Consultant — What’s Your Natural Approach to Gathering and Processing Information?

Sections of this topic

    In a project, whether you are conducting a formal, systematic assessment or just doing a rather informal assessment, your natural information approach to gathering and processing information will influence how you work. The Myers-Briggs folks provide some useful dimensions to consider. (Myers-Briggs is a registered trademark of Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.),

    Intuitive Versus Sensing Approaches to Gathering Information

    There are a variety of assessment instruments that are often referenced when helping people understand their own unique styles when solving problems and making decisions, for example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicatorâ instrument. One of the dimensions of the Myers-Briggs is “Intuitive versus Sensing,” which considers how a person gathers information. (Myers-Briggs is a registered trademark of Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.),


    A highly intuitive person often gathers information instinctively. They thrive on ideas and possibilities. They might seem oblivious to what is going on around them, yet they often effectively solve problems and make decisions based on surprisingly valid information. Many times, they might not even know how they did it. Some experts on leadership and management assert that highly experienced people often have developed intuition that enables them to make quick, effective decisions. A major advantage of this approach is that it can save a great deal of time. A major challenge can be how to explain their choices to others.


    These people thrive on facts and information. They are detail-oriented and accuracy is important to them. They are aware of their physical surroundings, of who is saying what. They solve problems and make decisions by considering the “data” around them. One of the major advantages of a sensing person is that their actions are often based on valid information. Thus, they are able to explain their reasoning and their actions to others. A major challenge is the time and care required for them to solve problems and make decisions.

    Thinking Versus Feeling Approaches to Process Information

    Another major dimension of the Myers-Briggs Indicatorâ instrument is “Thinking versus Feelings,” which considers how a person makes decisions about information.


    A thinking person often uses a highly objective, sometimes rational approach to organizing, analyzing and making decisions about information. At their extreme, they might shun consideration of emotions. The thinking person probably prefers the rational approach to problem solving as described above in this subsection. The advantage of this approach is that it often generates valid problem solving and decision-making. A major challenge can be that it might require an extensive amount of time to come to action.


    The feeling approach is used most often by individuals who are quite sensitive to their values in processing information. When people focus on their values, emotions often come into play. A major advantage of this approach is that it can help to ensure that people are happy and fulfilled in the situation – that their values have been considered during the process and are reflected in the outcome. A major challenge is that there are a variety of short-term factors that can influence a person’s emotions other than the current major problem or decision, for example, their not having had enough sleep or having eaten right.

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    Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
    Read my blogs: Boards, Consulting and OD, and Strategic Planning.