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What Does It Mean if You Have an Analytical Thinking Style?

Written by on October 6, 2015

How do you approach tasks and make decisions? How do you communicate with people or operate in team environments? Examining the cognitive styles that are highlighted by the Thinking Intentions Profiles is informative because we can reflect on our own approaches and how these mindsets and behaviours show up in our work. Let’s examine the red, or analytical, thinking style. When reading, keep note if you recognize yourself or your teammates.

Analyzing Red Thinking

The best word to describe those with a hard red thinking profile is analytical. It is very much a quantitative orientation, based on knowledge, facts, and information. Knowledge – and being regarded as a highly knowledgeable person – is a great source of pride for analytical thinkers. A phrase you may hear from these folks would be: “Let’s take a detailed look at this. Let’s analyze what we’re thinking and doing before we make a decision.”

They want to analyze the situation and/or data in an explicit way. This is often driven by their desire to do everything right the first time. Analytical thinkers would rather take extra time and drill down into a topic. That way, when they present the data, information, or decision, they can be sure they’ve nailed it on the first go-round.

Analytical individuals want to gather a lot of facts, and they’re able to keep them organized when working on tasks and challenges. These thinkers bring a number of benefits to the team:

  • They have the ability to look at things in a holistic way.
  • They base choices on realism and sound processes, with an underpinning of precision, accuracy, and detail. Their decisions have a great deal of validity.
  • They are “walking dictionaries”! If you have a question, they likely know the answer – or know where to find the answer.
  • They are strongly oriented towards policy and procedure.
  • From a leadership perspective, they are highly organized and extremely knowledgeable about their work.

While these individuals are very much dominated by their hard red thinking, there is a flipside to all of these benefits:

  • Analytical thinkers can be sticklers.
  • They may get bogged down in details. This can be incredibly frustrating to hard blue thinkers, who want to drive quickly towards decisions.
  • There can always be more analysis! It is possible to suffer analysis paralysis because there is always more data to consider. They want to take another look, and another, to ensure they haven’t missed anything.

Who might be a hard red thinker? The greatest detective of all time, of course: Sherlock Holmes. He values details and finding the right data to solve the case. He also thinks very highly of his intellectual abilities – and is even more pleased when others recognize it.

Understanding the hard red thinking domain can help you solve the Mystery of the Meeting Stickler or the Case of the Endless Analysis. When you are aware of these tendencies in yourself or in your teammates, you are in a strong position to leverage strengths, maximize contributions, and achieve the high-level results your team needs.