Analytic Vision

Posts Tagged ‘methodology’

What is Schema Dynamics Programming

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 06/07/2017

 

The terminology

“Schema” comes from schema therapy and refers to the maladaptive schemas taxonomy developed by Jeffrey Young, Ph.D. and his collaborators since the ’80s. It is the problem-oriented component of the field, using psychometric questionnaires developed and tested by scientists to evaluate which are the schemas and modes which pathologically influence the emotions, the thoughts, the behavior and the language of the people. Schemas are triggered by traumas, most likely from childhood and, through complications, when activated, may generate discomfort, stress, challenge, failure and ultimately, psychiatric illness.

Dynamics” comes from “Spiral Dynamics”, a field founded in the ’70s by Clare Graves, Ph.D., and it refers to the multiple values levels layered in the personality, which may be changing in time. It is the results-driven component of the field, using advanced psychometric testing developed by professional researchers in order to discover which type of potential and perspective is enabled in order to support the transformational development of the individuals and societies.

Programming” comes from “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” (NLP), the field developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Ph.D. starting in the ’70s, centered on using complex practical processes in order to provide with models of excellence. Although sometimes presented as a pseudoscience, some fields of NLP, such as metaprograms and values have been psychometrically tested as scientifically valid models of correctly structuring the language, behavior and personality.

ST (schema therapy) and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) have both common roots in Gestalt therapy.

In some NLP Master Practitioner training, the Spiral Dynamics model is studied.

 

Positioning

What are the characteristics of Schema Dynamics Programming? How is SDP different from:

  • Psychotherapy?

  • NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)?

  • Spiral Dynamics?

  • ST (schema therapy)?

  • Coaching?

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) provides the client with a flexible set of processes for personal transformation. This enables the functions of both psychotherapy and coaching: it works both for the traumas in the past and the goals in the future.

SDP provides a directed structure. The schema dynamic programmer knows how to recognize and measure the results of the changes when dealing with personal issues, professional goals, past, present and future. The structure is directed in the sense that the schema dynamic programmer uses both descriptive complex maps and tools to knows where the client is, knows where (s)he wants to go and, after considering the available options (tools, processes, techniques), chooses one or several procedures to follow and monitor.

To merely give an example, as a difference to coaching, the schema dynamic programmer may offer his/her opinion, contradict the client and give advice if necessary. The schema dynamic programmer is focused on practical exercises and homework which require a solid amount of effort (emotional, and even physical and logistic) from the client. This work is both oriented to the past and the future and it does not accept the personality of the client as a given, but as a starting point in the work done, which is a mere effect of life experiences and environment and may be subject to change.

Using this strategic approach, with the appropriate approach, issues such as introversion, panic attacks, PTSD, psychosomatization, phobias, alixitimy, allergies, emotional stress response, abandonment, mistrust, emotional deprivation, entitlement, abandonment and others (to name just a few) can be completely and ultimately removed and replaced with functional systems within the subconscious and the conscious.

As a set of tools oriented towards professional growth, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) can provide clients with life-changing experiences which enable them to advance in the Spiral Dynamics model within months (in stead of years) and achieve professional and personal benefits such as:

  • job and career change and performance;

  • happy marriages;

  • increased revenues;

  • status change.

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) focuses, as ST (schema therapy) does as well, on both emotional and cognitive-rational aspects of the change, but where ST (schema therapy) insists on working with modes (especially considering the psychiatric interventions), SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) insists on working with metaprograms. Where ST (schema therapy) insists on working with imagery, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) has its own, much more effective and advanced process, designed by its founder. Such processes are similar to several NLP techniques but different from all of them, and it does not necessarily involve trance/hypnosis. NLP is also more focused on fast solving of the surface issues, which may work in alleviating effects but not always causes. For example, a metaprogram change can be successful for a healthy adult, but may be undone if at the root of the metaprogram change there is a maladaptive schema caused by an abusive trauma from the past.

Where ST (schema therapy) insists on analysis, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) insists on homework and delegating as much of the change work to the client, once (s)he earns the skills and learns the processes a model for personal change. While psychotherapy generally insists on the necessity of the process being administered by a state-approved specialist, the SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) processes can be easy, independently learned and applied by each client, provided (s)he has the appropriate personality and skills inclinations. In this sense, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is nearer to coaching. While the client is encouraged to use for the self some of the processes, (s)he is not encouraged to become a schema dynamic programmer with other people without proper supervision.

Spiral Dynamics offers a deep conceptual framework which many of the psychologists and psychiatrists are not aware of and not even most of the coaches. On this foundation, an important SDP premise is that almost any NLP-type process can be run, focusing on developing skills and attitudes, once the maladaptive schemas have started to change in intensity. Thus, Spiral Dynamics offers not only a strategic measuring tool, but also a chart, a map of transformations, a clear direction of development once the client is freed from many of the startling issues and also some tools, for most advanced knowledge.

 

A unified theory of personality psychology

For several decades, clinical psychology and organizational or positive psychology have insisted on different aspects of the human psyche:

  • interpreting the past (retrospection) vs predicting the future (prospection);

  • problems vs. goals;

  • why vs. how;

  • reflective analysis vs. active experience (exercise);

  • addictions vs virtues;

  • learning vs. growing;

  • abstract vs. concrete;

  • personal vs. professional;

  • body vs. mind;

  • solving vs. developing;

  • issues vs. potential;

  • negative vs. positive;

  • mistakes vs. performance;

  • comprehension vs. action;

  • reparation vs. fine-tuning performance;

  • emotions vs. reason;

  • awareness for insight vs. awareness for decision/action;

  • static vs. dynamic; 

  • treating vs training;

  • obstacles vs resources’

  • linear thinking (Aristotelian) vs. systemic thinking (non-Aristotelian);

  • diffusiveness vs. focus;

  • deliberate slowness vs. witty quickness;

  • cautious desurgency vs. exuberant surgency;

  • relationship vs. task;

  • pain vs. excitement;

  • long term vs. medium/short term;

  • acceptance vs. change;

  • diagnosis vs. enhancement;

  • tense strictness vs. moderate willingness;

  • guiding vs. directing;

  • assessment vs. evaluation;

  • teaching vs. knowing;

  • floating vs. flying

and so on.

