The Knot of Personality

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For those of you in HR that make a career out of personality profiling, you need look no further than but down. Yes, forget your Myers Briggs, DISC, and any other expensive testing regimes that you have been reluctantly using until now as the alternative solution is literally at your feet.

This surprisingly simple, and most definitely cost effective methodology, is based upon numerous years of extensive observation of employees in the corporate office. The test subjects encapsulated a broad cross section of age, sex, educational qualifications, professional experience and fashion.

The final clue to this masterly personality classification technique came to the writer whilst meticulously studying the feet of my colleagues during a rather tedious, and most non-inspiring, business seminar that allowed my mind to be free of all corporate constraints and limitations. Thankfully, it is a skill that I have perfected over numerous corporate presentations and meetings, all utilising the time graciously provided to me by my employer.

OK, enough introductory banter, you just want to know the details! So it’s time for full disclosure.

The key to your personality profile is in your shoelaces. No, do not scoff, as this is a serious study that will in some time in the distant future, by a university that is in desperate need of cash, be fully supported by a highly dubious research paper in an obscure academic publication.

Now for the shoelace facts:

  • The Common Knot (aka “around the tree”): these employees are your generalist and cover the majority of the people in your business. The loops are typically uneven which suggests they tend to not tolerate the status quo.
  • The Loopy Knot (aka “bunny ears”): these people have an open, airy personality and tend to have a career that never progresses, but rather circles backward and forward. These people are destined for a career in middle management.
  • The Knot (literally a knot, no loops): these employees are hard-nosed nutcases and should be quickly exited from the business.
  • No Knot: here we are talking employees that wear boots. Theory suggests that they are quite simple in nature as they failed to master the technique of tying their shoelaces when at kindergarten and may have other un-yet diagnosed psychological disorders.
  • Buckle: these employees are a minority and have that persona that makes them stand out in a crowd. They are frequently destined to become CEO/Executives.
  • Bare Feet: Usually an indication of a free spirited individual. These employees are typically found in the marketing department.

So next time you are in a business meeting sitting with some colleagues, let your eyes wander under the table and focus firmly on their feet. Their personalities will be most evident and readily understood. It’s that simple.

What does your bowl say about you?

Day 96 - Thinking about it...

As usual, I arrived in our corporate office early and made that all too familiar journey of walk into our club lounge where the ingredients of a basic breakfast awaited me. There was the usual array of cereal, muesli, fruit, whole milk, light milk, the obligatory soy milk, and of course coffee and a plethora of teas.

But this morning, something was noticeably different. Rather than being confronted with the usual food branding, some clever and rather innovative colleague had labeled each item with a unique and curiously descriptive name. There was also a page of instructions that each breakfast eater had to follow, otherwise they would be excluded from this unique eating activity.

The first instruction was to grab a white bowl and mug from the cupboard and scribe my name on it with the black marker pen provided. However, rather than just spelling my name, I had to add the words “personality” after it. As such, my bowl and mug were named “Steven’s personality”.

I was then asked to peruse the array of cereals which were now labelled as ‘creative’ (aka muesli), ‘conservative’ (aka corn flakes), ‘fun’ (aka Coco Pops), ‘vitality’ (aka porridge). What looked like full cream milk was called ‘communication”, light milk (‘vision’) and soy milk (‘humour’). The process continued for all the fruit and beverage selections to which other descriptive tags were applied.

Once my food and beverage selection had been made, I was then requested by the instructions to write these pseudonyms on the bowl and the mug which was to be a reminder of personality for that day.

Although the process sounded like a bit of fun, after a week of breakfast personality profiling, there were some interesting learnings from the activity:

1. You are what you eat.
2. We can be so set in our ways which, we may not see until you observe the same food and beverage personality pseudonyms written in black pen on our bowl and mug each day.
3. Change is not as hard as you think, just reach out and try something new (eg different cereal, fruit, milk). If you don’t like the ‘taste’ of it, well, learn from the experience and explore something that is more suited to your palate.
4. Variety is indeed the spice of life.

My personality, well, I’m quite content with a bowl of Fruit Loops, yes, say no more!

Me, Myself and “I”

Sonrisa ante el espejo

I” opened the door and peered into the “private lounge room” where all the other “I”s were already seated. Like “me”, they all had that look of exhaustion on “their” faces. “We” had obviously all had a long, tough and quite demanding day observing “ourselves”.

Many of the “I”s sat in “their” favourite comfy leather chair with “their” heads supported in “their” hands. Glasses of spirited drinks were being sombrely consumed in an attempt to liven up the mood of the collective “us”, but with little avail, it was obviously time to verbally out pour and share the critical mirrored views of “us”.

Each “I” in turn then shared how each of the original version of “them” had performed during the day with our family, work colleagues and socially. Yes, it was a communal reflective 360 feedback session in which all the “I”s gave constructive feedback on “themselves” for the mutual benefit of the individual they represented.

