Behavioral Finance

What Behavioral Style Are You?

You are a team leader, a coach, or a financial advisor, you are quite familiar with the human relationships aspect of your work. Imagine if there was a special pair of ‘insight’ glasses that you could wear while reading through resumes or talking with potential prospects. These special glasses would allow you to know how people like to be managed, communicated with and counselled. 

What if people had their behavioral style written all over them?

Well, they have. Our DNA Behavior technology is able to pinpoint every human habit and group individuals into behavioral styles unique to certain groups with the same traits. 

Would you be interested to know what yours is?

Meet Our 10 Unique Styles

By recognizing and grouping together a variety of human traits, we have identified 10 unique behavioral styles. You will actually find that you might identify with at least one of them.

If you are looking for a detailed report of your unique style, your team, or your investors, you can sign up for our free trial today.

For now, we will be sharing with you the four main characteristics of these 10 unique styles. 

Fast-Paced

In our unique styles, three types of individuals are considered fast-paced; the Influencers, the Engagers, and the Initiators.


The difference is the Influencer is very comfortable with, or even enjoys, being the life of the party. By nature, they are fun, full of energy, always with a captivating story to tell and a smile on their face.


The Engager is an outgoing character, who tends to surround themselves  with family and friends, and is comfortable spending time with people at family gatherings, places of interest, and even work functions. The Engager has a natural enthusiasm for starting new projects and is quick to get going with tasks such as planning a family holiday, arranging a fishing competition amongst friends, or arranging a fundraiser for a project close to their heart.

The third style in this fast-paced group is the Initiator. The difference between this style and the previous two is that this person likes to have the facts and is comfortable making quick decisions. For example, when they are about to make an important purchase, they will gather all of the facts and figures together, consider the pros and the cons, and assess their choices in a rational manner.


Moves Carefully

This group of people is more cautious in their decisions and the way they live their lives.

The Adapter is that one team member you will find yourself going to when you need assistance – they have their own strengths and capabilities but as they enjoy working in a team, will easily adapt according to what the team requires to reach their goals

The Stylish Thinker likes to spend money on trends but they will also create and work within a budget to build their dream lifestyle. Stylish Thinkers enjoy interacting with others and getting the most out of any situation. When it comes to making life decisions or working with others, they tend to always create a relaxed environment. They like to collaborate and provide input, however, they have a need of avoiding conflict.

The Facilitator on the other hand excels in competitive situations. They work well where there is group-decision making and encourage other players to achieve the goals set. They also appreciate being acknowledged for their input into the team’s success.

Results-Oriented

Here we have two types of results-oriented behaviors. 

The Strategist wants to be in control of their path. They need to have all of the facts before making a strategic decision, and everything must be planned and well organized.

The second in this group is the Reflective Thinker and they are more involved in the ‘why’ of doing something, rather than the ‘what’. If they are given directions to a destination that is not the usual route they travel, they will need evidence as to why this route is better and will need time to think about it before acting on it. 

Relationship-Oriented

The Community Builder and the Relationship Builder are the most relationship-oriented individuals you’ll ever meet.

Community Builders are, by nature, encouraged to help others see the final goal they are working towards and can effortlessly drive others simply by being themselves. 

The Relationship Builder, on the other hand, enjoys carrying out tasks if these tasks are going to help someone else. A life coach or even a business coach who is motivating and encouraging someone else to achieve their goals fits perfectly into this category. 

Final Thoughts..

Simply being aware of our own character traits and knowing ourselves on a much deeper level is such a powerful asset. Which of the four categories can you relate to?

How the Pandemic Affected Our Spending Habits – Sharing Our Most Unusual Purchases

Who in the 21st century would have believed they would be part of a worldwide pandemic, forced into isolation with limited access to life as they knew it? Within 24 hours, lives changed, natural behaviors were exposed, and so were spending patterns.

