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Revised for the Good Men Project:
Organizational cultures are shaped and shift depending on leadership. The trickle-down impact is immediate, although it is typically reinforced by the feedback and performance reviews which elucidate expectations of behavior. Oftentimes, Senior Management conflicts results with values and/or cultural preferences, and expects direct reports to behave similarly. This is what is referred to as “a fit.” Variance is frequently considered, unfortunately, as a nuisance, rather than an asset.
One framework to consider in assessing the various leadership temperaments in the workplace is the instrument created by Bob Hill and Lisa Yankowitz (Ntrinsx.com). Ntrinsx is a dynamic tool designed for understanding and leveraging differences into an organizational competitive advantage. For example, it helps to establish a positive self-awareness of one’s communication style, which lends itself as to how to best deliver feedback — a critical component of every leader’s guidance and development of a team. A lack of understanding how to best craft one’s message can lead to dissension in the ranks. Gaining perspective of one’s team members’ behavior builds team rapport and creates a safe environment where teammates can feel free to be their authentic selves; their whole selves.
How It Works
Naturally, temperament is not fixed, and, therefore, can show up differently depending on the situation and the context. Ntrinsx uses four colors (i.e. Gold, Green, Orange; Blue) for simplification purposes, and we are typically a blend of all four, although the first one or two colors are most prominent in our daily activities, communication, and thought.
Allow me, if you will, to be a bit dramaturgical…every acclaimed play, script, film contains a representative of each of the Four Temperaments (as further shown below). This is to create the connection between the audience and the story. The connection exists because we as humans can identify most with those who behaviorally resemble ourselves.
This is the pathos, or EMOTION. Their THOUGHTS is the logos; and what we think of their character is the ethos – which is what the audience casts upon the individual. Together, they represent Artistotle’s three modes of persuasion. And it is this diverse cast of characters which stimulates interest enough for hordes of audiences to follow the trailers into the movie theaters. Conversely, when top, influential leaders leave organizations, so do a number of talented employees who resonated with that person’s leadership.
In an organization, great leaders are versatile, adaptable, and culturally competent. Great leaders understand that the global market, through the touch of a keystroke, is no longer overseas, but at their doorstep and in their offices – either virtually or physically. It is best for leaders to form a team which can identify its abilities and consider those abilities as strengths in a toolbox from which to draw when faced with workplace challenges and diverse clients. Having the four temperaments present would contribute towards Cultural Competence, the key to organizational success.
Interrelatedness is a direct result of understanding and trust. This is why it is imperative for leaders to raise their Emotional Intelligence and gain perspective. Higher self-awareness can be achieved by gaining a better understanding as to how they show up to others, and by learning who the other “cast of characters” who work with them are.
The strongest, and most successful, organizations have leaders which represent all four temperaments. This fosters an environment for healthy conflict, a diverse perspective, and a robust strategy…a recipe for organizational success.
American Presidents • Star Wars • Harry Potter • The Avengers • Lord of the Rings • Wizard of Oz
See below representations of the Four Temperaments; and decide which character(s) resonate(s) most with how you see yourself.
Characters: George Washington, C-3P0/R2-D2, Ronald Weasley, Captain America, Samwise Gamgee, Dorothy
Traits: Dependable, Guardian, Loyal, Procedures, Reliable, Duty, Thorough, Loves Details, Orderly, Organized, Trustworthy, Security, Rule-oriented
Characters: Thomas Jefferson, Yoda, Hermoine Granger, Hulk, Gandalf, Scarecrow
Traits: Philosophical, Abstract, Independent, Logical, Critical, Strategic, Complex, Thinker, Big Picture, Inquisitive, Private, Knowledgeable, Rational
Characters: Theodore Roosevelt, Han Solo, Fred & George Weasley, Iron Man, Aragorn, Lion
Traits: Action, Fun, Funny, Decisive, Practical, Spontaneous, Flexible, Good in a crisis, Direct, Needs Variety, Adventurous, Impulsive, Resists Authority, Quick
Characters: Abraham Lincoln, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Thor, Frodo, Tin Man
Traits: Nurturing, Passionate, Harmonious, Collaborative, Cooperative, Idealistic, Empathetic, Sociable, Inspires, Motivates, Sees Possibilities, Feeler, Sensitive, Optimistic
Intrinsically, we are drawn towards a sense of balance. This is why I like using Mount Rushmore (or, as I like to call them, “The Dead Presidents”), because it symbolizes how recognized leaders with distinct temperaments have been immortalized in stone for doing what they do best…namely, being themselves. George Washington (Gold) was the structured, military general who stayed true to the American principles established and refused to be king. Thomas Jefferson (Green) was the creator of the system for the American institution of higher education. Theodore Roosevelt (Orange) was the hunter, outdoorsman who said, “Walk softly, and carry a big stick.” And, Abraham Lincoln (Blue) was the compassionate diplomat who kept this nation indivisible and honored the civil rights of all citizens. Each of the temperaments of these leaders shaped the USA to be strong.
