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    Jul 27, 2016    |   Aidan Millar

Organizational Function Pairs

people-deskWhile understanding our own set of preferences can be incredibly insightful for exploring leadership style, communication tactics and team differences, I find that by taking type exploration to the organizational level helps individuals understand not just themselves, but the context in which they are situated. This may lead to further developmental areas for individuals, teams and organizations by-and-large when we acknowledge our natural sticking points as what we may need to adjust be more effective.

Can you place yourself, your team, or your organization within this function framework? Ask yourself if so, how do we better capitalize on our strengths or mitigate for some team/organizational blind-spots that are left unnoticed.

ST: Let’s be Objective and Matter-of-Fact
ST organizations tend to shand-577355_1280-2eek answers to questions around costs, schedules, efficiency, precision, and indeed: accuracy. They like to establish hierarchies with a place for everyone and everything in its place. For ST organizations, critiquing broad general ideas in the interest of focusing everyone on the practical and realistic is a valuable endeavour and one that needs to be maintained. Because the focus of ST organizations is the day-to-day, they may sometimes overlook the holistic and long-term implications of the work being done. At the same time, their focus on the present keeps teams from wasting resources in both the human and financial arenas. The products and services that come out of ST organizations are refined in a way that make them reliable and often of high quality due to the careful attention to details, specifics and logical answers to real-life problems.



SF: Let’s be Practical and Service Oriented
The SF environment may often resemble an extended family. Like the ST structure, SF organizations often have a hierarchy in place, but a friendly one that seeks to support – rather than organize – its people. SF organizations (ie. hospitals) are structured in such a way that a person’s level in the hierarchy reflects their qualifications or skills for the services they are expected to provide. In otherwords, the division of labour in an SF workplace is akin to having the “right person in the right place to do the right thing for others”. SFs feel like they are of utmost value when they provide clarity and direction to meet the needs of individuals and groups. The SF organization is often very cognizant of how things will affect others and they are unlikely to be wrong about a customer’s needs, meaning they provide a valuable insight to market desires or niche opportunities. Because they are busy serving others, SF organizations may miss the strategic plan, the big picture and sometimes, their own needs.

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NF: Let’s be Insightful and Inspiring
NF organizations are characterized by their mission and values focus. Generally, these organizations set goals for continuous improvement in the interest of people and the communities in which they are situated. While SFs might focus on specific people, NF organizations set out to help people in general. They are about fostering growth and development, inspiring people to new levels, developing human aspirations and – quite literally – making the world a better place. Organizations such as these tend to have an interchangeable leadership format as NFs are often reluctant to elevate any one person over another for an extended period of time; rather, their preference is to allow different people to take turns depending on the initiative. For this reason, NF organizations often resist or dismiss status quo business bureaucracies and thus historically, have been in rare company. NF organizations insist on work having a meaning; when it doesn’t, NFs as people and businesses become less productive. An oversight for NF organizations therefore is attuning to the practical realities and the need to bypass harmony sometimes in the interest of bottom-line preservation.


NT: Let’s be Theoretical and Entrepreneurial mountain-climbing-146534_1280 (2)
The NT organization is characterized by the desire (and the skill) to meet challenges. This includes mental, financial, conceptual and sometimes physical challenges. NTs set broad, complex goals for themselves and others. While they are not very patient with detail, NT organizations are like STs in their desire for logic and objective analysis when it comes to outputs. The NT focus where this is concerned is the big picture, the strategic possibilities and the long-range outcomes. NT organizations thrive when they comprise individuals who enjoy debate, rigor and intellectual problem-solving. NTs use a hierarchy when it is the most effective format, but actually tend to prefer a structure of project teams where roles are more fluid. Because of their focus on systems, challenge and refinement, NT organizations often overlook interpersonal niceties as people are akin to one of the components in a larger more abstract system. Their emphasis on competency combined with this perspective leads NT organizations to treat individuals as an important component of a system, with the expectation that the onus is on the person to properly fit into this structure.