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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.

Maximize Employee Financial Wellness, Tailoring it Individually

– First Published on Nasdaq –

How many of your employees are on sick leave as a result of financial stress? Is there a responsibility for employers to know this? And if they had this insight, what could and should they do about it?

You see, there is growing research to support this trend: Bank of America’s 2020 Workplace Benefits Report notes that 62 percent of employers feel “extremely” responsible for their employees’ financial wellness.

We all know that absenteeism – whatever the cause – has a significant impact on business. Many consultants, HR pros, and other executives can quote various absenteeism stats, but how many of us can quote the stats for absenteeism due to financial stress?

Add to this: We know the unprecedented pandemic and its ongoing consequences have added to money stress for many.

Manifestations of money stress

The effects of employee financial stress may include everything from arguing, trouble sleeping, feeling angry or fearful, mood swings, tiredness, loss of appetite, and withdrawal from others. Of more concern for organizations, without intervention, financial stress can lead to unproductive and potential rogue behavior. From unintentional misuse of company resources to outright misappropriation.

Financially sound at work

And it’s not just limited to absenteeism. Money-related stress can also lead to employees coming to work despite being physically or mentally unwell. They may be distracted, unfocused, and where machinery or other physical aspects are involved, a danger to themselves and others.

Therefore, the need for financial wellness is clear, but what role should an employer have in this? Financial stress rose for many people during the pandemic, and it’s not unusual to hear of employers feeling responsible for their employees’ financial wellness.

A cynic might think employers need to ensure a full quota of staff available for productivity. Still, from the identity conversations – assessing core strengths as they align with your identity, gifts, and brand – we’ve been having over the past several months, altruism is emerging as the employer winner. (In their simplest form, think of DNA Behavior’s identity conversations as helping individuals identify and leverage their superpower.)

Leaders are investing in financial wellness programs. They are responsible for asking the tough questions and looking to the financial services industry to deliver effective employee wellness programs they as leaders can implement.

Organizations want their employees to be financially sound and free from financial worries. And yes, it will:

  • Strengthen productivity, as financial worries don’t sidetrack employees.
  • Reduce expensive employee attrition.
  • Give rise to improved physical and mental health.
  • Increase employee engagement and retention, as you are known as being a caring company.

As more industry leaders seek employee financial wellness solutions, financial institutions can support them and their people by delivering focused quality education programs that address every level of financial challenge an employee might be facing.

Drilling down

But there is an essential first step: to uncover how individuals make financial decisions at a deeper level. Unknowingly, even. How are they hard-wired, for better and for worse, to deal with money and money decisions? Given that a financial wellness program must focus on the employee, it should clearly understand behavior and money insights, as well as the individuality of every employee.

Human behavior awareness drives financial wellness, by enabling employers to understand employees’ unique needs. (Also enabling employees to better understand their own innate money behaviors.) Simply integrating a financial behavior data-gathering questionnaire into existing technology tools begins to build in and leverage employee spending habits, cognitive-behavioral biases, financial decision making, goal motivations, and, importantly, their financial emotional intelligence.

A resource that can provide an organization with the behavioral component of its financial wellness program also is likely to be able to partner to educate your workforce through workshops, e-learning, and other options that improve their financial education.

Bottomline benefits

The bottom line will improve for organizations building ongoing financial wellness education programs. It decreases personal financial stress and improves employee wellbeing, health, and productivity. Likewise, the financial aspects of an employee’s job also will be smoother and less at risk due to the former money-stress connection.

Without a doubt, this is an employee program that is a win-win, as both organizations and their team members benefit, on and off the job. Especially so if it is a robust program with behavioral inputs that, again, are a win-win.

I am always interested in creative ways organizations – especially financial ones – are incorporating financial wellness programs into their culture and systems. Please reach out if you have, know of or want to chat about such programs.

See Leon’s other writings for Nasdaq here.

Financial Advisors + ID + EI – What Does It All Mean?

It’s an age-old question. How can financial advisors break through emotional barriers to help clients with their finances?

In recent Identity conversations with Canon Financial Institutes Executive Director Certifications, William Trigleth III, Hugh Massie,  Chairman and Founder of DNA Behavior Global, talked about the importance of financial advisers understanding Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Identity (ID) as a starting point to knowing how to manage advisor/client behavioral differences.

Trigleth acknowledged to Massie how the application of the DNA Behavior discovery tools helped advisors identify their emotional hotspots and revealed vital areas where clients’ financial conversations would need to be managed. 

An essential part of Identity is getting to grips with our emotional intelligence. It becomes crucial when financial advisors are discussing finances with their clients. Nothing disturbs emotional equilibrium more than conversations around money.

You can view a short version of the Massie/Trigleth conversation here:

Or head to our YouTube Channel to view the whole Identity conversation.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain!

Over the past four months, Hugh Massie has been conducting online conversations with industry leaders worldwide. The discussions have circled the importance of understanding Identity regardless of the industry they lead. 

A large part of the conversations has revealed how closely aligned self-awareness of one’s own Identity and emotional intelligence are. 

So, what is emotional intelligence?  

In his book A Dictionary of Psychology, Andrew Colman defines Emotional Intelligence this way:

Emotional intelligence (EI) is most often defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. People with high emotional intelligence can recognize their own emotions and those of others, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, and adjust emotions to adapt to environments

There is no doubt financial advisors need to be able to manage behaviors and reactions that their clients have to market movement. Without this understanding, set goals won’t be achieved.

A great starting point is that advisors know themselves first. This self-awareness leading to self-management keeps the advisor very professional. Still, it also ensures their insight positions them to see and manage their clients’ behavior.

‍Remember, the pull of money is a highly emotive subject. Therefore, the more insight an advisor has into their own and their client’s response, the more likely they are to navigate clients through periods of anxiety.

So how can you increase your emotional intelligence? That’s easy. Head over to our website and complete a FREE trial. This is a perfect starting point, and if you want to talk to one of us about the outcomes – no problem, we can do that.

Maybe you think you would benefit from an Identity Conversation with Hugh Massie – let’s see what we can do to set that up.

I will continue to write something about these Identity interviews with these industry leaders. What they are sharing is GOLD. 

Interesting for us is the common thread, i.e., when individuals know their Identity, they can manage money conversations at a whole new level. As a result, they and their clients tend to make significantly better decisions – about money and finances and other things – that could negatively affect them.

Identity Conversation Takeaways: Building Impact with Behavioral Insights

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 has had on their work.

Before Malcolm Le Lievre from BrilliantFIT met Hugh and was introduced to DNA Behavior, he instinctively prioritized building a relationship with his team. Although he’s always been a results-driven leader, he knew that nurturing team relationships and showing them his support, will positively impact their performance.

When he met Hugh and learned about the power of behavior, it all made sense to him. It transformed him as a leader and changed the way his team perceives him.

Deborah de Jong is the ultimate behavioral design influencer. With a passion for interior design, she took interest in human behavior early on in her career.

Deborah is a renowned interior designer, TV personality, business consultant, and the Founder and CEO of Emmanuel One Pty Ltd. She has been utilizing behavioral insight to create design plans that match her clients’ personalities.

Greg’s biggest passion is to help drive impact. He always felt a deep empathy toward others and has learned to harness that feeling to help and support those around him. 

Familiarizing himself with DNA Behavior’s insights has transformed his work as a coach. As an Engager, which is his behavioral style, he has inert ease connecting with others and coaching them to build impact.

The power of DNA Behavior is undeniable. It gives you and your team the strategic advantage you need to move your business forward. If you’re ready to stop the guessing game and leverage our 500+ insights, take our assessment today and let’s uncover your behavioral style.

Can Behavioral Diversity Strengthen Financial Advice?

– First Published on Nasdaq –

When financial advisors bring unique backgrounds and perspectives to the advisory process, including behavioral diversity, it can strengthen financial advice.

That’s not only a win-win for advisor and client, but it can also be the edge advisors need and the edge savvy clients are looking for. In fact, delivering consensus advice that results in mediocre outcomes will cease once advisors and clients recognize the importance of understanding behavioral diversity.

One advantage of adding behavioral diversity to the planning mix: Financial advisors can provide advice that delivers wealth creation supporting a client’s individual life goals. This advice will truly focus on the uniqueness of the client.

Behavioral diversity overdue

I wonder how much of the financial services industry has robust practices in dealing with behavioral diversity in their hiring processes? But I question how many have extended this approach and consideration to the financial advisory exchange between advisor and client?

Current diversity discussions tend to focus on gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, religion, marital status and health & disability status, but little debate occurs around behavioral diversity in decision-making.

And behavioral diversity concentrates on the idea that, within a workplace, different types of behaviors work better. Why then is there little or no discussion about behavioral diversity in the financial planning process?

If behavioral diversity is defined as encompassing different and varied behavior patterns exhibited between individuals, consider these questions:

  • How can a financial advisor quickly get below the surface to understand the behavioral diversity of their clients?
  • How can advisors deliver advice that is unique and satisfies their client’s behavioral diversity?
  • How can advisors and clients have a meaningful communication exchange based on one another’s behavioral diversity?

The key is to reveal a client’s varied and unique way of thinking, not just in terms of life goals but also how clients make financial decisions and their emotional reactions to markets.

I would suggest that most of the financial planning industry can understand their clients’ bias and risk factors. But behavioral diversity refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique. Without addressing that individuality, can you ever really achieve the “secret sauce” of truly top-flight financial advisors?

People react differently to an extraordinary range of issues and, in the process, exhibit significant behavioral diversity. This is especially true when money is involved. The emotional pull of money brings out the best and worst in individuals. This, for any financial advisor, is a potential minefield.

Objective rather than subjective

With this in mind, let’s reflect on previous articles published in this space about using a validated behavioral profiling process to identify significant levels of inherent behavior. Adding such functionality to your existing tech stack to reveal communication styles and behavioral diversity can go a long way to helping everyone feel heard and seen.

Once you have automated this aspect of the advisory process, you can get to the good stuff, planning to increase the wealth that furthers both the mundane and the exciting life goals.

For the financial planning industry to succeed, it is not enough to break down walls and start growing a behaviorally diverse profile of each advisor and client. Behavioral diversity must be understood and managed on an ongoing basis so as not to be superficial. Authenticity may be an overused word these days, but it is the critical goal here.

Onboarding this extra edge

Creating change in the financial advisory industry requires that several elements be put in place:

  • A genuine commitment to investing in data-gathering to reveal a client’s behavioral diversity.
  • The transparency to build trust through advisors-client matching.
  • Education programs that help advisors understand behavioral diversity.
  • Recognition that behavioral diversity is not tokenism and is more than and goes deeper than current DEI initiatives. (It is an “and,” not an “or.”)
  • Look at all aspects of the diversity pipeline.

Consider the difference. On one hand, a number of meetings with a client before you can start delivering a tailored financial plan and, even then, it may never be truly objective or well-focused on their individuality. On the flip, imagine a client spending 10 minutes to complete a questionnaire that delivers a deep understanding (for them and for their advisor) of every aspect of their behavioral diversity.

See Leon’s other writings for Nasdaq here.

Top 20 Behavioral Interview Questions to Identify High-Potential Practice Managers

The talent management process companies go through has come under much scrutiny over the last year. It is no longer a matter of finding the right candidates for the right role, managers have started taking into consideration the behavioral aspect as well. If you too are ready to embrace the right hiring strategy to meet the needs of this new season, below are the top 20 behavioral interview questions you should be asking.

Why prioritize behavioral questions?

We’ve heard it times and times again: “Great businesses are built on people”. This entails that matching the right experience and skills to the right role is what makes successful teams. However, the traditional process of screening candidates lacks an essential component that identifies high potential candidates. A behavioral assessment. 

It is not only a matter of understanding your candidates’ behavioral tendencies, you should also be able to anticipate how they would react in a given situation. When recruiting a practice manager, you are recruiting for a client-facing role that requires certain agility in customer service. Knowing that behavioral intelligence deepens engagement in each human interaction makes it a must-have personality trait in your next hire. Only a behavioral assessment can accurately predict whether or not your candidate has what it takes to fill this role.

Make no mistake, this doesn’t mean that their resume is not worth taking into consideration. However, a person’s skills are a moot point if they can’t fulfill the behavioral requirements of the role, which in this case is effectively interacting with customers.

What behavioral indicators should you be looking for?

The behavioral questions you should be asking your next candidates help determine specific insights. Each role requires a given behavioral style that can only be uncovered through the right assessment. Before we dive into the questions you should be asking, let’s discuss those behavioral indicators.

Adaptability 

Many hiring managers will admit that adaptability is unanimously the most screened-for skill. Even from a business perspective, in order to stay competitive, companies need to continuously adapt to the changing economy and market needs. It only makes sense to ensure new hires are inherently capable of adapting.

Culture & values 

Company culture is an essential component of building successful teams. When screening candidates, you need to ensure they share the same beliefs and values as your organization, but also bring a diversity of thought and experience that will drive your company forward. 

Collaboration

Hiring people who can collaborate effectively and work well with others is essential to success. This sense of teamwork may not come naturally to every candidate you interview. While we all make efforts to effectively work with our teams, some individuals have an inherent ability to prioritize it and marvel in a collaborative environment.

Leadership

There is no doubt that great leaders make great companies. When hiring for a managerial position, leadership is not only a soft skill your candidates should have, it needs to be part of their behavioral style for a successful team. Leaders are expected to inspire, motivate and unleash potential in others. It cannot be taught.

Development 

A successful interview assessment not only uncovers your candidates’ skills, but it should also pinpoint development and growth potential. In today’s fast-paced work environment, it’s become expected of your employees to potentially grow into new roles and leadership positions. A behavioral assessment enables you to predict if a candidate has what it takes by screening for goal setting and self-motivation.

Productivity

Each role demands a certain level of multitasking. Candidates should be able to not only manage their time but also prioritize their tasks and decide which ones need to be tackled immediately, and which ones can wait. Hiring someone who can’t get this right means that key due dates and project timelines can fall through the cracks, ultimately hurting your business. People who can manage their time and prioritize effectively will help your business thrive.

What behavioral interview questions should you be asking?

Even though each role is different, these behavioral interview questions can help you identify high-potential candidates. Download the full list below.

What’s Next?

So you’ve gone through the interview process, you’ve asked the right behavioral questions, and got all the answers you needed. You might be wondering by now, what’s next? 

The next step is to determine the candidates’ behavioral styles. Through 500+ insights, the DNA Behavior discovery process allows you to uncover significant aspects of their natural behaviors and assess whether or not they are the fit for your company. Start your free trial today, and take the guess out of your hiring strategy.