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The second of the groups, the Thinkers, on the other hand, have very different interests. They seek to understand processes and data sources as their starting points. As a result, the thinkers welcome detailed chronological presentations which would have no interest to the charismatics. For example, that “wonderful” slide slow showing the history of the project is out for the Charismatic, but may be just the framework for a presentation to a Thinker.
In great detail, the authors present each of the five decision styles and then provide a plan to prepare for a meeting with a person exhibiting each decision-style. It is valuable work.
Additionally, this is a book whose authors have recognized and commented upon its gaps as well as its discoveries. For that rare contribution they should be recognized and applauded.
Clearly, human beings are particularly difficult creatures to decipher. Decision styles are no different. Do not expect, therefore, a simple process, but a valuable starting point for strengthening your skills at persuasion.
Among the factors you will find complicating the process are the following: Many decision-makers identify themselves as members of decision style groups to which they do not belong. The authors provide you with important clues to help to identify the decision style correctly on various criteria, but you must be the detective. Additionally, many persons in this as in other aspects of human action have more than one decision style, the authors warn the reader. Sorting the styles out and determining the person’s dominant style is not a simple task.
As useful as the work is for the negotiator, it does not provide a map, but rather a careful and rich point of beginning to improve your ability to persuade others. You will find interesting examples of real decision-makers illustrating the various styles, for examples, Martha Stewart, Ted Turner, Bill Gates and others all make illustrative appearances in the work. Of course, with this cast, there are some interesting tales.
This is a book that all negotiators will find at least useful and some practitioners will discover to be potentially career-changing at the other margin. It includes source documentation in a Notes section and a carefully constructed Index that readers will find helpful.
John Baker, Ph.D.
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