Business Chemistry is a method of identifying behaviour styles that has emerged to promote use of common language to discuss differences, appreciate why certain challenges are more difficult, and recognize how to turn differences into assets.
We find that this objective is even more relevant when seeking alignment in strategic planning, a problem faced by 25% of professionals we’ve talked to.
Although personality tests are often discredited for lack of scientific backing, the data behind behaviour on team culture is significant. 50% of people in Harvard Business Review’s survey on behaviour styles in the workplace said that their “opposite” styles are the least enjoyable to work with.
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The four behaviour styles are summarized as follows:
Pioneers are idea generators. They value imagination and taking risks. They are often the ones who will propose drastic change in your strategy, likely without the justification to back it up.
Guardians are the pragmatics who appreciate stability and attention to detail. Guardians will look for a clear planning agenda and structure in the strategy meeting, and want to see careful due diligence in decision making.
Drivers are results-focused and full of purpose, and drivers want to tackle problems straight away and achieve results. Drivers will be frustrated when the strategy isn’t moving along quickly or if the team is being bogged down by a decision.
Integrators find cohesion and consensus paramount to a team. They are reluctant to move forward with a strategy until everyone agrees, and may internalise frustration when other team members dismiss their ideas.
While collaborative friction is highly beneficial to any team, and all four styles should be considered when developing a strategy that encompasses the entire organization, balancing out the differences takes a commitment from management to take action.
Here are ideas on how to start tailoring your management style to effectively employ all four styles in your next strategy planning meeting.
Pioneers are likely to realize the importance of strategy planning if it enables their ideas. Will a strategic direction enable more creativity? Communicate that.
Encourage pioneers to consider dissenting opinions before barrelling ahead in a specific direction
Make sure your strategic planning agenda is paced in a way that isn’t perceived as constraining by pioneers
Understand that guardians are often introverted, which makes a highly collaborative task like strategy planning challenging.
Give guardians the time and details needed before a strategy meeting to prepare ideas
Explicitly ask guardians ahead of time to speak about their thoughts during a specific part of the strategy meeting, like scenario planning, instead of calling on them during the meeting
If possible, take a longer break between strategy sessions so that guardians can pick out the problematic or lacking details in a plan.
Ask guardians to do something they’re confident in, then ask them to share it in a meeting to pull them out of their comfort zone
Drivers want strategy to serve their goals and objectives, communicate that a clear strategic plan will enable that.
For many drivers, understanding personality types can be enlightening. Many drivers are able to embrace a perspective change if addressed directly and conveyed as a productive use of time.
Explain to drivers how doing more research and listening to more opinions are essential to winning
Clearly communicate the agenda to drivers beforehand, so it is clear what the strategic goals for the meeting are
Integrators want to be convinced that a strategy is being developed with common interests in mind, and that measures are taken to make the change welcome
Integrators will appreciate it if you approach them about their thoughts beforehand and establish your support for their efforts
Integrators are key in developing a strategy that considers the interests of all of the stakeholders in the organization, nurture the importance of this skill in the team discussion
At the end of the day, it is imperative that everyone knows the components of strategic planning. Remember that all of the four personalities are invaluable to creating a successful strategic plan.
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