Below is a transcript of the recent 'Your Work Style: Details orBig Picture?' online chat conducted April 7th on WAVY.COM.
Brooks KXAN: Hi, and welcome to our chat on YOUR WORK STYLE!We'll start in just a moment...
Which one are you?
( 64% )
( 18% )
A little of both?
( 18% )
( 0% )
Brooks KXAN: Hi, and welcome to our chat today! We'll bediscussing Your Work Style - Detail oriented, or big picture? -with our career and life coach, Melissa Schenker, founder ofWork/Life Austin (www.worklifenow.com)
Thanks for being here!
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Hi!
Brooks KXAN: Hi there! Melissa, would you get us started withsome opening thoughts?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Sure.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: The more individuals know abouttheir own work styles the better off they are. Using what you knowyou can seek responsibilities that are a fit for you and recognizethe strengths others offer and rely on on them for those things.We've probably all noticed a basic difference between those of uswho are detail oriented and those of us more focused on the bigpicture. Today is an opportunity to explore what that's all about.
Brooks KXAN: Is it possible to be a little of both? Or do wetend to lean toward one or the other?
JackieKXAN: I just took this quiz, and I'm a little of both,though more on the detail side!http://www.debugyourmentalsoftware.com/profile/profile7.pl
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: In general, here are somecharacteristics of those with a Detail orientation:
• maintain focus
• like things to be exact
• see the trees
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: And here are basiccharacteristics of Big Picture people:
• take in lots of information
• unconsciously sort and group it
• see the forest
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - yes, some of us can bea bit of both. Or we can be primarily one, but if our job requiresthe other we can push ourselves to do that.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: It'd be interesting to hear frompeople about what they think about your question though. It seemsto me that people have a primary tendency. I've encountered detailpeople who could not see nor articulate the big picture at all.And, some big picture types who'd get totally bored by the details.
Brooks KXAN: Why is it important for us to know which one welean toward most? I would think that it would relate to jobsatisfaction on some level, wouldn't it? Like you're frustrated orbored at work and dont know why, and it turns out that you'rehaving to spend your time on details and not doing big-picture typework ... just a hypothetical, and certainly a guess. But woudl thatbe one of the benefits of knowing?
Brooks KXAN: We have more than a dozen people iwth us rightnow - guys, which are you? And can you be both?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - exactly right.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Also, it can be useful forpeople who are detail oriented and very good at what they do, butwho then are tapped to move into management. That frequentlyrequires them to leave some of their more detailed and satisfyingwork behind to focus on managing (which in many ways requires amore big picture set of skills) - many people find themselvesfrustrated when that happens. And, yet, to "progress" they areexpected to move up the ladder. It can help them to understand thisfacet of their personality. Either to find ways to get that sort ofsatisfaction that their old work brought, or to move to a differentset of responsibilities.
[Comment From --: ] Im not sure what I am. I constantly needto know all the facts but then i sort them and group them, and makepros an cons lists to actually make a decision. Does that make medetail only?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - another reason it'suseful to understand this sort of thing about yourself is that itcan help you understand others that you work with. Can make iteasier to see who should be doing what, who to rely on for what,and to help one respect the differences.
Brooks KXAN: that's a good question ...
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: - not exactly sure which onethat makes you... sounds fairly detail oriented
Brooks KXAN: Guest, scroll up a little in the chat - there'sa quiz that our Jackie Vega linked to - she just found it on theinternet - haven't looked at it but it might be fun to check out
Brooks KXAN: Melissa, you and i talked about more general,broader applications for this before the chat started. Can you gointo that for us?
[Comment From tanatana: ] i think i am pretty detail orientedand then i find myself stuck on the big picture stuff and not sointerested in the details. maybe i am just a bad details person!
[Comment From patpat: ] I completed the quiz with surprisingresults. I'm detail oriented - not big picture, as I like to think.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Tana - you may be naturally abig picture type, who can do details when you must....
Brooks KXAN: I'm the say way, tana
WAVY.com Web Desk/Jane: I took the quiz even though I knewwhat it was going to tell me. I'm totally detail-oriented.
