Understanding Human Behavior

Human behavior is absolutely fascinating.  Observing people and trying to predict what they will do next can provide a real learning experience.  Human behavior is quite predictable in many instances.  Personalities can be extremely complex but there are areas that can be understood with a high degree of accuracy.  That is part of the value in using validated personality assessments.  It's a lot like on the job training in the human behavior department.

You are probably wondering how you would use that information.  If you are considering promoting an employee into a new position with higher levels of responsibility, wouldn't it be beneficial to know ahead of time how he would perform in the new job?  You can also use this information and understanding when putting together a team to manage a new project. You will even know who should be assigned certain tasks in order to play to each members strengths instead of to their weaknesses.

All industries are having to handle technological change.  Which employees will be able to respond to those changes without difficulty?  Which employees should be targeted for specialized or advanced training?  Wouldn't it also be beneficial to know which employees would need supplemental or remedial training?

Another interesting fact about human beings is that they sometimes behave badly just because they don't know any other way to express themselves.  You can effectively spot those individuals and defuse potential problems before they ever get out of the box.

The more that you work with a personality assessment instrument, the more proficient you will become in understanding and reading people accurately.  This is an enormous help when interviewing and screening applicants or in conflict resolution.  When you understand what is driving the behavior, you will be able to predict the outcome much more successfully. You will not become a guru overnight, but a little coaching can take you a long way very quickly.

You just ruined his day!

One of the most wonderful things about working with personality assessments is that you learn a great deal about people.  Some of the things about people that drive you nuts right now, you would find amusing if you knew what was actually driving that particular behavior.  When you understand what makes people tick, you almost have to love them.  Love and understanding work hand in hand, as the following example will indicate.

One of our clients invited me on a little "get-away" to the coast.  His father was following us in a separate car because he planned on returning home a day earlier than we were.  My client was originally in business with his father but bought him out when his father wanted to retire.  I had done an Achiever assessment on his father a few years prior to the trip.  After we had traveled about an hour, his father passed us up and waved us over to the side of the road due to his check engine light coming on.  It turned out that his second auxiliary cooling fan had developed a short and the positive wire leading to the battery was starting to smolder.

It was a cool day and we were on the interstate so the auxiliary fan was not really that necessary.  It is mainly there for the hot summer days when traffic is bumper to bumper and the air conditioning is running.  My client quickly grabbed a pair of wire cutters and before I could stop him, he cut the wire to the fan.  With the problem resolved, we continued on our journey.

When we were underway again, I told my client that he had just ruined his father's day by cutting that wire.  He should have unbolted it from the terminal lead.   My client told me that it did not matter because the wire was going to have to be replaced anyway and probably the fan also.  I told him that I agreed with him but nevertheless, cutting the wire would end up ruining the day for his father.  He told me that his father obviously didn't mind and that everything was okay.  I told him that it was okay for the time being, but that his father would start thinking about it and would decide shortly to turn around and go home.

I told him what I remembered about his father's Achiever evaluation report that I had done for them.  I explained in exact detail why his father would not complete the trip.  My client assured me that his father would not let something as silly as a cut wire ruin his plans because his father really wanted to go on the trip.  Ironically, it was his father's high level of planfulness combined with a few other behaviors such as his high ethical standards that were the basis for my prediction.

The elderly gentleman was a stickler for details and the burned out fan motor was certainly not a part of the plan.  He could have coped with one minor setback, but the arbitrary and capricious act of severing the life of the terminal lead would prove to be too much for him to bear.  About fifteen minutes later, his father passed us up again and waved us over to the side of the road.

My client said something else must have gone wrong with the car.  I told him that I doubted it, his father was just pulling him over to let him know that he was returning home.  My client talked to his father a few minutes and then started laughing as he returned to the car.  "Man, did you hit the nail on the head, my father's headed to the house" he said.  He told me that those types of situations with his father always drove him crazy because he couldn't understand it, but now that he understood why his father reacted that way, he found it a bit humorous.  I will bet that there are a number of people that you would like to get an Achiever profile on right now.


Return to Top