Now you may be asking, “What is Steven Cramer talking about this time”? Well, what if each of us had a hidden personality called “I” that watched and took notes on how we behaved during the day? Whilst we were sleeping, these “I”s then vacated our body and met up in that “private lounge room” with all the other “I”s that we came into contact during that day. The collective “I”s would then provide feedback on what we did well, what needed improvement, or what should be quickly purged from our personality so as to avoid a repeat negative occurrence! Armed with this reflective information, our “I” would then return to our body in the early hours of the morning and have a “good chat” with “ourselves”. The following day, we would subconsciously implement what the “I” had learnt and our personalities and people skills would reap the reward from this “I” effort.

Now I can hear you all saying that this is only fantasy! But is it? Next time you are half asleep and you “think” that you feel a small part of you quickly dashing out the bedroom door, don’t be alarmed, it’s just your “I” heading out for a night of social “I”nteraction.

The Corporate Reception Area

Circular Reception Desk

When you enter a shop for the first time your senses are seeking out data points with which to form an impression that usually influences your buying behaviour whilst in the store, and afterwards with respect to potential repeat visits. Each store tries to create their own individuality that differentiates themselves from their competition through a variety of different coloured décor, sounds, smells, staff dress code, personality style and other mannerisms.

So what can we learn from this in the corporate world? The answer is heaps, particularly with respect to the business reception area.

Business reception areas are the portal through which all new clients enter and they are in essence the “shop front” to the corporate organization. So why not make this “experience of entrance” one that will place your business on a pedestal that will be the envy of your opposition?

Some thoughts for achieving this that are that “little bit different”:

1. Facial Recognition
For clients that have visited your business previously, why not use facial recognition to send their details electronically as they are walking to the receptionist who can provide them with a personal salutation of welcome when they sign in?

2. No more dull waiting time
Should your clients arrive early for a meeting, why should they sit around aimlessly reading the traditional range of dated and boring magazines and newspapers?
A much better and innovative alternative is to provide a range of other more interesting options such as; a dedicated barista to provide that optimum coffee brew, free WiFi so they can check E-mails, a well stocked library with comfortable reading chairs, a golf practice putting area with your company logo on the green, or an array of dynamic computer games, etc. I’m sure that these options would be much better appreciated!

3. Video Messaging Booth
Should you client not have sufficient time for the meeting with your organization through no fault of their own, or should your employees be double booked with too many meetings, the reception area would be equipped with an array of video messaging booths. Here the client could sit down in private and make their presentation or provide feedback to a video camera which would record their message. This could then be E-mailed to the appropriate person in your business for viewing at a later date.

4. The Outdoor Reception Area
Why not have a built in outdoor glass enclosed reception area instead of one with the more traditional corporate appearance? This could comprise a variety of outdoor garden elements that are in sync with the climatic seasons with a well defined footpath meandering to the reception desk. For instance, there could be a grassy mound with occasional animal (eg cow, kangaroo, horse) strolling past the clients, an intermittent and random rain shower requiring the use of strategically placed umbrellas or an ice-cream stand located amongst a sand dune or rock-pool?

I’m sure that these creative and rather unique additions to the corporate reception area would have a lasting and positive influence on any client that may visit your business.

Why not consider some of these ideas when designing your next office building?

I’m sure that it would indeed make people “think that little bit differently”!

 

Coat Buttons Undone

Winter Walk

In the colder months of the year, should you quickly glance at the commuting business person when they are travelling to and from the office, it is most likely that you will notice a common corporate appearance – black coat, single coloured scarf and the occasional dark gloves. If it is raining, the umbrella is usually of a colour to complement the coat, once again…black.

However, when this worker arrives at the office and disrobes their black coat and scarf, there is an observed vibrancy of coloured shirts, ties, suits and skirts.

To me this is an interesting conundrum.

All these workers have a similar external appearance as typified by the black coat, yet once the “coat buttons are undone”, each of them has their own unique dress style that expresses their individual personality.

So in the office environment, don’t judge a person’s character and capability by their external persona. Try to get to understand them better when they have been given the opportunity to demonstrate some of their hidden talents!

Consider the FONT

Font Bureau002

Do you recall when you first learnt to hand write at school with a pencil, pen, or even a fountain pen?

I can recall spending many hours practicing to get the lettering perfect with the right loop, size, angle, colour, all of which lead to the formation of a unique writing style which became a part of my character and personality.

However, these days we all write our E-mails, presentations and documents on the computer with a common font, colour and format. This might be fine for business consistency, but why not elect to explore some different and unusual fonts which you change on a regular basis? Those reading your correspondence will notice the difference, it may also result in them thinking just that little bit differently themselves and they may even adopt your creative approach in communication?

So before you start your next E-mail…..first consider the FONT and claim your own little bit of creativity rebellion!