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Several years ago I paid to have a behavior/ personality profile done on myself, my employees, my subcontractors, and my wife. The results and ensuing discussions were very illuminating.

The service I used claimed an accuracy of 85%, and each of the individuals agreed that the conclusions were generally accurate. The conclusions covered both behavioral styles and personal values.

The particular service we used utilizes a system called DISC. It uses 4 categories to “rate” each individual:
D—Direct and Decisive. This person accepts challenges, questions the status quo, and enjoys solving problems.
I—Outgoing and Optimistic. This person likes people contact, is generally enthusiastic, and likes working in a group.
S—Steady and Accomodating. This person likes consistency, helping others, and is a good listener.
C—Conscientious and Precise. This person likes “going by the book”, is diplomatic, and tries to avoid conflict.

Each of us has some level of each category. Generally one will predominate and that was the case with my team. Interestingly we had at least one person in each category.

The service we used has compiled data on tens of thousands of individuals, and could make some very accurate projections as to what role an individual should fill within a business. For example, a person with a high “I” score usually makes for a good salesman. My motivation for using the service was to make sure I had people in the right roles.

Of the 4 categories, the owner of the business almost always has a high “D” score. Employees almost never have a high “D” score. In other words, owners have a particular style.

I know quite a few other contractors who have taken this profile. What was interesting was that many of the owners did not have high “D” scores. At the time I questioned the validity of the profiling system. However, over time most of those owners who did not have high “D” scores went out of business, while very few who did have high “D” scores went out of business. This lent more credibility to the profiling system, at least in my mind.

My conclusion—as well as that of the profiling service—is that businessmen have specific behaviors and attitudes. Employees have different behaviors and attitudes. What became clear to me, and was implied by the service, is that some owners have an employee attitude. And they generally do not do well as owners and/ or their business remains small.

Of course, generalities do not tell us anything about a particular individual. What is true of 90% of a group is not true of 10% of that group, and we cannot immediately tell where a particular individual falls in that division. But the generality remains true within that context.

As I have said before, statistically 90% of new businesses fail within 5 years. In reflecting on the above comments, it would appear that 90% of the people opening a business do not have the attitudes and behaviors that are generally necessary to be successful in business. Again, this doesn’t tell us about a particular individual and there can be exceptions, but the generality is true.

I then took this thought a step further. On this forum and others, a great deal of animosity and hostility can be raised when certain business issues are discussed. While it has never been my intention, some of my posts have instigated this. These discussions can create some very obvious “battle lines” and over time it becomes apparent where particular individuals will stand on an issue.

To return to the profiling comments, it would seem reasonable that the members of this forum (and others) have different attitudes and behaviors. Some are direct and decisive, and others are steady and accommodating. Some are outgoing and optimistic. Some are conscientious and precise. In other words, this forum contains a mixture of all of the behavioral styles.

As I experienced in my business, this can create a lot of tension and hostility. Each of us is acting in the manner that is natural to us, and it can grate on others. This becomes amplified when we have the anonymity of the Internet and we don’t actually know one another. One person’s words or actions can seem like a direct attack on us, and we respond accordingly.

I saw this with my employees and subs. When I would ask probing questions to understand what they were saying, they would take my questions as a disagreement. When I would not engage in idle chit-chat, they would think I was angry. But when we identified our differences and discussed them, these misconceptions disappeared.

Profiling my employees and subs made me a better manager. It opened up communications and helped us understand one another’s style. The same occurred when my wife was profiled. It opened our eyes to our differences, as well as our similarities.

I am not suggesting that each of us be profiled. I am suggesting that we do have different attitudes and behaviors. I am suggesting that some of us have the attitude and behavior of a businessman, and some of us have the attitude and behavior of an employee (even if we are the owner of a business). Neither is good or bad, right or wrong. But it does make us different in an important way.

Certain discussions will appeal to some and not others. Certain discussions will appear old and boring to some and will be fresh and invigorating to others. Certain discussions will challenge us—some of us will take that as an affront and others will see it as an opportunity to grow.

As with everything I write, take what you want and leave the rest.

Brian Phillips
 

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Painter/Owner
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Really this disc profile can reveal some interesting facts about work place personality and characteristics. Well help you see how employees will or will not function well together.
 

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What became clear to me, and was implied by the service, is that some owners have an employee attitude. And they generally do not do well as owners and/ or their business remains small.

Some have almost like a disgruntled employee attitude. So resentful of the "man" that they can't even try to understand a different approach to business than their own. I'd like to know who this "man" is and what it is he did to spread such negativity.

In other words, this forum contains a mixture of all of the behavioral styles.

Some that don't fall within the parameters of what that service measures. Some that may in fact be immeasurable.

Profiling my employees and subs made me a better manager.
I am not suggesting that each of us be profiled.

Yes you are, I know you are up to something. You are trying to brainwash us all so that you can sell us something. I know your type.

I am suggesting that we do have different attitudes and behaviors. I am suggesting that some of us have the attitude and behavior of a businessman, and some of us have the attitude and behavior of an employee (even if we are the owner of a business).

Whats ironic, is that many of us who now have employees (or entities larger than a one person operation) have played on both sides of the sandbox. Those who choose not to grow seem to show more animosity than those who do. This is perplexing.

Certain discussions will appeal to some and not others. Certain discussions will appear old and boring to some and will be fresh and invigorating to others. Certain discussions will challenge us—some of us will take that as an affront and others will see it as an opportunity to grow.

This is definitely true. For those of us choosing to learn and grow, it becomes difficult to sort through the cynicism of those who do not. For those who choose not to grow, they should definitely skip certain business related topics. Or maybe Nathan could start a Chiponshouldertalk.com.
 

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timhag,

I can't profile. The process involves answering a bunch of questions-- 50 or so. It's not as simple as looking at a photo.

But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say to stay away from that guy. ;)

Brian Phillips
Actually he is one of my best workers, funny as sh*t. Kinda like The Rain Man. Knows tons about painting and is well rounded in other trades. Been trying to get him to do a reality show.
 

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Everyone loves this guy, the camera caught him at the right moment to make him look like a madman.
 

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V, if you met this guy you would love him also. He is like a walking trades encyclopedia and he takes care of business when called upon. Only problem i have with him is that he never shuts up.
 

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Guess I just can't keep my mouth shut. Profiling may be useful for a business, but there it goes again, de-humaninzing people.

I guess my background in psychology just kicks in when I see things like this.

It's basically, human behavior, psycology, used to modify behavior to make money, rather than to help people. The only use I could see for this would be to screen prospective employees. Otherwise, it would give an indicator on how to make current employees change their behavior in order to have a better company. I just don't believe in it.
 

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Guess I just can't keep my mouth shut. Profiling may be useful for a business, but there it goes again, de-humaninzing people.

I guess my background in psychology just kicks in when I see things like this.

It's basically, human behavior, psycology, used to modify behavior to make money, rather than to help people. The only use I could see for this would be to screen prospective employees. Otherwise, it would give an indicator on how to make current employees change their behavior in order to have a better company. I just don't believe in it.
Not to be confrontational, Joe...but lots of people, myself included, aren't really aware of their personality in terms of communication style, interpersonal dynamics, etc... I think if someone learns about that, and the company is willing to invest in helping them to work in the capacity that best fits their strengths and weaknesses, that isnt a bad thing. It seems people would be happiest working in positions that play to their strengths, as well as having opportunities to improve on areas of weakness. It may translate into improved efficiency, production and better morale, but I think there are lots of other ways for a company to spend that kind of money to more directly increase profit.
 
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