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Talent Dynamics RSS Feed Blog Archive: October 2014

DT’s Tower: Handwriting, Star Wars and How to Play Nice

I found this video during my travels across the internet and it got me thinking (always dangerous).  Graphology is currently considered a ‘pseudoscience’, that is something that purports to be scientific but actually has little proven scientific research behind it.

And yet the idea of graphology has made its way into popular culture with everything from Sherlock to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation at one time or another using graphology to get an insight into the personality of a suspect.  The idea that ‘who we are’ can be analysed is a powerful one.

But Why?

One of the things that everyone struggles with at some point is knowing who they are. There is no objective standard to use.  As individuals our point of view is heavily biased, sometimes towards the positive or sometimes to the negative.  We ask those who know us well their opinion but again, there is the danger of a hidden agenda.  Either people will focus on positives to spare our feelings, or sometimes might focus on negatives to score points.

There is little point asking people who don’t know us… as they don’t know us 😀

So we turn to analysis of the effects of our personality.  The individuals that we are leave impressions on the environment around us, the people we interact with, the choices we make… perhaps even our handwriting?  Our impressions on a page.

If we can understand ourselves, we can accurately assess our strengths and compensate for those things that challenge us so we can improve and develop.

‘Know Thyself’

Very noble.  However, our own brains get in the way of making full use of this knowledge. We instinctually need to classify and categorise. This is why in psychology there is an important difference between personality types and personality traits.

Types categorise.  People are either/or.  So someone is either introverted or extroverted.  Traits acknowledge a sliding scale.  People can be place on a line between ‘fully introverted’ to ‘fully extroverted’.  Because of problems with consistency and how people answer psychometric tests, personality type theories have fallen out of favour in psychology (just for your information, MBTI is a ‘type’ instrument).

There is another issue with this objective analysis.  Ironically, we can struggle to come to terms with the idea that something other than ourselves can tell us who we are.  We resist the categorisation of any instrument even if it is a ‘trait’ instrument ESPECIALLY if it goes against our own self image.

For example, on the Buzzfeed personality tests of Facebook I keep getting R2 D2 when I am CLEARLY Han Solo!

The other thing to bear in mind (and I fall into this trap myself) is we look for how the objective test can be wrong, even in the most minute detail… like when I come out as something else other than Han Solo 😉

On a Sliding Scale

Although the Talent Dynamics test has 8 personality profiles, it isn’t a ‘type instrument’. These are simply handy, easy to remember reference points.  Behind the types is a mix of 4 energies (traits) that scales from 0 – 100%.  It is the mix of these traits which can be used to objectively ask questions of yourself and allow focused development with an understanding of strengths and challenges.

But none of us are an island and the final issue with psychometric testing is the isolation that many tests engender.  It is focused on you.  One of the most valuable things you can take from a psychometric test is how you relate to others.  Even Carl Jung, pioneer of “Psychological Types”, came up with the concept in an attempt to reconcile his own perspective with those of Freud and Adler, whose relationship had grown… ‘tense’ due to differing perspectives.  In effect, the start of psychometric testing was to learn how everyone could ‘play nice’ (dazzling use of technical jargon there, DT) despite the tensions of extroversion, introversion, intuition or sensation.

“In attempting to answer this question, I came across the problem of types; for it is one’s psychological type which from the outset determines and limits a person’s judgement.” ~ Carl Jung

Ultimately, all the self-knowledge in the world will be largely useless if we don’t understand how we can use that knowledge of ourselves to improve our personal and professional relationships.


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A Profiling Workshop – Sysmex Middle East’s Story

Saad Kayali, the Managing Director of Sysmex Middle East, a subsidiary of Sysmex Europe GmbH, had his Talent Dynamics profile done and liked the results so much he asked Susan Castle, Performance Coach & Flow Consultant, to do the same for the entire top level of his company!

There were six managers at this level:

  1. the Managing Director,
  2. the Marketing Director,
  3. the Logistics Director,
  4. the HR Director,
  5. the Sales Director
  6. the Operations Director.

As global leaders in vitro diagnostics and automation services, the managers seemed to have no immediate issues. All communicated well with each other and as a team were seamless.

Uncovering Issues

The issue was they tended to focus on areas they knew they were brilliant at – for example the conception of ideas, but they had blind spots in other areas, i.e. putting things into action.

On completion of their individual Talent Dynamics profiles the explanation became obvious.

Out of the six people on the team, four were Mechanics including Saad, one was a Lord and the other was a Creator profile.

This lack of Blaze and Tempo energy explained why they were good at brainstorming, but not so strong at following through. They were very tunnel focussed and tended not to go for bigger targets those with a more Blaze energy would instinctively do.

Talent Dynamics Workshop

Saad then asked Susan to run a leadership development training session to decide what changes, if any, needed to be made to their management set-up.

“I wanted the Heads of Departments to understand their own profiles, master their own talents as well as ensure that these talents are put into good use for the team and the company. Having a team that is well-honed and performing at their best can only be good for business.”