Powerful leaders engage large populations when people sense passion and consistency of character. That combination creates a strong, undeniable brand.
How do you lead?
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, Green/Blue, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. We increase retention. Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.
© Rossina Gil, 2015
Super Bowl XLIX brought in the most television viewers EVER, so it’s imperative that marketers get their commercials right. It’s about tapping into the temperament of the primary consumer.
Here are the ads that reach out to each of the Four Temperaments: (The brand names are the clickables for the ads)
What does beer have to do with puppies and horses? Nothing. But, the act of drinking beer is often more about being in a mood than logic. This commercial appeals to the Blue Temperament, which is about EMOTION and HARMONY. The Feelers are drawn to this. There is tenderness, despair, fear, protection, and love all-wrapped into a 60-second rollercoaster ride. Yes, I had something in my eye while watching this.
A bartender asks, “If I gave you a Bud Light, are you up for whatever happens next?” Without hesitation, the patron answers, “Yes.” This is for the risk-takers. The subject is excited to see what looks to be a party, still without knowing what he has gotten himself into. Yet, he is game to being a human Pac Man. Running, laughing, hollering, and multiple attempts make this commercial a flagrant appeal to the Orange Temperament. Orange is about ACTION, COMPETITION, and FUN. This temperament appeals most especially to the typical American.
Wisdom and age tend to go hand in hand. This commercial is clearly for the Green Temperament, which is about INTELLIGENCE – making the smart, rational choice, usually based on precedent. The elderly make a shift from an unequivocal, matter-of-fact stance on what they’ve learned, and then 30 seconds into the ad, they pivot to a more impassioned, playful, and irreverent presentation of life’s lessons (adding the Blue and Orange temperaments to their appeal).
In an attempt to appeal to both sides of the brain, T-Mobile presents the logical argument of “keep the data” by adding humor. This commercial is aimed primarily at the Gold Temperament, which is about PROCESS and JUSTICE. The Thinkers are drawn to this, because it makes efficient sense. I get to keep what I pay for, without having any hassle.
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, cultural integration expert, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. We increase retention. Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.
© Rossina Gil, 2015
In my last blog, Workplace Xenophobia, I wrote essentially about how it’s better for two people to be diverse than for them to be the same when solving problems. The theory behind the balance (or excess & deficiency) of opposing forces was allegedly first documented with Hippocrates’ Four Humors, which may have led to Swiss psychotherapist-psychiatrist Carl Jung’s Analytical Psychology, which led to the mother-daughter (Myers & Briggs) team Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) work, which led to psychologist David Kiersey’s Temperaments, which led Bob Hill and Lisa Yankowitz to the creation of the dynamic tool Ntrinsx – designed for understanding and leveraging differences into an organizational competitive advantage.
How does it work?
Allow me, if you will, to be a bit dramaturgical…every acclaimed play, script, film contains a representative of each of the Four Temperaments (as further shown below). This is to create the connection between the audience and the story. The connection exists because we as humans can identify most with those who behaviorally resemble ourselves. This is the pathos, or EMOTION. Their THOUGHTS is the logos; and what we think of their character is the ethos – which is really what the audience casts upon the individual. Together, they represent Artistotle’s three modes of persuasion.
In an organization, it is best to form a team that can identify its abilities and consider those abilities as strengths in a toolbox upon which to draw from when faced with workplace challenges and clients. This would contribute towards Cultural Competence, the key to organizational success.
