You might have heard some consistory members jokingly saying things like “That’s such an Otter thing to do” or “A Beaver would ask that question.” I know something like that was said at least once at the History review Town Hall.
I thought I’d take some space here to fill in where that comes from. First, some other background information: As consistory we have gone to meeting twice a month. The second meeting is a church-business focused meeting, the first one is aimed more at personal self-and-other-and-God awareness growth, and what would usually be called Elders work such as prayer for situations and persons in need of prayer. I lead these meetings and use them as an oppurtunity for us as leaders to ‘team build’ and grow in our trust and undersanding of each other.
The first “Discipleship” meeting we had, one of the excercises we did was fill in a quick questionaire kinda thing that indicated preferred behaviours on our part. These were then compiled and the results gave us each an “animal personality” profile. The idea being that the character of a particular animal has strong similarities to our generally preferred pattern of behaviour.
The four animal types (for nerdy types this goes back through the Myers-Briggs to Carl Jung) are: Lion, Otter, Golden Retriever and Beaver.
If you think of each of these animals you should be able to get some idea right away as to their characteristics. What the Lion says goes, especially if said in a roaring manner. The Otter is curious and always playfully active, The Golden Retriever just wants to fetch, and wants to know what to fetch. The Beaver knows exactly which stick goes where in the project.
Each type has strengths to it and weaknesses. The Beaver type is accurate, diligent, detail oriented, but can be hard on themselves and others with their expectations and may take too long to make decisions as they are ‘gathering facts.’ The Golden Retriever is loyal, patient, easy to get along with, a great team player, but may be over-accomodating, may sacrifice good results to keep harmony, and be indecisive. The Otter type is enthusiastic, communicates well, full of big ideas, playful and funloving, but is not detail oriented, sometimes not realistic or even reasonable. And the Lion is decisive, goal oriented, takes initiative and is a natural leader, but is also often a poor listener, is too blunt for others, sees progress as more important than people.
Most people have a mix of types, with one or the other being stronger in different situations. Each consistory member got some idea of their primary animal personality types in the abbreviated excercise we did just to get to thinking about ourselves as part of the leadership team. I consistently come up as an Otter. In my life journey I have learned that I desperately need Lions, Golden Retrievers and Beavers on any team I’m on, to help restrain and focus the all over the map ideas I’m always having. I’ve also learned that if all that is not managed well (in other words if the fact that I tend toward Otter is not understood by the others) I can drive them crazy. Beavers and Lions tend to drive me crazy in return. But we need the balance on any leadership team, and I’ve learned to appreciate the other types and see my need for their perspective. Imagine a whole committee of Otters! Would anything get done? No, but we’d have a great time! Imagine a whole committee of Lions! Would there be peace and harmony? No, they’d all be competing to prove their approach was the most effective, and no one would have fun. All Goldies would have love and peace and harmony all around, but without a Lion to toss something for them to fetch… And a team of Beavers would be researching researching and researching, or building building building what they knew how to build, but not much of anything else would be accomplished.
So, now you kinda know what we mean when we say the phrases I stated above. If you want to dig into this more, and maybe do a full version of the test yourself, here’s a link:
It looks like that one wants you to give your email address. If you dont want to do that, here’s another: http://thaoski.com/2013/04/02/5-minute-personality-test-lion-beaver-otter-golden-retriever/