Working Style Analysis
You’ve probably heard or read that children have a Learning Style that evolves while they are growing up - but adults?
Yes, they too have a learning style, but it is much more complex and stable. It is contained in your Working Style and influences more or less your ability how you are able to take in new and/or difficult information.
The WSA Pyramid Model below offers an initial overview of this complex overall structure. You will be amazed how many small, mostly unnoticed things determine your learning success!
This pyramid model was created to represent in a simple and understandable form the combination of personal Working Style elements and their complex relationships - based on neurophysiological processes – then to be described in individual, personal WSA profiles. The Working Style Analysis was developed to help achieve better productivity and increase work performance.
This is especially important for all who are employed or are going through a trial period in a new job, planning their career, thinking of changing jobs or looking for a fresh start.
The WSA Pyramid consists of 49 elements, clearly arranged in six layers according to brain function and behavior - with brain dominance at the top. This left/right brain dominance is the most important area because brain processes generally affect all other subordinate elements of style.
The upper four layers contain biological/natural (congenital, relatively stable) style elements and the two lower layers include acquired/conditioned (that is frequently changing) style elements.
How important are biological/natural style elements?
They are particularly active in the development of concentration while working, are involved in the acquisition of new and/or difficult information and are grouped into the following layers:
1. Brain Dominance:
Here strategies for analytical as well as holistic information processing are visible plus preferences for a reflective as well as an impulsive/spontaneous thinking style; also showing general analytical or holistic/global tendencies of someone’s personal overall learning style.
2. Sensory Modalities:
This group is divided into the following elements: auditory (hearing, listening, speaking, inner dialogue); visual (reading, looking/watching, visualising/imagination), tactile (manipulating, touching) and kinesthetic (doing, feeling), all in their occurrences of flexibilities, preferences and non-preferences.
3. Physical Needs:
These include preferences, non-preferences and flexibilities for movement (stationary or movement needed); food intake/oral stimulation (chewing, eating, nibbling, drinking); and for certain times of day (individual bio-rhythm).
Needs for sounds/music (silence or noise); light (dim or bright); room temperature (cool or warm); and work area (formal or informal/comfortable) are being described here.
These preferences and non-preferences (dislikes) grow from childhood onwards, intensify during one’s work life, are usually difficult to influence and generally remain stable over a lifetime. If they are disregarded or mismatched over long time periods, they have a negative effect on motivation, persistence and responsibility for work tasks.
For lasting professional success – even with frequent job changes, it is vital that the biological needs are matched most of the time.
Only this way preferences can become personal strengths and decisively contribute to maintaining motivation, one’s own productivity is increased and overall professional success is achieved. Thus both frustration and stress can be reduced.
What’s the significance of conditioned/acquired elements:
The lower two layers of the WSA Pyramid contain conditioned/learned/acquired style features. These are particularly relevant when it comes to dealing with rules and regulations in work settings and in life generally, working with superiors and team colleagues, creating reports, managing difficult problem situations and successfully dealing with change.
They are grouped in the following way:
5. Social Aspects:
These show whether a person prefers to work alone, in pairs with a work colleague, in a peer group or in a team; with or without an authority figure (manager, supervisor, department head, trainer) present.
This area is about motivation (internal or external motivation for work), persistence (strong or fluctuating/low), conformity (high or low/non-conforming), responsibility (high/strong or low), need for structure/guidance (other or self-directed) and variety (need for routine or desire for change).
The results in graph 2 reveal acquired learning attitudes, the reactions of an employee to the company culture, to 'the system' as a whole and show in which social setting someone can work best.
However, these elements are not stable, they change several times in the course of live. This can often happen in the shortest possible time - sometimes even overnight! Such change often depend on the circumstances, or often only on the current mood.
What do flexibilities mean in an WSA profile?
Flexibilities are unstable elements, especially in the biological area. They develop over time and are partly responsible for people’s ability to cope better with changing working situations.
Particularly in the area of sensory modalities flexibilities will become preferences if interest in a topic is high or can be reduced to non-preferences if interest and motivation wane.
This phenomenon is particularly evident in courses, external training courses and in-house training. That is, as long as the subject matter is INTERESTING and thus MOTIVATING for learning, performance is good. However, if interest decreases, active involvement reduces, participants just switch off and under some circumstances even pretend they do not understand what is at stake. Similar things happen in boring meetings/discussions where then energy is lacking to be able to participate productively.
Are you also affected?
There is only one solution: Immediately generate a Working Style Analysis and look at your Flexibilities. This will enable you to actually activate your potential for information intake, reduce your ‘suffering’ in meetings and ultimately avoid training frustration.
What is the meaning of question marks in the Graphs?
The more QUESTION MARKS are visible in your profile, the more it is likely that you:
a) are under stress,
b) are currently experiencing confusion or are undergoing change in these areas,
c) misunderstood questions (occurs very rarely).
How to interpret question marks?
Since question marks usually point to problem areas, they are reliable signs of stress, which the person concerned is currently experiencing. When thinking strategies are changing or there are profound upheavals in someone's work or personal environment (a new job relocation, retraining, manager/supervisor change, job loss, family turmoil, relationship problems, an addition to the family or a death), then the number of question marks increases. They are based on contradictory answers to the questionaire.
Conclusion: The more question marks, the more frequent are contradictions, the higher uncertainty or stress.
