Pressure Cooker v. Crock Pot

I can’t tell you the physics behind these cooking methods but I find the results similar in many ways. I used to have a crock pot or slow cooker in my college dorm room. We made a lot of soups and stews. Put a bunch of veggies and beans and water inside, seal, plug into the wall. Wait a bunch of hours and you get a great soup. Haven’t owned or used one since Junior year. Recently, my wife introduced me to the pressure cooker. Put a bunch of veggies and beans and water inside, seal, put over a high flame, once it starts clicking, reduce to tiny flame, wait a bunch of minutes and you get great soup.

Sometimes we create under pressure. Sometimes we incubate over time. Maybe the cause is external, maybe internal. We can get results either way. Frankly, some people find the slow pace stressful, some prefer it. Some people melt under pressure, others thrive. There are many personality matrix paradigms that classify our work and relationship styles, branding us as Drivers, Analyzers, Amiables, Promoters, etc. I’ve been through the 360 degree feedback, had my style and my color schemes divined. From all of it, one of the most useful things I’ve learned is something the Social Styles Behavioral Matrix calls the “Z” factor. Flexibility. Successful communication and collaboration, viz. influencing come from our ability to understand our own natural style bias, perceive the styles of the people we interact with and have the flexibility to accommodate our style and that of our counterparts. This is not advocating duplicity on our part. It is understanding that when we dovetail our outcomes with the people whose support or cooperation we need, we all get what we want or need. If I am a slow cook type of project person and I am working with a pressure cooker, how do I modify my style to incorporate some aspects of theirs so neither of us gets frustrated and obstructionist. Analyticals and Amiables tend to be slow cookers. Drivers and Promoters tend to be pressure cookers. Both are capable of getting the same results. If we know our natural style and also have some tricks of the trade that let us adopt and adapt from other styles as well, we are better team players and get more done.

If you are a pressure cooker confronted with a slow cooker, give them data to support your ideas, don’t just expect them to be inspired by your thrilling oratory and march off to war. Let them see the value in terms of positive outcomes for the group. They may want to feel good about what they’re doing. Let your slow cooker handle scheduling, project documentation and running the change management side that engage their natural consensus building skills.

If you are a slow cooker trying to engage a pressure cooker, get to the point. This is a results oriented person who is less concerned with process. Set short-term milestones so they know that things are getting done. They may vent. Let them. Sometimes they just need to be heard. Get your pressure cooker involved in the goal setting, maybe not the detailed plan. Give them frequent updates on progress. Let them make the executive pitches and garner key resources engaging their natural closing and motivational skills.

Together you can get great things done.

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Posted in Leadership, personal productivity

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