Understanding the Adaptive Management Report

Your Adaptive Management Report tells you how you currently make decisions in a business environment. It is the outcome of your responses to the 45 questions you completed on the website. This guide will help you understand the report and use it for two of the most common applications, team performance and job hunting. 

Report Overview

The Report has an introductory page followed by a style graph and sheet. Then there are five sections that explore your score in each of the five decision style areas. Together they create a map of your current decision approach. On that basis you can understand your decisions better, work more effectively with your team, and plan your future with more confidence.

The Chart

The style chart is a quick overview of how oriented you are to each of the five different decision modes, the strategic, the tactical, the equitable, the hierarchical, and the social. Your score on each one can range from zero to 10, though both extremes are rare. Most of us are oriented to using all of the modes in what we believe are the relevant situations. Which mode we use most is our preference for working situations. Typically, people have one or two modes which they use most commonly, with the others as fall-back approaches to what we believe are less relevant modes of decision making. But any person can range from very even in their preferences to extremely singular in their preferences.

Typical chart: The Facilitator, someone with a strong sense of both the details and the direction of a project

As you review the chart reflect on where it indicates you prefer to make decisions. Anything that stands out suggests a stronger orientation on your part. You might be relatively even across all five, suggesting a very open approach to decision making. Or you might find that one or two are very strong suggesting these are where you feel most comfortable making decisions.

Remember that this chart says nothing about your personality or how you make decisions outside the job. The fact that you might not prefer to make strategic decisions on the job does not mean you are not a strategically sensitive person. We all use every decision mode; we only have preferences in specific situations. So might be a forward thinking strategic leader at home, but prefer to work more tactically or equitably at work. 

The Style & Approach

There are currently thirty types of Style. They are based on your primary and secondary decision modes. The styles are suggestions that usually are an accurate summary of your basic approach to decision making. However, some types of style are relatively similar and you might fit one of them a little better. Your style might also be an approximation because your five modes are relatively close together in strength. This is when the test has the hardest time giving you a clear style type. Regardless, take the style name as a rough approximation. It is probably relatively accurate, but it might not be.

In any case the approach is probably more useful as a guide to your approach to decision making. The Approach is how easily you move between relational modes. This is an important indicator of how you approach problems and work with others in problem solving. In general, flexibility is a good thing. Flexible decision makers can move quickly from one mode to another as the nature of the challenge shifts or new evidence suggests another mode or combination of modes might work better than your strongest preferences. But too much flexibility might be a problem as well. It might mean you have difficulty making decisions unless they are relatively clear to begin with, or you might be easily persuaded by others to adopt another mode even when your preference is the best one. It’s a case of reflecting on your score and thinking about how it might have an impact on your work situation.

5 Decision Modes

Following the style and approach are five sections which look in more detail how you approach each type of decision mode. These sections explore how you use each of the modes. There are significant details at this level which suggest how you might experience your engagement with these modes and how your preference leads you to strengths or issues in decision making.

They are listed in their standard order, not your order of preference. Thus, even if you scored low in strategic, it shows up first. If you scored high in social, it will still be last. 

Use Levels

Your use level is merely the count of how often you used that specific mode to answer questions. It is not the same as your strength, but does give you an idea regarding how often you approach a problem and tend to see it through the lens of that specific mode. A person of absolute flexibility would tend to have a use level of 20% for each mode, though that is a simplistic understanding. 


A more important score is your balance score. This is how negative or positively skewed your use of this decision mode is. The ideal balance is usually “0.00.” If the balance score is positive, then it suggests you have a bias toward this mode; you tend to see decisions made this way as more positive than negative. If it is negative, then it means you have a bias against this mode. Now you have a tendency to see decisions made through this mode as more likely to have a negative outcome than a positive outcome. If the bias is high (over + or – 1.00) then it suggests you have a blind spot in your decision making where you have difficulty seeing problems or solutions using this mode of decision.

One point to note is that your bias might be quite realistic based on your work situation. Certain kinds of decision making can be negative or positive just by the nature of the situation. Always pay attention to how your decisions need to be made before you decide your balance is now what you want it to be.


Sensitivity is perhaps the most important characteristic of the individual modes. This is your indicator of emotional reactivity to the specific decision making mode. Regardless of positive or negative bias, or strong or weak preference, some types of decision making can lead to a relatively strong emotional reaction. This is not a problem. The human brain uses emotion as a key part of its decision making processes. But it can become a problem. If you are more emotionally sensitive about some kinds of decision making modes, they will cause you difficulty when you are under external stresses such as a time crunch or team problem. Awareness is the solution. Pay close attention to your sensitivity rating. If it is high, be alert to situations that may trigger this emotional sensitivity leading to hindrances in your decision making, or possibly to conflict with team members or others in your workplace.

Working with your team

One of the strengths of the Adaptive Management Report is the way it helps team members understand each other and work together more effectively. By sharing scores it is typically easy for team members to identify specific decision making patterns they have as a group, and then to decide if that is an appropriate decision making approach.

There are typically two types of team members, complementary team members and contrasting team members. A team of four could easily consist of three complementary team members and one contrasting team member. But it’s possible to have a team of four contrasting team members with a high level of resulting conflict. Or it could have four complementary members, resulting in significant blind spots.