While people were confined to their homes, it became undeniable that the pandemic affected their spending habits. Some started making more online purchases than they had ever previously done, others were spending online just to occupy their time.

In times of crisis, it is human nature for us to revert back to our instinctual responses. As things start to go back to normal we all remember the unusual purchase we all made.

Three members of our DNA Behavior team share with you some of their most unusual purchases.

The Perfect Gaming Setup

If you haven’t met him yet, Ryan Scott is our innovative CTO, always searching for and identifying ways to connect with others using his unique people-before-numbers approach. Being a Reflective Thinker, Ryan succeeds by spending many hours objectively observing situations and uses his skill set to enhance unpredictable and complex situations. 

However, during Covid when people became housebound and freedom of movement was temporarily removed, Ryan started feeling isolated and needed to find an outlet. He had been a passionate playstation user for a while, and saw this as an opportunity to connect with friends, even so virtually. So he invested in several accessories that would enhance his gaming experience and play virtually with friends.

To compensate for many hours of competitive racing through the streets of Monaco, or parachuting into battlegrounds in war-torn areas – through his playstation of course – he also purchased an e-bike to spend more time outdoors.

From Self-Development to Gardening

Credit: The Farmstand

Lisa Travis is our Business Development Analysts and also happens to be an influencer. Throughout the pandemic, she found her online spending shifting towards a combination of online courses and membership sites. Six months passed and Lisa realized that spending $97 a month on products she didn’t need or use, was pointless.

By searching for something else to do, Lisa stumbled across a relatively easy and rewarding hobby. She was introduced to hydroponic gardening. She made the necessary online purchases and her garden started to grow ever since.

Creating the Perfect Home Garden

As you can see, gardening was a common theme within our DNA Behavior team.


Carol Pocklington, our Chief Insight Leader, had been working remotely for quite a while before the pandemic hit. It wasn’t that big of an adjustment for her. However, the window view from her home office was to her house’s backyard and she had been thinking about embellishing her garden for so long.
So she took that as an opportunity to create the perfect home garden, and view for her office. She ordered plants, shrubs, bulbs, and everything she needed to create a flourishing oasis of green.

What about you? What were your most unusual purchases during the pandemic?

Investment Committee Membership: Professional Significance Isn’t Enough

– First Published on Nasdaq –

Investment Committees have historically been formed based on members’ professional experience. But in today’s climate, would these committees stand up to the scrutiny of diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI), I wonder?

Like many areas of the financial services industry, much lip service is paid to DEI, yet despite accepted benefits in terms of profitability and productivity, the sector remains primarily white (~80 percent) and male (~80 percent).

Sadly, this is true of many industries and their governing bodies or committees reflect that. Here, I am focusing on financial investment committees and their responsibility to make well-informed, non-emotional decisions.

Money decisions, behavior

Most investment committees have an apparent mission: Serve as stewards for assets of the organization they represent.

Let’s assume that those forming these committees are fully cognizant of what DEI means. One would expect to see a range of experience and talent represented. But remember, each member would bring a decision making and emotional behavioral style with them.

Whether thinkers, initiators, analyzers, persuaders, strategists, or spontaneous, all will have a natural decision-making behavior that needs to be revealed and managed. The complexity of the committee’s decisions certainly doesn’t need behavioral variability to take it off track.

As individuals, these representatives probably make flawless decisions – but put them together in a group to form a committee that makes significant investment decisions, and behavioral diversity in decision making takes over. Emotion takes over. Bias steps in. And the behavioral pull of money pollutes the decision-making process.

DEI + behavioral diversity

So, where does DEI fit in this scenario?

DEI must go beyond socio and ethnic representation – that’s a given. It must also include behavioral diversity. Members possessing differing viewpoints, different decision-making approaches, creative attitudes to money, and a deep understanding of the emotional pull of money must be represented.

Investment Committees have historically been formed based on members’ professional experience. But in today’s climate, would these committees stand up to the scrutiny of diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI), I wonder?

