Miller, Marlane - Brain Styles

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

Marlane Miller is president of the BrainStyles consulting firm, and author of Brainstyles: Be Who You Really Are (with David Cherry, creator of the BrainStyles System), Brainstyles for Lovers: Create Partnerships That Change Your Life Without Changing Who You Are, and Brainstyles: Change Your Life Without Changing Who You Are (Cherry & Miller, 1992; Miller, 2004; 1997). The BrainStyles System emphasizes that certain strengths and problem-solving preferences within us will always remain strong points for us. The same applies to our various non-strengths. Becoming aware of our styles allows us to play to our strengths, rather than losing time in unproductive efforts in areas of non-strength. This awareness also lets us work to the strengths of people around us, building better and more successful teams.

Our dominant styles are often invisible to us. We focus on the more effortful aspects of our working experience, rather than things we do well effortlessly. However, when unique events occur that require unique responses rather than old solutions, our hard-wired problem-solving styles are most often activated. Again, knowing the styles of different team members can help settle who should lead solution efforts for different kinds of these "time-zero events".

The four BrainStyles are listed below in PAEI order.

P – Deliberators: Balanced, rational and practical, willing to win points using intimidation. Tend to be uninterested or unaware of emotional issues surrounding decisions. Deliberators stick closely to known solutions, favoring clear logic, conventional reasoning and established facts. They enjoy being challenged, and prefer to discover that they are wrong rather than being told so. They are steady producers who tolerate routine well.

A – Knowers: Logical, analytical, orderly. Can delay or drag out decision making by over-examining each option, or come to very fast decisions based on knowledge or mastery of systems. These fast knowledge-based decisions can seem cold and unemotional, since they exclude the human element and prioritize rules above the particulars of any one case. Knowers thrive on research and planning, and they dislike messy executions, successful or not.

E – Conceptors: Insightful, original, using both structured thinking and emotion. Conceptors favor unconventional thinking and try to persuade others to do the same. They thrive on chaos, tolerate risk well, and change their interests often. Their contributions are not always understood by other styles, but teams often adjust their direction anyways after conceptors speak. Conceptors often feel isolated and misunderstood, and they need recognition. They can become very frustrated when they are unable to communicate their ideas in a way that motivates their co-workers to follow them.

I – Conciliators: Socially skillful and empathetic networkers. Conciliators love encountering new people, new situations, and new challenges. They seek harmony and mutually successful outcomes. They prefer make commitments with care, and if they are hurried then they will often go along with it only to experience serious misgivings, anguish and regret later. Conciliators tend to focus their interest, creativity and inventiveness on the here-and-now. They require approval, social support and shared victories to remain highly motivated. Attending to their interpersonal needs can be energy-consuming.

Most people can identify their dominant style fairly easily. Mature individuals may recognize a base of two of three styles. Typically, one style will be weak, and that will be the style that requires the most effort to understand, appreciate and deal with. That is the area where it most helps to learn tolerance and respect for the different strengths of other BrainStyles.

1. Cherry, D., & Miller, M. (1992). Brainstyles: Be Who You Really Are. Dallas, Texas USA: Brainstyles, Incorporated.
2. Miller, M. (1997). Brainstyles: Change Your Life Without Changing Who You Are. New York: Simon & Schuster.
3. Miller, M. (2004). Brainstyles for Lovers: Create Partnerships That Change Your Life Without Changing Who You Are. Dallas, Texas USA: Brown Books.
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