The importance of understanding personalities
For a GC, juggling with diverse stakeholder personalities comes with the job. But how you interact with a variety of individuals often means the difference between getting nowhere and getting the outcome you want.
Personality test designed for business
The claim that personality is important in business is by no means new. However, most of the personality tests are not designed for business. Deloitte teamed with scientists from the fields of neuro-anthropology and genetics to develop Business Chemistry. A personality system that reveals four work styles: Drivers, Pioneers, Integrators and Guardians.
Why is it important to read personality types?
A GC who understands his own Business Chemistry, as well as his team’s, is better suited to:
1. Engage and influence stakeholders
GCs engage with such a broad range of stakeholders that an understanding of where and how people’s tendencies and preferences vary is essential. For example, a GC might present the same business case differently depending on the primary pattern of the audience. In presenting to a Driver, he might come equipped with a one-page summary and start the conversation with the overall impact of the initiative. In presenting to an Integrator, he might start with the broader context of the business case and include details about which stakeholder groups are on board. This ability to adjust one’s own style to suit different stakeholder preferences is one of the leading ways to build effective relationships.
2. Manage team strengths and weaknesses
Effective teams have both diversity—a mix of the four types—and an awareness and ability to leverage that diversity. For a GC the following steps are considered; Observe your team, Identify gaps, Leverage strengths and Celebrate diversity.
Once a team is profiled, GCs can build on existing strengths and introduce processes to combat potential pitfalls—and in the process possibly shift the perception of legal for the better within their organization.
3. Flex to multiple roles
At first glance, many of the traditional GC’s responsibilities seem to map neatly to the Guardian pattern: preserving the organization’s assets, getting the contracts right, minimizing risk, and so on. The stereotype around what a GC “should be” persists, the reality is that today’s GCs are expected to play roles that go beyond the traditional “Operator” and “Steward” categories (read our article ‘The Four Faces of a GC’)¹ and require skills other than those associated with Guardian.
Simply put, knowing Business Chemistry may help you make a transition from the Golden Rule (treat others as you wish to be treated) to the Platinum Rule (treat others as they wish to be treated).
Small steps, big results
By training yourself to look for a few important behaviors, you can quickly hypothesize what personality/language someone else is speaking.
Implementing just a few basic principles of Business Chemistry can create better alignment within your teams, better engagement and relationships with your stakeholders, and a better understanding of how to change perceptions and build credibility within your role.Doing this well is not only about creating a personal advantage, but creating a competitive advantage as well.
Business Chemistry is an approach to strengthening your people and therefore your team. People are the most important enablers of your legal department. Working more effectively will help you adding more value to the legal department.
A starting point is a Legal Lab to address specific business challenges like the transformation of your Legal Operating Model, how to balance your roles in the organization or the personalities in your team. In our article ‘The Four Faces of the General Counsel’¹, we already mentioned our Labs.
Labs can tackle a range of topics, from innovation to leadership, from analytics to relationships and from strategy to transformation. Legal labs are part of our Legal Management Consulting offering.
If you would like to receive more information please read the article of Business Chemistry in Harvard Business Review (BC Deloitte.com) or get in touch with:
The four patterns of Business Chemistry
While everybody displays a combination of traits, most people align closely with one—and sometimes two—of the following types:
Driver:Drivers are analytical thinkers who are intellectually creative and prefer experimentation over theorization. To them, business is just that: business. As such, they have limited tolerance for small talk and aren’t afraid to ruffle feathers to get their point across.
Pioneer: Pioneers are blue-sky ideas people, whose adaptability allows them to thrive in multiple environments. To them, business is exciting when they’re exploring possibilities and redefining the status quo. As such, they sometimes feel weighed down by structure and details.
Integrator:Integrators are masters of empathy and nuance, and are particularly skilled at understanding the broader context of an issue. As such, they often take time to consider everyone’s opinions and socialize an approach before moving forward.
Guardian:Guardians prefer concrete reality and are particularly skilled at providing structure and minimizing risk. As such, they can be reluctant to pursue unproven ideas and often deliberate thoroughly before making decisions.