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The Interstrength® Method
A Common Language for Understanding Personality Differences
The Interstrength® Method provides a common language for understanding our natural personality diversity and applying personality differences. Through this multifaceted approach, we can begin to see how people are alike and how they are different—with fundamental temperament differences that can lead to “stands,” value agendas, and fixed Interaction Styles—as well as how they learn, make decisions, and develop . This approach describes natural preferences that lead to various ways of perceiving and ways of deciding that are often critical for an organization’s success yet, if not understood, can be the primary source of misunderstandings and miscommunications. Through The Self-Discovery Process we create safe environments for individuals to explore, understand, and apply their natural preferences.
Principles of the Interstrength Method
The Interstrength® Method is a systematic approach to using personality information for helping individuals and organizations develop. In this methodology, there is constant emphasis on the integrity of each individual’s identity. The importance of the system of each individual’s life must be considered first, yet equal consideration must be given to the larger systems clients find themselves operating in such as work environments and relationships.
Achieving the delicate balance between individual and group requires dedication to the Interstrength Methodology’s well thought out principles. The three principles that make up the Interstrength Method—Critical Elements, Self-Discovery Process, and Multiple Models are defined in the following sections.
Our use of the Interstrength Method allows the best qualities of an individual to come forward. The process can re-energize the individual as well as the groups they are part of. It provides a means of building on strengths and avoiding blind spots. By using this process, we support mutual respect and value human bonds in accomplishing routine and difficult tasks alike. We also get more done with less effort. Certification in this process indicates a willingness and proven ability to apply these principles to helping individual and organizational clients learn and grow.
Principle 1: Critical Elements
Critical Elements are those concepts that must be present in order for the practitioner to effectively introduce personality information so that positive change, growth and development result. These elements communicate a high respect for the client as well as portray the integrity of the Interstrength Methodology. Honoring of these elements has been proven to get lasting results. They include:
• Systems View—Certified Interstrength practitioners use language that reflects systems thinking, which is essential when helping clients accurately self-select best-fit type, temperament or Interaction Style. Using ‘parts’ language is likely to create unintended consequences of stereotyping and blaming, much of which is eliminated by applying a systems thinking approach to introducing such information. Certified facilitators who use systems thinking present concepts as they appear in nature rather than as artificially imposed structures.
• Meeting the Client at Their View of the World—Certified Interstrength practitioners meet each client at his or her view of the world. When clients are met at their view of the world, there is better communication and less resistance to change. If leaders are to lead, teachers are to teach, and change agents are to facilitate change, then the follower, learner or client must be able to find something that is congruent with their beliefs about themselves. If not, they will resist the changes and not truly engage in the requested responses.
• Positive Regard—Positive regard is shown for each type pattern, temperament and Interaction Style. Certified practitioners strive to become aware of and confront their own biases. They then work to control for biases, holding all patterns in a positive regard.
• Ability to Go to Observer Mode—Certified practitioners are able to step back and observe a process without being caught up in it emotionally. In order to untangle complicated relationships and communications, we need to be able to talk about what has occurred, or is occurring, without projecting our own values and belief systems into the situation. This ability is essential when introducing and facilitating the use of personality type information. Effective practitioners do not leave “fingerprints” on the client or the group.
• Rhythm of Presentation/Adult Learning Principles—Certified practitioners use delivery methods in their presentation that value the diversity present in type. They provide enough variety to engage each type, cognitive process, temperament, and Interaction Style without making anyone “suffer” too long. They maintain a rhythm to the Self-Discovery Process that encourages active participation while honoring adult learning principles.
Principle 2: The Self-Discovery Process
The Self-Discovery Process allows participants to discover for themselves the type pattern that is closest to their “Core Self”. By engaging the participant in The Self-Discovery Process rather than a “test and tell” approach, the practitioner teaches the much-needed skills of self-awareness and self-leadership. Respect is given to the ability of each individual to sort out their best-fit type for themselves. Classification of any individual by a facilitator or practitioner denies the participant the freedom to choose the destiny in which they will vest their identity. To not be allowed to choose based on their own truth is to deny them the opportunity to invest themselves in this process and its fruits. The Self-Discovery Process is worth the time because it encourages participants to take responsibility for ongoing self-awareness and application rather than a one-time workshop. It enables them to see many more ways to apply the models to their own growth and development.
Principle 3: Multiple Models
Multiple Models are used throughout the Interstrength Method. They are most notable in The Self-Discovery Process, but they permeate every application. The multiple models are explicitly used throughout the Self-Discovery Process, while implicitly used in the background when using a single model. In coaching and leadership, the practitioner can use multiple models to help the client understand him or herself, to see where the client is stuck or needs to learn, to help clients with issues of motivation and leadership within a system. In communication and teamwork, multiple models are needed to show team strengths and blind spots and to build bridges through the things in common among the types. In instructional design, multiple models are necessary to fully understand learning styles and create learning experiences to reach those styles and truly follow the adult learning principles.