Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself!

I recall the first time I heard Hugh Massie Founder/CEO of DNA Behavior use this phrase. If I remember correctly he was talking about the wild reactions of investors to uncertain markets.

It got me thinking about my behavior and why it is that I don’t get on with everyone, but I do get on with many. I wondered why relationship with some is easy and comfortable and with others is clunky and puts me on edge.

I began to realize that this was an area of behavior I really needed to know more about. I’d always been aware of this even as a young child but had never given it much thinking room.

How, I asked myself, could I empower me to understand why I reacted in these ways and more importantly learn how to manage the awkward stuff.

The nature of my work meant that I had completed most all the ‘personality profile stuff’ available. However, as I looked back over old copies of reports I couldn’t put my finger on what in my profiles addressed this behavioral quirk.

Many years later I completed the DNA Behavior Discovery process and there it was – I am serious and reflective, suspicious, task focused yet group orientated. It was such a lightbulb moment for me as I reflected on the situations and connections that had troubled me and I hadn’t handled well.

I’m not great around overly confident, outgoing, (often noisy) people who invade my thinking time and cause me to react because I’m not a party animal. (How I wish I’d known all this in the tiresome teen years). I’m authoritative and frank and get frustrated when people don’t make quick and well-informed decisions. I’m at my best working with like minded colleagues where my need for reflection and creativity add value and are accepted.

No excuse now for poor response to colleagues, I’m self-aware and can’t blame myself for ignorance because up until some 20+ years ago there wasn’t a scientifically validated profiling system that revealed this for me. But now there is so, no excuse – I am empowered to manage my responses and behavior through self-knowledge.

What I’ve learned is how rich teamwork is when each individual understands their inherent behavior. The more diverse the team the better any outcome is. I welcome my crazy outgoing friends and colleagues; they are the fun. I need my reflective thinkers who no longer frustrate me (well maybe a little) because they are the gatekeepers to our business. I respect, above all else, those pioneers and strategists who have built the business, given me a career and released me to use my behavioral analytical skills to work with and empower others to be able to understand and manage their behaviors.

We are all muddling through trying hard not to mess up relationships but how much better would it be to break bad habits and build good relationships through a deeper understanding of why we respond in the way that we do.

Head over to our website and complete the DNA Behavior Discovery for yourself. It’s FREE and you will receive the outcomes straight away.

I’m on LinkedIn so link and message me if you want to know more about my behavioral journey.

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:

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, or visit DNA Behavior

How Similar Are Our Behavioral Styles to Our Dogs’?

According to a research conducted at Michigan State University, dogs tend to take on the same personality traits and behavioral tendencies as their owners. The study also revealed that dogs are just like humans in terms of cognitive development and that their personalities are shaped over time.
These shifts in personality traits can even predict future behaviors that may surface in our dogs. While it is true that age, breed, and gender play a huge role in the shaping of their personalities and behavioral tendencies, the influence that we dog owners have plays a major role.

Here at DNA Behavior, we take it to heart to involve our 4 legged friends in everything we do and make them feel loved and appreciated, especially during these unprecedented times where we have been working mostly from home spending more time with our dogs than ever before.

While some may already worry about the potential separation anxiety the end of the WFH era might induce to our dogs, we at DNA Behavior decided to look a little bit more into it and see if we can uncover similarities between our very own DNA styles and our dogs’. After all, how ideal would it be to be able to understand your dog’s personality, interpret their behavior, and even predict how they may react to certain things.

Meet Our Paw-tastic Team

Gracie is a 6 months-year-old female Bernedoodle, which is a cross of a Poodle and Bernese mountain dog. She is a very outgoing and friendly dog who craves attention but goes with the flow at the very same time. She is extremely entertaining and would be fantastic at networking during conferences and various events. In general, Bernedoodles tend to be highly intelligent, hardworking, very loyal, and just a bit goofy. Based on our expertise, Gracie’s DNA Style is Engager, which fits the description perfectly!

Gracie is a member of Hugh Massie’s family, who is our CEO and Behavioral Strategist. Hugh is an Initiator. Initiators are strong-minded, decisive, and goal-driven individuals who are typically fast-paced and rational. Some personality traits that Hugh and Gracie have in common are that they are both optimistic and dynamic in their way of doing things. As Gracie grows older and her personality unravels, we are eager to see how much of Hugh’s DNA Style characteristics might influence her own!

