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The fourth of the seven archetypes I’m going to discuss is the Judge. This is a fairly powerful way of relating with the world. Judges are masters of compromise, and of following precedent, AKA the status quo. Steven Covey, in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to compromise as a lower form of win-win. Appealing to the status quo is often a way of playing it safe. There used to be an adage in information technology when IBM still dominated the space: “no one ever got fired for buying blue”. It must have been coined by a judge.
Working in various software and high technology industries, I’ve rarely run into people who relate to others in this way. The best example I have is someone I worked with who had grown up in a company that was the brain child of a sole proprietor, a very smart man. The judge in this case was extremely loyal and, as the company dwindled from a medium sized business with a hundred employees to a shadow of its former self with less than a dozen, had kept his place at the right hand of the owner.
This person was enormously resistant to change. Almost every conflict we came into was due to my challenging the way we were doing things. Practices that had been needed when the company was larger were getting in the way of executing with such a small team, and the judge was the leading defender of them. Sticking with what has worked for you makes sense when external conditions aren’t changing, but when the environment changes, one must evolve or die. Another mentality that this person had is best exemplified by Jim Collin’s description of the managers at Disney after the founder’s passing: “What would Walt do?”
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