Thinking, judging and valuing.

As we crawl around the earth, and later walk, as children we gain experiences and begin to value the world around us, and ourselves, in a certain way. These values cause us as children to have preferences and make choices in what we like and what we don’t. Some only want to play outside, others prefer to play inside with dolls or make theater, and a third cannot be kept away from lego. This is how we develop skills or talents.

Robert Hartman has spent his life searching for, and finding, a method to map out the patterns according to which an individual thinks, judges and values. If you know this pattern, you also know how someone is inclined to act.

It identifies the ways in which a person values the world around him and himself. Or, in other words, how someone looks at and perceives their environment and themselves.

Hartman’s method also provides insight into how sharp or blurred someone sees. This makes it possible to make a prediction about how well someone is able to develop skills. And, logically, also where any blind spots are in someone’s perception.

Six values

Six values

By measuring how a person values the world around them and themselves, Hartman distinguishes six thinking dimensions. The degree to which these six dimensions are developed yield thinking patterns or thinking styles. Below, these six thinking dimensions are described*.


Empathetic Outlook

Empathy refers to our ability to see and recognize others as the unique individuals they are. It says something about the degree to which we feel involved with others and has everything to do with the ability to empathize with the needs of others and to tailor our communication accordingly. But it extends beyond interpersonal communication alone. Empathy also says something about our ability to discern the unique in an object, a plan, a situation, a moment. In this sense, feeling thinking is also related to creativity. It is the thinking that guides our ability to love, understand, sense, experience, create, enjoy, etc.

Practical Thinking

Practical Thinking guides our ability to perceive the concrete, material, tangible world around us. It has everything to do with the extent to which we employ common sense to get things done in our daily reality. Practical thinking is closely related to our ability to make choices (good, better, best) based on sober considerations and relevant comparisons in order to proceed to concrete action on that basis. It is the thinking that contributes significantly to our ability to realize projects, tasks, goals within the set time, together with the people we work with.

Systems Judgement

Systematic thinking refers to our ability to discover logic and structure in the world around us. It is related to the extent to which we are able to apply systems, knowledge, mental concepts to order and organize tasks, people, situations and resources. ‘Hard’ criteria and perfection are central: something does/does not meet the set definitions, parameters, plan, objective, concept. Systematic thinking also relates to our dealings with regulatory mechanisms such as authority, rules, procedures and policies. Thinking ahead, planning, analyzing, testing, designing, creating frameworks, structuring are qualities that are to a large extent guided by this way of thinking.

Sense of Self

The thinking that guides our ability to have empathy, love and understanding for the unique individual we are. Sense of Self has everything to do with the degree to which we have learned to value ourselves apart from the roles or tasks we perform in daily life, or the goals and criteria we set for ourselves. Being able to love yourself for yourself, with all the pluses and minuses attached to that self. Self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-knowledge are key concepts in this way of thinking. It is thinking that has a significant impact on how confident and “authentic” we feel, even in relationships with others. It is also the realm of the spiritual connection we feel toward the uniqueness we represent as individuals. Indeed, it is the part of our thinking that is concerned with the question: who am I?

Role Awareness

Role Awareness has everything to do with the most important roles we play in life. For most people, there are three or four. For example son/daughter, student, actor or fireman. Role awareness answers the question of how clearly we see our role(s). It also says something about the degree to which we derive pleasure and satisfaction from that role. It is the thinking in which we identify ourselves with a given role and in which we measure our added value by the tasks we take on and how well we do them or how successful we are in a role.

Self Direction

Self Direction refers to our ability to focus on the goals we set for ourselves in the medium and longer term. So this is not about the goals of our team or the organization! It is thinking in terms of our ‘ideal self’ and enables us to name the actions that are necessary to further fill in and realize that ideal. Self-direction determines to a large extent which internal criteria and standards we impose on ourselves and steers our urge to want to improve ourselves again and again, to get a step further in an attempt to realize our personal future goals.

Skills or Talents

A combination of the above values produces a particular thinking pattern or style. These patterns and styles filter information and indicate how a person views his environment, what he sees and what he does not see, and how sharply a person is able to see. Skills or talents arise, as it were, from what we appreciate and see. Or possibly by what we do not see, our blind spots.

Whether or not the skills are actually developed only practice can tell. It depends on various factors, including someone’s motives, behavioral styles and, of course, life and personal development.

An Overview of Skills derived from Hartman’s Values.

Awareness Model

I use the Awareness Model, a simple model to explain how I look at values, motivations and behavioral styles in relation to talents and personal development.

*De beschrijvingen zijn vrijwel in zijn geheel overgenomen uit de Praktische Gids bij de Dimensionale balans versie 2010 van Dorien Derksen, TSI Benelux.