Skylar is a female Shiba Inu with an eagerness to learn and an undeniable sense of style. She can be extroverted as dogs can be but also needs her alone time to charge. Her unique personality shows especially when she meets other dogs. While she enjoys it a great deal, she would ignore them and move on if they do not engage back. She is an undeniable leader, not a follower, and perfectly capable of entertaining herself if she needs exercise.   

By nature, Shiba Inu dogs are known to be independent, energetic, and exceptionally smart, and based on our expertise, Skylar’s DNA Style is Stylish Thinker.

Skylar is a member of Ryan Scott’s family, who is our CTO, Digital Experience Innovator. Ryan is a Reflective Thinker. He is a serious, focused, and analytical individual who values accuracy and precision in everything he does. The similarities between Ryan and Skylar’s unique styles are that they’re both creative and innovative. However, Ryan’s rational and thought-out approach does enable him to navigate Skylar’s strong personality without any issues. (Did somebody say stubborn?)  

Ari is a 10-year-old male English Setter. He is a very friendly, patient, and playful dog, but very sensitive and feelings oriented. While he likes interacting with his surroundings, he appreciates his own quiet time. English Setters are known to be some of the most friendly and gentle dogs. They are extremely loyal and crave affection. Based on our expertise, Ari’s DNA Style is Relationship Builder, which couldn’t be more accurate. He welcomes interactions with other people and other dogs, but is independent enough that he does not need to be constantly entertained. While Ari and Gracie are both part of Hugh’s family, they couldn’t be more different, and so are their interactions with Hugh who is an Initiator. We would go to the extent of saying that they are polar opposites, but we sure are eager to see how Ari’s personality traits develop over time.

For all our dog lovers out there, remember, dogs are complex creatures that share a unique bond with their owners. Understanding their behavioral traits starts by understanding your own.

To learn more about DNA Behavior and how our insights can help you capitalize on your strengths and manage your struggles, start our free trial. Don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself.

financial personality

What is Your Crisis Personality? Do You Know?

I was asked this question recently. Fortunately, as a behaviorally smart leader, I am in the business of knowing my inherent personality and was able to respond that as an initiator I like to take bold, aggressive actions and create the rules.

I prefer to lead decision-making, setting the agenda to get things done. I don’t want to get caught up in minutia and will make fast well thought through decisions. Give me a challenge and I will deliver an outcome.

Not a lot phases me. I’m level-headed in a crisis but being given the “run around” or having my time wasted on irrelevant issues irritates me as would investments that do not live up to the advisors claims.

As leader, and in the face of these unprecedented times, it’s right that those I lead, and our customers, should know how I stand up in a crisis.

There are tough decisions to be made not just in our business but in our customers businesses. My advice to leaders is this – get to know your crisis personality. Without this insight you will not be able to manage your responses. After that, use the same validated scientifically based behavioral tool to reveal the personality of your team leaders and key decision-makers.

One of the significant areas we are involved in is working with financial advisors as they connect with their clients. Not only has the financial industry faced remote working, no face to face contact, but it’s important to remember that those giving advice are themselves deep into the chaos of what is happening right now. They are facing overwhelming workloads while dealing with the same stress of isolation possible financial ruin as their clients.

Yet those advisors who have a strong platform of behavioral insight are faring well. They know themselves; they can manage their own emotions and behaviors at a time like this and pass this insight onto their clients.
For the most part financial advisors have taken a leaf out of our book and moved swiftly to virtual working with the use of conferencing software to stay connected with clients. For many, the relationship is going well and for many more, it’s unlikely their clients will want or need to go back to face to face meetings.

financial personality

One of the most effective tools we find our customers praising is being able to have the financial personality of their clients in real time on any device. Just before jumping on a zoom or phone call they can refresh their memory on the financial or behavioral personality of the individual they are about to speak to and advise them based on that personality insight.

financial personality

We have found that those most people likely to emerge from this season successfully can cope well with rapid change. They remain calm and thoughtful yet still able to make well thought through decisions quickly.

As an industry leader, you need to know and understand your crisis personality. Once revealed it can be managed. Why not check this out now – free on me, no agenda, you will be glad you did.

If you want to talk to someone about the outcomes use the link below.

Financial DNA Profile
Appointment Link
Hugh Massie’s Book

In Isolation: Stress and Revelations

What behaviors have surfaced in your personality during isolation that have surprised you? What about your partner and family?

