Changing Values - CONTROL.
by John Powderly FRSA

Welcome back to Changing Values, where I would like to start exploring the concept of Control.

Looking through the lens offered by Cultural Dynamics we can see that there are three fundamental ways to develop a sense of control over our lives, represented by the Values Modes of Settler, Prospector and Pioneer. Most of the time, we find that our sense of control stems from one of these primary sources; however, I believe that moments of full effective engagement in life and more sustainable influence emerge when we honour, internalise and express all three sets of needs simultaneously.

All Needs

When working with value modes it is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the dominant needs and forgetting the context where all needs have a role to play. One of the challenges for a Prospector is to continue dealing with Settler needs for security, whilst taking risks and to redefine what safety means for them. Likewise, Pioneers do not forget their needs for security and visible achievement, because these needs to be reframed and internalised within the context of the development of their own measures of success and what it means to lead a good life.

Settlers and Control

As Settlers, we need to control the environment around us, which often results in us living in the same community where we were raised - it is easier to control what we know. Historically, our needs emerged from a conscious relationship with the land and the seasons, so we feel secure when we have a sense of place and a clear, consistent role in life.

Also, our approach emerged from the need to survive. Centuries ago, to survive a winter, a community would need to use as little energy as possible and to operate in the most efficient way. So, continually, we are making a cost-benefit analysis, exploring how to get the best results for the minimal effort. And one way to do this is to cooperate with others and to support each other.

At our best, we prepare the ground for sustainable, long-lasting change, but we will resist progress that is too fast or undermines the beliefs and values that lie at the foundation of our communities.

Prospectors and Control

In contrast, as Prospectors, we try to maximise results. This is not necessarily about greed, but a need to move beyond the needs of survival and to expand our boundaries.

The primary way we develop and maintain a sense of control is to plan. Our commitment to taking risks, stretching ourselves and achieving our goals means that we operate as the engines of society, who make things happen. Often associated with a particular vision of the future or a set of goals, moving forward in life underpins our happiness; and one way to create a sense of moving forward is to set goals and to achieve them. When we feel that we are moving in our chosen direction, we find it easier to enjoy and take part in everyday activities. If we feel that we are going backwards or sideways, then it is very difficult to be happy, because we direct much more of our physical and mental resources to getting back on track.

Our other focus is our relationships, but I will look more at that in future articles.

Pioneers and Control

As Pioneers, our focus is on optimisation, where we recognise the dynamic nature of life and try to go with the flow.

We develop a sense of control by learning more about ourselves, working in line with our strengths and our weaknesses. Attempting to work from a different part of our psyche, we are driven less by our moods and more by a deep sense of purpose. More concerned with a sense of focus and direction, rather than fixed goals, we pride ourselves on our ability to adapt and to be confident when faced with impending change. Our internal Prospector will take responsibility for setting goals, but our Pioneer nature is more concerned with the kind of goals that we set and the ability to change these goals in the light of emerging opportunities and issues.

N.B. All views and opinions expressed through these writings are solely my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Cultural Dynamics.

John. email: