abilities.

Dealing with the Compliance/Analyzer:

If you are a dominant person, communicating with an analyzer can be very frustrating. You both share a strong task-orientation but use totally different methods to achieve it. They may ask dozens of questions at a lower level of detail than you like to deal with. You may want them to take some initial direction and just get on with it! The Analyzer may not appreciate all the freedom and self-direction that you are offering.

  • Help the Analyzer to get their questions answered. If you are not a willing source for information, point them in the right direction
  • Give them time to ramp up to a new role - it will pay off in the long run. Analyzers are often slow to get up to speed as they fully understand expectations and develop processes that work for them.
  • Avoid frequent direction changes and give as much advance notice (and supporting data) as possible when they occur.

If you are an outgoing people-person, dealing with an Analyzer type may be your most difficult relationship challenge. They may see your people-orientation as ineffective and doubt your competence. You may perceive them as cold, uncaring, and pessimistic. You may be frustrated by what seems to you as an inability to focus on the bigger picture and make quick decisions. You could find yourself avoiding the Analyzer whenever possible.

  • Understand that the Analyzer can be a valuable asset to you by taking care of details that you don't have the patience for.
  • Honor their need to get down to business and control your need to connect on a personal level. Analyzers like to keep their personal life to themselves.
  • Encourage the Analyzer to express their skepticism and concerns. They have valuable ideas to share!

If you are a quiet, supportive type, you are the most likely candidate to appreciate and effectively work with an Analyzer. You both share the need for a low-risk, cooperative work environment with minimal change. Your biggest area of conflict may be in wanting the Analyzer to be more concerned about people and less about data when making decisions.

  • Don't take the Analyzer's concerns or skepticism personally.
  • Avoid your natural tendency to try and nurture the Analyzer or provide personal support.
  • You both tend to avoid conflict, so be careful to not let any resentment between you stay buried for too long.

Being an effective Compliance/Analyzer:

If you have an analytical style, you can achieve your goals with greater efficiency by being aware of the impact your by-the-book approach has on others. Although it may initially seem like a waste of time to you, adapting your approach will be well worth the investment.
  • When dealing with dominant drivers, keep your questions high-level and brief. Don't bog them down with detail when sharing information. Be clear about what you need from them in terms of measurable goals and expectations.
  • See and use the value of those high-energy "people" personalities. They can help smooth the way in working with others. Compromise your need for detail for their need to avoid it!
  • Engage the quiet, supportive team members in helping you understand the bigger picture and politics in your organization. These folks often have great insight into what makes people tick, which can be an area of challenge for you.

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round. I encourage you to embrace the compliance/analyzer personality in your life and learn effective ways to communicate with them. Together you make a powerful team!


If you tend to second guess many of your decisions, read the article Side Stepping Second Guessing.

Get detailed insights on your behavior style and how to work and communicate more effectively with others! Ask your coach for an online DISC Success Insights assessment. View a sample TTI Success Insights® Management-Staff DISC assessment report.

Raise the bar on communication at your company with a Communication DISCovery workshop. Using behavioral understanding to build better business relationships”

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