My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are written solely in my personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which I am affiliated. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humor/sarcasm. You've been warned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Understanding Your Personality Style- Your Key to Personal and Professional Success

Since I am a holistic type of guy, I not only want to help you financially, but I want to help you build better business and personal relationships. In that regard, today I have a guest blog by Chuck Reynolds of Excel Group Development, a firm that specializes in management development training.

I know what you are thinking, because I once thought the same. That being, communication training is airy fairy and does not work. However, my position on behavioural training and management development training reversed 180 degrees a couple years ago after Excel provided training to our partners and staff. My behavioural style is red. Red’s are best summed up as follows: “Be prepared, be brief, be Gone”. I have other partners that have a yellow or green behavioural style. Until I was trained, I never understood that they communicate and work better when you allow time for socializing and/or more time for decision making and present your case in a “softer” and less harsh manner amongst other communication methods. Just this basic realization has allowed me to communicate in a more effective manner with my partners. Imagine what this can do for your personal relationships as well as your business relationships.

So if your 2012 resolution is to have better relationships and a more profitable business... Chuck’s blog post below is a must read.

Enhancing your Personal Relationships and Building Profitable Relationships

By Chuck Reynolds

Last week I was in Punta Cana for some meetings. One day, while at a café with a few others on the hotel’s expansive property, a woman with a name tag came up to our table, looked at me first, and then began speaking in Spanish, without using the customary “Hablas Ingles?” as most do. After some awkward attempts to converse on her part, she finally showed me a brochure for a Japanese restaurant, for which she was selling special dinner reservations. I finally replied with “Non, Gracias” to conclude this interruption. She departed a little disappointed.

Your behavioural style is like a language of interaction. Have you ever met a salesperson (or a stranger) who you instantly didn’t like? Or, have you ever met someone for the first time and instantly felt that you connected and that the conversation flowed? Much like the connecting power of speaking the same language, the reality is that we gravitate towards interacting with those who exhibit behavioural styles similar to our own.

Studies in North America and Europe show that people prefer to purchase from those who display a behavioural style similar to their own. For example, often a quieter, more introverted individual may be intimidated or turned off by a gregarious, extroverted individual they don’t know. The quieter person would like time to reflect on issues at some length, while the gregarious, energetic salesperson rattles off features of a product or solution. The tone, pace, speed and body language of interaction may unintentionally offend the other person. Contrast Oprah’s comfort level for asking deep and often personal questions, with another person’s quiet demeanour and desire for privacy. Compare one person’s extreme task focus with another person’s process focus (how we get the jobs done with our team), and again the unintentional “turn-off switch” may be activated.

In 2012, you will be amazed at how much you can prosper by developing an understanding and awareness of your own behavioural style, along with the styles of your clients/customers and staff. For example, we have some clients who are quite “fast-paced”, while others are more reflective. For the former group, we prepare for meeting with all the details to support their often “on-the-spot” decision making. For the latter group, we don’t rush them, we give them time to make their decisions at their own pace. We may send them information in advance of a meeting for their review, or we’ll follow up a few days after the meeting, once they have had time to look at all of the details and reflect on their choices. Using the wrong behavioural “language” can result in lost business opportunities, or even undermine staff engagement.

On the personal side, have you ever attended large extended-family functions (perhaps over the holidays) and encountered relatives you think of as “different”? Have you ever experienced huge surprise when your spouse or partner has a totally different perspective on a situation or event than you? It’s likely you have different motivators and different communication styles, which can conflict at times. I have two friends who are sisters and very close, but at times I have observed that they can have very different views on a situation. After seeing the results of their behavioural profiles, we all have a better understanding of where their differing viewpoints evolve from. Both are successful in what they do, however, they find their fulfillment in quite different areas. One sister’s passion is found in the act of serving others. The other sister likes to serve others as well, but does so through practical deployment of resources. The first sister is not as concerned about “ROI”, while her sibling is much more concerned about it.

It is no surprise then that Sister One left a successful business career years ago to go into the field of teaching, and now serves as a well respected Principal. Sister Two, also a business grad, has succeeded in the corporate arena in marketing leadership. The sister who is in Education, while she was a teacher, would tutor former students for free once they reached university, even with a limited schedule. Her more corporate-minded sibling had trouble appreciating why her sister would devote her valuable time to tutoring - if she had been interested in doing the same thing, she would have made a part time business out of it for profit.

Needless to say, not everyone you come in contact with will see things the way you do or communicate the way you do. Nevertheless, your capacity to “get along” is greatly enhanced when you drop the ego, stop expecting everyone to adapt to your style of communication, and instead start understanding their “language” of communication and adapt to them a little. It is said that you can get what you want by first helping others get what they want. As Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand before being understood.”

The fact is that, without realizing it, you may be speaking the wrong behavioural “language” for some of your clients, staff, friends, or family members. Resolve to invest in learning about behavioural styles, and you will have more opportunities to prosper, greater relational fulfillment, and fewer relational conflicts. What follows are some guidelines to help you along.

3 Steps for Building Profitable Relationships


1) Learn to understand your own behaviour style. There are a variety of behavioural style assessment providers and systems out there. Like anything, some are better than others, and some specialize in different applications.

(full disclosure – this is an area of passion for our organization).

2) Speak second. If you’re doing all the talking, you can be sure that your clients, customers, family members, friends or staff are getting plenty of opportunity to observe your behavioural-based communication style – but you aren’t learning much about theirs. A talk show host once said, “I never learned a thing while I was doing the talking.” Likewise, learn to ask questions first and observe before you put in your own two cents worth.

3) Speak in the native tongue. Once you have observed the style of the person you’re interacting with, use a similar behavioural language. For example, note the tonality, pace of speech, body language etc., and try to match it with your own. If their style includes pausing before answering a question, discipline yourself to be patient and allow for the silence – don’t jump in to fill the space. (For bonus points, both of you can get behavioural profiles to share with each other or within a team)

Chuck Reynolds is a Principal at Excel Group Development, a Human Capital solutions firm that serves clients of varying sizes and industries – from professional services firms and software companies to the US Marine Corps. They can be reached at GrowingCoaches.com or 1-888-892-6224.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.

1 comment:

  1. I found this blog post to be very insightful. Sometimes I get so frustrated when people don't understand me or I them. When I think about it, we do have different behavior styles and ways of communicating. I will take heed and learn about behavioral styles. Thank you!

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