Business Planning

Our Word for 2021 Is Authenticity

It has been a frequent practice as of late to choose a focus word that would sum-up your current or upcoming year. The purpose of it is to set an intention, a goal you seek to achieve, or a quality of some sort that you want to ensure you actions throughout the year are being filtered by.

The start of a year is usually a natural time to reflect, celebrate, and plan. What has been known for decades as new year’s resolution has now been reframed as new years intentions.

This is something that we at DNA Behavior have been doing for years. We built our process to be inclusive of many qualities, the main one being authenticity. You see the process of gathering scientifically based behavioral data is interesting. Filled with comments and contradictions.

We at DNA Behavior have seen and heard them all. The most often heard is:

  • that is such an accurate report about me
  • I thought completing the process would be easier
  • but the process was hard
  • I didn’t know which way to respond
  • I had to just go for it
  • look at how accurate the outcomes are
  • I really like the DNA results, but the journey was hard

And so much more. We make no apologies for the 10-minute DNA Natural Behavior Discovery questionnaire using 138 different words in 46 interlocking Forced Choice Questions. The questions are deliberately tight so that a specific outcome is achieved. Definitely, a right data in, right data out approach has been taken.

We know the importance of being able to authentically defend our discovery process is why we are so well positioned in the marketplace. When the DNA Discovery Process was designed it was critical, too, that the questions removed situational, cultural and educational biases and could not be easily gamed. Further, at all costs we wanted highly predictive measurable behavioral insights which would be universally applicable across the globe for all people and remain true for the long term regardless of the situation or circumstances the person is in. In other words, it would get to the core of who the person is. We knew this holy grail of behavioral measurement could be achieved and is forever grateful for the knowledge and guidance of Carol Pocklington and Lee Ellis to show the pathway.

Yes, we could simplify the questionnaire, but why would we? That said, we listened to our customers, and one of the important business keys we discovered was that customer concerns are a rich source of marketing material. One of our friends – David Rendell talks about in Freak Marketing that looking to your greatest weaknesses will be sitting your greatest strength.

If customers were loving the outcome but not the process, what was this saying about our discovery process? We discovered (though we knew it) that our process may be antagonizing our customers by the tight choices it asks them to make when choosing Most Like and Least Like from 3 non-situational words or phrases across 46 questions. Some say, I am all of those in about 6 to 8 of the questions.

What the questions are doing is getting the participant to prioritize their greatest strengths/talents. It is not saying for the 3 choices they are not like them in any way. In varying degrees, we exhibit all the words in some situations. It is more about how regularly and strongly the behaviors are exhibited.

Overall, we found ourselves being able to offensively defend the questionnaire since it more reliably delivered better, deeper and more incisive insights into unique behaviors over long time periods. Again, when you must make serious decisions, do you want to participate in a fun and sometimes lengthy process which gives you a shallow and unreliable result? Or, would you rather participate in a quick but tight process which provides a deep set of very accurate insights that will be true for your life time?

Our purpose with the DNA Discovery process is to uncover the natural DNA behavior that sits below the surface; it is not seen because it is masked by the more dynamic (situational) learned behaviors that are shaped by the person’s life experiences, education and values.

Therefore, a person’s overall personality, at any stage of their life, may be seen to change, but their core natural behavior will remain very consistent. Further, revealing core natural behavior draws out their inherent talents, strengths and struggles (blind spots) and communication styles.

The DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process was designed to holistically uncover, capture and measure all dimensions of a person’s natural DNA behavioral style as the core of their personality. That is their ingrained, go-to, hard-wired behavior that was set by the time they were 3 years old. This is how people inherently make decisions, take direction and work with others; how they interact and build relationships, achieve results, handle information, complete tasks, develop trust, set and achieve goals, take and live with risks and their learning styles. This also includes their communication style, financial decision-making style, behavioral (finance) biases and their response to market movement (as an example).

