PART 2 of 2
Marilyn M. Barnewall
June 13, 2010
APES sounds pretty simple so far, right? It is – and, it isn’t.
To complicate it a bit more, no one is totally Active and no one is totally Passive – well, possibly people sitting in asylums regularly talking to psychiatrists are 100 percent.
All people have a certain need for security and all of us have a certain capacity to manage risk. Some people have a ten percent risk management capacity and a 90 percent security need. They are the ones who, when you talk with them, cannot tolerate truth or reality. At an 80 percent security need, their minds are still pretty closed, but they will listen. They will never change from believing that having a big, safe entity take care of them represents the best possible life, but they will listen.
The largest group of Passives has a 30 percent tolerance for risk and a 70 percent need for security. The equal and opposite is true of Actives who have a 70 percent tolerance for risk management and a 30 percent security need.
The following chart will perhaps help you understand how APES works.
Risk Tolerance Level: 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Security Need Level: 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
When Passives have a 30 percent risk tolerance level – or once their financial wealth is sufficient that whatever loss taken will not threaten consumer lifestyle – Passives are big consumer spenders and market investors. Throughout their lives, Passives rely on third parties – trust officers/bankers, brokers, lawyers, CPAs, and other advisors. They invest in traditional public market products. They utilize power or their access to it (for which they often work very hard in political campaigns and community activities) to help them preserve existing monetary strength, perceived status, and existing possessions.
Passive liberals think as a group (there is power in numbers) and view life as a group. They may not always agree personally with all group members, but seldom publicly disagree. They fear the risk of group rejection. Passives will suffer a loss of individual freedom to maintain their group status. This makes them natural team players – and team players always support political correctness. If one corporate executive doesn’t find fault with another corporate executive, the other corporate executive will never find fault with him – and Enron is born. So is Lehman Brothers and British Petroleum. So is tyrannical government. So are schools that indoctrinate rather than educate.
In article one, I said control is exercised internally and power is exercised externally. What, then, are other logical personality traits of someone whose core motivator is exercised externally?
Passives are external people. They are the charmers of the world. They express themselves best externally – another reason so many Passives make successful politicians. It also explains why, when something goes wrong, Passives always seek an external reason. For example, people don’t kill people, guns do. Ban guns! They never look within (an Active trait). “Who is responsible for this Gulf of Mexico mess?” they cry. They never look where the responsibility lies – inside the group (because it might present a threat to the group) – so it must be someone else’s fault.
I repeat, power is an external force, which in the hands of some Passives, is used to gain power positions. Passives often mistake the power of position for personal power. They like to show their power. If you can’t demonstrate it, no one knows you have it. One good way to exhibit power is to empower others. Actually, Passive compassion is often an exercise in personal ego. Power is used to help others – but it’s important to have a clear definition of “help.” Does it help unwed mothers to offer them a life of welfare benefits? Or, does it destroy their human sense of purpose that provides a meaningful life?
Passives are people oriented. They are outwardly nice; they are social. They can usually lie easily if telling a lie protects the group. They rationalize the value of a lie – the greater good. Protecting the group becomes all important (the higher they climb in life, the more true this is) because from their viewpoint they are dependent on the success of the group. They are advocates of group, not individual, rights. They view this as right and just.
To Actives, small is beautiful and big equates to power that wants to exercise power over them. They inherently understand that risk management is the basis of free enterprise and that to eliminate it is an invitation to tyranny. Actives, quite the opposite of Passives, are individualists.
Everything that goes along with a strong sense of individualism goes with the Active personality. Individual rights not group rights, is primary. To Actives, reading the Constitution of the United States of America is reading about individual rights, responsibility and accountability. To them, without individual rights, there are no rights for any group. Not in the long term.
Actives use but do not rely on outside third parties when it comes to managing monetary, moral, mental, and often spiritual wealth. Just as Passives belong to large medical, accounting legal practices, and work for big corporations, Actives invest in things they personally control: real estate, new start-up businesses, small/independent medical, dental, accounting and legal practices, and shops. Because they are not joiners, they may financially support organizations, but are often not socially active within them.
something happens, Actives look first within – they are internal
people (control is an internal exercise). It is an effort for Actives
to communicate effectively but, once taught, they are quite good at it.
Ronald Reagan is one example of an Active whose communications skills
made him an exceptional politician: An Active in politics who could express
Actives are politically incorrect. Their creative drive prevents moral compromise with standards set by others if the compromise violates personal beliefs. As a result, they are not always the best team members – at least, as perceived by Passives (who feel obligated to support the better interests of their “group”). Passives, for example, are good at delegation. It is an art Actives must often learn. They are always tempted to control too many details that should be delegated. As their businesses grow, it can be one of their biggest weaknesses.
Because they are logical, they are good negotiators. Actives are compassionate but they show it in ways totally different than Passives. They believe having a purpose in life is the source of true happiness and view charitable works as helping people achieve that objective. Perhaps that is why Actives employ the greatest number of workers at their independent businesses and practices across the country.
What are other traits that dominate individualist thought? Self-determination and self-reliance are two of them. They want to help those without financial resources but do not consider it “helpful” to harm someone’s character in the process – the two groups define “help” differently. Actives are task, rather than people, oriented. They are advocates of social responsibility. They believe no accountability results in no rights. Rather, unaccountability results in license. Their desire for the right to determine self-destiny includes small government and less bureaucracy. Actives have more interesting family challenges because of their belief in self-destiny. When children become teenagers, an Active parent’s control of family becomes a difficult high wire act. Passives may allow too much personal freedom and too little responsibility, Actives the opposite.
Actives generally feel things deeply but say little. It’s part of their internal nature. They are pro American sovereignty. Citizenship and immigration are serious business to them. They respect the Rule of Law and our Constitution. They don’t want it interpreted to gain political position. They want it obeyed. They want power returned to the states and, as small business owners, know the damage too much regulation and high taxation causes. They know it prevents the creation of new jobs.
Some who read the results of APES research will find it hard to accept because they have difficulty with the definition of words that may differ from their own. I certainly did when I began analyzing the data. My definitions of power and control and wealth were very typical when I began this project.
After 20 years of listening to 5,000 people subtly tell me otherwise, my definitions changed. As I listened to people talk about wealth, it became apparent they were talking about more than money. They were talking about the character required to earn it.
APES is an interesting concept that can be accurately applied to life in the military, to religious faith, to most things. Unfortunately, we have covered only about 25 percent of what the research results say, but I hope you utilize the results explained wisely and well. It can help you understand why someone – either Active or Passive – just doesn’t get it. It explains why some people don’t like or understand you.
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Being disliked isn’t always bad. It’s just indicative of the wide range of choices we were given by our Creator. We are all His children. The positive sides of both groups are necessary to a balanced universe. Whether we choose to represent the positive or negative sides of our personality potential is up to us.
Click here for part -----> 1,
© 2010 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved
Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking, the first book written about private banks, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association and trained private bankers in Singapore in 1991. She has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and one work of fiction (about banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her community.
Barnewall received her degree in Banking from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business in 1978 and was named one of America's top 100 businesswomen. She was a founding member of the Committee of 200, the official organization of America's top businesswomen. She can be found in Who's:Who in America (2005-08), Who's Who of American Women (2006-08), Who's Who in Finance and Business (2006-08), and Who's Who in the World (2008).