Communication

Hugh Massie Year End Letter: Tough Years Drive Learning & Innovation

I know countless people who have taken the challenges and tumult of 2020 as an opportunity to level-set their life and business. So, as I put pen to paper to write my end-of-year letter, I’m reminded of courage like that.

Indeed, in the face of what may well be the most difficult global challenge most of us have faced, I salute those who have the courage and self-confidence to step into 2021 with new vigor, with a willingness to build their business, and maybe even with the inclination to take a different direction and start something new.

Whatever your (perhaps renewed) focus and outlook for 2021, I commend you.

DNA Behavior coping & flourishing during COVID-19

At DNA Behavior, we never could have known that the tools that are the core of our work and purpose would become significant to so many during the pandemic. A substantial number of businesses worked with us as they adapted to remote work. We helped them build a greater connection with their employees and their clients, which is vital to successful remote relationships.

These businesses gained access to scientifically based tools that enable them to manage the behavioral and communication issues these groups face as a consequence of remote work.

And, our Managing Director, Leon Morales (Initiator), and our Chief Learning Officer, Nikki Evans (Initiator), hosted a series of free webinars to help teams adjust to remote work and address best practices for remote team leadership. In this series we addressed common challenges and ways to handle miscommunications and uncertainties that arise. This series is available online for continued reference.

Our CTO, Ryan Scott (Reflective Thinker), donated his time to work with leaders at the University of Colorado Boulder. Ryan helped educate select leaders on how to move their teams to remote work, on behavioral attributes to adapt to this new work regime, and on accountability tools he uses while managing the DNA tech team.

Our CIL, Carol Pocklington (Facilitator), donated her time to speak with women in leadership who are required to work from home while also home-schooling children and running their businesses. They were keen to understand how to communicate with staff via social media or conferencing platforms, what previously unseen behaviors might surface and how best to juggle this tumultuous time.

Responding to the Digital Mandate

More than ever the global pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to become behaviorally smarter by providing digital solutions to meet the growing customized needs of employees and clients.

Fortunately, over the past two years we have enhanced our API capability, enabling a wide array of business types and sizes to leverage 500+ behavioral insights (covering virtually every human habit) via this “plug in.” The DNA API has added a significant human element to data and demographic information with behavioral details on the way a person communicates, invests, works and lives.

For example, financial advisors are now able to have a greater real-time understanding of their investors’ reactions to market shifts and be prompted to proactively engage so they are guided through these challenging times.

On the business operations side, the DNA API enables leaders to get real-time behavioral insights to better understand how people cope with online/remote working and how to motivate them based on their individual personalities.

A growing number of established and start-up businesses have embraced the idea of building behavioral insights directly into their tech platforms. This enables them to deliver enhanced engagement, productivity and pin-pointed solutions for each person/interaction. (Without jettisoning the tech they already have, as DNA’s API provides a behavioral plug-in for existing systems and platforms.)

Businesses also are growing as they have applied our tools and strategized new ways of working, investing, building business and staying connected with one another. Without this intersection of technology and behavior, none of this could have been done so easily and cost effectively – and at such a scale – for so many different organizations.

Building the Behavioral Ecosystem

Our development did not stop with the DNA API. In October, we announced the launch of the next generation behavior tech stack platform to facilitate API integration and a marketplace for our partners to sell their unique DNA Behavior-powered offerings around the world: The Helix Gateway Behavioral Network.

We were determined to build on the increased DNA API-enabled partnerships that had developed during this difficult year. The goal of the gateway is to connect partners or distributors with all of the resources needed to build, develop and scale behavior-enabled businesses which offer unique solutions that can deliver customized experiences. We’re onboarding distributors who facilitate and speed the work of organizations “plugging in” DNA’s “behavioral chip” to existing software and systems and new apps.

To accelerate the growth of this behavioral ecosystem – which, in turn, benefits all users – we recently completed a wholesale integration with Zapier, providing immediate access to over 2500 technology businesses. Zapier is the best solution that connects apps and automates workflows, making connectivity easy for our busy global clients.

When you add on top industry partners and distributors – such as Schwab, Salesforce, Wired to Perform, Brilliant fit, ARQ, Hadeda, Finwello and the like – the tech pathway to networking is simple and uncomplicated, ready to onboard the next tranche of digitally focused businesses into our behaviorally driven ecosystem.

Rapid change presents challenges for our clients and business partners. And, while we have had the opportunity to rapidly respond to the tech needs of our clients, we recognize that this transformation should always include people and relationships.

Every High-Performer Needs a Coach

In this difficult season we also recognized that powerful and private coaching customized to the individual leader is needed now more than ever, so we set up a DNA Coach Network.

