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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Devil Is In the Details!


I’m not a stickler for details.  I’m your big-picture girl.  It’s all about the ideas.  (And I’ve got some pretty big ideas.)  Someone else can be in charge of the minutia.

Today, on Working Mommy Wednesday, we’re talking about an inborn personality trait.  Let’s face it, there are some characteristics we are just born with.

A long time ago, I learned that there are two kinds of people.  Lumpers and Splitters.

In psychological terms, Lumpers see similarities instead of differences – we “lump” our thoughts together.  Lumpers focus on the overall goal and roll over the details. We assign categories in our brains broadly.
Not so for Splitters.  Splitters see differences.  And they assign new categories in their brains based on these differences, which means they tend to spot important issues but sometimes go off on tangents.  And we need both kinds of people to make our workplaces (and our homes) thrive. 

I’m a Lumper, which is good news and bad news. 

I always like to give the good news first:
  • I don’t stress over the details. 
  • I can usually see the big picture.
  • I don’t mind delegating the little stuff.
  • I focus on getting it done, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
Here’s the bad news.
  • Sometimes, I move too fast.
  • I get impatient with splitters.
  • Missing details can result in mistakes.
  • Even though I don’t mind delegating, my “ideas” are usually pretty darn specific (and I expect others to read my mind since I don’t labor over details).
A former boss once scolded me, “Susan, the Devil is in the details!”

I felt like shouting back to her, “No, the Devil is the details!”

Besides, that’s what Splitters are for.  (Have I mentioned that I am married to a Splitter?)


Heidiopia said...

Interesting! I'm not sure where I fall-- probably more of a lumper than a splitter. Now if that isn't an ice-breaker, I don't know what is!

Unpolished Parenting said...

Haha this made me laugh a little because I'm totally a lumper and my husband is definitely a splitter :)

Laura said...

I'm a lumper too (despite the unattractive way that word rolls off the tongue). I like to call myself the idea girl :). But I've had my fair share of digging into details too. It's a funny way God has of teaching me to value others, I guess. :)

Funky Mama Bird said...

Ha! I'm totally a splitter - never realized it before, either!

Work, Wife, Mom... Life! said...

never heard this before! i think i'm a lumper. at work, all the splitters are talking details details details and i'm like... let's move on!!! said...

Susan. I can't believe how similar I am to you, as a lumper. You've described me perfectly - big picture connect-the-dots kind of guy, but PLEASE don't bog me down with details! I have people for that! Even this - taking shortcuts, not expecting perfection but instead the drive to get things done - that's how I roll. And definitely, I see the downfall of this as well. (although I've gotten along pretty well so far! :)

What's interesting for me is that it is different with my writing. In that case, I am extremely picky, obssesssive and perfectionistic, to the point where I abandon projects because they are not good enough rather than plowing through.

Hmmm.. Can I be a splitty lumper?

Wendy Paine Miller said...

You realize I'm going to spend all day trying to figure out if I'm a lumper or a splitter. I might ask my husband which one he is the minute he walks in the door which could instigate an intriguing discussion. ;)
~ Wendy

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Oh, the irony of the way the Lord pairs us up. Funny thing, though, I think we're both splitters with big picture does that work?

Sandra said...

It must be an unwritting rule: the lumpers marry the splitters.
This was really informative. I've discovered I'm a lumper. I kind of like that! It's better than being labelled impulsive and unfocussed.

Susan DiMickele said...

Funny - I think that lumpers (like me) tend to think we have it all together, except when we miss a key detail (like I've shown up to an out-of-town event on the wrong date!) -- then we are calling for the splitters. Help!

Like Brad, writing does bring out more of my splitter-like qualities. I hate typos and will labor over one word for 20 minutes. Go figure.