“The thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.” Unless you have Context in your Top 5. This Reflect talent looks at the past to determine how we got to where we are today. If you have this talent in your Top 5 you are a retrospective thinker who may call an evening watching the History Channel “date night.” But please don’t do that unless your significant other also has Context.
Context looks to the concreteness of the past to solve problems. What worked successfully in the past determines our best practices going forward. Past failures are guideposts to ensure we don’t make the same mistake twice. Context may look like a Connect talent as the more it understands others’ personal story and how they came to be, the more foundation for relationship is built. People that treated us right will be trusted, but those who failed us Context may have a hard time forgetting and/or forgiving.
The Kryptonite of Context shows up when there is a lack of context in their environment. In a role or situation with no knowledge of how they got there they will struggle until they create a new context through trial and error. “Unprecedented” is a dirty word for Context. One CEO with Context told me, “Until I know how we got to where we are I will keep digging and asking questions until I have a grasp of our current situation. That knowledge gives me the insights to the trajectory we are on and how to best move forward.”
“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” is the mantra of the Deliberative talent. People with this Reflect talent are the soul of caution. They constantly tune into potential threats, risks, and dangers. Where Context looks to the past, Deliberative looks ahead to process and evaluate what could possibly lead to personal, family, or team jeopardy. Deliberatives seldom find themselves in peril or harm’s way because they have usually deliberated a path that has safely minimized failure and vulnerability.
As natural risk managers, people with Deliberative can appear to be hard to get to know. Their cautious disposition is more reserved and private. They may want to make sure there is relational safety before they open up or share a confidence with others. They are typically slow to praise or compliment others, so if a Deliberative gives you recognition you have probably contributed something out of the ordinary.
The Kryptonite of Deliberative is that they can come across like the Devils’ advocate or the constant voice of pessimism. A co-worker named Mark had a way of turning a brainstorming session into mild drizzle. When our team discovered and understood his Deliberative talent we were able to give him some coaching in how to “deliver his Deliberative.” By starting with a positive statement about other people’s input before sharing his concerns it made his voice more palatable and team friendly.
Though both talents can be tied to timeless quotes, Context and Deliberative share a common function. Whether learning from our past mistakes or anticipating future problems, these talents can bring a depth of safety and security to our success.