You are a Walking Talking Signpost of Clues at Work, but did you know it?

We are walking signposts

Not only are you a walking, talking signpost, so are your staff and colleagues which is great news for you if you know what to look for. Here is a great example of exactly what I mean by that comment, and it is one which every one of you will relate to, regardless of your level of training or understanding in the world of the profiler.

Some years ago I was leading a debriefing session for the sales team of a luxury vehicle importer. As you can imagine, being commission based sales executives, they were all highly focused on hitting their targets each month, though some more than others of course, because no one is identical in their level and application of motivation. The reason why I was called in by the sales manager was due to the lack of understanding that bubbled up at times between the team members and the conflicts that often arose as a result, especially in such a high pressured environment as commission based sales of high end consumer goods.

We were going along fine in the session, talking about the unconscious patterns that are always at play beneath the surface and how everyone is unconsciously driven by these patterns, without actually realising it.  Puppet on a StringMuch like a puppet on the end of a string, we all think we are in control of our patterns of thinking and behaviour, but that’s just the conscious stuff we are aware of. “What about the ‘other stuff’ that’s going on in the background?” I asked them. “Were you also aware that whatever is driving you to think and act in a certain way is unique to you, but it may not be the way it is for your customers, or your colleagues?

We continued to discuss this and they began to realise that not only their ‘model of the world’ was unique to them, but it also probably explained why they seemed to have instant rapport and influence with a certain number of their customers, and with others they just ‘missed the boat.’ Even more telling was the fact that these same ‘filters’ invariably got in the way of greater team harmony due to each person assuming that the rest of the world (i.e. ‘their team mates’) interpreted things in the same way as them. It brought up the whole notion of being able to ‘read’ the people who are in front of you more effectively and respond flexibly to them in a way that is more in tune for them though it may be foreign in part to you.

In a way it’s like a dance between two partners – each wanting to lead at different times according to their own patterns of thinking and working, but in order for the dancers to be in synch there has to be a more heightened level of awareness, understanding and responsiveness between them.

Okay Brian, you may be thinking… “So much for the theory, but what about reality?” (The nature of reality is definitely the source for another topic and another time, so I’ll stick to the knitting here.)

At that point in our session, I decided it was time for these action-oriented, theory-adverse men and women to see it for themselves before their very eyes. I nominated two people in the room to stand up and describe their last holiday that was impactful enough for them to still remember it vividly to that day. (Because I had profiled all of the players in the room both individually and as a team unit prior to the session, I knew exactly which two people to choose for this demonstration.) One person was what we would call a big picture thinker or ‘breadth orientated’ and the other was at the far end of the scale at the detail or ‘depth orientation’ end.

Globe in the HandFirst Tom got up and said… “Last year we went to Italy. It was great.” and promptly sat down. I think everyone’s brain was still trying to register what he had said and were waiting for more, before they realised that was his whole story chapter and verse.

Next it was Peter’s turn. Well he started, but he never finished before I had to politely interrupt him after 30 minutes and move the discussion on. When I say that he never finished, I actually mean that after a half an hour Peter and his family still hadn’t left the driveway of their home in his description. In between we had heard all about what time they got up, what they had for breakfast, which of the children weren’t feeling well, why they had chosen to take a National Lampoon style of car holiday, problems with the pet… you name it we heard it. I am not sure whether he actually told us what everyone was wearing that day, but I guess given enough time he would have.The Detail

Anyway you can imagine the glazed looks I saw on everyone’s faces around the room. A lot of them had tuned out after five minutes, and a few who were closer in alignment with Peter’s pattern were still hanging on until at least twenty minutes, but by then even they were done with the description. Talk about ‘signposts’. Not only were Tom and Peter walking, talking signposts for their model of the world with just these two patterns, but even the glazed eyes, and the fidgeting and the concentration levels of the rest of the people in the room were flashing neon signs for me, because you could almost track where each was on the scale of Breadth vs Depth orientation depending on where they switched off during Peter’s little conversation piece.

Needless to say, after that demonstration by Tom and Peter, everyone else in the team ‘got the theory’ loud and clear and from that point on there was lively discussion about the potential of knowing about this information and the impact it could have on their sales effectiveness as well as their team harmony. Everyone laughed when I painted the image of Tom and Peter trying to have a ‘deep and meaningful’ conversation when they were so far apart in their level of scope with their descriptions.

This story drives home the power of knowing and appreciating just how much each person’s unconscious ways of thinking and behaving in the workplace could be different to your own. And this example only touches on two of the driving patterns. There are another forty six to add to the mix when you bake the cake of each person. When you know this, there is so much more you can do to leverage the best out of yourself and your people.

The nice thing today is that based on the cognitive research and its application that has been developed since the dawn of this new millennium, we can help you find each person’s recipe and show you how to turn that recipe into something that you (and they) will appreciate and savour in your workplace.

Next time I will share with you how a senior executive was being judged as totally lacking in confidence for their role, when in fact it only came down to knowing about the one key pattern that was driving them under the surface, to turn it all around. And by the way, knowing about this also helped me to understand my own children better around home so that I can help each to develop unique study habits that will work for best for them in the future when the pressure is really on during their final years. Now that’s a bonus.

What are your thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear from you and your own experiences. Drop me an email to if you would like to know more about how to create greater harmony with your team or teams.  

A complimentary discovery session with me will definitely get you thinking about how much more you could do in this area of people and business development, for the benefit of them and especially your business.

Until then… Let’s seek to understand more and judge less.  Have a great week – Brian

Precision ProfilingWhat Makes You Tick?  Through ‘Motivational Fingerprinting’ we uncover what you do, how you do it and why you do it, and most importantly, the hidden patterns that lead to your success, and that of your staff.

About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here

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