Experiential Thinking Style

What is an Experiential Thinking Style?

Written by on November 23, 2015

Imagine going to the Musee d’Orsay or the Metropolitan Museum of Art and standing in front of a Monet. If you stand too close, it is difficult to see or experience the painting. When you stand back from the exquisite picture, all of a sudden it speaks volumes. The beauty emerges, as does your experience with what the artist was trying to convey. This, in many ways, epitomizes the soft red thinking style. These experiential thinkers are able to take a step back and experience people and situations from a different perspective.

Introduction to Soft Red

The soft red thinking style is about experiencing. It is a very qualitative orientation, based on impressions, sensing, and communication.

A strong soft red profile might say, “Let’s experience this!” These are the type of individuals who get tremendously excited planning a trip, for example. They delve into research; they think about it; they visualize it. They have a great desire to experience…everything! Different people, situations, places, whatever life can offer them is exciting.

While hard red thinkers are explicit in nature, soft reds are implicit. Strengths they bring to organizational and team settings:

  • They have strong capabilities towards sensitivity, sensing, and reading others.
  • They tend to be good communicators.
  • Soft red thinkers are highly observational and global in their thinking. They can take that step back to offer new perspectives.
  • They enjoy seeking to understand self and others.
  • As leaders, they are authentic. They read people well and focus on achieving results through communication and moderation.

These competencies, and their enjoyment of connecting with people and meaning, make experiential thinkers well-suited for careers in moderation, negotiation, teaching, training, and presenting.

Here’s an instance when red thinkers can help drive results: Teams often become mired in the details, and this can create conflict. Soft red thinkers are able to moderate. They can climb up on the balcony and take a bigger look at the situation. This enables them to see implications that perhaps others do not.

In addition, they have the ability to request new perspectives or offer new insights in a non-threatening, high-level, communicative fashion. They can bring people back together and help ease them towards decision-making processes.

These capabilities make them great assets for a team, but there are still soft red traits that can create negative impacts:

  • If people have a dominant soft red profile, they can be perceived as wafflers. They may go around in circles and have difficulty making decisions.
  • They may become excessively concerned with not hurting people’s feelings, at the expense of achieving results for the team as a whole.

Despite these challenges (which can be tempered through deep level awareness), their many highly valuable skills and competencies, including the ability to see the big picture, read others, and communicate effectively, make experiential thinkers an integral part of the team.