Nothing is more exasperating than watching a group of smart, qualified, intelligent executives deliberate about a key strategy, and fail to reach an agreement. In frustration, the team turns to the CEO to make the decision. Yet this is counterproductive, as whatever the CEO decides, some of the team will resent – and that resentment leads to a lack of a commitment to delivering an outcome.
It’s even more frustrating when attempting to reach a forward-thinking strategic plan for the business.
How you might ask, can this be so? These people are our leaders. They set the direction of the organization. We rely on them to make sensible decisions that can impact our careers. So, how come they are in disarray?
The CEO, after a few attempts to reach an agreement, called in a DNA Behavior facilitator to oversee the discussions.
These are just a few questions that went through my head as I watched, incredulous, as a significant group of executives began the process of planning for the next stage of the company’s direction.
As I sat to one side and observed their interaction, it was clear the room was heavy with bias, one-upmanship, egotism, and overconfidence pitched against compliance, indifference, and timidity. The assertive ones held their ground. The more vocal got louder. And the reflective and thoughtful seemed to be brooding.
Nothing was being resolved. Every stake put in the ground took the team further away from making decisions.
The DNA Behavior Solution
Each member of the team completed the Communication DNA Discovery Process, an assessment predominantly focused on revealing individual communication styles. Patterns quickly emerged showing the relationship gaps and areas where communication was breaking down, and why.
Independent research shows that Communication DNA leads to solving 87% of business issues, which are hidden as they are communication-related.
Once the team understood how their communication style was getting in the way of bringing their talent and behavioral smarts to the table, outcomes began to change.
As the Goal Setting individuals encouraged input from the Information and Stability individuals and the Lifestyle individuals used their approach to encourage everyone of the importance to reach a solution – suddenly everyone felt they had a voice. And rather than chaos, a solid structure began to take shape.
The team was then able to focus on their task. Egos, bias, and intolerance were replaced with listening, acknowledging input, and intelligent suggestions – a lively, but meaningful debate.
As the task proceeded, the Lifestyle individuals suggested a flow chart to capture ideas. The Information individuals populated the flow chart, carefully catching ideas and suggestions. And the Goal Setters captured the key milestones for taking the organization into the next season and all agreed that it was a job well done.
From my perspective, the lesson learned for them as a strategic planning team of executives was the importance of understanding how to communicate with each other. Without the Communication DNA Discovery Process, this team would have failed to meet its obligations to set out the strategic plan for the next season. Important skills and talents would not have been brought to the table. Individuals would have left frustrated, and the business would have suffered without a cohesive sense of direction.
Workplace attitudes influence every person in the organization, from team colleagues to the leadership. Attitudes can control the workplace environment by impacting morale, productivity, and team effectiveness. Understanding and recognizing the behaviors that are at the root of poor attitudes is essential to the ongoing success and security of the business.
It only takes one person with an unchecked bad attitude to bring down an organization. The power of such an individual to cause destruction will stem from a variety of places: fear, anger, dissatisfaction, jealousy, or bad attitude. Whatever the trigger, the danger, if this behavior is left unchecked, can become a weapon of mass destruction to the business.
What part do you play in ensuring inappropriate behavior is challenged? If you hear or are part of an exchange that begins with.. “just between you and me,” or “I know you won’t tell anyone..”, it’s clear a confidence is about to be broken. So, what is your reaction?
Low-level gossipy stuff is every bit as important to identify and stamp out as is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That one who presents as committed, loyal and trustworthy, but, under pressure, this surface learned behavior can turn lethal.
A person who intentionally sets about leaking classified information (for example), and not always for monetary gain, but simply because they have been passed over for promotion, or they have some ideological position that they think legitimizes them to leak information. These are the people that CEOs are crying out to identify to limit the damage.
A recent article in BuzzFeed News reports: Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old Air Force veteran, was arrested on Saturday after the Department of Justice alleged that she printed out a classified document on her work computer and mailed it to The Intercept. Winner served in the Air Force for six years, where she worked as a linguist specializing in Arabic and Farsi. She had recently worked for a government contractor in Augusta, Georgia, where the NSA also has a facility.
