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Beautiful Differences in People (Part 2)

By Dave Mather Created: February 8, 2013 Last Updated: February 28, 2013
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Our previous column laid the groundwork for understanding others based on the behavioural clues they give us.

Like the broadcast signals that fill the air around us, behavioural clues are always there, but we need to be effectively tuned in to others to receive those clues, just as we need a receiver tuned in to the broadcast channel in order to hear its signals.

Here are suggestions to help us increase our ability to connect with others’ behavioural signals, based on the work of John G. Geier, Ph.D., and Dorothy E. Downey, M.S., authors of the famous DISC Personal Profile System.

Geier’s inspiration came from the work of psychologist William Moulton Marston, who helped invent the polygraph test. Marston also created the comic book character Wonder Woman, which came about because he felt that young women in the 1930s needed a role model similar to comic book role models available for young boys.

Disenchanted with Freud’s emphasis on deviant behaviour, Marston wrote a book called “Emotions of Normal People.” His contention was that we should study “normal” behaviour and draw conclusions from that rather than using deviant behaviour as the focus of our studies.

Green (C) Behaviours

Geier and Downey called one cluster of behaviours C, or Compliant. I assign it the colour Green. I also separate male from female in these discussions. However, very few “experts” do so in these studies, mistakenly in my view.

High Green (High C) behaviours—behaviours scoring at the top of the C scale—are described as follows:

Male: immovable, hopeful, satisfied, self-controlled, watchful, protective, logical, defensive, and realistic

Female: watchful, uncertain, wishful, patient, satisfied, immovable, self-controlled, stubborn, probing, and cautious

Behavioural clues are always there, but we need to be effectively tuned in to others to receive those clues.

Low Green (Low C) behaviours—behaviours scoring at the bottom of the C scale—are as follows:

Male: initiating, expansive, individualistic, absent-minded, affectionate, trusting, humorous, and ingenious

Female: resourceful, persistent, vigorous, eager, forgiving, and rebellious

Geier and Downey suggested that attempts to use excessive charm and sweet-talking approaches are negative triggers for the High Green buyer/person, who trusts and values statistics and data-based facts and is suspicious of opinions.

These social tendencies are quite easy to identify. Let’s just say these types of buyers dislike social chitchat and use an analytical, investigative approach. They like salespeople they feel have done their homework. It’s best to emphasize quality over quantity and to provide validated studies and descriptive materials.

As employees, they value facts and statistics, dislike what they term as excessive flattery, and are sensitive to criticism, since they hold their own accuracy of judgement in high regard.

Red (D) Behaviours

Another cluster of behaviours from Geier and Downey’s system is labelled D, or Dominance. I assign it the colour Red. High Red (High D) behaviours are described as follows:

Male: initiating, daring, forceful, opportunistic, adaptable, confident, poised, inventive, assertive, and enterprising

Female: expansive, eager, optimistic, initiating, confident, active, adventurous, and opportunistic

Low Red (Low D) behaviours are as follows:

Male: anxious, moody, preoccupied, satisfied, protective, aloof, and indifferent

Female: self-controlled, hopeful, honest, realistic, methodical, reserved, inhibited, and patient

Geier and Downey suggested that a negative trigger for Red buyers/employees is attempts to group them with others. Saying “This is the most popular model, everyone is buying them, we can’t keep them in stock” would be a turnoff for them.

They want something unique and results-oriented, according to their gut feelings and first impressions. They relish the new and different and love to take the lead.

Let’s just say the Red style speaks at a fast pace. They are typically loud and respond quickly, often sharply. They sound authoritative and want to be seen as being in command of the situation.

In response, project your ideas as an extension of their thinking. Get to the point and speak quickly and firmly. Offer firm conclusions in contrast to tentative suggestions. Keep discussions focused on their objectives.

And remember, they are not interested in being a team player; they see themselves as leaders. They expect others to listen carefully and respond in a timely fashion. They like to be in control of the decision, so suggest options (no more than two or three).

This is Part 2 of a series. We’ll continue in subsequent articles.

Dave Mather is a Performance Improvement Specialist at Dale Carnegie Business Group in Toronto. His columns can be read at ept.ms/dave-mather

Find Dave on LinkedIn.

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