Never before in most of our lifetimes have we as a global family been subjected to isolation, separation, loneliness, and enforced seclusion on this scale. Never before have our rights to make daily choices been removed. It’s inevitable, therefore, that areas of our behavior will surface that otherwise haven’t been obvious before the coronavirus lockdown.

All kinds of changes to environments can produce deviations in behavior, but add to these restrictions to movement. You can’t get out of the way of other people’s behaviors and that’s a recipe for disaster.

Let’s take a light-hearted look at possible answers to these questions. This is not a counseling session; rather, a deep dive into behavioral differences.

A case study for perspective

The Johnson Family (names have been changed) – Dad, Mum, two sons, and a daughter. Dad Tom runs a successful leadership training consultancy. Mum Fiona is a medical clinic receptionist. Eldest son Junior works for the government and runs a department. Son Kevin is a social worker, focusing on family issues. Daughter Susan is a marketing consultant and runs her own business.

Some of the more unsettling traits that have surfaced during isolation have caused challenges but have also served to enable the family to recognize the importance of understanding and managing the differences in their behavior.

Example: Tom, after just a few days of isolation, decided that he would head to his office as no one would be there. He said he would grab some take away food on the way back and fill up the car with gas. Tom had always been a spontaneous risk-taker. He could recognize a good business deal and was prepared to back his judgment and take risks when necessary. However, isolation had proved difficult for him and he started to rebel against it and become unfocused and overconfident. He thought he knew best.

Kevin was all for the challenge of getting out of isolation and said he’d go along for the ride. As a social worker, Kevin was engaging and trusting. He could talk to anyone and put them at ease. He knew he was inclined to become too empathetic with his clients, but it worked for him and them in terms of finding a solution to their difficulties. But after a few weeks of isolation, he was trying to talk himself and his family into breaking the rules. He became emotional and somewhat immature in his arguments.

Fiona, on the other hand, pointed out all the issues raised both in the media and from her experience at the medical center as to why her husband’s idea was foolish and potentially dangerous to the family. She insisted they all be compliant and follow the rules. Against the barrage of talking from her spontaneous, sceptical, outgoing, creative family she found herself becoming passive and hesitant and losing her inherent ability to be practical and diplomatic.

Junior sat on the fence – on the one hand, he wasn’t entirely in sync with what the news reports said about the need for strict isolation and yet questioned his father’s impulsive behavior. He ignored Kevin’s loud, effusive pleas to let them go. Not because he didn’t love his brother, but because he knew he was too emotional and trusting.

Susan hid the car keys, as she could see the family dynamics breaking down. She headed to her laptop to find a solution online to help the family before it deteriorated into all-out war. As Susan became impatient and critical of the way her father was flouting the rules, her brothers, infuriating her for no particular reason other than they were her brothers, she watched with a deepening concern as her parents’ behavior escalated in ways she’d not seen before.

Susan realized that in this enforced and confusing setting her family was losing perspective. She could see that, until they truly understood what was happening and why they might not get through it. She feared they wouldn’t surface from isolation intact as a family unit.

The turning point

Susan had completed some marketing work for DNA Behavior International. As part of the contract, she completed a discovery process the outcomes of which were used to help her integrate quickly with the team.

As she pointed out to her family, the things that she was seeing in their behaviors and her concern about how fractured the family was becoming, they began to realize they were in trouble. Knowing that her behavioral style was that of an initiator, she insisted the family complete their own discovery online, knowing they would receive the outcomes in real-time.

Susan watched as they read their reports and saw the depth of insight they revealed. Tom realized that his spontaneous and risk-taker factors that helped him build a successful business were now showing up as impulsive and unfocused. Fiona, on the other hand, recognized she had retreated into compliance just to keep the peace and had allowed her consistent approach to issues, and her experience to be usurped by others’ behavior.

Junior could see he needed to get off the fence and use his ability to question and reason to influence others’ behavior through quiet, focused conversation. Kevin was the answer to pulling his family together. He put his arms around them (metaphorically), reminding them of the strong caring family unit they were before the pandemic.

Susan watched all this and took on the role of thinking imaginatively of how they could get through isolation as a family without wrecking themselves. She asked DNA Behavior to run a family team report so they could get a deeper understanding of how to survive the isolation by understanding their differences.

As DNA Behavior is a remote-working business, they talked to the family online about their relationships. A DNA Behavior consultant was able to give them pointers on how best to flex with each other when or if inappropriate behaviors surfaced again.