Only time will tell as to her motivations, but the question to ask is this – could managers and supervisors have read any signs to alert them to a rogue in their midst? The answer is yes.
The 2016 Global Fraud Study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of revenues in each year because of fraud. The total loss caused by the cases in their study exceeded $6.3 billion, with an average loss per case of $2.7 million.
These statistics expose the need for robust and validated analytics to be the foundation for identifying/managing behaviors that can become a potential threat to business.
DNA Behavior‘s founder and CEO Hugh Massie has always advocated the importance of putting people before numbers. He believes that investing in understanding people, and getting below the surface of what is seen, to discover inherent behavior will, in the end, safeguard the numbers, while protecting the business.
Monitoring employees through the collection of Big Data can provide insights into social networking, relationships and even reveal normal behavior turning malevolent, but falls short. Readily available psychometric assessment tools bridge the gap. The Business DNA Natural Discovery Process identifies, who, when placed under pressure, is most likely to cause disruption to the business. Further, they reveal the environmental catalysts that provoke such behavior.
In the current theater of world politics, opinions are heightened. 80% of future lone wolves are known to take politics personally and claim that they have been wronged enough that action would be justified.
But creating rogue behavior does not necessarily require a change in government or some other significant change – the threat within can be a team member who cannot cope with pressure or are dissatisfied with the environment in which they work. It’s that simple. This kind of behavior can be revealed and managed.
The solution is the deployment of a validated personality discovery process, providing insights into hidden, hard-wired traits and a reliable prediction of where security or compliance risks exist. Based on external research, employees with the following measurable behavioral traits are more likely to engage in rogue behavior when emotionally triggered:
- Innovative – bright mind, which turns into curious and devious thinking
- Ambitious – desire for success, leading to cutting corners
- Secretive – working under cover and not revealing key information
When every member of a team knows, understands and is comfortable with each others behavior, it not only builds trust, but such effective teams give companies a significant competitive advantage. High-functioning teams would identify and weed out malevolent behavior instantly. They are alert to any sign of inappropriate behavior and challenge it.
Becoming a behaviorally smart organization is as simple as using a highly validated behavioral discovery process. Armed with the depth of insight such a discovery provides, management can dynamically match employees with specific environmental conditions to determine their potential response. They can also discern the degree to which such responses could create damaging behavior and negative actions towards the business.
Lastly, management can apply these insights towards talent re-allocation, employee evaluation, team development and improved hiring processes.
As the debate around extreme vetting heightens in the US, the discussion is shifting from border controls to hiring practices. Many businesses are looking to improve their service offering through requiring hiring agents to identify, in advance, behaviors that could potentially bring down an organization. There have been too many examples over the years of rogue behavior, particularly in the financial sector, causing havoc and destruction to businesses and their customers. To name but a few:
- Fannie Mae
Gone are the days when talent alone gets you a job. While this approach served organizations well in the past, Hirers are now being tasked with vetting for values; for indicators of malevolent behavior under pressure; for approach to money; for bias; for candidates, whose behavior is consistent with the organization’s beliefs, values and culture.
For example: In response to the many problems faced by the financial industry, FINRA set regulations in place to counter the growing numbers of cases involving illegal behavior on the part of executives in the industry. It stipulated that in addition to its normal oversight, it would be looking at:
- How businesses communicate and reinforce its culture directly, implicitly and through its reward system.
- What metrics are used to measure compliance with its cultural values?
- Implementation and consistent application of values throughout the organization.
HR departments, hiring organizations and executive search consultants are now under pressure to introduce #extremevetting using validated methods such as the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process, to reveal a range of behavioral strengths and limitations. Employers need HR departments and recruiters to get below the surface of candidates to reveal the behaviors that cannot easily be revealed through questioning. Employers are demanding a holistic personality approach, not just a range of complex questions and resumes to be the tools for selection, nor scanning their social media for clues.
While Big Data has a place, it cannot provide insight into the actual personality of individual prospective hires. People are unique; how they communicate, interact with each other, respond under pressure, manage their emotions, each of these will be different. Whatever the approach to building a picture of a candidate, a validated behavioral insights discovery procedure, such as the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process provides 91% accuracy.
The cost of a bad hire is not the only driver of employers, the growing concern is will this employee fit the values and culture, or bring down my business? Further, recruitment agencies and executive search organizations are concerned with protecting the integrity of their own business by requiring clients to fit the role in terms of both skills and personality.
Many are now turning to the application of behavioral insights not just with candidates, but also through administering the DNA Behavior Discovery process with the client.
Recruiters assess the manager and culture of the organization to ensure their selected candidates are not just suitable for posts, not just a good fit, but that they know in advance how to communicate with managers and understand the values and culture of the organization.
Behaviorally smart organizations, whether recruiters or employers, define their values in cultural terms. And they now require interview processes to focus on whether the new hires will fit the desired culture without a steep learning curve to get up to speed. So, not just in terms of a candidate’s performance but their individual values and understanding of culture must align as well.
This #extremevetting approach when partnered with DNA Behavior and their Behavioral Intelligence Solutions is a behaviorally smart first step in the hiring process.
Part 1 of 3 – How well he knows himself!
Well, the Trumpster beat the odds and has jumped over everyone to win the Presidency. How did he do it? The answer is deeply rooted in Donald Trump’s behavioral insights – his natural, hard-wired Influencer DNA Behavioral Style. These personality insights identify the primary drivers of his good (and bad) leadership decisions, financial dealings and general approach to life.
I’m not running for office. I don’t have to be politically correct. I don’t have to be a nice person. Like I watch some of these weak-kneed politicians, it’s disgusting. I don’t have to be that way.
- Donald Trump
Donald Trump’s Influencer behavioral style has made him successful, but if not managed, could be his downfall. Overall he (is):
- Driven by power and success
- Very spontaneous and instinctive
- Extremely creative and an out-of-the-box thinker
- A take-charge, decisive and a fast-paced decision-maker
- Works with people to get the results he wants
- Could be unsympathetic to others needs
- A strong communicator but lacks filters
- Very confrontational and prepared to play tough
- Into achieving economic and political goals. He could risk a lot and be too optimistic
- Into trying new ways. Sometimes they win, and other times they fail.
- Has a transactional mindset and could be too impatient when a program does not work out quickly
Donald Trump’s behavioral insights reflect that he is supremely cognizant of these behavioral abilities and uses each to further his personal agenda.
It is clear Trump knows his personality; he knows success is his lifetime goal. Anyone who has even limited behavioral awareness should have known that the election trail was all about the salesman’ getting the sale (the White House). But from here on we’ll see the negotiator because that’s how he knows he will get results. Trump will be a hard-nosed negotiator; whether putting together a White House team or negotiating trade deals on the world stage, he will be reluctant to give in on even the smallest points.
The old idiom my way or the highway will probably be the new White House mantra.
Trump won’t be fearful of taking risks, he will play the odds, some you win and some you lose, but as long as he is always moving forward to the goals and objectives he has set – he’ll feel he is on track.
As a decision maker, Donald Trump will not be readily swayed by sentiment or humanitarian impulses. This will be advantageous when it comes to balancing competing interests or bargaining with adversaries. He is likely to be a bold and ruthlessly aggressive decision maker showing little concern for the emotions of others.
That said – he knows how to keep people on board; he knows how to set others up for success in order to achieve his goals. The result is, a Trump that is equipped to be a strategic player in situations where achieving results is a priority and concentrate on matter-of-fact, practical issues.
Listening to those around him talking about his loyalty, great to work for, cares about me and my family, further demonstrates his ability to manage his personality. Confident, goal-setting people, such as Trump, excel by blending their strong drive to reach key goals with sound knowledge, high-quality processes and quality control standards.
With his outgoing and innovative nature, there is no doubt Trump is the Populist’s choice. Ultimately, he won from his preparedness in the rural areas where Hillary did not go. He won what should have been Democrat territory
Trump v Clinton – The Comparison
98/66 Trump makes fast decisions; sometimes getting it wrong but always moving forward. Clinton hesitates, wanting more information, with a propensity to procrastinate.