Our behavioral management solutions, apps and tools have helped thousands of leaders, coaches, financial advisors, families and individuals achieve greater self-awareness and EQ. And, now – with the DNA Coach Network – even more people the world over can tap into these solutions and expertise.

 After all, behind every successful person is a coach, sounding board or team of advisors.

Onward into 2021!

As a serial entrepreneur, former wealth manager and “recovering CPA,” I recommend focusing on the TIPS principle because being able to clearly define Talent, Identity, Purpose and Significance (TIPS) sidelines frustration.

Individuals may well have a life vision but don’t have the confidence to get there without a coach. Without such guidance and reflection, they may lose focus to realize their vision.

A behavioral coach quickly identifies performance derailers. These can be natural DNA behavior-driven struggles, which are often strengths…but overplayed.

Beyond figuring out your TIPS, a behavioral coach also can identify behavioral blind spots that eventually become weaknesses. Very often this aspect of coaching can help determine how, where and why relationships have soured. This insight is critical for anyone building a new business or looking to rescue one that has fallen into a difficult place.

Through behavioral coaching, move forward with self-awareness, which (again) involves being conscious of different aspects of self, including traits, behaviors, feelings and EQ. With scientifically validated behavioral discovery, self-awareness can begin.

So, as we head into 2021, I wish you health, happiness and success as you stay connected to your TIPS. By doing so you will maximize your potential and mitigate conflicts that de-rail “good,” including your personal and business relationships.

Setting your annual intentionality

I look forward to continuing our journey together – or taking that first step if you’re just getting started with us. For now, I’ll leave you with this quote for reflection.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

What quote best frames the year you have planned for yourself or your organization? Drop me a line telling me about it: hugh.massie@dnabehavior.com

Diversity and Inclusion Make Teams Great

Is diversity and inclusion (DEI) in organizations and teams just the latest HR craze? Or maybe just a nod to equality compliance?

Neither. D&I, when introduced appropriately, mines the rich and often untapped talent within an organization. In fact, understanding what D&I means when implemented within a business can be the change that takes an organization from mediocrity to greatness.

Applied to teams, D&I opens doors to innovation, experience, creativity and an unmatched depth of knowledge. But – and it’s a big but – a multifaceted D&I strategy, if not handled appropriately, can lead to chaos and confusion.

The key is to tap into the inherent behaviors and biases of individuals. A highly-validated behavioral discovery process (think a quick-but-thorough assessment tool for every team player) will deliver this insight quickly, accurately and with comprehensive reports that cover every aspect of an individual’s inherent workplace and life behavior.

Such a process provides insight into hidden abilities, revealing behaviors below the surface that, if not managed, might result in disruptive behavior that could unsettle the team. It will highlight communication styles, which helps build a more engaged and productive workforce. Further, the process delivers a culture of openness, mutual respect and trust in the business environment that should satisfy any cultural or legal requirement.

Be mindful that D&I isn’t just about ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other such factors; its also about the behaviors that drive performance and reveal (and channel) such behaviors, biases and communication styles to foster successful team outcomes.

Harnessing these differences without the use of a behavioral insight tool can be challenging, if not impossible. People with different backgrounds bring unique information and experiences to tasks. They also bring a significant range of communication styles, decision-making approaches, and thought processes.

In any team, there will be those who passionately and tenaciously bring a vision to completion. Others will be spontaneous, creative and challenge conventional ideas. And there will be those whose experiences and behaviors cross-pollinate, bringing unique perspectives and approaches to work in different functional areas.

Plus, its good business practice to embrace diversity and inclusion: Complex and challenging issues are more likely to be resolved when a team includes a range of talents, thought processes and behaviors.

Dr. David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and Summit, and Dr. Heidi Grant, a social psychologist, note in the Harvard Business Review that, striving to increase workplace diversity is not an empty slogan – it is a good business decision. A 2015 McKinsey report on 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have returns above the industry mean.

Teams formed based on diversity and inclusion that are behaviorally aware, behaviorally smart and which include a range of different skills, are more likely to examine facts, consider a range of options and opinions, and remain objective. They will challenge each other professionally, without causing offense or disconnect. Biases will be openly discussed and resolved. Counterproductive thinking will be constructively argued to find mutually beneficial solutions. All of this leads to more effective decision making and organizational and business improvement.

As an example, Bain and Co. research shows that decision-making effectiveness is 95 percent correlated with financial performance.

Still, diversity and inclusion cannot be a one-off initiative. You should incorporate D&I at the hiring stage, and it’s a continuing work in progress, made more effective by the introduction of tools that reveal hidden behaviors and communication styles. D&I evolves, so your approach should too.?Diversity and inclusion make teams great and inclusion will set your organization apart from your competitors and improve your bottom line.