After significant academic research and discussions with our independent team of experts, we selected the Forced Choice Assessment Model over the more traditionally used Normative (Likert-type) Scaling Model for measuring Natural DNA behavior. This led to the design of the DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Process; a system capable of assessing 8 major personality factors as well as 24 related sub-factors. The fact we can reliably measure 32 behaviors from 138 words across 46 questions is remarkable given that other systems need 15 to 25 questions to measure 1 behavior with less accuracy.

So, what is the Forced Choice Assessment- The traditional Forced Choice Assessment format is a descriptor used in psychometrics to signify a specific type of measure in which respondents compare two or more desirable options and pick the one that is most preferred. This is contrasted with measures that use Normative/Likert-type scales, in which respondents choose the score (e.g. 1 to 5) which best represents the degree to which they agree with a statement. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipsative

A correctly structured Forced Choice format using singular words (versus sentences and statements) presents the individual with item options that are equal in desirability with situational, cultural and educational biases removed; this ensures response choices they make will be far less likely to be influenced by social desirability, circumstances, experiences education or environment. Therefore, the outcomes will reveal inherent behaviors, hardwired core traits and strengths and struggles of the person being assessed which are universally applicable.

We are aggressively authentic in defending our method, the outcomes and the process. Were not embarrassed about this. Our approach is intentional.

Tight questions, using the Forced Choice methodology, get great life results and outcomes which are very strong. This enables individuals to understand their unique inherent behavior and from that position make strong life and business decisions.

The Forced Choice format forces the participant to instinctively choose their answer, and respond more truthfully, as there is not one obviously desirable quality to pick from. Also, the Forced Choice format reduces the potential for the participant to agree or disagree. A Forced Choice format using triads of items (a block of 3) enables greater insight into the interactions between the items for enabling more specific measurement of the behavioral factors (traits).

Further – the results place behavioral knowledge firmly in the hands of the individual. From this position –

  • They are better able to understand who they are in terms of strengths and struggles.
  • They have substance upon which to base life, financial and business decisions.
  • It tells people how to manage their communication style.
  • It reveals talents both overt and hidden that can be applied to career choices.

One of the important outcomes of this discovery approach is to understand that strengths, (upon which most people focus) can, under certain circumstances, become struggles and are difficult to manage without self-awareness and knowledge.

Why not spend 10 to 12 minutes learning about your own unique natural DNA style. Take the Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery process or the Financial DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Process. Use the link below to take you to the questionnaire.

This scientifically based and validated discovery will reveal significant aspects of your natural behavioral style that is the core of your personality. It will help you as make healthy life, business and financial decisions.

Contact us if you would like to discuss this. Our highly skilled consultants will provide you with feedback on the discovery and help you to take the next step in building a behaviorally smart life. To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

CEO Newsletter 2018

At the year end, looking at the year ahead…

The ever-quotable Warren Buffett says, “Never invest in a business you can’t understand.” Well, as we round out another terrific year, I want to challenge you a bit by noting that many of us regularly invest in people we may not understand. So, why make relatively blind “people investments” when you (hopefully) would not make such a financial investment?

Granted, I am a bit of a shameless evangelist for the power of validated behavioral insights, but I genuinely believe they are applicable – and I would venture imperative – across virtually any scenario, organization or industry. Harvard research tells us that 87% of business and life performance challenges are caused by behavioral differences. So, applying our proven online behavioral management solutions, may not take the number of those challenges to zero, but we can get you damn close.

One reason we can do that – in addition to our powerful products and processes – is that we have an impressive cadre of partners and colleagues who help us vet and deploy the solutions. In turn, our phenomenal clients invest in the process with us, providing valuable feedback that helps us – and them – play at a higher level. Winning is good, but a win-win is better.

It takes a (global) village

Because of those unparalleled alliances, we’re poised to not only play better in 2019, but to play bigger. Our team has discovered and embraced the book “Play Bigger”, which cleverly and clearly identifies the approach needed for positioning a company for high growth: It’s all about identifying the problem you are solving and setting your business up to be a category king (think Uber).

