INDIVIDUAL DECISIONAL APTITUDES AND ENTREPRENEURIAL FORMULAS
Establishers and establishments
Every organization structure (establishment) bears the indelible marks of the person who built it (establisher). In small and mid-size organizations, the personal characteristics of the owners (establishers) are clearly reflected in the organization model (establishment), to the extent that the opportunities and limitations of the organization mirror the opportunities and limitations of the person who generated them. It can be said, therefore, that the personality of the owner becomes the personality of the organization.
If we take as an example small to mid-size firms that manufacture and sell retreaded tyres, we will see the importance of their employees’ personalities in organizational terms and the extent to which the personality of the owner is influential. If we assume that this type of company possesses the productive prerequisites of industrial and commercial expertise, we will see how much the factors of success are linked to the aptitudes of the players in the organization.
Among the aptitudes that take shape in the working environment, of particular importance are those that support our decisional processes. Organizations can be understood as a complex combination of decisions (operational, strategic, routine, creative, scheduled, unforeseeable, urgent, important, et cetera). These process are implicitly directed by the personality of the players in the organization and the entrepreneurial players first and foremost.
Stages of the decisional process
It might be helpful to suggest an interpretation that would be useful for analysing specific individual aptitudes with regard to the decisional processes.
Decisional processes can be understood by observing four successive stages and the aptitudes that characterize them:
• Classified listening
It indicates the aptitude of an individual to be comfortable in a dimension of listening, of classifying the elements in play, of aesthetical and contemplative analysis, the in-depth search for the essence of the reality, the inquisitive collection of apparently heterogeneous elements, the search for an unexpected link. All without being stressed by time limitations.
• Comparative analysis
This characterizes the aptitude of an individual to be comfortable in the consistent search for correlations among the factors of a problem, event or complex phenomenon. This aptitude aims at the pondered analysis and search for cause/effect relationships of the elements in play.
If these first two aptitudes are very strong in individuals, they suggest activities in which diagnosis and careful analysis are winning factors. Approval of these aptitudes is nourished by listening to market dynamics, personalizing listening to customers and colleagues, attention to the qualitative aspects of the work, the analysis of alternative commercial formulas, the search for new organizational strategies.
• Hypothetical project
It indicates the aptitude of individuals to apply themselves to planning projects or events by anticipating their actual size or feasibility. They are comfortable with envisaging the numerous possible solutions and predicting limitations and opportunities.
This describes the aptitude of individuals who like to be involved in the decision-making activities that will give their projects substance. It is characterized by concreteness, action, tangibility, productivity, and impatience for visible results.
If the last two aptitudes are very strong, they suggest activities where active intervention is a variable of success. They are characterized by technological planning, production, the management of emergencies, quantitative commercialization, attention to productivity and quantitative aspects.
In short, the preference for some or all of these stages in the decisional process depends on the implicit emotive strategy that has been consolidated by the individual’s learning experience and which led him or her to being comfortable in one or more dimensions between listening (perceptive input) and deciding (expressive output) via elaboration.
These psychological dimensions, fundamental analytical panoramas which were opened up by Carl Jung in his concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personality, suggest comparative reflection between people and professions.
Both professions and individuals have more than one barycentre for listening, analysing, planning and deciding. An awareness of the consistencies/inconsistencies that characterize the relationship between the working role and the individual in terms of the barycentre of the other cognitive areas of the decisional process, prevent an incautious choice of profession that would obviously conflict with aptitude.
An individual with a strong aptitude for listening but not for decision making could be subject to stressful maladjustment if placed in an organizational role and environment that requires rapid responses in a short time.
The mirror image of this is the individual with a strong propensity for making decisions but little aptitude for listening, who would be subjected to considerable maladjustment to work that requires constant reflection with long response times.
The personality with a strong aptitude for listening has a decelerated perception of time (we could say provocatively that their cognitive perception travels at minutes composed of 70 seconds), whereas the personality with a strong decisional aptitude has an accelerated perception of time (minutes composed of 50 seconds).
An aptitude for making decisions is, in general, fairly incompatible with a strong aptitude for listening and reflection, in the same way that an aptitude for listening and reflection rarely goes with productive action.
Productiveness has more in common with planning and decision making, whereas loyalty-creating commercialization identifies more with aptitudes for listening and analysis.
Observing their own predominant aptitudes and those of others could be useful to entrepreneurs when looking for collaborators for organizational roles with aptitudes that are consistent and will compensate for any characteristics they lack. The search for complementary collaborations is one of the success factors of an organization.
(educator, organization and organization behaviour consultant and senior lecturer at SDA Bocconi, Milan).