Like many areas of the financial services industry, much lip service is paid to DEI, yet despite accepted benefits in terms of profitability and productivity, the sector remains primarily white (~80 percent) and male (~80 percent).

Sadly, this is true of many industries and their governing bodies or committees reflect that. Here, I am focusing on financial investment committees and their responsibility to make well-informed, non-emotional decisions.

Money decisions, behavior

Most investment committees have an apparent mission: Serve as stewards for assets of the organization they represent.

Let’s assume that those forming these committees are fully cognizant of what DEI means. One would expect to see a range of experience and talent represented. But remember, each member would bring a decision making and emotional behavioral style with them.

Whether thinkers, initiators, analyzers, persuaders, strategists, or spontaneous, all will have a natural decision-making behavior that needs to be revealed and managed. The complexity of the committee’s decisions certainly doesn’t need behavioral variability to take it off track.

As individuals, these representatives probably make flawless decisions – but put them together in a group to form a committee that makes significant investment decisions, and behavioral diversity in decision making takes over. Emotion takes over. Bias steps in. And the behavioral pull of money pollutes the decision-making process.

DEI + behavioral diversity

So, where does DEI fit in this scenario?

DEI must go beyond socio and ethnic representation – that’s a given. It must also include behavioral diversity. Members possessing differing viewpoints, different decision-making approaches, creative attitudes to money, and a deep understanding of the emotional pull of money must be represented.

Let’s look to a four-part solution:

  1. Be committed to removing biases and ego.
  2. Uncover the behavioral patterns of committee members, concerning their approach to money.
  3. Engage a tech solution: preferably a highly validated one that also can provide adoption via API, enabling firms to easily layer it into their existing tech stacks.
  4. Secure a behavioral solution that reveals financial behavioral variability in individuals and groups.

When the financial services industry comes to terms with the importance of measuring the impact of human behavior on a range of transactions and decision-making that require human judgment, they will fulfill regulatory requirements and, bonus, build their businesses. The winning methodology: Pursue DEI in earnest, plus go one step further by layering in the functionality to assess and leverage behavioral diversity.

The marriage of these two disciplines is a passion of mine. Please reach out if you or your firm has a perspective or experience to share regarding the synergy of DEI and behavioral science.

See Leon’s other writings for Nasdaq here.

Money: The Greatest Gravitational Force Impacting Decision Making

– First Published on Nasdaq –

I’ve asked many advisors over the past few years, “How much time do you truly spend understanding the emotional behavior of your clients?” On average, the consensus is about 10%.

I then ask, “How much time do you spend understanding your clients’ identity?” this question is met with a blank stare.

The reality is that we know very little about the behavior of our clients, and, consequently, how they make decisions. Making assumptions about who the client is and what their true motivations are is a risky approach. Ultimately, as advisors, our ability to objectively understand how our clients are uniquely “wired” and then building a corresponding healthy relationship with them represents 80% or more of our success on their behalf. And our own success is riding on theirs.

When you think about it, the behavioral dynamics start from the moment a prospect makes contact with your firm. Because of the digital world we live in, that could even be before the first meeting. Therefore, it’s central to the ongoing success of the relationship to deliberately address behavioral differences early.

Deconstructing emotional decisions 

Over the past few months, I have spoken to many industry leaders in what we call Identity Conversations. There is one consistent issue: How to work with clients who make emotional decisions.

All agree that money is the most significant gravitational force impacting decision-making and that there is no doubt that the emotional pull of money can hijack decision-making. The question is how to recognize what it is that triggers these emotional responses.

For me, there is no doubt that understanding identity is key to working with clients. Identity reflects their X factor and their unique algorithm, as well as their values and purpose. Unlock this, and you will know your clients’ motivations, and this will reveal how and where and for what reason they want to build their wealth.

When market movements cause clients to become emotional, you will see what they are inherently trying to protect – their identity. That is the convergence of their talents, passions and life purpose.

