Can people change personality?

I so often get this question by people I work with and it’s a great one. The fact is a qualified YES absolutely.

BUT ONLY IF THEY WANT TO!

and

In my opinion, we are a product of everything we have modelled and learnt all our lives. Therefore if we have been smashed around in a rough background and the way we dealt with that is to treat others in the same kind of way, then chances are why would we bother to change?

unless…

There are some really compelling reasons for it – Like What You Say???

Well you might be willing to change certain parts of your personality if you were about to loose your job, or that you knew you were hopeless in social situations and if you did not change you’d never make it to where you wanted to be. If your partner was about to leave you because you never left the house and they loved having coffee at cafes by the waterfront, you might be swayed to change certain parts of your personality in order to live a better life.

I personally when I started out in business, was hopeless at calling people to arrange meetings; I did not like it and had never done it. As all my clients now know, I’ll pick up the phone and call anyone we need at any time to get the result we need.

In fact in Australia one of the biggest department stores is Bunning’s and in a Sales workshop on “Getting New Business” presenting in front of 40 people I made a cold call, completely impromptu on speaker phone for the entire room to hear, and booked an appointment with the international head of operations. The feedback was great, I’d called on behalf of my own business of course, but Bunning’s were one of their biggest prospects.

You can change specific areas of a person’s personality if the person sees an absolute need to change; it may or may not be your role to create this need. The person may come to you and explain what is holding them back, if you can ask them all the questions needed for them to build up the motivation for the change, and then help them to implement it. In most cases you’ll be their friend for life.

  • I have seen people go from being complete introverts to complete extroverts
  • Very gentle people become tough as nails
  • People with a focus on the big picture and strategy get very good at the finest of details
  • Those who cant speak in front of 2-3 people to speaking in front of 1000’s

Check this out for food for thought!


Where could you or someone in your team change to get better results in yours or their lives?

Identifying & Replicating Talent

The issues of talent management are ones that organisations face every day. How do you go about:

  • Developing it, keeping it?
  • Working out what and who it looks like?
  • Finding where the talent lies?
  • Figuring out if your internal talents are flexible enough to be able to send where and when you like?

A good brief on where we are as regards talent and organisational change in the market was posted by Peter Cheese from Accenture – see below.

High performers are at times also high maintenance; you can’t just string them along because often, if you do, they’ll walk! In the past 10 years, we have seen several times that the high performers in organisations are the least liked by their CEOs, senior managers and sometimes even peers.

This can occur for many reasons. Some of the common ones are:

  • They are so focused on getting their own results that they don’t care about others
  • They have no need to prove themselves to others and hence do what they like
  • Often they are happy to speak their exact mind and do, sometimes leaving a trail of blood

So what can or should you do to manage your organisation’s talent and how?

  • Work out what you are measuring with. Some organisations use Psychometric Tools to analyse and draw conclusions as to who is the best. Some of these tools actually specify behaviours 1-7 as good and 8-10 as bad. Or “this” works, and “this” does not, hence Joe is better than John.
  • Understand where your workforce is ultimately headed. Have a workforce planning model that works for your business needs. At times, organisations don’t even know where they are headed with regard to recruitment. How many people who are talented are about to leave or have just arrived? There is little knowledge on where the best recruits are going to come from, and hence it’s tough to plan for the future.
  • Make sure you have a formal process of recognising who your best people are and where they lie. Have this process be one that is not one-dimensional, e.g. It should not rest on a high-level manager saying, “Great, that guy is talented.” Decisions should be made scientifically such that it takes several different internal opinions, stakeholder reviews from different divisions, and external client feedback to recognise who is “really talented.” The ability to road map the exact distinctions around why high performers have been so successful should be based on your organisation’s specific context and not necessarily on broad-based “Role Success Maps” that often have gaps in terms of your industry.
  • Have ways of replicating how you are going to find more and more of these people. Consider that often the industries where they may be working may not be the same as your own. How can you behaviourally interview these people in a fail-safe manner? For example, when Microsoft recruits senior managers, they may interview candidates 5 or 6 times, including one-on-ones with 5 different people, and then panel interview them at the end, putting candidates under such immense pressure during the final phase that they know who truly is talented under pressure.

A formal and scientific model of Talent Management in big companies is essential to make sure you keep, recruit, develop and retain not only high-performance individuals, but also high-performance teams. One of my long-term clients is considered an expert because he knows his people inside and out. Long ago, my client recognised the best performers and what they offer, having mapped what they do best and where they can then mentor others. This person’s ability to subsequently replicate these talents, which of course lie in different areas across the team, enabled him to gain significant and continuous improvement.

Psychometric Tools – Be Careful!

Make sure you get it right so your team becomes what it should be!

This post is going to cover a couple of key things about a tool called the Inventory of Work Attitude and Motivation iWAM and some other general thoughts on Psychometric type assesment tools used in some organisational change programs. When this tool was first introduced into Australasia we used it inside of many large organisations and had some great successes. iWAM had some real advantages over other tools in that it did not try to box people into one of four category types. Boxing people is not in of itself a real issue but when your final aim is actually to either:

  1. Change the behaviour of your teams
  2. Get your teams to learn more about each other
  3. Understand more about your people

Trying to bundle them all into one of 4 or 8 categories can be a great way of setting in stone what people think of themselves. For example tell someone they are best working with systems and processes and not people, how hard are they now going to try to get along with others?

What we liked about iWAM on the other hand is that it gave a scaled story on what the key drivers were inside a person. One of the great iWAM reports ranked people from their highest work preference to their lowest preference. For example some people are very focused on systems at work and perhaps on money or finance issues.

What has amazed me since I started my study into the field of Psychology 18 years ago was that almost all the other Psychometric tools excluding iWAM, seemed to just assume that the way a person behaved at work would be the same as that in other areas of their lives.

However this seemed to be contradictory to most people I knew who may be systematic at work but have a mess at home, or were extroverted sales people at work but at home around their loud partner they were submissive and more introverted.

When you are deciding on a Profiling Tool seriously consider the following 10 factors.

  1. What are you wanting the tool to do in your business or team?
  2. How many case studies does your proposed consultant have of clients you can speak with, who have had success?
  3. Does the consultant you are using have a formal degree in Psychology or a related discipline?
  4. If they are not professionally qualified how can you trust their judgment
  5. Do they have a website with case studies and significant independent research proof?
  6. What are you going to measure as success factors that actually matter to your business?
  7. How can you be sure that when your people know more about themselves this will benefit your business?
  8. Some organisations are talking about Qualitative and Quantitative measurement through tools like iWAM but what does this mean and how did they prove it?
  9. Once you choose a tool can you bench mark team members on the same graph to easily compare peoples strengths and use this information to buddy them up with people who have different ones?
  10. Finally are you going to get a serious return for your investment, one that can be ongoing and used by all your senior management team, and if not why not?

How are your best people going to use this information to get better business results in the next 4-8 weeks? The talent identification and talent management process often uses tools like these to be able to better identify and then use people operating in many cases far below their capability. Just be carefull as often high fliers may not look like this on some tools.

Having worked extensively in this field for many years, I hear over and over of companies that use tools such as those mentioned above and although great at the time they are not continually used. Ironically in 18 years of working with all sorts of different clients we find that 80%+ of the time its the highest performing leaders that are the ones that will refer back to reports generated by these devices.

Good luck in digging out the tools that work if you want to find out some more feel free to look at some of our research at http://www.behaviourchange.com.au/IWAM.html