When a TRAIT becomes a TRAITOR

One of the things I really like about Lumina Spark is how practically applicable it is. I’m constantly finding examples of other models and training tools that sync up with the mandala in a useful and interesting way. At the last Lumina qualification I watched a fascinating presentation on Daniel Ofman’s Core Qualities model and how it can be usefully applied using Lumina concepts.

Ofman’s model looks like this:

It’s a nice and simple model (I think a cyclical design is always intuitive), but let’s run through it step by step before we start applying Lumina terminology.

The first bubble here is Core Quality. Ofman’s understanding of ‘quality’ is basically the same as ours: it’s a key character trait or tendency. Let’s leave the Spark qualities aside for a moment and use something more general. A good example – and one that’s often used to demonstrate how the circle works – is ‘drive‘. I have ‘drive’ if I have get-up-and-go, if I’m purposeful and have lots of energy and focus.

Drive is useful, but too much of it can be inappropriate. Too much of a quality in Ofman’s model leads to what he calls the Pitfall, where we overuse a quality. The pitfall in this model is similar to our over-extended persona as displayed by Lumina Spark. Too much drive could be an inability to switch off, a failure to be objective, or even a lack of tact or rudeness.

But if you find the inverse of too much drive, what Ofman calls the Positive Opposite, you get calmness, peace, self-control. This is definitely useful, and exactly what you want to balance out your drive. The Core Quality and what Ofman calls the Challenge are the perfect balance for your personality.

Over-extend the challenge and you again find trouble. Too much calmness or peace could result in inactivity, even laziness. Laziness is the antithesis of drive, and so it’s likely to be very irritating for someone who’s driven. Hence Ofman’s decision to label this bubble the Allergy.

The positive opposite of laziness? Drive. So the whole model is a neat circle.

Let’s go through it again from a Lumina Spark perspective. I’m going to re-label the concepts just for now, to better fit with the Lumina terminology. We’ll start with the core quality, which we’ll label for now as a Trait (since Lumina Spark is often described as being ‘trait, not type’).

I’ll use one of my key traits, which is in the green/yellow area of the mandala. Being FLEXIBLE is really useful for me. It lets me bring in new ideas from lots of different sources, lets me react to events as they happen, and lets me always keep an open mind to new opportunities and new ways of thinking.

 So here’s the first part of the model, and my trait is FLEXIBLE.

What happens when you have too much of a trait? You may find that quality can betray you, let you down when you need it, or not be appropriate for the situation you’re in. For the sake of neatness, let’s say it can become a Traitor.

If I exercise too much flexibility, and don’t ever try and tie myself down, I find my working life becoming CHAOTIC, which is the Lumina Spark over-extended version of flexible.

So my trait become a traitor, and my life gets CHAOTIC.

So I need something to get me out of this chaotic mood. I need a Challenger to my current way of thinking. What’s the opposite of chaotic? It’s definitely STRUCTURED, which, surprise surprise, is on the opposite side of the Lumina Mandala, and is a red/blue quality. 

The challenge to chaos is STRUCTURE.

But I don’t want too much structure. Too much structure makes me rigid, makes me PLANNING OBSESSED. I lose the best of my work style, I lose all the new ideas, the adaptability and flow. I also find people who are planning obsessed really, really irritating. I can’t stand it when people are get bogged down in the minutia and never just get started, cease the day and see what happens. They get right up my nose, so I think I’ll just stick with calling it an Allergy.

I’m allergic to people who are PLANNING OBSESSED.

The opposite of PLANNING OBSESSED? FLEXIBLE, and we’re back to my side of the mandala again. But I should remember that too much flexibility can actually handicap me, and that sometimes I need a little structure. I just need to make sure not to overcompensate.

Ofman’s model is useful because it can be applied to teams as well as individuals. The person that really irritates you on a team may be over-extending the quality that’s opposite to yours. At the same time, the person that really challenges you on a team might be exactly the person you need to balance out your personal strengths.

In other news, we’ve published a free booklet on psychometrics, and so far it’s been really well received. You can go here to download a free copy, or order a free copy in the post.

 

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