Therefore, a tip for you when interpreting your own WSA Profile:
Consider first those style elements which have question marks and think about what could be the reasons for this. That way you can identify stress factors and take steps to combat the causes purposeful. For this, Action Plans for self-improvement and a Personal Monitoring System were installed in the WSA profile. More about this individually customizable system in the “Action Plan” section.
1. Discuss the results with someone you trust in the workplace or within your family.
2. If you have a good working relationship with your manager/ supervisor/ team leader, try to have a conversation with this person to analyze the stressors in your WSA profile and jointly seek solutions. You will be surprised what problems come to light, because under daily stress one often does not have time for profound thoughts about the causes of work problems, or they are often not talked about.
3. From this discussion should now emerge measures that you best write down in a structured manner. To assist you with that, there is an Action Plan for each category of style elements (brain dominance, sensory modalities, physical needs, work environment, social aspects and attitudes) in your WSA profile which will help you to organise and manage these steps. In the section 'Action Plan' you learn more about this unique system of self- improvement.
4. After the initial success of the implemented Action Plans become visible, we recommend you to create a new WSA profile within 6 months. You will notice that question marks have been reduced or have disappeared altogether. Such a profile is now completely valuable in its explanatory power, which remains valid for about three years until Working Style needs change again in a natural way.
With the Action Plan finally to your success!
You should implement the recommendations from the Personal Report of your WSA Profile as soon as possible to bring about the desired or most urgent changes. It will be especially helpful if you start with one of the 6 Action Plans for self-improvement - combined with the Personal Monitoring System for self-examination.
Why only complete one Action Plan?
Any change in the workplace, whether initiated externally or intentionally desired by yourself, takes time getting used to, needs strength and energy. All proposed action plans for self-improvement are very detailed and going deep. It would overtax your strength and energy to implement more than one Action Plan at the same time. You can and indeed should prepare several Action Plans but it is not advisable to try implementing them at the same time, also not even when you are highly motivated.
The reason? The Personal Monitoring System.
Each Action Plan has as an important component a Personal Monitoring System, which requires a daily feedback for 31 days.
Think about this here: You really want to reach the goal of self-improvement.
For this purpose it is necessary that the daily feedback has to be taken seriously, everything has to be entered conscientiously and monitored regularly. Only this way you can track your progress continuously to the last detail. You will see, even the smallest positive changes will give impetus and encourage you in your approach. Your first implemented Action Plan will give you a sense of achievement and increase your self-esteem. This in turn will give you momentum to tackle more already prepared action plans in succession.
Please believe us: practical experience has shown that only a successive execution of the respective Action Plans brings the best results and ensures the desired results!
The Meaningfulness of a WSA profile
If you do not recognize yourself in some areas and are surprised by the results that does not mean this profile is inaccurate or even wrong!
It rather means that during the first responding to the questionnaire your conditioning shines through, meaning the influence you have experienced through the influence of the corporate culture and the direct influence of managers or supervisors. In this case is what you see in your profile a conditioned, a so called ‘acquired’ Working Style - unfortunately, very often in contrast to your own actual, natural style needs. In this case too, there will be disproportionately many question marks as our long-standing experience with interpreting of WSA profiles shows as well as discussions with their owners.
Since question marks usually indicate conflicts or stress, it is advisable to investigate the causes, to create an Action Plan and then terminate these troubling states successfully through the described Monitoring System.
The biological/natural elements of your Working Style - as can be seen in Graph 1 - are emerging through active employment and remain relatively stable in the course of life. However, the results in Graph 2 are your acquired/conditioned style elements which are not stable and often change over time - sometimes even within a few hours!
Please keep in mind that a WSA Profile is always a snapshot of your personal development and your current professional situation. Style is not "set in stone" - it changes sometimes dramatically, but changes usually go unnoticed.
Therefore, it is important to have a Working Style Analysis done every three years to be always up to date with your current style needs, especially when you are planning a career change.
Really important to know:
A WSA Profile is neither the result of an intelligence nor a personality test, and certainly not a psychological analysis.
The results reveal your work potential - especially when taking in new and/or difficult information or technical contents, under pressure and in problem-solving situations.
Maybe you realize that you could sometimes indeed work more effectively and achieve more, but you lack the motivation for it or simply do not have the energy and it bothers you not to know the deeper reasons or contexts.
You may currently suffer from frustration, increasing stress, possible health problems or even burnout. Under such circumstances everyone and everything is suffering: your job, your family, your private life, your leisure and most dangerous - your whole future.
What do you do in such a situation?
✘ Take the first step – purchase a WSA-Employee Profile and respond to the online questionnaire.
✘ Then download your profile as a PDF document, carefully read the Personal Report with the recommendations for professional development and show the results if applicable, your partner or someone you trust. It would also be particularly helpful to discuss your WSA Profile with a manager or supervisor - this can be a real eye opener for you all!
✔ Finally you can see black on white, that you have possibly a Working Style that does not fit your current job, the operational requirements or the corporate culture overall.
✔ These are the true reasons for frustration, work pressure, concentration difficulties, loss of motivation, disillusionment, stress, and subsequently burnout.
✔ With this, you finally have proof in hand that you can work really well, you actually want to be successful in your job, but in your own way, if you are just allowed to do so - that is, if it is possible as part of your job description.
✔ In your WSA profile you will find enough advice (perhaps surprising for you) on how to improve your daily work strategies and your workload can be managed more easily - adapted to your personal style. Daily work then is no longer a chore, it is enjoyable again and the desired success will come!
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