 

Differentiating for the future

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is not the only mixed approach available. It may even not be the best. But it works, and it will be tested of how well it works in comparison to any of the separate components to which it is compared.

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is being developed by Ștefan Alexandrescu as a groundbreaking new field with its own applications and is NOT in direct competition with ST (schema therapy), Spiral Dynamics and NLP. It is important that this field would support the development and most especially, the research of these 3 original fields, on which it is grounded. It is not intended as a substitute, but as an alternative, as an enhancer, as a continuation, as it is different from all of the above mentioned.

However, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) does clearly enter in competition with:

  • regular psychotherapy

  • coaching

Regular psychotherapists and coaches which lack skills and knowledge in all of these three fields are not accredited, nor advised, nor recommended to clients. As SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is a practical field, the researchers are challenged to devise experimental tests and projects to compare the effectiveness of SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) with either regular psychotherapy and coaching. SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is simply different and superior, through techniques, skills and results to regular psychotherapy and coaching. This is not a marketing statement, it is simply a reflection of the reality, based on the obtained. And it’s getting better and better, steady and slowly.

People who are interested in learning these skills are advised to contact Ștefan Alexandrescu directly.

The theoretical component of Schema Dynamics Programming also integrates models from transactional analysis, positive psychology, multiple intelligences, motivational psychology and from landmark specialists such as Jeffrey Young, Clare Graves, Abraham Maslow, Robert Dilts, Anthony Robbins, David McClelland, W. Gerrod Parrot, Robert Plutchick, Brian Tracy (correlating research to be determined) and could be correlated in the future with several other theories. You may download here a synthesis pdf.

Copyright © Ștefan Alexandrescu, 2017. None of the contents of this page can be reproduced without the written express consent of Ștefan Alexandrescu. No exceptions allowed.

If you liked this article, please also read this:

Schema Dynamics Programming with Stefan Alexandrescu (25.12.2016)

How to Live a Perfect Life. Part I. (31.10.2017)

How to Live a Perfect Life, part II. The First 4 Out of 12 Steps, In the Right Order (13.11.2016)

How to Live a Perfect Life, part III. Steps 5-8 Out of 12, In the Right Order (17.11.2016)

How to Live a Perfect Life, Last Part. Steps 9-12 Out of 12, In the Right Order (21.11.2016)

PS: Thanks to Diana Andreea Bădrăgan.

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Schema Dynamics Programming with Stefan Alexandrescu

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 25/12/2016


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Psychologists have worked for more than 100 years in order to find explanations for how the human mind and personality works, to heal the problems hidden deep inside of us. Personal development fields such as neuro-linguistic programming and transactional analysis have come up with effective and efficient solutions for breakthrough to success. Clinical psychology and development of excellence have been long time separated. Now there is a possibility to unite the best of both world: heal the suffering mind and personality and drive it to success and performance.

Questions for you

  • How would it be for you to find out what holds you back to access your full potential and succeed?

  • How can you confront, heal and solve your traumas?

  • Do you want to find the deep psychological and emotional roots of your problems?

  • Are you ready to confront a profound truth about who you are and and how to get yourself out of your way?

  • Have you implemented powerful changes using fields such as psychotherapy, coaching, personal development consulting but only up to one point?

If your answer to any of these questions is “YES”, then this will interest you.

Please read the following lines, as the world they open up might amazingly transform your life!

A revolutionary approach

My name is Ștefan Alexandrescu and I worked one on one with hundreds of customers since 2004. I have always been interested in finding out why some of the people who came to me for various problems or goals succeeded after just 2-3 sessions and some needed tens of sessions. Now I found out and everything else I knew fitted in like a puzzle.

The key I was missing was offered to my by schema therapy, but I found something even better. Using advanced techniques that I tested and developed in working with clients, I have found out what some might call ”the Holy Grail” of psychology and personal development. I have developed an integrative approach using schema therapy conceptualization and homework, Spiral Dynamics theory, NLP techniques and various correlations with other psychological theories that is unique.

Answers for you

I have so far worked with 6 customers in 2016 and after tens of individual sessions I have come to some amazing results.

  • Do you also want to know and deeply understand how your personality works inside out?

  • Do you also wish to unveil the deepest roots of all your sidetracks that cover your potential?

  • Do you want to set your path straight to a powerful future that will fulfill your goals and talents?

  • Do you also want to embark on a journey confronting all the fears, limiting beliefs, uncovered traumas and inner conflicts in order to break through of them?

  • Do you want to find out what has been keeping you from becoming who you were meant to be?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then please keep reading, because I am going to present you how and what.

The questionnaires

The first thing you need to do is to complete several tests (psychometric questionnaires), totaling a few hundreds of questions. These will require a lot of concentration and a state of introspection. Based on your answers at those questions, you will have to send me the results and I will calculate your scores, make a few correlations and offer you a free evaluation.

When we meet, either face to face or through Skype, the evaluation must be done with the results open (all the Excel and PDF files), so that you have a full understanding of how the model of interpretation works for you.

The tests I will give you will have identified a detailed list of:

  • your strong points, in skills, talents and personality traits

  • your main weak points, that hold you down from reaching higher goals

  • how these are correlated with your experience and manifestations

These tests work within the correlations between various theories from NLP, transactional analysis, Spiral Dynamics, schema therapy and classical psychology.

The tests can be done for free in a variety of forms. The first consulting session of brief, general interpretation of these profiles is provided fully free of charge, with no strings attached. If you decide that you want to start a journey of deep transformation, a program tailored specifically for your needs awaits you. The program is designed to be flexible and very efficient. It will require time, money and effort, but I promise you it will be one of the best investments you have ever done in your life if you choose to go through it.