It is more about creativity in market positioning than directly disrupting an industry, though disruption can be the impact or part of it. Whatever work you are doing; this book is a “must read”. In fact, I am so enthusiastic about the book that I’ll commit to sending the first 18 people who respond to this (2019 will be DNA Behavior’s 18th year) the book – on me. Digital or hard-copy, your choice.

At DNA Behavior we are solving the problem of how an organization delivers meaningful customized experiences to its employees and clients on a mass scale. To do that you must know their unique style, and knowing their marketing “persona” based on demographics is not enough. Two people can have the same persona, but not the same personality. So, unless personality insights – beginning with communication insights – are integrated, you do not get there.

Meeting and exceeding the market

As we play bigger, we’ll be demonstrating, in the words of the book, what category we are king of: Online behavioral management. In 2019 we are launching our end-to-end real-time behavioral management tooling – a highly automated discovery profile debrief that is situationally dynamic. We already have this in Financial DNA with the “Market Mood” tool that integrates real-time stock market movements to behavioral style. But in 2019 we will take this further and also launch a platform for Business DNA. We can only do this now because technological developments allow us to, and the market place is demanding customization.

Thanks to you, 2018 has been a landmark year for landing major deals that implement our API strategy, through which we become the “behavioral chip” inside the tech platforms of other businesses. This helps us realize our brand promise of delivering meaningful experiences to employees and clients customized to their unique style. In particular, we have had success with large financial services firms and banks launching platforms in the employee financial wellness space. They all have very different angles and approaches – but the key point is that the online management of financial personality is here to stay and becoming a category king in its own right. This reinforces our strategy.

Validation and affirmation

We completed one of the world’s largest known behavioral finance studies looking at the financial behavior data of more than 35,000 people and how it connects to validated personality insights. The research demonstrates a high degree of alignment between the spending habits, planned giving, investing style and other behaviors to the personality style measured by DNA Behavior. We knew our system produces highly predictive results with a 91% overall reliability, this research confirms how people live it out.

Deloitte’s just-released 2019 Banking Industry Outlook also affirms our work and the path ahead we’ll be on with our banking (and other financial) partners and clients. This Big Four firm is optimistic, noting promising times ahead for banking and capital markets, as well as opportunities to double down on transformational technology, including an even better understanding and leveraging of data. We’re excited to be part of deciphering what that means to different organizations and helping them implement. (In the meantime, you may want to add this great Deloitte report to your reading list.)

We know what’s ahead; thanks for being part of it

Finally, our “why” in business is to foster people to become more self-empowered. The work noted above is a big step to achieving this “why” goal on a mass scale. We want to be part of changing the culture of business with the adoption of an Understanding People before Numbers approach. We know that, businesses of any category must do far more work in the area of culture if they are to grow on a sustainable basis. Behavioral management is just one of many components needed to build a strong culture.

Looping back to the wisdom of Warren, Buffett says, “Only when you combine sound intellect with emotional discipline do you get rational behavior.” I would posit that you also need that winning combination in order to optimize your organizational culture. So, in 2019 we will be championing the growth of culture and want all of you involved.

Let’s play bigger!

Going Your Own Way

Fix or Finesse: Your Culture Needs Attention

Every organization has a culture – as a leader you need to know whether the culture is healthy or not. Toxic culture must be addressed but so should healthy culture to see if it needs tweaking.

Changing the culture in an organization can be a nightmare for a leader. If a change in leadership is because of a poor performing business, it can become incredibly frustrating for a new CEO to have to sideline results to focus on changing the culture.

change

But here’s a thought; what is your culture? Would it stand up to scrutiny? Are your values open to scrutiny both in your personal and business life?

Investopedia defines Corporate Culture as “the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.”

Success comes from understanding the behaviors and motivations of the people. Only then can cultural change have a hope of succeeding. Using a highly-validated discovery such as DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process, leaders can identify, in advance, the people’s ability to cope with cultural change and how it should be introduced and communicated. Only then can CEOs know that whatever they introduce will work.