The family is now armed with their inherent behavioral factors, a family team report, and knowledge of their communication styles. They know environment impacts behavior and communication, AND now they are confident of exiting home isolation and remote work intact.

Be like the Johnsons…

We’re here to help. Reach out to us so you can understand the dynamics of your household during this season of isolation.

Begin by completing a no-cost, no-obligation DNA Behavior discovery. In conjunction, book a no-cost, no-obligation consulting appointment with one of our pros. You’ll gain new insights and skills that will serve you in isolation and when it is just a distant memory.

In conjunction, book a no-cost, no-obligation consulting appointment.

Does Remote Working Fit with Who You Are?

Does Remote Working Fit with Who You Are?

If you have a personality that needs connection with others, how do you cope with remote working and virtual connection?

Further, do you have the behaviors, traits and skills to flourish away from a traditional work environment?

Will your manager know enough about you to support you during this time?

With observations like these, it’s obvious remote working and virtual connection are not necessarily a good fit for everyone.

Practicing what we preach Looking at my own team has been an interesting exercise. With the use of our Business DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process – used and applied from the point of hiring forward – I’ve always been able to have my team work to their strengths, wherever possible, slotting them into positions that set them up for success. But in this current pandemic, I’ve taken a longer and more in-depth look at their Business DNA reports. Based on what I see in their discovery profiles, some team members will welcome the isolation and I may well have to ensure they aren’t working excessive hours and reducing their interaction with their colleagues or the teams they lead. Others will miss collaboration with colleagues via closer proximity. Not just because they enjoy socializing, but because of their creativity; they rely on group interface to inspire the work they do. One key insight Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery provides is a clear pathway to understand how individuals respond to their environment. This insight helps me keep an eye on their frame of mind. Believing that each person is responsible for their own accountability and self-motivation, I asked them to review their own Business DNA report as we moved the business to total remote working. This open and honest review has enabled us to see where we need to invest in the emotional and mental well-being of our people. And for our employees to gain a greater understanding of their own needs as this pandemic drives us all into unchartered waters. Know your people You may have cohesive, well-oiled business teams now but being forced into remote working without a knowledge of how this would impact them and your business can be worrisome. Remote working requires a significant amount of communication to keep everyone engaged.
How you do this depends largely on the investments you are willing to make, PLUS a clear understanding of what each individual team and team member needs:

  • Who needs motivating?
  • Who needs more empathy?
  • Who is not self-reliant?
  • Who needs reminders to meet deadlines?
  • Who needs interaction with colleagues via video links to build creativity?
  • Who needs to be reminded to exercise and lift their head above the work?
  • Who is in danger of becoming too reserved and withdrawn?
  • Which of the team leaders is best placed to support, encourage and coach?
  • How well will individuals return to working in the office?

I have introduced Microsoft Teams to our team. Think of it as an efficient chat function with facets of project management. Already they are chatting in real time. Perhaps most importantly, they are giving each other encouragement and input. I am not policing them (they cc me into chats which is nice). I don’t need to be overbearing with oversight because I believe that it is my responsibility to provide them with any tools they need to do their job, but more importantly keep their minds and emotions healthy.

The Psychological State of Teams & Clients While Isolated How our team can help your team. DNA Behavior is well-placed to help you manage the well-being of your people. It might be as simple as understanding which of your people are concerned about using video conferencing. It could be a loss of efficiency from those not used to remote work. Or as complicated as ensuring naturally reserved individuals don’t become reclusive. With the insight of a Business DNA Natural Behavior profile, answers to these and other behavioral questions will inform strategies for caring for your team(s).

With quality behavioral insight you can respond quickly and appropriately to unusual reactions from colleagues. • You will know how to manage the usually placid one who becomes argumentative.

  • You will be able to support the normally confident one who senses they are losing respect from colleagues because they aren’t as familiar with technology as others.
  • You will know which of your customer-facing people could freeze at the thought of using phone or video links to connect with customers.
  • Add to that a customer who is concerned about the current global environment.

Behavioral Knowledge is the Key Now more than ever is a time to encourage all staff and customers to complete the Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery process. It only takes 10 minutes. It can be completed on any device. Business DNA provides real-time in-depth reporting to both the customer and the employee on how to communicate and interact with one another. And much, much more. Reach out: We will work with you to share our knowledge and suggest which of our tools would most benefit you.

For a start, complete your own discovery at no cost and with no obligation. Likewise, schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our pros.