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Applied Synergistics International

8100 East Camelback Road

Suite 43

Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

(480) 607-6850


More About the Circumplex

What describes you now?  What describes where you want to be?

The Circumplex, the tool for assessing and improving performance, measures 12 styles of thinking, behaving and interacting. The styles are divided into three groups, each with its own set of defining characteristics (see below). Depending on whether they are Constructive or Defensive, these characteristics account for various types of results; at the individual, leader, group and organizational level.

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Constructive Styles

Reflects a healthy balance of people and task-related concerns and promotes the fulfillment of higher order needs. Styles associated with this orientation are directed toward the attainment of organizational goals through the development of people. Constructive styles account for synergy and explain why certain individuals, groups and organizations are particularly effective in terms of performance, growth and work quality.

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Passive/Defensive Styles

Represents an unduly strong orientation toward people as opposed to tasks, fueled by and reinforcing individual insecurity. These styles characterize people who subordinate themselves to the organization but, in the process, end up creating stress for themselves and allowing the organization to stagnate. Passive/Defensive styles can produce a predictable and secure situation, but at the cost of learning, adaptability and ultimately survival.

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Aggressive/Defensive Styles

Emphasizes tasks over people and is driven by underlying insecurities. In the extreme, these styles lead people to focus on their own needs at the expense of those of the group. Though sometimes temporarily effective, Aggressive/Defensive styles may lead to stress, decisions based on status rather than expertise and conflict rather than collaboration.

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