To continue on our CVI streak, I want to talk about the quadrants. There are four main CVI values:  Merchant, Innovator, Banker, Builder. We each have a major quadrant, and a secondary quadrant — but what I want to point out is this: we all have access to every quadrant, at least to some degree. And that is a powerful tool. 

When faced with any predicament, ask yourself: what value is most needed right here to make the best possible outcome? Everybody has every value in us, which means we are never in a situation in which we couldn’t put on the hat of any quadrant and do so authentically.

It’s a superpower to work through any and every problem: Just CVI it. Here’s what I mean:

First, name the problem. What’s leading to the negative behavior? NOT who’s to blame, but the underlying problem. If you can name that, you can CVI it. How?

Start with your Banker. The Banker hat is about Knowledge and Justice: facts, data, understanding and the fair application of all. So what’s the data around this problem? What are the facts, the numbers, the history, the specifics…?

Then, put on your Merchant hat. The Merchant is all about the emotions and personal truths of the matter, so consider how this problem feels. What are the emotions wrapped up around this problem? What stories are people talking about around this issue? What do we need to care about? What matters to the people involved?

Then, put on your Innovator hat. Innovators assess and solve problems in an infinite number of ways. Force yourself to come up with a minimum number of possible options (and it’s gotta be higher than 6). What we usually do is come up with one solution, use it, and move on. Instead, force yourself to innovate the crap out of it: get more creative. Get absurd if you have to. If we can do that, then it’s very likely that in the course of coming up with 20 ideas instead of 2, most peoples’ Builder will become triggered in a good way. So go there next.

Put on the Builder hat. Go around the room and ask which solution each team member wants to implement; when all the facts, perspectives and options are on the table, there will often be a clear majority on which solution we want to go with — then, you’re done! If your team is not on the same page at this point, notice where you are disconnected. Maybe you need more Banker facts, or more Merchant truths, or you simply quit Innovating too soon and need more options. 

When we operate as a team first — when we’re not in competition but collaboration — we’re looking for the best solution as a whole. That makes for a very different conversation. Teams who use this process learn much more about what they need and end up using more creative solutions. The first answer might have been the easy answer; it was safe, there wasn’t much pushback — but it wouldn’t have solved the problem. The second answer might get debate or pushback, but it isn’t likely the best either, it’s simply opening up the opportunity for debate and exploration. But the 6th or 13th or 27th solution really pushes our boundaries and creative juices, and leads us to variations we don’t typically give ourselves the time to reach. But, in many cases, those variations hold the magic necessary to move us beyond needing our personal idea/suggestion to be right — and into the realm of ideas that truly serve.

In the end, isn’t that what we’re after? Not the easy answer, but the better answer.

Photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash