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Do You Follow a Set Path?

Are you driven to create new, unique ways of doing things? Or, do you prefer to follow an already established procedure? The Meta Program distinction that we will be exploring this week will have a dramatic impact on how effective you are at motivating someone or yourself toward a goal. You will notice an increase in your effectiveness to motivate others if you are noticing which Meta Program they are operating out of in a specific setting.

Options vs. Procedures
With this Meta Program pattern, similar to the internal vs. external pattern, we see the different ways that people are motivated to take action. For some it is following and maintaining a specific recipe for how something is done, step. 1, then move on to step 2, etc. and then performing or implementing the steps perfectly. For others, developing a more effective or creative solution that has never been done before really gets them excited.  Some of us (Roger Bailey’s findings say 20%) are equally divided between optional and procedural.

As is obvious from the title, you will want to develop new ways of doing things. You are excited and passionate about what needs to be done, instead of the way to do it. If you design a new procedure, and then have difficulty following it yourself, this may be your Meta Program (in that context of course). Do you find yourself putting furniture together but never bothering to read the instructions? Bingo… For a greater level of rapport with the optional folks in your life use phrases like: “Do it your way…” or talk about the “possibilities” and the goal or outcome needing to be accomplished instead of how to do it, while allowing them some creative license.

Rules and step-by-step processes are essential for you to get started on something. If there is no set procedure to follow, you will often not even get going on a project until you know what the first step is. For you, there is a “right” way of doing things that is established and proven to be the best, most appropriate way. You often find yourself speaking in ordinals: “Do this first, then do this second…” You may also refer to “the best way” of doing things when explaining to others how to do something. For a greater level of rapport, use your language very specifically: “We need to do it the right way…” or “the steps to take are A, B, C, etc…”

As Tim Hallbom and Nick LeForce point out in their book, “Coaching In the Workplace” (typically when most people are learning something new), we will be procedural at first, and then go into a more optional frame. Notice how you prefer to learn or dive into a project; do you create a new framework or do you go to the already tried and true method?


  1. I’m just at the beginning of learning about this all, and I find this post especially interesting. I can definitely see that I am a more optional creator when it comes to learn and completing new things. This makes it sometimes awkward to work with some of the people in my business who require very regimented procedures for what they will accomplish. I get frustrated, but now I can accept that is just how their minds work.

    • identicon

      Great awareness about yourself. It really makes a huge difference to know the meta-program that is operating in someone’s thinking. Often, it takes us out of being reactionary and instead into creating deeper rapport with them by matching their map of the world.

  2. I’m definitely a procedure type! I feel very uncomfortable when told to accomplish something new without any type of guidance at all. Knowing that about myself, I can recognize that I give excessive directions to some of my employees and other people I interact with. This is very eye-opening to me.

  3. I think far too many employers simply don’t care how people function best and operate. They just expect them to be all the same and get things done. Working with discovered mind patterns and thought processes could really help ramp up productivity and worker satisfaction it seems.

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