73/96 Trump breaks down boundaries and doesn’t wait to anticipate outcomes. Clinton is only interested in knowing the outcome of decisions she might make.
99/54 Trump is all about setting the bar as high as possible in achieving goals. Clinton tends towards keeping things as they are.
62/95 Trump changes direction mid-stream if a better plan is formulated to bring success. Clinton sticks to agreed and established direction and agendas to achieve goals even if they may not work out.
92/66 Trump is open to new ideas if it achieves his goals. Clinton is more stuck in the status quo.
90/66 Trump is not into details, he just wants results and will say what he wants to say even if possibly wrong; decides instinctively. Clinton needs details, analysis, and research in order to make decisions.
90/79 Trump is clear and forthright in expressing and communicating. Clinton is less so, which might cause confusion in mixed messaging.
96/79 Trump is not fazed by conflict. Clinton is less comfortable with conflict.
84/90 Trump is motivated by his own personal interest or advantage, especially without regard for others. Clinton, even more so.
90/92 Neither are empathetic towards issues others face.
To give Mr. President Elect the final word – “No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.”
Rogue behavior costing $36 billion in legal bills since the financial crisis should give every Board member and Executive sleepless nights. Then add the cost to hire significant compliance and security management and staff to curb rogue behavior, and some serious questions need to be asked!
- What part does pressure to chase profitability encourage a greater level of risk to be taken?
- How much risk is the business willing to take? And at what level does risk become reckless?
- Is the level of inter-staff competitiveness so great that irresponsible risk is encouraged?
- How vigilant are those in leadership to the impact of pressure on employees?
Working in an environment pressurized to succeed at all costs, tends to be the norm, especially in the Financial Sector. Just look at Wells Fargo. Whilst taking risk is a legitimate part of building a successful business and keeping ahead of the competition, when pressure and risk collide it can quickly become a weapon in the wrong hands. Unable to balance risk under pressure to achieve results, the line becomes blurred between acceptable business practices and legal or moral improprieties.
Even more alarming, is when Boards and senior executives fail to acknowledge the environments that promote rogue behavior simply to increase profits. It could be argued that they are as culpable as the rogue employee. Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, says “we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”
Prosecutions and regulatory enforcement stemming from noncompliance related to employee behavior such as corruption, bribery, rogue trading and insider trading are on the rise around the world. In fiscal 2015, the SEC filed nearly 7% more cases over the prior year, meting out $4.2 billion in sanctions.
People are hired for their talent but little attention is paid to their inherent personality. So when an individual is placed under significant pressure or pushed to take excessive risks, their behavior can turn rogue. The good news? When pressure and risk collide can now be predicted.
Using behavioral insights, management can dynamically match employees with specific environmental conditions to determine their potential response to risk and pressure. They can also discern the degree to which such responses could create rogue behavior and negative actions towards the business.
It is no longer enough to simply look at emails, computer keystrokes, outside influences, sick records etc. – the old hat of international espionage and anti-terrorist tools. What should be clearly understood is that the rogue employee is a human being, that when placed under significant pressure to achieve, will take risks.
The question to Boards and Executives is – do you know your employees?
What corporate entities have in their corner is direct and immediate access to their own personnel from top to bottom and every department – including even outside partners and vendors. So the solution is the deployment of a validated personality discovery process, providing hidden insights and a reliable prediction of where security or compliance risks exist.
Based on external research, employees with the following measurable behavioral traits are more likely to engage in rogue behavior when emotionally triggered
- An inventive mind, full of ground-breaking ideas turns their thoughts to curious and devious thinking when, as an example; many of their ideas are rejected.
- A go-getting, determined person, driven to success at any cost; begins to cut corners, as a toxic competitive streak takes over.
- A reticent, uncommunicative, taciturn minded person normally just seen as the quiet one’ begins to hold onto key information that others need, simply because they have taken offense over something trivial.
DNA Behavior International’s validated system gets below the surface to reveal behaviors that, if not managed, can lead to ruinous behavior.
The Unique DNA Behavior Approach is able to Score, Filter, and Prioritize Employee Personality Insights.