Lessons from a challenging season

We don’t know what the world will ultimately look like when this pandemic has left us (and it will). What will the economy look like? How will our working lives have changed? Will our priorities have changed? And perhaps the biggest one of all: What will we have all learned about ourselves and our decision-making approaches during this challenging season?

As advisors, industry leaders or individuals, it’s time to prepare for what comes next. Check yourself before you wreck yourself: Figure out your own identity and those of key players around you. Form an opinion as to how the gravitational pull of money impacts your decision-making and prepare well for the next season via identity empowerment.

And if you are looking for a safe place to start an Identity Conversation, I’m always happy to help you kickstart such.

See Hugh’s other writings for Nasdaq here.

When New Information Changes Perspective

Some twenty-four hours ago, the state government sent our little haven by the ocean into Covid lockdown. We had to get back to our homes with only a few hours’ notice, ensure the fridge was full, and generally watch as our comfy, covid free world imploded.  

No longer, for the foreseeable future, could we sit in the village coffee shop engaging in conversations about other states not being able to cope with the lockdown. No longer could we gloss over the shattered lives due to businesses closing, never to open again.   

Suddenly, it was us. Then, it was our little shops, our little local livelihoods with closed signs at the window.  

I began to realize how perspective about what was happening changed. We saw the issues from a whole different vantage point. What was evident as we called each other was the significantly new attitude now being adopted, not just to our neighbor states but also to our village and the businesses, schools, churches, and all gatherings suddenly in lockdown. 

I’ve been thinking a great deal recently about seeing things differently. My world is all about understanding behaviors, but something is changing. The world and individuals have taken on levels of stress like never before in many of our lifetimes. I notice how emotion is driving significant decisions. I’ve seen a level of fear in conversations. Comments such as – when this is all over, what will the economy look like? Will I have enough savings or retirement income to ride out a financial crash? Will I lose my home? 

If I’ve learned anything about understanding behaviors over many years, It’s that when we understand and can manage our behaviors, it rationalizes our perspective, it frees up the mind to make calmer, more effective, less emotional decisions. 

Let me give you an example using a group of friends I know well. Names have been changed! 

In the face of this current lockdown:

David is an influencer. As the word suggests, he influences; he wants/needs to engage with people. Unfortunately, right now, he is crawling up the walls of his apartment. He is desperately trying to build a range of new businesses, calling friends to get their opinions, making decisions from the most stressful standpoints. Finally, after understanding his behavior (yes, I managed to get him to complete a DNA Behavior Discovery process), he can see that he is creating messy chaos and needs to breathe and start looking at this situation from a different perspective.

Jackie, on the other hand, is a thinker. Very analytical and logical, an absolute rock to have around as she keeps us all accountable by asking endless questions of our little group. Her perspective and counsel are to consolidate, calm down, move forward using rational fact-based decision making. Lockdown has given Jackie a whole new perspective. Firstly the speed at which we were told to go to our homes, no research, no actual planning, lack of organization, and all of us looking to her to ensure systems in place for the business continued to function correctly remotely. Jackie found herself in a difficult position. Again, Jackie completed the DNA Behavior discovery.

Elizabeth is strategic. She asked to complete the DNA Behavior discovery. It confirmed she is a visionary, structured, and takes the lead whenever possible. We all tend to look to her to make the tough calls. To make quick, confident decisions. She is always able to see and minimize the risks. But something changed recently. Perspective shifted. Losing control over the work environment caused her concern. Strategically she could easily find solutions to the lockdown issue, but now the authority to implement them was gone. 

Then there’s me, Vicki – DNA Behavior discovery process nails me to a tee. I am a facilitator, balanced, harmonious, discerning. I need the what-ifs answered. I pull back from all (even reasonable) spending in case something happens to the economy. I like to take time to make decisions, and above all else, I rely on the skills and stability of my colleagues to keep the ship steady. So from my perspective, everything is a bit shaky.

But heh, I’m a facilitator, which means I bring about outcomes by providing indirect assistance and guidance. I keep communication flowing and encourage and change the energy in the zoom room.

And that’s what I did. I ran a DNA Behavior team report for this little group. It showed the strength, pressure points, communication style, bias, and decision-making approach of our team, and so much more. We got together for an online meeting, and I used this information to change our collective perspective. I encouraged them to keep the issue, that is, in lockdown because of Covid, in focus. 

This ‘issue’ is not our fault, not within our power to change the current situation but most definitely within our control to change our perspective in dealing with it. We spent time reviewing our DNA Behavior reports and acknowledging where our pressure points were and how to manage them. We further realized (almost scarily) how fear can take a successful business off course, not because of the shutdown but because of the individual’s behavior and perspective.

We challenged each other’s decision-making. As a result, we are determined to use our inherent behavior and skills to see things differently and ride out this storm without damaging ourselves or the business.

We decided not to waste energy on the lockdown itself because we all had very different responses to that, but to intentionally use our skills to bend but not break in the season we currently face.

If you find yourself in a similar place – you have my sympathy, but do what we did. Head over to DNA Behavior.com and hit the free trial button. You may well find the new information changes your perspective as it did ours.

Identity Conversation Takeaway: Adaptability Comes with Knowing Your Identity

Over the past few months, Hugh Massie sat down with some of the most influential consultants and entrepreneurs. Through their identity conversations, they all shared the impact DNA Behavior and knowing their identity has had on their work. We also asked Hugh some of our own questions on identity, here are our takeaways.

Adaptable, Nimble, Responsive Comes from Knowing Identity

One of the most important notions Hugh discusses with Nikki Evans during this interview is the notion of adaptability.

We are in a world today that is extremely dynamic. The foundations of the world are extremely different. The effect that technology has on our everyday life is tremendous. Our ability to connect much easier has changes the way we communicate and work together.

We are also in a world that is financially complex and extremely interconnected. Because of the constant change in our environment, the notion of adaptability is a must. We’ve seen it happened numerous times over the past years. Businesses used to last for centuries, today, they don’t even make it past a generation. Whereas many factors can contribute to it, a company that doesn’t embrace adaptability will always struggle to sustain itself.

When we speak of environmental changes, we don’t only refer to changes inside of a business, but also inside of people’s lives. And therefore the ability to flex is extremely important. Change can also be perceived as a chance to seize opportunities. As part of knowing yourself and your identity, you’d be able to take an opportunity when you see it.

In this day and age, you have to be able to make timely impactful decisions, all while knowing for sure that it is the right decision. We all have to be clear about our identity, our purpose, the impactful decisions we make in life, and how we execute them.

If we look at this on a bigger scale and from a business’s perspective, you will see that once individuals are aware of their identity and behavioral style, and able to seize the opportunities they are presented, their performance would have a tremendous impact on the business.

There’s Power in Individual and Group Identity

We’ve covered the topic of individual identity and how important to familiarise ourselves with our behavioral style. In addition to that, there is a concept of group identity and group purpose that is worth looking into.

You see, not only do individuals have an identity, groups and businesses have an identity as well. The team identity might revolve around the leader and who’s been brought up to the team, but it also can revolve around the product or service the business offers.

Although the world is moving towards a direction where it is less product-driven and more human-centered. So the business’s identity is drawn from its people.

It’s even reflected in today’s marketing efforts. The Marketing campaigns that get the most traction are the ones that address the human factor of the business and discuss founders and team members as opposed to just product and value delivered.

Final Thoughts

We’ve said it before and we will say it again. It is all about human behavior and identity. Your team, no matter the type of business that you run, has got to embrace its identity and be clear on its purpose. It is less about the bottom line and the results and more about clarity of purpose.

You see when you’re truly living your identity and your purpose the money will follow. The pursuit of money by itself may not be as fulfilling as you may think. It actually tends to be the one approach that destroys wealth instead of preserving it.