Suppose you have observed four young people on their first day at your company and you are asked to tell which one of them will make it to the top? Which one will make the most money? And which one will be recognized in their chosen field? Let’s call them Diana, Ivan, Shawn and Carmen. They are all intelligent, ambitious and come from the same modest economic background. But there are significant differences between them.
- Diana is decisive, assertive, demanding, a risk taker, self-reliant, direct and results oriented. She does not like to waste time and gears conversations to the bottom line.
- Ivan is outgoing, social, enthusiastic, persuasive, socially confident, inspiring and optimistic. Prior to joining the company, he belonged to many college groups and usually became their leader
- Shawn is patient/persevering, loyal, empathetic, a team player, easy going and congenial. He dislikes conflict and appears to make himself available for one more undertaking.
- Carmen is emotionally controlled, analytical, accurate/precise, conscientious, systematic and orderly. She is also quiet and reserved. She does not like small talk or joining group activities. She prefers to devote all of her time to her chosen field.Some people disliked her from day one for no apparent reason.
Which one would you choose as the next CEO and fortune maker?
It’s likely that you chose Diana – she has all the power traits we think of for success. Or maybe you choose Ivan- he has all the charisma and social skills of a high achiever. Of course Shawn could be highly successful in a business that is service oriented and Carmen could make it to the top in the fields of IT, Engineering, Financial Analysis, and Medicine.
So the answer could be all of the above… but only if these four young people each understand and implement the strategies of how to succeed. To do that, they must have what I call 'A Money Making Personality'. Here are three of the key elements to this personality.
1. The ability to recognize other people’s communications styles and learning what it takes to adapt our own styles when needed in order to work with other types. The four young people above exhibited four distinctly different personality styles that reflect exactly how they prefer to be communicated with. By picking up clues that define one of these styles, and then having the skills and discipline to accommodate that style, incredible inroads can be made in terms of connecting and true communications, resulting in extraordinary results.
2. The ability to select teammates who can add the necessary personality traits that you don’t have, in order to facilitate the communications you need to accomplish great results. If you study the personal history of all the great successful people you can think of today – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Merkel, Warren Buffet, etc., you will find that each one had a distinct personality and style, but each one teamed up with others of different styles and personalities to reach success. Bill Gates needed Paul Allen, etc. None of them could do it entirely on their own because they all had some necessary success traits missing in their own style. At some point they realized that their greatest strength could become their biggest liability if over used, used at an inappropriate time or used as the automatic fallback when stress becomes intense.
So in the case of our four young people moving up the ladder:
- Diana has an excellent chance of succeeding but there will be times when her direct, blunt interpersonal style may create uncooperative teammates, staff or suppliers that can cause her plans to go awry. Her ability to take control may lead her to become too controlling which will strangle other’s creativity and innovation.
- Ivan will realize that his excessively social style will cause him at points to go off track. Because he will be concerned that playing tough when needed will cause him to lose friends and admirers, he may go too easy on people while projects and plans slow down or get off track.
- Shawn will have a difficult time, even though he is ambitious, because he will be so conflict avoidant and try to be so supportive of others, that his own needs to succeed will be pushed to the side.
- Carmen will find out that being so logical and objective will confront the fact that many emotional and subjective people will be implementing her products and projects. Without strong interpersonal skills she will find it quite difficult to build an effective team.
3. The ability to be resilient. Resilient people look at the world and their own setbacks and wonder what can be done? How can things be improved? And the trait most singularly absent from their character is resignation: the passive acceptance of the status quo, the known, the established. They do not wait around for a break or for someone to give her or him a chance. He or she makes his or her own chances. They don’t complain that it couldn’t be helped or it’s not their fault or someone else is to blame. They take 100% responsibility and get it done.
Can people of high potential learn what they must do and how they must communicate with others to attain their dreams?
Ultimately, the issue is: can people of high potential learn what they must do and how they must communicate with others to attain their dreams? The good news is that the answer is a resounding “yes!” as long as the focus is on self-awareness of one’s style, understanding how to identify the styles of others and learning how to communicate effectively with everyone.
Can people adapt their own style? Can they suppress their instinctive responses when those will lead to negative results? Again, the answer is “yes!”
To learn more about strategies and techniques that may contribute to professional success and career advancement, be sure to attend our session at AFP 2018, “Get Where You Want to Go – And Keep Going: Managing Your Career Journey”, where you’ll be able to hear directly from my co-presenters, Ellen Hecker, BNY Mellon Treasury Services, Kathy King-Griswold, University of Rochester, and Frank A. Melaccio, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
Cooperperson Performance Consulting
President/Chief Learning Officer