The Highlands Company Blog

What Are Driving Abilities?

driving abilities thought bubble

In our series on what Natural Abilities look like in real life, we’ve delved deep into each of the five Driving Abilities that are measured when taking the Highlands Abilities Battery (HAB). Today, let’s look at all five together in one shot, so you can see what might be driving you.

First, What Are the Driving Abilities?

  • Classification
  • Concept Organization
  • Spatial Relations Theory
  • Spatial Relations Visualization
  • Idea Productivity

Note the word drive. Driving Abilities power you. If you have dissatisfaction at school or at work, it may be because your Driving Abilities aren’t allowed to express themselves. Everyone’s score ranges – low, mid, and high – are significant in assessing academic and job fit.

Classification Driving Ability

high and low classification abilities

The Classification HAB worksample measures the ability to find a common thread in objects that appear, at first, to be unrelated. This nonverbal, rapid, convergent reasoning ability drives people to arrive at conclusions quickly.  It can also result in a drive to quickly move on to the next problem and the next…sometimes creating problems to solve if none exist.

When the prosecution introduces new and damaging evidence, for example, an experienced trial lawyer with High Classification will respond with an objection that is right on point and appeared to require little thought or effort to come up with. Professions where High Classification is helpful include:

  • diagnostic medicine
  • law
  • investigative journalism
  • critiquing
  • detective work
  • scientific research

Those with Low Classification tend to listen to others and follow through on decisions. If you have Low Classification, you likely excel in roles where it’s important to be accurate and predictable and there is neither the social nor work demand for rapid generation of solutions. Often, if you have Low Classification, you have the patience to develop expertise or to develop others.  Examples of good-fit work roles include: 

  • laboratory work
  • civil engineering
  • surveying
  • management

Concept Organization Ability

concept organization abilities

The HAB worksample for Concept Organization measures the ability to internally assemble and organize information to arrive at a logical sequence and conclusion. If you are strong in this ability, you are able to arrange thoughts linearly and logically and to communicate them easily. Those with High Concept Organization often excel at

  • accounting
  • engineering
  • teaching
  • law
  • writing
  • science
  • financial planning
  • or any occupation that has components of planning, prioritizing logistics, and project management

Concept Organization is thorough and can be a slower way of reasoning to a conclusion. If you score well in this worksample, you may be uncomfortable with rapid-fire challenges or problems. You may also distrust solutions offered by fellow workers who arrive at conclusions quickly and are unable to articulate the steps they took to reach them.

Low Concept Organization can be an asset in jobs that are structured and depend more on decisiveness or action than analysis. Good managers, for example, are able to sift through a variety of possible solutions and cut through the layers of options to reach a decision and, then, to see that the decision is implemented. Army field commanders are men of action, not logicians.

Spatial Relations Theory and Visualization

spatial reasoning abilities spectrum

Spatial Relations Abilities are best understood and most researched of all the abilities. The HAB splits them into two worksamples – Spatial Relations Theory (SRT) and Spatial Relations Visualization (SRV).

SRT measures the ability to “see” the theoretical interrelationships between components within a system. A nuclear scientist, for example, does not work with his hands to unravel the structure of atomic particles. Einstein did not work with his hands to develop the theory of relativity.

Professions which SRT can have an outlet include:

  • architecture
  • industrial design
  • diplomacy
  • medical sciences

The SRV worksample demonstrates the ability to manipulate three-dimensional objects in the mind’s eye. The stronger this ability, the more connected you feel to work that is hands-on or results in something tangible or concrete. If you are high in this ability, you may need to see the results of your work. You are most satisfied when you can say, “I made this.” Suitable professions include

  • dentistry
  • surgery
  • engineering
  • physical therapy
  • technician and mechanical work

If you are low in SRV, you likely turn to jobs and professions dealing with the intangible world of words, ideas, emotions, and people. You don’t need to find validation or satisfaction in working with your hands. Suitable professions include

  • law
  • counseling
  • politics
  • teaching
  • ministry
  • writing

Psychiatrists and surgeons both receive medical training, but psychiatrists work with patients over long periods of time without necessarily achieving tangible results, while surgeons always work in the concrete world of hospitals, operating rooms, surgical instruments and immediate results. Both may achieve positive results, but the surgeon would probably not be satisfied in the intangible world of the psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist may find the life of the surgeon too impersonal.

Idea Productivity

idea productivity ability spectrum

Idea Productivity is a measure of the number of ideas that spring to a person’s mind in response to a new set of facts or challenges. It measures the number of ideas, not the quality of the ideas. A person with high idea productivity may come up with twenty-five different ideas in the space of ten minutes, but only one of these ideas may be worth pursuing.

On the other hand, a person with Low Idea Productivity likely experiences the gift of focus, coming up with two or three productive ideas in the same ten minutes. A brainstorming session by a law school study group or a meeting of corporate team members will manifest the relative capacity for idea production of the participants.

You might find an outlet for your high IP in classic creative fields such as:

  • advertising
  • sales
  • journalism
  • performing
  • fine arts
  • teaching
  • or any jobs that require creative imagination

Refining choices within each field depends upon other factors such as Specialist/Generalist and SRV scores.

If you have low IP, then consider fields that require concentration and seeing a project to completion. Some of those fields include:

  • management
  • banking
  • clerical work
  • engineering

So, now that you know what Driving Abilities look like, do you know where you fall on the ability spectrum? Is your job a good fit?