Do you know any Integrators? If so, you are probably familiar with their tendency to change their minds. Today it’s “yes,” tomorrow it’s “no.” ”Final” decisions usually aren’t really final, and new information can start the decision-making process all over again. Integrators might be accused of being capricious, flighty or even fickle – though I’m sure not by you. Recriminations aside, many of us find this tendency toward indecisiveness frustrating. A little insight into the mind of an Integrator might help.
When it comes to decision-making, Integrators are usually comfortable with ambiguity. In fact, being okay with not knowing all of the answers is one of the fundamental characteristics that makes an Integrator an Integrator. They don’t necessarily require a clear-cut answer the way some others might. So when they make a decision they’re likely to consider it AN answer rather than THE answer. Given this perspective, changing one’s mind is easy.
Most Integrators are highly focused on relationships, and they see consensus as essential to making good decisions. Unless you’re a dictator, anyone who prioritizes consensus must be willing to change their own mind. Integrators understand this and they’re willing to walk their talk. They usually prioritize reaching agreement and nurturing relationships over sticking to their guns. Since they’re often comfortable with more than one right answer anyway, this isn’t much of a stretch.
Many Integrators are empathic, which means they’re strongly affected by the emotions of others. Emotion is one of the two primary paths to influencing people (the other being logic)1, and the Integrators’ empathy makes them particularly likely to be inspired by others’ emotional appeals or strong convictions. Add in their trusting and helpful nature, and Integrators can often be swayed by someone who is really persuasive (or persistent).
So what if you need an Integrator to make a final decision and stick to it? What should you do? Well, you might emphasize that the good of the group requires a final decision. (Think TV’s “Jeopardy”: “Is that your final answer?”). You might also ask them to put their decision in writing and make a public commitment to it. Research shows that doing so makes people more likely to follow-through2, and this could work especially well for Integrators, who often have a strong feeling of responsibility to the larger group.
Integrators: Do you change your mind often? How about now? Have you changed it yet? Are there particular circumstances that make you less likely to do so?
|1 Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: How to change things when change is hard. Random House, Inc.
2 Cialdi, R. B. (2009). Influence: Science and practice. Pearson Education, Inc.
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