During the workshop they looked at what was stopping them from setting bolder financial targets. Was it a Dynamo, Tempo, Blaze or Steel problem? The managers ended up with about 30 or 40 different things blocking them.

After narrowing down these blocks further, the underlying core issue became apparent:

the truth was there was no one in that room with the specific kind of business power or ability to deal with Blaze or Tempo challenges.

What Kind of Energy Are You Missing From Your Team?

Each of the directors left the workshop motivated and full of clarity. They had a deeper understanding of what was stopping them from achieving higher targets and more importantly, who to go to in order to solve any issues and help achieve these new goals.

Susan says, “Sysmex found, through the test, that the management roles fitted them quite well but the workshop helped them to leverage these strengths by highlighting them and showing them how they could be leveraged to improve team communication and performance while reducing stress.”

Saad is now planning another workshop for the next level of management in the Sysmex team and we’ll keep you posted on how much of a difference this one also makes!

 “I think Talent Dynamics is a great opportunity to maximize the harmony within the team, to get the needed group mindset and perspectives of “what else we can do”; and thus develop a healthy change culture, opting always to challenge our own achievements and parameters to yield further milestones in the journey of success.”  – – Saad Kayali, Managing Director of Sysmex Middle East


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Nicci’s Call: Customer Care or Customer Scare?

By Nicola Bonfanti – Talent Dynamics for Sales

The client experience is paramount in their decision to buy from us so we are aware that we have to go beyond customer satisfaction and deliver great service.

Trader profiles are great at considering and executing that.  If you have a customer facing business you will want a Trader profile to welcome clients, resolve any problems, follow up with their requests and requirements and be patient on the end of a phone to irate customers.

But what about those clients that are genuinely a pain?! You know the ones you dread seeing their number come up on your phone, you swerve to avoid bumping into them at conferences, they seem to take up 80% of your time and patience for less than 10% of your revenue.

Just for a bit of fun leading up to Halloween we will look at particularly nightmarish customers, why we find them so and some tips on how to deal with them or who should deal with them.

There are a few examples here and we’ll be posting them daily in the lead up to Halloween on the Talent Dynamics for Sales Facebook page,  see if you can identify the dark side of the profiles?!

The Vampire

With the aim of bleeding you dry, the Vampire is never happy until he thinks he has got the best deal possible.  He will test your sales and negotiating skills pushing for more and more concessions and wanting assurance that he is getting a better deal than anyone else.

He will feel it is a privilege you doing business with him and therefore he is worth special attention and a celebrity status of customer care. He may also come up with his own ideas of what your best service should look like and not be shy of telling you.

The Vampire wants to feel significant and important.

Use this experience to improve your customer care and if possible make it a standard you can give everyone (just don’t let the Vampire know that!). The Vampire wants to feel that he has sucked out all possible concessions, discounts, bonuses and benefits.

Make sure you get something back for every concession (longer subscription terms, less time spent face to face) but that you give maximum value to the Vampire which doesn’t bite into your profits (bonuses of already created products, invitations to events).

The Vampire will also appreciate personalised, monogrammed gifts and become a loyal customer if you can keep him sweet with morsels like that from time to time.

The Witch

The Witch seems like she is out to get you!  She has unrealistic demands and wants more and more information. At each visit her demands increase and when you think you have supplied her with everything she asks, she just screams for more information, statistics, testimonials. When you meet her she wants to control the meeting and will turn up late and change the appointment at the last minute.

The Witch wants security that she is not taking a risk by buying from you so tests your loyalty at every stage.

As a result she needs a lot of information in order to make her decision, more so than other clients.  She will respect your strength if you stand up to her and not surrender to her every demand, so manage her expectations and explain why delivery at 4am will cost a premium.

Share the cost implications of her demands with her and she will be astute enough not to waste money needlessly. At the same time give her the information she craves and more if at all possible (at the end of the day she just needs security). Give her realistic and feasible guarantees that takes the insecurity and risk away.

By providing her with her demands you will build up a bank of proof, statistics and data that you can use with other customers and by taming her you will have a loyal ambassador for your company. It’s worth the effort.

Can you guess the dark side of these profiles?  Happy Halloween with your customers and prospects!


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Transforming Teen Talent Through Trust! Talent Dynamics for Young People

By Teejay Dowe – Talent Dynamics for Young People

It was astounding and inspiring to see so many business people who attended this year’s Trust Conference attend a break out session about ‘Transforming Teen Talent Through Trust’.

Perhaps it’s because so many businesses find it perplexing to employ young people, or they have hired young people and been disappointed, or struggled to trust young people to do a good job or even the right job.

As we all know the cost of poor employment decisions is massive both in terms of finances and morale.  Businesses have lost trust in a young work force.

A Challenge of Self Trust

The biggest challenge that young people face today is that they have low self-confidence and cannot see their worth to an employer or, they have so many options and opportunities that they have no clear vision and are confused about the jobs or careers that would suit them best.

The “hidden talent” remains hidden because our young people are never taught what their natural gifts and talents are and why they are so crucial to a fulfilled life.