Using Behavioral Insights To Survive – And Thrive? – At Thanksgiving

Millions of American families come together (either in person or virtually) to enjoy Thanksgiving. But whether it is Thanksgiving or any other event, bringing people together does not necessarily equal a fun time. Why is that?

Its simple: We are all behaviorally different. At a time when family should enjoy each other around a splendid table, there is a potential for long-hidden conflicts, resentments and judgments to surface. Even if the family agrees that certain topics are banned from the gathering, that doesn’t mean that they don’t raise their head in some way.

Family coming together for Thanksgiving celebration should be able to avoid stress and conflict. But here’s a thought: Why don’t families work on their relationships? Why don’t they care sufficiently about family dynamics to try to understand and manage behavioral differences?

It’s a conundrum. Most people sitting around your table will likely invest time and resources into understanding workplace relationships. The point being to ensure everyone works effectively together to produce great workplace results.

Why then wouldn’t the same investment of time and resources be appropriate for families?

Here at DNA Behavior, we are often faced with this dilemma when advising families around their finances. This is a complex time for families. Generations have different ideas about how best to disburse family wealth. It becomes even more complex when each family member has a different approach to money.

Family is the most important group in society and yet it can be the greatest source of conflict and disagreement. Taking time to build healthy relationships within the family through understanding communication and behavioral styles does benefit each individual member in all walks of life.

So, here are five thoughts to navigate family struggles during this holiday season:
1. All families have elements of behavior that challenge us. Think of a particular family member whose behavior is challenging and then list at least three things about that person that you value. Then use these key strengths to build a relationship with them.
2. Make a commitment to understand your own communication and behavioral style and use that knowledge to better recognize how best to communicate with other family members.
3. If you are behaviorally engaged with your family members you will focus on the issue when conflict arises (and not the person).
4. Regardless of your communication or behavioral style, everyone reacts well to appreciation. Consider how often you express this to family members. A word of appreciation and acknowledgement of their value to the family can change the dynamic in a room.
5. Make a point of spending time with a family member that you don’t know very well. Focus your communication on them. Be interested in what they have to say; remember their conversation may not stimulate you, but the fact that you made time for them and listened could be the highlight of their holiday season. (Or may at least give them new insight into you.)

Thanksgiving should be a time to make wonderful memories, and it often only takes one family member to change the environment either for good or not. How about this Holiday Season you make the commitment to be the one to be behaviorally smart and help navigate everyone through to a Thanksgiving to remember?

The takeaway from this is that when a crisis does hit the family, they will be able to unite and draw strength and support from one another. Here’s where to start. Head over to https://dnabehavior.com/start-a-free-trial/ and complete your DNA Behavior Natural Behavior Discovery.

Then forward this article to everyone invited to your Thanksgiving celebration so they can complete their discovery. Then let behavioral insights be the fun topic around the dinner table. Who knows? They may even become one of the things some people are most thankful for this year!

Corona virus Fear is Not a Winning Investment Strategy

Coronavirus Fear is Not a Winning Investment Strategy

In crisis the tendency is for all of us to react emotionally and follow the herd. With headlines screaming a global economic downfall due to a flu pandemic, remember you are genetically hardwired to react in certain ways.

If you find yourself responding outside your inherent behavior because your reaction is to the coronavirus not the market turbulence, STOP – and check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Get a handle on the facts and the reality of the situation before you make a decision, hastily dumping investments or rushing to add suddenly inexpensive “buys” to your portfolio.

Behaviorally smart investors and their advisors know that everyone reacts differently to turbulent markets. Don’t get mixed up with the herd mentality; don’t be distracted by outgoing colleagues and friends rushing to jump on the bandwagon of what everyone else is doing.

If you’ve found this last week unbearable, its likely you’ve misjudged or are unaware of your own behavior and risk tolerance. This is important insight for every investor to know.

If you have a financial advisor skilled in understanding financial personality, be guided by them.

If not, commit to understanding your own financial personality before it derails your investment strategy and wrecks your retirement plan. It only takes 10-minutes and may be the best investment you make.

Learn more about Financial DNA’s Market Mood. Questions or further information- inquiries@DNAbehavior.com.

Managing Client Emotions in Times of Market Volatility

Managing Client Emotions in Times of Market Volatility

I’ve just spent 26 hours travelling from Australia to the UK. Wearing a face mask (on the advice of my doctor).

With global anxiety on the rise and many analysts working the data to understand the impact of the coronavirus on economic growth, I got to thinking why in three of the busiest airports and two packed planes, so few people were taking the precaution of wearing a mask.

Realistically speaking, I trusted my health provider to advise me: Wear a mask, carry hand sanitizer and stay away from people coughing.

Can financial markets wear a mask?

I looked around at all my fellow travellers and staff and wondered what advice they had been given about protection from the virus, and why so many seemed oblivious to the potential threat.

