Thinker? Optimizer? Adventurer?

2 Min Read  •  Inspiration

Last week I delivered a series of workshops called “Embracing Change” to a  governmental agency. The curriculum was interesting and applicable to work, home and personal life. Part of the workshop examined personal working styles and how they influence our response to change. I have never been big on personality profiles and assessments. I have found that people use them to peg each other and not for their good qualities! They seem to use the profiles against each other.

However, the simplicity of this model caught my attention. Rather than complex categories and assessments, participants were able to make up their own minds where they fit best. The three categories were: Thinker, Optimizer, Adventurer.  When studying the three profiles, keep in mind – no category is inherently better than another, each has strengths and potential drawbacks, we are always a combination of the three and a successful team needs a balance of all three.

Do you recognize yourself below? How would you order yourself? I am an Optimizer/Thinker/Adventurer, at least I think I am!


  • Strengths: Examines all the facts, great eye for detail, anticipates problems before they arise, organized, deliberate and methodical approach.
  • Potential Drawbacks: Analysis paralysis, over-thinking, creating issues/problems where there are none, death by committee, excessive worry, not taking action when it is necessary
  • Key Questions: How does being a thinker serve you? Think of a project or issue where being a thinker was the key to success. Were you deliberate, slow, methodical? How did that help? When has being a thinker been a source of trouble, created an issue or caused excessive worry?


  • Strengths: Recognizes a great opportunity when he/she sees it, early adapter, always scanning the environment, acts quickly, looks for trends.
  • Potential Drawbacks: May move from approach to approach/project to project, may not always master what’s on the plate now, may not always be a team player, may be oriented toward rewards rather than the process
  • Key Questions: Are you looking out for new trends and how they can benefit you? Have you been an early adapter of technology, curriculum and techniques? Name a time when you spotted a trend and acted quickly. Did it work out well? Did you have all the facts to act?


  • Strengths: Fearless, gets on board, independent spirit, creative, not afraid of risk(s), go for it attitude, learns on the fly, innovates, inspires others
  • Potential Drawbacks: Rash, emotional decisions, too independent, alienates others, possibly reckless, doesn’t gather enough facts on safety, consequences or long term results
  • Key Questions: Where could you use a more adventurous spirit in your work, personal and home life? What fears hold you back from taking risks? When did you take a bold risk? Did it pay off? Was it a smart risk?

OK, so make sure to order yourself – it’s fun, you might learn something about yourself! Don’t peg other people, let them do this exercise by themselves, then discuss it.