Know Thy Self — Avoid One Common Mistake Among Business Owners
There are many tools and assets we bring to the table when starting a business. None is more important than you. Each of us is wired differently, and to some extent this wiring will play a role in determining what we will be best at, enjoy most, and find most challenging. With that in mind, I want to share insights and research that will prove useful in understanding personality and what role it plays as you begin to formulate, plan and grow your business. Turning inward for a little self-evaluation is the first step in making money your way.
One mistake common among business owners is the expectation that everyone is -- or should be -- just like them, and that these people should accommodate the owner's communication needs, rather than the other way around.
There are tests that can help inform you about how to approach business, how you process information, how you interact with others, and how you make decisions. One of these was developed by Dr. David W. Merrill and Roger Reid back in the 1960s and is still in use today for achieving success in sales and management careers. The Social Style Model divides people into four Styles: Driving, Expressive, Amiable, and Analytical.
What's Your Style?
These people thrive on the thrill of the challenge and the internal motivation to succeed. Driving Style people are practical folks who focus on getting results. Words that describe them include action oriented, problem solving, direct, assertive, risk taking, and independent.
These people are very outgoing and enthusiastic, with a high energy level. They are also great idea generators but usually do not have the ability to see the idea through to completion. Words that describe them include verbal, motivating, convincing, impulsive, influential, charming, and confident.
They are dependable, loyal, and easygoing. They like things that are nonthreatening and friendly. Words that describe them include patient, loyal, sympathetic, team oriented, relaxed, and trusting.
Analytical people are known for being systematic, well organized, and deliberate. Words that describe them include controlled, orderly, precise, disciplined, cautious, and logical.
If your style is Driving (which I happen to be) and the person you are speaking with is Amiable, you need to alter your way of communicating or the two of you will most likely clash. The relaxed Amiable Style may be put off by your action-oriented Driving Style. You may be seen as demanding, impatient, and forceful, which would instantly conflict with his or her easy-going and patient Amiable Style. However, if you can quickly assess that this person approaches things from an Amiable Style, then you can tone down your focus on results and instead recognize that this communication would be much more effective if you adjust and connect in a more personal and nonthreatening way, allowing time for things to unfold. On the other hand, if an Amiable person wishes to connect with you, he or she will need to adjust his or her own behavior to get right to the point.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to expect others to be just like us. It's when this occurs that roadblocks occur in our communications rather than openings. For example, I recently spoke with a business-woman (Amiable) who hired a financial planner (Analytical) to help her figure out her next steps. She said that although he is offering sound advice, she finds herself drained of energy in his presence and resistant to his recommendations -- so much so that neither of them wants to continue working together. We had a brief discussion about Social Styles. As an Amiable person, she felt the need to make tough decisions in a relaxed, friendly environment, with time to process the information. As an Analytical Style, his approach is, "Here are the facts, now make your decision."
However, armed with this new recognition, she realized how the two could work together and that she could, in fact, get her needs met. She came to understand that she does need his expertise and that she cannot take his style personally. She has adjusted how she interacts with him so that she now takes the information he provides home, which gives her ample time to digest it and make critical business decisions on her own terms and in her own time.
You can determine where your personality fits in this framework through books, career coaches, or Internet sites, but the originator is the TRACOM Group, which offers a variety of Social Style tests and books.
Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Your Million Dollar Dream: Regain Control & Be Your Own Boss by Tamara Monosoff May 2010.
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