Color Me Beautiful
Naturally, culture is situational and complex, so for simplification purposes, the following are pop culture representatives of the Four Temperaments with their style/traits and preferred workplace. See which one you most identify with. Ask your friends and colleagues to describe their ideal workplace before you show them my chart.
|The ideal workplace would have to have limited distractions, i.e. sight/sound.
This would entail sound-proof walls, no glass walls facing walk-ways, an actual office (not a cubicle), a door, access to a variety of informational resources, and a comfortable conference room or “pit” to hold intellectual discussions.
|The ideal workplace would have top-notch technology.
This would entail best-in-class Information Technology that would provide quality results and would be thoroughly secure. The building is solid and pragmatic, i.e. usually in rectangular shape. Documentation and efficient processes are key.
Good in a crisis
|The ideal workplace would be exciting with several distractions.
This would entail large windows, a double-monitor computer, a flat-screen TV, a treadmill, a chef, a bar, a massage therapist, beach/mountains/trail outside, quick access to transportation. The building is modern with unusual shapes and curves.
|The ideal workplace would be compassionate with collective energy.
This would entail a child care center, a pet care center, a lactation room, circular conference tables, low-rise cubicles to enhance conversations, potlucks, social after-work activities, team prizes and recognition.
©Rossina Gil, 2013
Live (ACTIONS). Love (EMOTIONS). Learn (THOUGHTS).
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. CorporateLookingGlass.com.
Aristotle, Rhetoric (Acheron Press, UK).
Sex & the City, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Avengers
As always, my Green-Blue mind.
A lot of companies demand a strategy, and this action is metaphorically like placing the cart before the horse. Culture is the strategy. Therefore, it is more advisable to focus on the organizational culture prior to focusing on the customer and/or the product. The organization is the product. The organization is a collected group of people. This is why there must be unequivocal emphasis placed on the culture before the strategy can be formulated.
It is for this reason that my Claremont Graduate University professor, the late Peter Drucker, said so long ago, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” Many professionals don’t understand this, including a Chief Marketing Officer who wrote about this topic in one of his blogs. Those confused argue against Drucker’s statement and how “culture trumps strategy” and further pontificate that strategy must be aligned with culture. Idealistically, yes. Realistically, not so much…What happens is that networking leads to positions (most especially at the C-Suite level), and it is typically top-leaders who create the “reward band” (i.e. determining who gets promoted), and that is usually how the tone is set of unwritten rules of behavior. Those behavioral expectations set into motion a shift into what becomes the organizational culture.
Successful organizations have a visceral, palpable culture which permeates all managerial levels (i.e. Inclusion); otherwise, there can be a no definable, sure-fire strategy. They will probably have a number of full-time recruiters working in-house to attract top talent, but they will certainly not be able to retain their talent– either by resignation or fiscal failure. The key is having the leaders set the example and that begins by addressing the drivers (see my blog on “How Fear Interferes in the Workplace”).
Allow me to provide some concrete examples that differentiate culture from strategy. First, what is culture? Culture is a set of beliefs, behaviors, and values performed by a collected group of individuals. This parallels my blogs on Thoughts, Actions, and Emotions (not to mention Jim Rohn’s Philosophy, Action, and Attitude). Second, what is strategy? Strategy is a plan of action designed to reach a particular goal.
MILITARY EXAMPLE. The strategy for the military would be their military plan, which entails which resources to procure, which techniques/commands for soldiers to employ, etc. The military culture is tough and committed to team loyalty. If the military attracts soldiers per their culture, then their strategy would work. If they recruit those who start but don’t finish, who crumble easily, and who are highly individualistic without regard for a soldier left behind, then the strategy would not work.
BEST PRACTICE CORPORATE EXAMPLE. Southwest Airlines was founded by flamboyant Herb Kelleher. Their strategy is a business plan which entails how to keep their planes in the air, filled with passengers, and easy for mechanics to maintain. Their culture is casual/informal (e.g. shorts, funny songs, jokes, and bags of peanuts thrown down the aisles), egalitarian (e.g. male and Baby Boomer flight attendants, pilots are not superior to cabin staff), and cost-focused (e.g. only one style of plane, no meals). Their recruitment begins with observing the prospective employee or candidate-for-hire as they board the plane heading for the interview. If the candidate fits the culture, then s/he, unknowingly, makes it through the first round. If Southwest Airlines were to recruit those who are stoic, formal, and hierarchical, then the strategy would not work. Why? Because it’s too far of a cultural stretch for the new employees to unlearn their natural and conditioned behavior.