Culture change requires strong, focused, versatile and decisive leadership. A person’s performance needs to be addressed in relation to their behaviors and personality, not necessarily to their ability. Knowing an individual’s personality traits in advance, and how, or if, they fit the proposed organizational culture and values, can make all the difference in terms of the success or failure of the proposed changes.

There are several keys for CEOs that will support their cultural change efforts.

  1. If no one is talking and boasting about the culture of the organization, it’s a sure sign there isn’t one, or if there is, it’s toxic.
  2. It starts at the top – often said, but rarely practiced. A leader who knows their own personality, their EQ, their communication style, their bias (yes, we all have them) and their own personal values, are more likely to be able to introduce cultural change than a leader who does not have this insight.
  3. Measure the current culture – maybe not everything needs to change.
  4. The use of a validated personality discovery process can quickly identify those able to manage cultural change and who are behaviorally smart enough to capture culture and vision quickly and run with it.
  5. Data that delivers accurate information about people can identify quickly those who can be used as ambassadors to manage the introduction of cultural change. (And it won’t always be the obvious employees)
  6. Hiring – audit your hiring processes – introduce a validated personality profiling system. Set a hiring benchmark. Don’t settle for second best. Re-training existing employees could be a more effective option.
  7. When introducing a cultural change training program, keep auditing it to ensure it’s relevant and working.
  8. CEOs – it’s important not underestimate the power of your regular communication with the business. Use your communication to acknowledge the people who have disproportionate influence in the organization and are working with you to introduce the cultural change.
  9. If there are hot spots and resistance to the cultural change, name and shame them.
  10. CEOs – remember to create a vision of what the future for the organization looks like after the cultural change.

In conclusion – here’s the prize: as the culture develops and individuals take responsibility for what happens in their work areas, problems are solved where they happen and by those affected. This frees up leadership to focus on the business and its opportunities.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

Leadership

11 Leadership Styles That Shape A Winning Organization

Building and shaping the culture of an organization begins with the behavior of the leaders. When leaders are behaviorally smart, and understand their leadership and communication style, they are more likely to set the kind of example they want everyone to follow.

There is no one leadership style fits all. The key, through self-awareness, is to find the balance that works with the teams you lead.

The Fast-Paced Leader

A leader who is fast paced, logical, challenging and tends to be critical may well deliver results, but can damage the talent they are responsible for leading. This style of leadership births a culture of stress, staff turnover and unwillingness to want to work under their leadership.

The Analytical Leader

The analytical, systematic, rigid, work by the rules, style of leadership may be a gatekeeper in terms of the processes of the organization, but can shut down innovation, spontaneity and the kind of creative approach to decision making required when things go wrong. This inflexible and rigid style of leadership does not inspire a culture of shared goals, thoughts and ideas.

The Skeptical Leader

In today’s rapidly changing market, businesses need innovation to survive. A skeptical leader who is not open to ideas, continually questions, is guarded and fails to build trust with their teams, will not create the kind of innovative culture that breeds success. Finding a successful balance between trust and a healthy skepticism that protects the business is tough.

The Competitive Leader

Similarly, leaders whose focus is solely on results, who is very competitive and wants always to be the one who sets the agenda, can push teams too hard to achieve goals. If these leaders see targets slipping away they can become manipulative and assume a driven style of leading that causes teams to crash and burn. This approach leads to a toxic culture – very difficult to recover from.

The Peoples Leader

Leaders who are highly people focused and expressive, can inspire passion and purpose, but if this style of leadership is not based on a foundation of a clearly articulated vision and mission, the culture they create is one of chaos and confusion – but fun. Leaders such as this need strong boundaries and need to learn to focus on one goal at a time.

The Risk-Taking Leader

Some leaders are comfortable with taking risks. They know their limitations and are comfortable with managing failure. However, when risk taking leads to over confidence, leaders will cut corners placing the business in jeopardy. Further, team members assume the culture of risk extends to them. This can lead to outlier behavior as they take inappropriate risk that undermines the organization.

The Creative Leader

The highly creative leader embraces new ideas, can be quite abstract in their thinking and open to imaginative approaches to decision making. However, such creative ideas need to have value, they can’t be random as this leads to a culture of anything goes. Creativity in leadership works when it’s part of a culture that is sensitive to teams, colleagues and the overall needs of the business.

The Cooperative Leader

Not many organizations survive on a cooperative style of decision making. When a leader is seen to be compliant others very quickly take advantage of them. They may well be able to communicate the vision and encourage input from teams, but without their own understanding of how to be behaviourally smart, this style of leaderships leads to the loudest voice getting their way. Further, it can lead to a culture of frustration as the leader seeks everyone’s opinion before making a call.

The Reserved Leader

Generally, the reserved, reflective leader tends to be a loner. They do not have an open-door policy and can be withdrawn. This style of leadership breeds a culture of suspicion and can lead to more outgoing team members driving the culture and making decisions that are inappropriate. However, when the leader understands the importance of building relationships, this style of leader is likely to be much more accurate in their instructions. They prefer to get things right first time and will reflect and focus on this.

The Patient Leader

When a leader is overly understanding and tolerant there will always be others who will take advantage of this. A culture of leniency will prevail and mistakes will be repeated leading to frustration and discontent from team members. Generally, this leader tries to create a culture of stability, believing that everyone will function more effectively within the environment. This approach only works when everyone has knowledge of each other’s preferred environment for working, otherwise the culture will be too relaxed.

The Spontaneous Leader

Spontaneity challenges many people who prefer leadership to be structured and predictable. A spontaneous leader creates a culture of impulsiveness and lack of planning and forethought. Spontaneity panics some people and can lead to disruption and stress in the workplace.

A Leader who can create a successful organization culture will not only understand their own natural behavior and how to manage it, they will invest time gaining insight into the behaviors of their teams. When they achieve this balance, the culture they create looks like this:

  • There is a shared vision – communicated in a way that everyone feels valued in role for delivering it
  • There are high levels of personal confidence
  • Everyone has a can-do attitude
  • Teams collectively look for solutions
  • The leaders listen to other ideas and suggestions
  • The individuals feel motivated
  • Attrition is low
  • There are clear goals and everyone knows where they fit in delivering them
  • Success is shared
  • Trust goes both ways
  • There are quantifiable measurable outcomes that demonstrate the culture of the organization

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

As a Financial Advisor, how do you advise Entrepreneurs

Advising Entrepreneurs, as a Financial Advisor

A good idea, a solid strategy, an understanding of clients genetic makeup could be a ticket to their success. But without this insight – failure is more likely both for you as an advisor and for the client who wants to be an entrepreneur.

DNA Behavior International’s extensive research from recent academic research and studies supports the findings that a person is born with entrepreneurial genes. Providing advice to a client like this could be tricky.

A key for financial advisors is to understand the genetic makeup of an entrepreneur. What makes them tick. All entrepreneurs have similar characteristics. Their minds are genetically wired in the same way. In other words, they tend to depart from established patterns of thinking. Their resilience and appetite for risk are inherent qualities. The more mindful financial advisors are in their understanding of the entrepreneurial mind, the greater the chances of success in delivering sound targeted advice.

The Business DNA research concludes that entrepreneurs have the following genes in descending order of dominance:

  1. Resilience (Measured by the Fast-Paced trait) – they achieve results, manage setbacks and rationally take quick action.
  2. Risk Taker (Measured by the Risk trait) – confidently take risks and tolerant of losses.
  3. Creativity (Measured by the Creative trait) – innovative with ideas and seeks to differentiate.
  4. Work Ethic and Focus (Measured by the Pioneering trait) – pursues goals and is often ambitious and competitive.
  5. Charisma (Measured by the Outgoing trait) – outgoing, connects with a lot of people and influences people to follow them.

Entrepreneurs are confident, passionate and determined to succeed. They are comfortable taking the risk and will invest heavily in their business venture, maybe to the detriment of other areas of their life.

However, being genetically predisposed towards entrepreneurialism doesn’t guarantee that an individual will become an entrepreneur and then whether they will succeed. It is not just enough to be born with the entrepreneurial gene, people must do something with it. Financial advisors need to be able to dig below the surface to understand the dynamics of the entrepreneurial client and then can target advice.

Behaviorally smart financial advisors should be:

  • Comfortable being a user to test the financial validity of an opportunity.
  • Confident enough to challenge ideas and ask questions.
  • Trustworthy enough to encourage yet confront when the entrepreneur’s ideas are spinning out of control.

When financial advisors understand that Entrepreneurs are driven by the need to succeed and control their own destiny, they are less likely to put them in a client box. They won’t deliver mundane advice but will recognize the importance of getting inside the mind and genetics of an entrepreneur.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

to be an entrepreneur

Today I’m Going to be an Entrepreneur!

DNA blog

Yes, there are times individuals wake up with an amazing idea and are convinced they are the next Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. They persuade themselves that they are an entrepreneur. They may even attract investment for their idea. The market might be excited by this new offering BUT the truth is that most entrepreneurs fail to get their businesses off the ground. Even if they do, building and sustaining a successful business is rare.

The 2015 US Census Bureau reports that 400,000 new businesses are started every year in the USA but that 470,000 are dying, a worrying statistic.

John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO of 20 years, says this – More than one-third of businesses today will not survive the next 10 years. Shikhar Ghos, in his recent Harvard University study, claimed that three out of every four venture-backed firms fail.

The strengths that make people entrepreneurs are counterbalanced by struggles that can get in the way of success. Without this self-understanding, decisions will be made that can cause the enterprises to fail.

Much research exists now to confirm that entrepreneurs are born and not made. Having conducted extensive research to validate these findings, DNA Behavior International has identified the top five (5) genetic traits that are to be found in entrepreneurs.

  1. Resilience (Measured by the Fast-Paced trait) – they achieve results, manage setbacks and rationally take quick action.
  2. Risk Taker (Measured by the Risk trait) – confidently take risks and tolerant of losses.
  3. Creativity (Measured by the Creative trait) – innovative with ideas and seeks to differentiate.
  4. Work Ethic and Focus (Measured by the Pioneering trait) – pursues goals and is often ambitious and competitive.
  5. Charisma (Measured by the Outgoing trait) – outgoing, connects with a lot of people and influences people to follow them.

Having these genetic traits does not guarantee success for entrepreneurs. Learning to be behaviourally smart in using the powerful genetic ingredients they were born with is more likely to deliver success.

Of the 5 identified entrepreneurial traits listed above – resilience leads the pack. Building a business, handling the enormous pressure of setbacks, rejection of ideas, sustaining a business, managing staff, and dealing with market expectations, will never be plain sailing. If you are ever to see blue water, understanding the importance of resilience is a key factor.

Through their DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process, the entrepreneurial genetic traits can be measured. The graphic below highlights, in order of strength, from the top down the behavioral factors (genes) which an entrepreneur exhibits:

Factors Performance

The resilience gene is measured by the fast-paced trait. When this trait measures more than 55 – results will be achieved, setbacks will be managed and the individual will be able to rationally take quick action in any given circumstance.

Success in business is rarely about how many challenges you face so much as it is a matter of how you respond to the challenges. Entrepreneurs who are behaviorally smart, and understand their personality and genetic makeup, will have a level of resilience which allows them to face an almost constant barrage of challenges without ever weakening their resolve or losing their passion.

Interestingly the DNA Behavior Research program found that when comparing entrepreneurs who had built a $10 million turnover business as against a $1 million turnover business, that all the key DNA factors do not measure differences in an overall sense, but they do measure stronger.

Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Are you heading up a business you founded? Have you taken over a family business? Whatever the situation that brought you to this season of life, if you don’t know your entrepreneurial traits and understand how to manage them, and perhaps more importantly, how to fill the gaps in your talent, you may be heading for the failure statistic graveyard.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior