I am reposting this article because it’s as true today as it was three and a half years ago when it originally posted. Last week our team had a mini retreat to step back and reflect on how we were functioning as a team. As we evolve and grow it’s important that we tend to the team dynamics so critical to our success. What we realized again is that what really keeps us happy and productive isn’t the content of what we are doing, but how we are with each other while doing it.
How quickly can you assess the personality of a prospect in real-time? How well do you adapt your sales strategy for their personality? Did you know that personality impacts seven critical areas of buying behavior and decision-making, and that it’s possible to figure this out within minutes of meeting someone?
Did you know that one patient represents about $200,000 in lifetime income for a typical practice? Because medical care is more and more customer driven, the patient experience is one of the most important factors in attracting and keeping patients, and to your survival as a healthcare organization.
Every component of the patient journey matters, including patient outreach, pre-visit interactions with providers and staff, and post-visit follow-up. Your ability to deliver the best possible experience at every touch point determines whether or not patients show up for their visits, and whether they keep coming back.
Leading hospitals are growing profitability not by cutting costs, but by excelling in the patient experience.
Personality has a huge impact on the patient experience.
First, let’s get clear about what personality is, and isn’t.
Personality isn’t temperament. Temperament is an enduring preference for how you engage with the world. Personality includes a lot more about who you are, how you are built, and what makes you tick.
Personality is more than a style, a preference, a color, a quadrant or an animal. Personality can’t be put in a box or conveniently labeled. People are much more complicated than that.
Do you live with silent “inhibitors” in your life, those ingrained beliefs about what you should or shouldn’t do? “Work before play,” “Don’t have too much fun, “Never take credit.” Over time, without even realizing it, these inhibitors infect our lives and can really hold us back.
That’s why I am so grateful for the Ten Permissions given to me by Taibi Kahler, award-winning psychologist, developer of the Process Communication Model (PCM®), and a father-figure/mentor for me. Permission is one of the most important and valuable gifts we can give ourselves and others. These have helped me through many stuck points and sleepless nights. I’d like to share them with you.
In 2010 Ben Zimmer published an article in the New York Times called “Optics”, where he described the phenomenon where politicians fret about the public perception of a decision more than the substance of the decision itself. Of course, elected officials have worried about outward appearances since time immemorial, but optics puts a new spin on things, giving a scientific-sounding gloss to P.R. and image-making.
I watch a lot of cable news. I admit, I’m a glutton for punishment. Watching the anchors, the interviews, and the spin factory is a study in personality and drama. It’s also a study in Optics – perception management.
Long before Ben Zimmer and the New York Times, a psychiatrist named Taibi Kahler was researching how human personality influences how we perceive the world around us and filter our experiences. Kahler discovered six distinct perceptual filters that color our optics. He associated these filters with a “currency” of communication – the legal tender that influences how people conduct transactions and influence each other. It’s how they listen and engage with, or tune out and turn against, the message and the messenger. Which currency is your strongest optical lens?
If it’s logical, I’m in. I listen to facts and I’ll fact-check everything. I will listen to you if you can back it up with data. I’ll tune you out if you aren’t rational. It’s not called flip-flopping, it’s called “adjusting based on the information.”
If it connects with my beliefs, I’m in. You had me at “loyalty and patriotism.” If it seems inconsistent, willy nilly, or devoid of strong convictions, I’m out. You lost me at “I changed my mind because of new information.”
If what your saying resonates with my sense of community, family, and care for others, I’ll listen. If you don’t seem to care about the people-impact, I assume you are mean and uncaring. I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.
If it’s clever, funny or grabs my attention, I’m in. If it’s bland or infected with research and moral mumbo-jumbo, I’m outa here. Bright shiny objects, here I come!
Show me you can be reflective and open-minded and I’ll consider your perspective. If you push me to accept simplified black and white interpretations, I’ll check out because it shows me you don’t have the imagination to solve the big, messy problems.
Wow me. Sell me. But don’t manipulate me. If you show me a way to be part of something amazing, I’ll be your agent! If you try to corner me, play me, or take advantage of my insecurities, I’ll be your worst enemy. I might even call Omorosa.
Optics matter more than reality. Often it’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference. Who are you talking to, and how are they experiencing your message? We have data on what percentage of the population uses each perceptual filter. Happy to share; just give us a call.
Join a Next Element PCM seminar to learn how to recognize you own optical illusions and improve your vision for what’s going on around you. Learn how the strategies used by a past president, a top military general, a Pixar Studios movie director, and a NASA chief psychiatrist can transform how you communicate.
“Now I don’t know but I been told
It’s hard to run with the weight of gold
Other hand I have heard it said
It’s just as hard with the weight of lead.”
-Grateful Dead, New Speedway Boogie
How many tools are in your tool belt?
Why did you get them in the first place?
What problem were you trying to solve at the time?
How well do you use them today?
How many are gathering dust? Why?
Most people and organizations who become overburdened by tools have followed this path;
Newsweek magazine published a language analysis of US presidents done by FactBase concluding that Donald Trump speaks at a mid-fourth grade level, the lowest of all presidents analyzed, more than one grade level below the next lowest, Harry Truman. The analysis assessed the first 30,000 words each president spoke in office, and ranked them on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level scale and more than two dozen other common tests analyzing English-language difficulty levels. FactBase compared these findings to Trump’s own claim that he is a genius.
Fake News Alert. Language reading level has very little relationship to traditional measures of intelligence (IQ).
If you believe women are equal,
If you value freedom of expression,
If you care that children develop personal responsibility,
If you want people to embrace their potential,
If you want the world to blame less, cower less, and hurt each other less,
then stop using the phrases, “Make you feel,” and “Make me feel.”
Every time you say one of these phrases, you are reinforcing a myth that humans are not responsible for their emotions. The myths that anyone can make me feel good or bad, or that I can make someone else feel good or bad, are the fuel for victimization, persecution, and discrimination.
If you value freedom of expression and tell someone, “You hurt my feelings when you said that,” you are a feelings hypocrite.
If you think children should develop personal responsibility and you tell them, “How did that make you feel when Johnny bullied you?” you are a feelings hypocrite.
If you believe women are equal, and you suggest a man can, “Disrespect you by making you feel bad,” you are a feelings hypocrite.
We can influence, but not control what others do. Ultimately, we only have control of our our response. And that response starts with taking full responsibility for our emotions. Nobody caused them and nobody can own them except for me.
Taking full responsibility for our emotions in no way condones other people’s behavior. What it does, however, is set us free from being defined by someone else’s behavior. This is a fundamental first step for emotional intelligence.
Want to go deeper? Here are four posts I’ve written about this topic.
Defeat the myths and open yourself up to a new level of effectiveness in relationships by attending an LOD or PCM seminar today.
When is a compliment more than a compliment?
In this piece on Good Morning America ABC reporter Deb Roberts interviewed groups of older and younger workers to explore age differences in perspectives regarding the appropriateness of compliments on the job and the #MeToo issue.
A young woman said, “Any comments you give me, I want them to be related to my work.”
An older man shared his experience complimenting a woman for her appearance and worried if that in today’s me too climate it might be considered offensive. Anther older man said that compliments about how a person looks are important, adding, “Sometimes a compliment is just a compliment. Is it my fault if your perception is wrong?”
The young woman disagreed with the older men, and the debate continued without resolution.
Roberts observed that, “this new reality is a bit complicated, especially between the two generations,” concluding that there was an age difference, but noted that the two groups could not agree and that there were considerable implications for workplace relationships.
What Roberts and ABC producers missed completely was that these people were confusing generation, gender and personality, only adding confusion and reinforcing the perception of gender or racial bias.
The young woman displayed behavioral cues consistent with the Kahler Personality type called Thinker. Relatively few facial expressions, horizontal lines on the forehead, monotonic speech, perceives the world through the filter of thoughts, uses logical and factual sentence structure, and most importantly, focuses on performance and work. Thinkers are specifically motivated by recognition of work, so it’s no surprise that this woman would prefer that type of compliment and be turned off by other types.
The older man displayed behavioral cues consistent with the Kahler type called Harmonizer. Smile lines around the eyes, softer more friendly tone, and open gestures. Harmonizers are motivated by recognition of person and sensory, so they thrive on genuine appreciation for who they are as a person, including appropriate compliments about their appearance.
They are both right. They both deserve to be complimented according to what matters to them. And they both are likely to offer others the type of compliment that they prefer. That’s The Golden Rule.
Demographic research shows that 25% of the population is primarily Thinker type, and 75% of these Thinkers are men. This makes the 25% of Thinker women (who appropriately need to be recognized for their work and time structure only) a minority. Similarly, 30% of the population are Harmonizers but only 25% of them are men, who appropriately need to share personal compliments and friendships at work, making Harmonizer men a minority group.
Roberts interviewed a guest expert, Joanne Lipman, about her book, That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell them) about working together. She highlighted the double-bind or triple-bind women experience when they are part of another underrepresented group, like being a black or Hispanic woman.
Being a black woman is a double-bind. Being a black woman Thinker in America is a triple-bind. Being a black male Harmonizer in America is a triple-bind.
An audience poll revealed that 61% of people believed compliments on appearance were appropriate in the workplace.
Personality strongly influences how people communicate, how they perceive the world, and how they are motivated. My conclusion is that until we elevate personality as a significant driver of identity and potential discrimination, we will continue to be confused about what’s going on.
One thing Roberts got right was her conclusion that compliments may be OK, but it all depends on HOW it’s done. That’s the essence of the Process Communication Model (PCM®); it’s not what you say, but how you say it that often makes all the difference.
PCM teaches six Kahler Personality Types. We’ve trained thousands of people how to recognize and communicate respectfully with all six. What we’ve found is that when people use adaptive communication skills, complaints about gender, racial, or other bias drop considerably.