Brooks KXAN: Jane - that doesn't surprise me! I'm not, whichis a struggle in a web director's job. Thankfully, my team memberJackie totally is. :)
Brooks KXAN: My quiz has me 2/3 big picture, 1/3 detail.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: There's this concept that someof us are "scanners" and others of us are "divers." I first cameacross these labels in the book, "I Could Do Anything If Only IKnew What It Was," by Barbara Sher. The notion is that there aretwo kinds of people in the world, those that like to know a lotabout a little (divers) and those who like to know a little about alot (scanners).
Scanners tend to "scan" and gather all sorts of misc.information and get bored if they need to tunnel down deep for toolong. While divers like to focus in one area and develop deepexpertise and depth of knowledge.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Divers make great professors.Scanners make good management consultants.
Brooks KXAN: Scanners would make good general assignmentreporters, too, as you have to become an expert on something newevery day.
Divers make good investigative reporters, or even beatreporters.
Not that we probably have a ton of journalists in the roomtoday, but i'm just sayin LOL
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Our culture tends to valuedivers - experts - but LOTS of us are scanners and are much happierif we have work that draws on our constant curiosity and desire forthe new.
Brooks KXAN: What else? What are some other types of jobsthat these two types can be good at? I think this is fascinating.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] project planning, programmanagement
Which one are you? Scanner or Diver?
( 75% )
( 25% )
Do you think you're in the right job for your type?
( 67% )
( 33% )
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: I was at the computer store thismorning with a dead hard drive - most of the people there seem tobe divers.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Engineers - divers.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Entrepreneurs - scanners.
JackieKXAN: How about when it comes to customer service?Which one do consumers/customers typically want to deal with on thecustomer service side?
Brooks KXAN: LOL you'd have to be to know computers
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: (Please keep in mind that I'mmaking major over-generalizations here!)
Brooks KXAN: of course
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Customer service - scannersprobably. Right?
Brooks KXAN: That would sound right - depending maybe on whatfield it's in?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: One thing about scanners is thatthey are probably more apt to change careers altogether than adiver. A diver might be more likely to keep going more deeply intotheir chosen field.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Doctors - divers
Brooks KXAN: What are the rewards for scanners and divers?Mastery, expertise, general knowledge.. What motivates a scanner vsa diver?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: People who get bored easily -could be scanners.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - It's all about thenature of their curiosity. Scanners like variety, while divers liketo more info in the same arena.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Does this concept make sense tofolks? Do you know which you are?
Brooks KXAN: Here's an interview with Barbara Sher aboutscanners and divers ...http://www.think-differently.org/2007/06/are-you-scanner-or-deep-diver.html
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: I know I'm a scanner.
Brooks KXAN: Me, too.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - thanks for theinterview link.
By the way, she first wrote that book in 1999 but the wholebook is still relevant and useful. This idea is explored in Chapter6.
Brooks KXAN: Here's what she says in the interview aboutscanners...
Scanners want to taste everything. They love to learn aboutthe structure of a flower, and they love to learn about the theoryof music. And the adventures of travel. And the tangle of politics.To scanners, the universe is a treasure house full of a millionworks of art, and life is hardly long enough to see them all.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: I've had clients who thoughtthey were "supposed" to be divers, who were totally relieved tofind out that they were "scanners" and that it was okay to be thatway.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Lawyers - divers
Brooks KXAN: i think it's interesting that culture rewardsdivers - i can see that. I can see how scanners might be considerednoncommittal, particularly if they jump from one interest to thenext.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: I like how she notes in herinterview that scanners are not necessarily superficial, and notesthat Da Vinci was a scanner. He was accomplished in a variety ofareas and his knowledge in one arena could help inform hisdevelopment in another. The love of learning and discovery leadhim.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: She makes another good pointthat divers tend to feel rewarded by financial security, depth ofknowledge, and deepening of skills and experience. While a scannermay pursue rewards not necessarily well aligned with professionalspecialization over the long haul.
Brooks KXAN: Maybe scanners are rewarded simply by having thenew knowledge or the exposure to something completely different,not necessarily mastering it like that which might motivate adiver?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - right. Until recentlycareer development was predicated on a diver sort of model. We wereall supposed to be divers to be deemed "successful."