You have now the chance to be part of the second wave of clients using this integrated approach between personal development for excellence and clinical psychology. This has already provided amazing results for clients in just a matter of months! Please inquire further if you want to know more about the consulting activity of Stefan Alexandrescu in 2016.

This isn’t for you if:

  • you cannot allocate at least 2 hour/week or 1 hour/week for the consulting session and at least 3-4 times more for homework (journals, letters, goal formulations, lists, questionnaires)

  • you think 50 euros/hour for a program that can change your life in a few months is too much

  • you are afraid to confront yourself, discover yourself in depth

  • you don’t care about what happens to you in the future

  • it’s OK to postpone your goals, happiness, fulfillment or healing time and again

  • you don’t have the discipline to invest the efforts into your development

with the likely results that:

  • you will try to fix surface issues (effects) which will appear in your life in various ways, with little chance to approach the deep roots

  • you will try to fix behaviors (effects) in stead of beliefs, emotions and experiences (causes)

  • the problems will cost you more than solving them

  • feel this sounds great, but you don’t have a few hours to complete the questionnaires

This is a difficult and challenging process. Not everyone is up for it. Are you ready? I can promise you this:

  • you will unveil painful memories

  • you will understand the mechanisms of faulty behaviors that endanger your life as you know it

  • you will experience intense negative emotions

  • you will feel disappointed towards people in your life

  • you might try to find excuses to interrupt the process

with the likely effect that in the end:

  • you will have deep insights

  • you will be able to choose in the present what is appropriate for you

  • you will understand and accept yourself and others

  • you will experience the power of forgiveness

  • you will train the skills you need to perform

  • you will become a better parent

  • you will be able to heal deep wounds in the past that restrain you from being yourself.

Start now!

The first steps are to get in touch with me, receive the questionnaires, complete them, let me score them and receive your free evaluation!

Find out more! Get in touch NOW! This is for you!

Ștefan Alexandrescu

0040 729 034 883

stefan [dot] alexandrescu [at] yahoo ]dot] com

Copyright © Ștefan Alexandrescu, 2016

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The Fight with My Dark Side, part II

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 18/05/2013

This article is a direct follow up to this one and to this one. Please read them in order to follow the logical connections. Also, at the end of this article, you have a list of recommended articles in direct connection to the present subject . 

6. Less Losing in details / Hyper-analysis

Losing myself in details with a too inefficient, stuffy style of splitting the hairs in an overlong in-depth analysis surely negatively impacted my concision. This has become an issue for me first in 2009 – which is also the year I have started the blog “Analytic Vision”. Of course, my analytic capacity is a good quality, but anything used in excess – just as it is my case with persuasion & judgement, damages my reputation. So, starting 2009, I have been constantly striving – and succeeding to decrease my over-analysis. In 2009, this perceived weakness was on the 5th position (11 points). Now, it’s on the 12th position (5,5 points). Twice as better. In the same time, my analytic capacity, as a strength, has almost the same number of points (11.5, compared to 11) as in 2009, and twice as much as in 2008. So this is a clear proof I have improved a defect, while keeping the quality of the strength.

I have succeeded this on writing shorter, more conclusion-focused articles and doing a lot of synthesis.

7. More Discounting of others

Unfortunately, on this aspect, things are not better. In stead, they are worse and have been getting worse since 2009. That is, I started by lack of adaptation to the group and bringing negative energy to the fact I am mismatching others, with lack of diplomacy, cynicism, incisiveness, radicalism, sharpness, disrespect and even disdain. Sometimes I’m rushing into others’ reality, I’m talking too loud or too fast or simply too aggressive for them, or using brutal frankness. All of these makes my integration difficult especially in Romania. I mismatch others’ expectations of what I’m supposed to do, I often have unpredictable behaviour, I say unexpected things and make surprises to other people. This is often considered as a weakness, as a thing which people simply hate about me. This was, in 2012, the 3rd negative aspect in the top, with 20 points (5 times more than in 2006).

I especially have lack of tolerance and acceptance with people who waste my time with non-sense, aberrations, stupidities, small talk and minor, passing, irrelevant details. In some of these cases, I use irony, which may be considered as malice. Of course, it is my right to select the people I’m spending my time with, but there’s no need from my part to be malicious with them. This is an aspect in my communication which deserves being corrected.

I have prejudices and I make assumptions as everyone does. Sometimes, I may not be so clear to explain how I have reached those assumptions/prejudices, but in case anyone wishes to investigate, I can argue it. Therefore, I know a lot of stuff about people, and I write and I talk about it with certitude. Some people might not like it, for different reasons.

This is an important issue for me, because one of my declarative values is respect. In 2012, after finishing the 360 degrees analysis for the 2011 evaluation of feed-backs, I have officially declared war on this weakness on my blog. I have done nothing to work on this. Therefore, the results show me this has grown in the impression of others.

8. More  formalism.

I have especially published an article on this here.

9. More Disorder

I have promised in the article from March that I’d return upon this subject.

The attribute organisation as a strength has kept its place (9th position) and its points. Disorder has gone, as a negative attribute, from the 7th position (9 points) to worse: the 5th position (11 points).

I have a messy room and a chaotic agenda. My schedule was less planned in 2012 compared to 2011. I wanted to study GTD (getting things done), but I haven’t. I wanted to buy a tablet, but I haven’t. I wanted to learn how to use software for organizing my activities, but I haven’t. It all remained at a low level, so much that people actually perceived a worsening about me.

10. Useless theories & impractical dreams

I have come to a new definition of idealism: idealism is the creativity other people see when you don’t have money to put your ideas into practice.

