My Experience of Functional Fluency

By Angela Russel (Leadership Coaching Masters Student at the University of Johannesburg)

At the age of forty-nine, I have put considerable effort into my personal and professional development to be the person I am today and to have achieved what I have professionally. I am the CEO of a reputable organisation, and I sit on several Boards. I have a wonderful husband and three great children. However, my personal and professional development has been a momentous journey, and I only wish I had taken this 'actometric' personal development questionnaire in 1997 (instead of my first psychometric test) to experience its full power.

What resonates with me is that Functional Fluency (FF) and the Temple Index of Functional Fluency (TIFF) provide an alternative snapshot of the balance of my behavioural patterns and tendencies, allowing me to visualise my effective (responding) and ineffective (reacting) behavioural patterns.

This tool has allowed me to reflect on my early life, to understand my behavioural patterns and why in my case I predominately vacillate between dominating and marshmallowing mode behaviour when I am reacting, very stressed, or just having a bad day in general. But befitting, it shows me that my effective structuring and nurturing modes are pretty strong and that I generally communicate quite effectively. That hard self-work has paid off!

If I look at my TIFF profile versus some psychometric reports, I really believe there is value in this theory. It is positive. It celebrates effective behaviours and encourages the increased use of them. It also pinpoints what you need to be doing more of to have effective interpersonal relationships.

In some ways, I liken FF to a rugby scrum where the referee says, "crouch, touch, pause, engage". The referee does this to limit the injuries in the scrum. For me, FF encourages you to take the time to pause, reflect, and respond rather than reacting, to facilitate effective communication. I perceive FF as encouraging me to become my own referee and command myself to "pause, reflect, respond", to prevent any injuries that my tongue may inflict on others by reacting.

I now have a visual behavioural framework in my brain to assist me in my interactions, to make them even more effective. I love the simplicity of this model. The concepts are easy to understand and incorporate into your daily life. I believe this is an exceptional tool to use within all interactions, whether personal or professional.

Build Effective Relationships with Functional Fluency.

Your Personal TIFF Experience

A great way to start getting to know Functional Fluency is through your own personal "TIFF Experience". This process really puts the "personal" back into "personal development".

You can choose a licenced TIFF provider, who you feel you can connect with. This person will provide you with a link to fill in a TIFF questionnaire online in your own time. The result of this will be a snapshot of your patterns of social behaviour. In a collaborative one-on-one feeback session, your TIFF provider will support you in making sense of your behavioural profile and provide guidance for how to use this information.

Try it out and, if you like, let us know what happens next!

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