They are often made wrong for spending time on what they love to do and told they must spend more time on what they find difficult and whilst this is valuable to a certain degree it becomes counter productive as their confidence takes a huge knock, they question their self-worth and they struggle to know who they are and what direction they should take.

And so, their talent stays hidden from the young people themselves and their prospective employers.  Ask them what they want to do, what job would they love to do they’re like…

“I dunno!”

And we continue to judge ability purely on academic achievements, force young people to stay in education till at least 18 to get more qualifications. Some still have no clue what they want to do and continue to university, sent off by proud parents wanting the best for them, dreaming of how proud they’ll be when their son/daughter graduates.

That young person is also dreaming of what it will be like when they graduate, and then they graduate and the reality most often is £55k debt, still not sure what they want to do  and few jobs to go to anyway.

Young people have lost their trust in academia, adults, employers and their ability to get work.

A Loss of Trust

A poll for LinkedIn questioned 200 Graduates questioned about their experiences after university and discovered that:

65% of graduates are not prepared for the world of work, March 2014

635 senior managers and 52% employers said ‘none’ or ‘few’ graduate recruits were prepared for the working world when starting their first job, YouGov Survey, September 2013

When Trust has been lost on both sides we need to address it on both sides and Talent Dynamics for Young People is a vehicle that does just that.

It starts with stopping! Let’s stop criticising our young people for not being ready for work when actually we never taught them those skills. Let’s start taking collaborative action to ensure young people learn about their strengths and talents, where they will shine as an individual, where they best contribute to a team, who they are as a leader, how to communicate more effectively with themselves and others.

And, start with businesses recruiting young people for their natural energy and talent rather than recruiting for the elusive all-rounders. We are bringing together young people, teachers, parents, apprenticeship providers and businesses  to better work together and understand each other through Talent Dynamics for Young People to build a trusted way forward for tomorrows employees, employers, business leaders,  and entrepreneurs.

It started with me and it continues through YOU!


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Osmaan’s Observations: Are You Admiring the Wrong People?

By Osmaan Sharif – Rapid Transformation

Do you ever look at other people and think, ‘gosh I wish I was more like them!’, as they seem to have their ‘stuff’ together and are getting amazing results?

Then you start believing, that if only you could think and act like them, then you’d also have similar successes?

So you start ‘modelling’ them but it just doesn’t feel right – (like it would if you were squeezing yourself into someone else’s underwear (yuck!).

Then you start to saying not so nice things to yourself & putting yourself down, because surely it’s down to YOU and how you’re not as good as them – so why even bother?

Sound familiar to you? 

Well, here’s the thing …. maybe it’s because you’re admiring the wrong type of person for you?

I’m a firm believer that we can learn from other people around us – whether that’s famous folks; colleagues; managers; leaders or even our close relations – but you’ve got to be super choosey when it comes to it!

Its important knowing what your talents are.  Because it means that you can do more of what you’re good at & enjoy – BINGO!  

Sounds simple doesn’t it, but really how much time do you actually spend at ‘work’ doing the things that float your boat?

Talent Dynamics Profiles

From the world of Talent Dynamics, which I share with my clients – it quickly shows how there are 8 different ‘types’ of people – who each bring different things to the party (a.k.a. your business or team).  Each with their unique ways of thinking; communicating; feeling and doing things.  The cool thing is that each of the 8 different profiles are needed to makes the world function and go around.

But here’s the thing … each of the 8 types of people ‘see’ things differently from one another!

It’s all well and good modelling those who are some steps ahead of you in your business or career – or have a particular skills that would be really useful for you …. BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE THE SAME TYPE OF PERSON AS YOU (sorry for shouting but that’s super important!)

Let me put it another way – if you were in a 8 piece band and you played the guitar … but wanted to up your game.  Then go and learn from another guitar player who’s in a band – rather than the drummer!

Follow Your Flow

“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.  Follow your flow.” – Roger James Hamilton

For example, in my case, I’m a Trader profile in Talent Dynamics – which is the complete opposite from a Creator profile.  That means that even though I think the late Steve Jobs was super cool because he came up with amazing new innovative ideas, because he’s a Creator – even if I was to put some of his best strategies in place – for me they just wouldn’t connect as well as they would for other Creators out there.

Instead though, if I focused upon some of the things other Traders do, like Sir Alan Sugar, then that would help me to grow, develop & continue to get even better results.

I’m not saying that the other 7 profiles aren’t relevant to you (or me) in our ‘work’ but there may be other people out there in your team (or associates), who you could enlist to help with those parts.

That way they’ll be getting to play the ‘instrument’ that they’re a master of and you get to play your ‘instrument’ and you can make sweet music together (… I think I’ve been listening to far too much music while typing this …)

So enjoy getting to know YOU even more & then choosing more people who are like YOU to admire & learn from – as this is key for you to both LOVE what you do & get amazing results in your working life.

I look forward to sharing even more with you next time and until then bye for now.

This blog was originally posted on Os’ own site Rapid Transformation

Cover Photo: Courtesy of Clelia Serpico


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