Monday, 25 July 2011

The Weags Triangle

Years ago, I was taught a simple, but useful management theory called the Weags Triangle devised by management psychologist Edwin Weags. It is used to balance employee attitudes with organisational goals. The simple version of Weags' system is to score employees against three broad behavioural types - Builder, Creator and Survivor. From their score, each person can be located on the Weags Triangle of corporate behaviour. The aim is to give employees and their immediate managers an objective behavioural basis for discussing performance.

As you’d expect, Survivors are mainly concerned with personal survival. They keep their heads down, get to know company bureaucracy and toe the corporate line. Survivors resist change, but adapt quite quickly once changes are made. Survivors keep things as they are and don’t rock the boat, so they add stability and ballast to any business. Any organisation needs its quota of Survivors.

Builders build of course. They improve whatever they think can be improved. Builders get their satisfaction from having a clear role in business development, but tend to build on what they have seen before, they do not create anything new. Builders make good managers, but tend to over-promote Survivors because Survivors seem to be well-integrated into the organisation. But forcing through essential change is Builder and Creator behaviour, not Survivor behaviour. Making the change work is Builder and Survivor behaviour.

Creators have a strong and even pathological need to create. What they create may be small or large, successful, unsuccessful or even crazy, but it has to be new. Creators believe in their personal talents, their creativity, are convinced that only they know what the options are. Creators have the bright ideas for new products, new services new processes and new ways of doing business. This is their value, but also their weakness. Endless change is not always in the best interests of any organisation, however creative the changes may be. Creators need Builders to keep them on track.

Of course, if you got this far, you will already have guessed that the Weags Triangle is a spoof - I made it up. There is no management psychologist called Edwin Weags and no Weags Triangle. A little unconvincing I suppose, but interesting to do.


David Duff said...

Neat but you missed one other category - skivers! The art of skiving is a skill that takes time to aquire, I learned mine when I was in the army. Like conjurers, skivers need to redirect their observers attention and subtle subterfuge is everything because, at a glance, you always appear to be overworked. In fact, if you could only channel the energy a skiver uses to avoid work he would make a good MD!

A K Haart said...

DD - I agree, skivers are everywhere, their skills finely-honed.

James Higham said...

The Haart Triangle?

A K Haart said...

JH - I suppose it is.