This got me thinking about what their reaction might be as I read the financial headlines. Headlines across the world that are not giving much hope to investors, nor to entire economies. I wondered if those same people choosing not to wear masks would be quite so nonchalant watching their life savings plummet.

Maybe the health advisors knew their patients so well that they called them and assured them that, according to the data they held about their health, with their strong immune system they would be okay!

Still, shares on Wall Street fall, scream the headlines. World markets are seemingly in freefall. Not a good time for financial advisors to be dealing with clients who see their life savings tank.

So, what of the financial industry? How are advisors going to stop the inevitable panic of their clients as they see markets tumble? How can they steady the ship?

“Behaviorally smart” advisors to the rescue

While the financial industry rushes to understand and interpret its data, behaviorally smart financial advisors who have invested into the DNA Behaviors Financial Personality Discovery will have learned more about their clients unique financial personalities and the power of these insights enables them to serve clients more effectively. Particularly during times of market volatility.

Markets cannot be predicted by advisors and investors. The role of the advisor should be about managing the behavioral biases and responses of their clients. The behaviorally smart advisor is in a key position to influence the reaction of clients.

As human beings we all have certain decision-making biases that are hard-wired into us from early in life. These hard-wired behavioral reactions to market activity can be predicted, as they are inherently part of our “DNA”, which is scientifically measurable.

The biases will usually reveal themselves in times of higher market volatility – like now! – when a person is under more pressure or when a major life event takes place.

DNA Behavior’s Market Mood

Market Mood graph

For the first time, advisors can predict the Market Mood of clients in times of volatility and have at their fingertips the customized communication keys and instructions for proactively taking action.

I suggest that when a persons financial well-being is under threat, they may well have a different reaction and, metaphorically speaking, rush to put on a mask to protect themselves.

Savvy advisors, learn more about Market Mood. And contact us if you want to know more about these tools.

People behave differently

People Behave Differently – Thankfully

This article first appeared on HR Management App.

As the founder of a Human Performance Acceleration firm, I’ve come to understand the importance of diversity, not just on boards and in leadership, but in my own business.

Through broadening the composition of the leadership team, I’ve found that such diversity increases the richness of discussion and expands perspectives from the top down. The challenge is managing the differences such diversity brings. No two people think or behave alike.

As a firm, we manage behavioral differences. And we have technology to help with this. In fact, that IS our business. That said, on a personal level and as a leader who is fast-paced, results-focused and on to the next big thing while everyone else is still thinking about the last big thing, I needed to understand and manage the behavioral differences in my own team.

LEADERSHIP-TEAM-SLIDE

From the top down, and that meant me

As the leader I couldn’t delegate this. This required my full focus and attention if I were to build a successful business.

Take an example team such as mine. The first hurdle was figuring out roles.

  • What did the business need to grow successfully?
  • How much involvement did I need in that process?
  • Where were the priorities?
  • What skills did I have to be able to manage a diverse team?

It became clear, very quickly, that managing a diverse team, all with spectacularly differing skill sets, required some thought.

Here’s what I did. Many of the lessons are transferable:

  1. I completed a scientifically validated behavioral discovery. One that not only revealed my inherent behaviors but also my learned behaviors.
  2. I then took advice on how best to manage myself. I needed to understand my own trigger points. I needed to check myself before I wrecked myself (and others). I needed to understand my EQ and what I needed to put in place in the organizational structure to enable individuals to contribute to business growth, using their skill sets, at a pace I accepted. This was not easy.
  3. As I hired executives, I took every member of my leadership team through the same process. This was invaluable as we not only came to understand each other, we bonded. We built mutual understanding and respect for each other.
  4. After about four years I found I could delegate more and more control to my managing director, leaving me free to promote the business on the speaking circuit, for instance.

Recognizing and leveraging differences

The biggest challenge I faced was trusting others to run the business. This came with time. More importantly, it became possible because our understanding of one another’s behavioral differences meant we could manage those differentiations and work effectively together.

Our core business has always been about understanding behaviors. Our industry focus is wide and varied but has tended to be in the financial advisor-client relationship space, as well as business leadership.

Now, go big

Through our API (Application Programming Interface) solution, we now deliver real-time behavioral management solutions through validated behavioral insights that connect, customize and power human performance. That was crucial because it enables this understanding and deployment of differences methodology scalable.

If it didn’t scale, it wouldn’t be very useful – at least not in a practical way – beyond small organizations. Happily, the scalable customization of experiences and relationships across a whole enterprise is now a reality.

This process of getting the People Culture at my own firm in order leaves me free to travel globally to promote our solution and to invest time in leaders still making their way on the journey of building a business. What could a thoughtful People Culture process like that described above enable you and your organization to accomplish?