People have generally considered me 50% more idealist (seeing things which aren’t there) in 2012 than in 2011. That is, from the 9 th place with 6,5 points, it has been raised to the 8th position, with 8 points. Still, it is better than in 2006 and 2010. In comparison to 2011, I had bigger plans for 2012, which didn’t come true. They didn’t come true because I decided to put more energy into writing, editing, publishing – articles and books, from which I haven’t gained enough money. For example, not even now, half a year after I published “Căile persuasiunii în negociere/The Persuasion’s Ways to Negotiation”, a book I have long talked about (for example, on this Romanian blog) , I still haven’t recovered the money invested in this project (approx. 700 euros).

My perseverance in writing, even if losing money, is inexplicable financially or practically, otherwise than a long-term investment, for which I expect to see some real results only in 2013 – that means that the results will be noticed only in the 2014 evaluation.

As a general conclusion to the series of articles from this spring about my personal brand evaluation for 2012 (feed-backs collected in October-December 2012 and analysed in March-May 2013), I had 50 % rate of success in the set goals for improving weaknesses and 70% rate of success in improving strengths, which gives me a 60 % success rate, in connection to what I set as a goal. The real success rate is 68 % though, because I have also accomplished other things which weren’t my goals. I am satisfied. This is the way personal development is done step by step, year by year.

It is a process of strategic gathering feed-back, recording it, understanding it, labeling it and transform it from qualitative information to quantitative information, than analysing it, drawing conclusions and setting new goals.

If you liked this article, please also read:

4 +, 4 – (14.01.2012)

Personal Development Goals in 2012 (08.03.2012)

Cine eşti tu şi cum te vezi în oglindă (15.05.2011)

My Personal Development Goals Evaluation For 2012 (30/03/2013)

About My Excessive Formalism & the So-Called “Lack of Empathy” (12/05/2013)

The Fight with My Dark Side (15.05.2013)

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The Fight with My Dark Side

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 15/05/2013

Each person has a certain dark side. Each of us has weaknesses, which are labeled as such by others. Looking in the mirror others provide for us is always a difficult exercise. Fighting the image of the mirror is always an illusion. Any change must come from the inside. This is the rock of personal development: working on your weaknesses and improving them. Generally, it is easier to emphasize the positive attributes and to get them noticed. It is easier and better to turn on light than to fight with the dark. But there is virtue also in confronting oneself.  This article is about how I practically used my methodology for 360 degrees evaluation for self growth, a year ago.

About a year ago, I have stated here[en, blog] that I will change/improve some things with me, overall, based on the 360 degrees annual evaluation[en, blog]. Last year, in the fall, I have done the 360 degrees evaluation for 2012, so I now have a pretty good overall picture on what I have accomplished in the 8 months which have passed from March 2012 till November 2012. Although I did my homework and I completed the little research, I haven’t made time to share with you the results in such an organized fashion as I had done it for the 2011 evaluation here [en, pdf].

I have written this article due to the transparency that I preach – do what I say and say what I do. Therefore, let’s take my accomplishments and failures in terms of the year 2012, in rapport to what I’ve assumed as a target in front of everyone. I have marked in red the failures and with green the successes. This is NOT the top of my strengths and weaknesses. This article follows the results of my goals in the order declared last year. This is part two – how I’ve overcome some of my weaknesses.For reasons of length, this article is separated in two parts.

I want to point out that each year, I ask other people to give me their feed-back about me. Each year, I completely change the set of people I’m asking, with some few minor exceptions. But the overall view on my main strengths and weaknesses remain the same. So my research is consistent.

I have marked with red the targets which I haven’t succeeded to attain and with green the targets I attained.

1. Less Hurry Up

It’s no mystery that I have the Hurry-Up driver [blog, ro]. More precisely, people say about me:

  • too much distress, tension, aggitation, anxiety, unrestness, irascibility;
  • hastiness, precipitation, imperiosity, impatience, impulsiveness;
  • rush, on the run, eyes on the watch, expeditive style, hurry (in walking, eating, talking, answering; learning, writing, promoting & presenting myself);
  • exaltation, excess of zeal, lack of measure, histrionism;
  • listening style: interrupting people, interviening over them, not letting others speak, completing other people’s sentences;
  • innefective time management: delaying in the last moment, being late, eating too little, sleep self-depravation.

But the good news is that in 2012, the centralized results for this weakness show a significant improvement in the number of points, although not in the position. Although this remains in top 5 negative attributes, it is better than ever in the past 5 years, as number of points. 

Maybe I have learned to take breaks, who knows?

2. Less Annoying persistence

The annoying persistence is the expression I use to describe what many people have reproached me for years: not knowing when to stop when trying to convince someone of something, not knowing the limit when trying to sell an idea, a product, a service.

Fortunately, in 2012, I have attained a significantly better result as a score and as a position for this negative attribute in order to congratulate myself. Still, this is not merely a result of my self-control, but also (partially) a result of the fact that generally, I have really been less perseverent. Dropping the perseverance also meant dropping the annoying persistence.

I do have to say that writing a book about a subject also makes you more profficient in that certain subject. While writing my first book about persuasion, I have become a more efficient communicator. In 2011 and 2010, the annoying persistence was my 2nd weakness, with 20, respectively 17 points. In 2012, it was my 10th weakness, with only 6 points. It is also better than ever. Mission achieved. In 2012, I knew when to stop better than before. At least, this is what results from my little research on what people who know me have said.

3. Less Pride

The so-called complex of superiority, pride is still a main problem for me, but it has dropped as importance in 2012 compared to 2011. Still, in 2012, it had more points than in 2008. .

As a difference compared to other previous years, people haven’t said about me:

  • arrogance;

  • advanced/technical language/not on everybody’s understanding/hard to get to;

  • superiority complex/superior attitude/infatuation/looking down on people/talking down to people;

  • too good self-image;

  • big ego;

  • imposing over other people;

  • constant need for affirmation;

  • desire to impress;

  • applying etiquettes;

  • selfishness;

  • pride.

In stead, in 2012, they have said about me:

  • egocentrism & self-centeredness;

  • lack of tolerance/acceptance to others’ imperfections;

  • prejudices/assumptions;

  • disturbing presence by showing intelligence/showing off as smart/didactic attitude/telling others what to do;

  • Not taking care of parents.

So it seems that I wasn’t perceived as badly in 2012 as during some of the previous years. But let’s also take some of this kind of feed-back, to clear up some issues.

I am a freelancer, working by myself. I am doing the promotion, the sale, the execution, the delivering, the cashing and the administration of every product or service that I create and offer. I live by myself. I don’t have any girlfriend, wife or kids. And I have been raised as a sole child. Of course I’m self-centered! Who else could I be centered around?!?

It is true, I don’t take care of my parents, that is I don’t make enough money to send them some. They still help me now. But let’s get real: how many 27 years old Romanian men financially accomplish to financially take care of their parents?

This is not to say I’m not proud. Au contraire. But it has improved between 2010-2012. And I strive for it to improve for 2013 too. Not majorly, but slightly.

4. More Scattered attention

This downside has become worse, in comparison to 2011. In 2011, it was on the 10th position with 6 points, as a weakness. In 2012, it was on the 9th position, with 6.5 points as a weakness. The results from the passed year are better than in 2006, 2009 and 2011, but worse than in 2008 and 2011.

People have still noticed about me in 2012 that I have lack of priority in my multitasking and that I sometimes become an airhead lost in diversity, who scatters his attention in too many (parallel) fields / areas / tasks / directions. And in 2012, even more than in 2011.

For 2013, my goal is to push it, if possible, on place 11, and make sure that I am considered more focused. How? Of course, by concentrating more on the same thing and less on running after all sorts of other things in the same time. I want to hear, in exchange,

people telling me how much they appreciate my variate knowledge and experience and the interdisciplinary approach I provide in my trainings and writings. It seems that there is still a long way till then.

I have succeeded to be more disorganized, more unfocused by starting more projects than in 2011 and finishing less.

5. Less Inflexibility

I have to trumpet this a a great success. 7 years ago, when I first started to make this 360 degrees evaluation, my inflexibility/stubbornness/rigidity (in attitude and beliefs) was considered my top nr. 1. weakness (with 20 points). Now, it’s on the 11th place, and it has been on a constant improving lane since 2010. It has never reached the 11th position.

I have succeeded to treat my inflexibility as a weakness by using this process of 360 degrees evaluation and taking into consideration all the feed-back I received, especially that for which I asked.

If you liked this article, please also read:

4 +, 4 – (14.01.2012)

Personal Development Goals in 2012 (08.03.2012)

Cine eşti tu şi cum te vezi în oglindă (15.05.2011)

My Personal Development Goals Evaluation For 2012 (30/03/2013)

About My Excessive Formalism & the So-Called “Lack of Empathy” (12/05/2013)

 

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About My Excessive Formalism & the So-Called “Lack of Empathy”

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 13/05/2013

I am processing the results from half a year ago’s 2012 360 degrees evaluation for personal branding & development. I have decided to approach the issue of the most visible and criticized weakness that I have: the formalism I use to screen people. First of all, I want to mention an important aspect. My mother gave me an Austrian education, which came from her grandfather, a man who lived and worked in USA and Austria for a long time of his life and got a lot of the Western spirit into his character. So there is an educational aspect to this history which cannot be un-done. I don not see in this such a big problem as most Romanians do, because this is part of who I am. I don’t have a latin character, but more of a German one – even if I don’t know German, I don’t have any German relatives or friends and I have never been to Austria.

I also have to declare empathy as one of my biggest successes and in the same time as one of my biggest failures for the past year. Why? Well, because, in 2012, empathy as a strength came on the 4th place in top positive aspects (from the 8th place, mind you!) and lack of empathy as a weakness has reached a new absolute record: the 1st place with the highest score for a weakness, in all the 7 years I have been doing this evaluation for (with almost twice the points from 2011).

As this article deals with the weakness and the previous one dealt with strengths, I will concentrate more on this aspect. So, people had quite a lot to say about me, as this seems to most people the most relevant weakness (and, not only by account of the Romanians, but also by the account of several Nordic people).

All of these impressions center around the way to relate with others. Over the past 7 years while I have been doing this 360 degrees evaluation, more than 100 different people noticed this among their top 4 observations about me. Their formulations ranged among these (I have marked what they said in 2012, too):

  1. insufficient empathy; no emotion recognition; lack of attention to other’s (non-)verbalreactions; not taking the pulse of the rapport; lack of presence; lack of attention to people and things around; artificial listening.

  2. insufficient sociability/interactivity/relating/interpersonal communication; communication problems with people; social distance; coldness; not building/sustaining a social environmentthrough relationships;

  3. (excessive) Impersonal formalism in clothing/appearance/talking/writing; lack of authenticity; falsity in networking; plastic smile; superficiality; lack of straight answers;

  4. not expressing/displaying/caring about thoughts/opinions/emotions/feelings; autism; poker face;

  5. lack of balance (or unappropriated mix) between personal and professional life/too preoccupied/focused with professional life & books/no time for self/no respect for my own time for self; not caring/thinking enough about self/soul; keeping relationships professional; too much professional (theory) in personal life;

  6. too much (scientific) calculation; “Scientific businessman”; equation vision over the world and people;

  7. too busy; too much (strict) schedule/planning; too stressed by the “to do list”; not allowing new experiences, not living the moment & having fun;

  8. lack of spontaneity/enthusiasm/humor/passion/energy/activity; too much/ excessive seriousness;

  9. excessive intelligence/reason/cerebrality;

  10. superficiality;

  11. excessive task orientation (even in networking); low team-spirit;

Let’s take them one by one.

1. insufficientempathy; no emotion recognition; lack of attention to other’s (non-)verbalreactions; not taking the pulse of the rapport; lack of presence; lack of attention to people and things around; artificial listening.

In NLP terms, I have a “New York style of pacing & leading”: lead, lead, lead, pace. In fact, I can be very attentive at other people’s reactions, but I don’t show it or I don’t care. Some people feel unheard. This is OK for me. Sometimes, I hear them, but I just don’t let them know.

2. insufficient sociability/interactivity/relating/interpersonal communication; communication problems with people; social distance; coldness; not building/sustaining a social environmentthrough relationships;

This is simply not true. I have lots of friends. Actually, each year I have more and more friends. But I can’t be friends with everybody. I don’t have time to maintain relationships with hundreds of people – and, believe me, I meet A LOT of people every month.

3. (excessive) Impersonal formalism in clothing/appearance/talking/writing; lack of authenticity; falsity in networking; plastic smile; superficiality; lack of straight answers;

That’s just great, it means I would be a very good politician/spokesman.

4. not expressing/displaying/caring about thoughts/opinions/emotions/feelings; autism; poker face;

Very true – I find it very useful in negotiation. When do I negotiate? Uhm… let’s see… almost all the time. Case closed.

5. lack of balance (or unappropriated mix) between personal and professional life/too preoccupied/focused with professional life & books/no time for self/no respect for my own time for self; not caring/thinking enough about self/soul; keeping relationships professional; too much professional (theory) in personal life; excessive task orientation (even in networking); low team-spirit;

This comes with being a freelancer working on my own 24/7 and not an employee working in a team from 9 till 5.

  1. too much (scientific) calculation; “Scientific businessman”; equation vision over the world and people;

It goes with the fact that I seriously studied psychometrics.

7. too busy; too much (strict) schedule/planning; too stressed by the “to do list”; not allowing new experiences, not living the moment & having fun;

This is true, it is because of my insufficient organisation, that I waste so much time that I end up being stressed by the “to do list”. This perception is not the result of doing too MUCH planning, but the result of doing inefficient planning – which, unfortunately, is my case.

8. lack of spontaneity/enthusiasm/humor/passion/energy/activity;

This is also not true. Since 2009, enthusiasm and proactivity has constantly been in my top 5 first positive attributes. As for spontaneity, I can be quite impredictable and create surprises, but that doesn’t necessarely mean people will like me for it. The people like the surprises they appreciate. The surprises they don’t appreciate are called “probems”. I take my passion and I use it in significant issues I need to solve with seriousness.

9. excessive intelligence/reason/cerebrality;

This is because my intellectual intelligence is higher than my emotional intelligence and it has always been one of my strongest points.

10. Superficiality.

Some people consider as a weak point of mine superficiality. That may be because I don’t like to insist on some details, but I concentrate more on other details. Generally, I have a good attention on details, but not on all details. In any communication, I must know what my target is. Sometimes, I don’t want to get in very deep in a certain subject, or I merely scratch the surface, but that is just because that is the level of depth I want to reach with that subject. I go in more depth with other subjects.

In conclusion, I accept this as a part of myself. I cannot make it disappear, I don’t want to make it disappear, I don’t want to change it, I don’t want to hide it. I want people around me to understand it. This is the reason why this is a very important article for me. I know that I’m not appropriate or easily adaptable in the Romanian society. I don’t plan on staying the rest of my life in Romania. My place is not here, it is somewhere in the Western Europe.

I hope this article explains a lot of things about me and answers some of the questions many people have (had) about me.

If you liked this article, please also read:

4 +, 4 – (14.01.2012)

Personal Development Goals in 2012 (08.03.2012)

Cine eşti tu şi cum te vezi în oglindă (15.05.2011)

My Personal Development Goals Evaluation For 2012 (30/03/2013)


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Rich Item Conceptualization.

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 26/03/2012

Here I gave you some examples of items. I have proven how they don’t work here. This article is part IV from the series of articles in English about survey-type research with focus on quantitative measures. Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

In order to attain the same goal in the second context, let’s say we would have these items in stead of the first:

    1. Do you experience any kind of distress at work, due to other people? [measures weather there is a problem or not]

  1. Yes

  2. No

If the answer is “no”, skip right to question nr. 6.

    1. How often do you experience this distress? [measures frequency]

a) 2-3 times a day

b) daily

c) 2-3 times a week

d) weekly

e) 2-3 times a month

f) once a month or even more rare

3. How does the intensity of this distress affects you and your work? [measures intensity]

a) I feel suffocated by it

b) My work is suffocated by it

c) My work is affected by it

d) My work is just slightly delayed by it

e) I can handle it most of the times

f) It doesn’t have a great, if any effect on my work or on myself.

4. Who, from your office, do you think contributes to / influences the distress? (You can pick one or more choices) [measures cause]

a) the boss

b) my superviser

c) colleagues I work with

d) colleagues in the office I do not work with

e) collaborators / people I delegate tasks to

f) Janitors, cleaning personnel, and other similar

5. When does the distress produces? [measures period and space specific to distress related to the office work]

a) in the working time, in the morning

b) in the working time, in the afternoon

c) in the working time, in the evening

d) during coffee breaks

e) during the lunch break

f) after the working time finishes / outside the working space

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at artis_consulting.training [at] yahoo [dot] com


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The Questionnaire Design for Surveys, part III

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 21/03/2012

This article is a follow-up to this one and it refers to the questions presented as an example here:

 Let’s take it step by step. First of all, methodologically. The first question uses a scale with an even number, which requires the responder to mark only one answer. The second item presents an odd number of choices out of which one, several or all can be picked by the responder. This creates confusion, because it requires the responder to use a different rule for answering question 2 from the rule use to answer question 1. No matter how well you explain, it is subject to mistake. You must eliminate these mistakes, out of respect for your work, for your personal branding as a compenetent, non-time waster professional, for the responsibility which you have towards providing actionable intelligence and for the responders’ intellectual effort.

The second question uses an unclear scale for choices, which combined with the words used in the item may create confusion.

If it’s a scale, it must be from white to black, from dark to light, from alpha to omega. You cannot play around with the responders’ perception. If the first choice is “daily”, the other choices may be “2-3 times a week”, “weekly”, “2-3 times a month”, “about once a month”, “3-4 times a year” “Yearly”.

“Pretty often “is a poor choice because what is “pretty often” for someone can be very different than what is “pretty often” for someone else. It could range in the individual perception from once a month to twice a day to all the time. Don’t use relative language. Use precise words when you measure frequency or intensity. And if you want both frequency and intensity for example, measure them with different items. Yes, that means putting the same questions again, with similar scales.

“Sometimes” is a different item for measuring frequency than “pretty often”, but it may be similar. You may use these terms together in rather a six points scale like “never”, “rarely”, “sometimes”, “pretty often” “very often”, “always”. You can also cut the extremes and have it a four points scale, conditioned that the rest of the items besides “pretty often” and “sometimes” are “rarely” and “very often”. I myself I wouldn’t use this kind of vague terms, but they are not wrong.

Let’s take a look at the first words of the item: “How often do you usually”, continued with option d), “rarely”. So the question the responder has to ask himself in order to understand what the item means in this case is: “How often do I usually rarely… ? Do I rarely often usually… ?”. It’s a non-sense. Use logic. If you aren’t used to logical thinking, learn it or drop human resources, NOW.

Another issue with the first question is the word “feel”. It’s a tricky word to use in a subjective description. In general, people are already very subjective when completing a questionnaire. Especially when you measure subjective experience of frequency, it is rather preferable to use moderate, neutral words. Besides, some people could relate more to seeing or hearing than to feeling. In formulating an item, you must respect the reality that people have different perception styles which you have to respect in order to speak on their own language. For these two reasons, it is recommendable to use the word “find” in stead of “feel”. It appears to describe a more objective experience, but in reality the subjectivity comes from the term “tension”. When using subjective nouns in items, don’t enhance it by adding subjective verbs to them. “Find” is more objective than “feel”. Pay attention to the choice of words. “If you ask wrong questions, you will get wrong answers” (3).

“When starting work” describes an unclear event. It could mean the minute entering the building, it could mean the moment actually starting doing work (after coffee, talking to the boss or a morning conference), or it could mean coming back to work after the meal. To which moment does the researcher refer?

Another thing to pay attention is that the first question refers to “working with colleagues”, when the second questions also refers to other departments or family. When you want to evaluate the organizational environment in a specific office, you focus your questions in such a manner to discover which are the elements inside the system not working. If the researcher wants to find out also the external elements, than item 1 must be restated, in order to integrate the external causes. Not to mention there is a high difference in perception weather the responder has a internal locus of control or an external locus of control in context of working in that specific environment.

The first question uses the term “tension”, the second question uses the term “pressure”. Although they may be synonyms, if you used one term for the first item, then you must also use it in the second item, too. Some people might relate differently to “tension” than to “pressure”, not to mention that “tension” is often perceived as internal, and “pressure” external. It’s not a rule, but there are subtilties to which you have to pay attention.

The second question is wrong for the beginning. If the purpose is to find the cause of a distress, you must first consider all the reasons of the distress. Let’s say, for example, that an employee has a good chair at his own office, but when joining others to work on a common project, the table around which they sit has wrong chairs for his back. The person feels psysical tension, but none of the variants are responsible for that. It’s the chair. It’s not someone’s fault, it’s something. So define well what you want to measure and what words you use for it.

Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at artis_consulting.training [at] yahoo [dot] com

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The Questionnaire Design for Surveys, part II

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 15/03/2012

Once defined the public, step yourself into their shoes. Create items in such a manner that your responder knows what to answer to very clearly. Use words (s)he will understand. For example, if you want to test someone’s knowledge on pricing in marketing, it’s preferable to ask: “How do you do decide pricing on a product?” rather then “What would be your elaborate strategy for recommending a pricing scheme according to the market, organizational requirements and financial parameters?”. Think simple. Let your questions to clearly state what you desire from that person. Before doing pretesting, use your common sense. What would you answer to that question, if you were asked as a responder? That is the most important frame of mind to consider when doing a questionnaire, because sometimes people are creating questionnaires without even having a clear purpose of what they want to know.

What would be the questions to ask yourself before formulating any items?

  • What is the final structure in which I am going to prelucrate the answer to this question?

  • How am I going to use the specific information from this question?

  • How will I correlate the answer from this item with answers to other items? How can I formulate questions in such a manner to help find better what I want?

  • What is the best items type I can use to structure this question?

  • What would be a better question to find out the same answer I’m going after?

Another common sense thing to consider is use logic when creating items.

Let’s say you formulate an item with multiple choice, addressed to present employees, with only one correct answer, for the purpose of annually evaluating organizational environment in an office with 40 people. This item is one of those which is designed into the subjective individual perception over group behavior category.

Poor item conceptualization

1. How often do you usually feel tension at work around the colleagues when starting to work?

  1. daily

  2. pretty often

  3. sometimes

  4. rarely

2. To who do you attribute this pressure?

  1. to the boss

  2. to the colleagues

  3. to other departments

  4. to the work itself

  5. to the family

Can these items be functional? Just in appearance. The truth is these are some very poorly conceived items.

What’s poor in these two linked items?

Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at artis_consulting.training [at] yahoo [dot] com

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The Questionnaire Design for Surveys, part I

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 11/03/2012

Motto: „How often do you prefer not to think hard about the questions you ask?

a) Always b) In Most Cases c) Sometimes d) Soft

There’s a way of doing the right things in the right way. Fortunately for me, I’ve been to a good school for formulating items in questionnaire design and I must tell you the best way for being ethical about this is to do it the right way. There is no room for creativity in the beginning. If you want to explore research methodology, I congratulate you, but chances are, if you’re not a researcher by profession, you won’t choose to do that. Keep your creativity for formulating items. I will guide you through the important things to consider while doing this process.

First of all, any questionnaire, weather psychological or for marketing, has a niche. A target, well defined, like the advertising agencies do it. As a personal note, I think the most advanced profiling system is being done by Leo Burnett (excepting, of course some of the branding agencies, which might have more advanced tools).

Which are the goals of the questionnaire? Depending on what you want to find out, you can have one or more goals. But keep in mind a questionnaire cannot cover all the possible things you would be interested in. Once, a corporate HR manager came to me and she told me she wanted an instrument to measure job performance of present employees and to evaluate their potential to attaining higher positions in the company. I told her she had to decide. There is a structure for putting questions for evaluating one’s potential and there is another structure for evaluating present performance. Present performance is evaluated through effectiveness in relation to the job description, to the objective results and to the peers and potential evaluation is something rather closer to job specification and it requires a psychological approach in questionnaire design.

This may seem natural, but, amazingly, over 90 % of the Romanian recruiters which design an interview questionnaire for hiring don’t know what the want to find out (1). They simply ask classical questions, hoping to hit something relevant. It’s like Ionuţ Ciurea (2) told me once, on the amateurism of beginners: “If you asked a lot of questions, it’s impossible not to hit something”.

Once you have chosen the goals of the questionnaire, decide what type of questions will you use.

  • Will it be a qualitative research or a quantitative research? Will it be mixed?

  • What is the infrastructure for registering answers in a database? Will you choose Excel, Open Office, SPSS, LISREL, or another program?

  • Will the items be opened or on choice?

  • Do you prefer multiple choice items or bipolar items?

  • Will you use a scale?

  • Will you use a Likert scale in 5 or in 7 grades / points?

  • Will you use an odd number of grades to the scale or will it be even?

  • Why do you prefer to use an odd number, or an even number , for the grades to the scale?

This is not a manual in research, but you should have answers to all of these questions before beginning. This is not rocket science. It’s common-sense before doing a questionnaire. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, DROP THE QUESTIONNAIRE!!! Learn how to do it or give it to someone else. If you do not, chances are you’re going to waste the organization’s time and the responders also. People are not obligated to support your learning process. It’s tough, but that’s how it is.

Please also consider this list of articles in Romanian about research.

Author’s experience in questionnaire design. The Author has worked within a research group developing organizational evaluation tools. Since November 2006 to June 2007, he contributed to five questionnaire designs in students’ groups. Also, he has designed the first psychological questionnaire for application in political branding using NLP (Iaşi, 2004), for which project he was awarded the first prize at the students’ contest EconomMix in 2005, the management-marketing section.

Besides that, he has designed psychological questionnaires for own researches on parental education (2005), self-esteem (2007, 2009, 2011), insurance (2009), memory (2009), he enhanced an evaluation questionnaire for career consulting (2008).

The author can be contacted for questionnaire design consulting services at artis_consulting.training [at] yahoo [dot] com


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4 +, 4 –

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 14/01/2012

The 360 degrees evaluation (the “what?”)

Each year, I make a 360 degrees evaluation of how I am perceived by people from different areas and fields in my life, from which I ask  to tell me 4 things they like (appreciate, resonate) and 4 things they don’t like (which could use improvement). All of us have so-called “blind spots”, things we don’t know about ourselves. Sometimes, other people know us better or, at least, they have a glimpse of understanding which may help us to know ourselves better. I am sure each person has such an experience of knowing oneself better through the observations of others.

There are two major classifications of the people I ask feed-back from (the “who?”):

1 a. People that got to know me for a certain period or which I worked with for a while (examples: relatives, friends, customers, collaborators, colleagues)

1b. People that I met once or twice on different occasions (networking events, short-period trainings, people I talked to over the internet, dating)

2a. People in the professional field (customers, collaborators, web 2.0, trainers, coaching)

2b. People in the personal field (relatives, friends, aquointances, appartment colleagues, dating, hobby activities – related)

The main criteria for choosing people is to have had contact with those I’m asking, in the previous year, and to have an balanced representation among all the categories and areas where I can be personally known. That’s why I plan to ask a few dozen of people, to get a complete answer from at least half of them.

There are two purposes of this exercise (the “why?” and the “when?”).

First, is personal development. I have set a few personal development directions for 2012, based on my opinions, but I haven’t made an objective evaluation based on other people’s impressions until this week. I am doing this evaluation once a year. But this year, it got a little bit more special: I also did an analysis on the past 6 years. I re-interepreted the data and it’s almost ready. In a few days I will share with you some of my conclusions on this blog.

The second is personal branding evaluation. It’s important to know which are the main attributes that define me in the other people’s eyes. That helps me understand how to communicate myself in the most natural way. If people perceive me in a certain way, it is easier to communicate about myself on those aspects that are naturally perceived from my part.

The methodology (the “how?”)

As a methodology,  I take the 4 positive attributes and the 4 negative attributes from all the people that gave me a complete answer, I search for patterns and I identify the common attributes from these patterns, according to the importance they have, measured in points. I then make a top of the main positive and the main negative attributes. I ask each year from different people, over the phone, over messenger and face to face, because it’s important to have an objective opinion. Sometimes I seek answers from people I asked in the previous years, but that’s under 10 % of the people I ask. Usually, there are more than enough individuals to ask for the first time every year in all the categories.

The main objections I get are: “Oh, but I don’t know you that well”, either if it’s coming from someone who knows me since 7 years ago or someone who I met last fall; “Oh, but you’re OK the way you are, who am I to judge what’s good and what’s wrong about you!” – again, this is not self-esteem improvement, actually I will most likely forget what each person told me, that’s why I’m taking notes while getting the answers. I’m interested rather in the average of all subjective impresions.

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