Brooks KXAN: More and more I'm thinking "reporter" is aperfect job for a scanner.
how about a teacher - an elementary, maybe, who teaches allsubjects to the same class (as opposed to being, say, a high schoolhistory teacher or something?)
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: I think scanners link back toour initial "big picture" idea. Scanners like to gather informationand it all gets linked together and helps them make sense of theworld. Some of them are probably also great at connecting people.
[Comment From tanatana: ] it is interesting how things havechanged in the workforce from people sticking with a career fordecades to jumping around sometime sideways to get a new career.pretty scannerish, no?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Tana - yes, pretty scannerish. Ithink Gen Y may be more scanner and Baby Boomers were trained to bedivers.
Brooks KXAN: And Gen X? I can see where we'd be inclinedtoward being scanners but having ID crises becuase our parents, theboomers/silent gen wanted us to be divers and taught us that's howwe're supposed to be. Sounds like my experience, anyway
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - EXACTLY. Gen X tends towant the freedom to scan if they want, or dive if they want, butwere taught that only diving was valid.
Brooks KXAN: Should make college juniors with no major feel alittle better LOL
[Comment From tanatana: ] my experience has been similar.started in one career intending to do it forever then findingmyself leaving for something else after ten years or so... butalways in jobs that provide lots of variety on a daily basis! atleast i am consistent in that respect.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Many of them end up in my officevery dissatisfied with their careers but feeling badly aboutthemselves for wanting something different.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Tana - scanner!
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] I am a detail oriented person,but owning my own business, I would consider myself a scanner,because I have to have knowledge of many aspects of the industry.At different times I may be diving into varying endeavors, scanninglots of possibilities.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: I'm a classic scanner - lovedmanagement consulting because you were constantly faced with newsituations. You might be able to develop expertise in an area, orusing a particular framework, but the clients and specific problemswould change.
Brooks KXAN: In my experience, there was a conflict betweenloving my work as a newspaper reporter passionately, and wanting todo something else out of curiosity. But being afraid to try becausehow could i love anything as much i loved that job? But then beingafraid NOT to try because WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO BE A ROCKSTAR?or something totally different. Still a conflict.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Guest - yes, you have to scanwhen you own your own business. But it might be that you have hadto learn that, and sometimes force yourself to do it....
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - along those lines (butdifferent) I had a friend who loved job interviewing because withdifferent sort of job, he'd pretend he actually lived that life. Hethought it was a blast to try on all the different hats. And, itwas a great way to help him to choose something that was a good fitfor him.
Brooks KXAN: I saw a mention in that Barbara Sher interviewof a "deep scanner" - it seemed to be a question someone had aboutif that was possible to be ...
Brooks KXAN: Just go in and interview for something totallydifferent? Sea World, here i come!
[Comment From tanatana: ] melissa - the professional jobinterviewer! how appropriate for these times. too bad we can't makemoney doing the interviews!!!
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: A deep scanner seems possible tome. The sort who draws on a lot of different disciplines.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Tana - funny.
Brooks KXAN: A policy researcher would be a good fit for that'deep scanner' type, i would think, no? For example, a policyanalyst for a lawmaker would have to do deep hardcore research onbills ranging from healthcare to traffic fatalities to the legalsystem so that their boss could know how to vote.
Brooks KXAN: FOUR MINUTES LEFT - got any more questions orthoughts, visitors?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - yes, that makes sense(I've been one of those too).
Brooks KXAN: I've thought about doing that myself at somepoint, too
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] nice discussion
Brooks KXAN: I agree... Ok Melissa, ready to give us somefinal words on this? Scanners/Divers and Detail/Big picture/
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: sure...
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Just remember when you'refrustrated with yourself or those around you, it can help to getback in touch with your own big picture - who you are and whatdrives you. It may be time to get back in sync, or to recognizethat those close to you are a different type but still valid intheir own useful way.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Till next time!
Brooks KXAN: Excellent advice, thank you! This was a greatdiscussion today - thanks everyone for being here, and particularlyMelissa. You can find her at www.worklifenow.com - she's a prolife/career coach, and we thank you so much for joining us!
Have a great week, scanners, divers, detail-oriented and bigpicture types!
Over and Out
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