FAILED CORPORATE EXAMPLE. Most companies choose to state as a “strategy” that they are to be the “best” at their product/service. Without stating specifically and concretely WHAT that looks like, HOW it is measured, WHICH action steps are to be taken, “to be the best” is simply empty rhetoric. Their “culture” is false propaganda aimed as a lame attempt to market the organization as an industry leader and/or to attract top talent. For example, the culture could proclaim to be “family, health, and innovative.” Reality may be that the “family” includes scores of “Cinderellas” and ugly stepchildren, “health” is recognized for the favorites (i.e. emotional health and preferential treatment), and “innovative” is without measure (i.e. subjective). This type of company lacks culture, and suffers from severe fragmentation and high attrition.
1. Employee Engagement Surveys serve no value if the objective is to aim for a higher score year after year. Leaders who tout that they must achieve a higher score than the previous year will influence their subordinates to rate a high score and not answer according to perspective. It becomes a ritualistic exercise in futility.
2. Hire a Leadership Development (LD) professional who has studied Organization Development. One per every 300-400 employees is advisable. S/He can conduct a cultural analysis, retain confidentiality for employees (i.e. no documentation of conversations), and develop teams. Anthropologist Margaret Mead said all change is possible in small groups.
3. C-Suite executives must have mandatory coaching. This is to avoid corporate bullies who take on defensive/offensive controller behavior(s) of their respective division(s). Either the coaching is performed by an external, in order to avoid repercussions (i.e. termination); or, an internal LD professional who has a contract, and thereby has the assurance to do his/her work without “cloak & dagger” consequences.
4. Provide quality Performance Management Reviews (PMRs). This is a weakness pervasive across America. Most especially at one recent client where the supervisor would proselytize to others to not “Make Stuff Up” but when it came to himself, his defense was that he was fairly intuitive and others had even told him so! For these reasons, he believed he was entitled to make assumptions without inquiry. It would behoove organizations to promote employees with zero direct report experience into supervisory roles, only after they have been thoroughly trained as to how to provide a quality PMR; otherwise, their feedback can be destructive/ineffective behavior that may tear at the fabric of the culture and increase attrition. Using a Behavioral Science tool (e.g. Ntrinsx) should help those supervisors lacking supervisory experience &/or education.
Here are some tips for quality PMRs:
- Feedback has to always be first-hand observation; otherwise, the feedback is gossip and that is not a professional PMRs. Leaders are not susceptible to hear-say.
- It must be non-accusatory and free from condemnation. Separate the action from judging the person. One supervisor took his direct report into a room to say how “embarrassed” he was of her. While the emotion demonstrated is best kept honest, this incident was a reflection of his managerial inadequacies. Supervisory feedback is intended to develop the direct report; it is not an allowance to use the direct report as a target or therapeutic outlet for one’s deficiencies.
- Effective feedback serves as an aid and includes specific actions which are effective, and also provides, as a contrast, specific behaviors that were observed to be ineffective.
- Look in the mirror. This touches upon compassion. Is the criticism provided also information that you can apply to yourself? Or, are you applying a double-standard? If so, you may merit some push back.
- Keep it confidential. This “should” be a no-brainer; however, one supervisor with three direct reports, shared information supplied by one direct report about a second one to the third. This is called “Triangulation,” in Psychology.
- Lastly, nothing should be in writing until Round 2 – this means that feedback must not be a “Surprise! Gotcha!” event. The direct report deserves the professional opportunity to rectify behavior prior to seeing it in black-&-white, ready to be filed away. So, have the courage to have the conversation prior to PMRs to solidify your leadership relationship and abilities.
Be true to who you are, and the rest will follow. Identity is destiny, or suffer the true corporate death.
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. CorporateLookingGlass.com.
Jody Hoffer Gittell, The Southwest Airlines Way, (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2005).
Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle, (Lake Dallas, TX: Jim Rohn Int’l, 1991).