When I first went through Predictive Index® training, I participated in a closed training session at one of our client locations. For those of you who remember your training (and I hope you do), the employee personality assessments from the organization being trained are often used as examples. One of the employees was discussed quite frequently because he possessed a drive that no one else in the organization possessed. He was a Low D in a High D world. It got me thinking about my situation, and I realized – I’m a Lowest B in a High B world (with most of my co-workers being Highest B). So, it begged the question: “How does a Lowest B survive in a High B world?”
Over the last few months, I’ve learned two things. First, knowledge of PI® is very important when you are dealing with a drive you don’t understand (and let’s face it, we never truly understand a drive contradictory to ours). Second, a certain amount of compromise is necessary for survival and happiness.
Regarding knowledge – without knowing about PI®, it would be easy to become frustrated while interacting with my co-workers. For example, I prefer email to phone conversation. My co-workers prefer the opposite. In fact, if they could face me instead of having to use the phone, that would be even better from their perspective. Therefore, when I send out an email requesting information, I often receive my response via the telephone. It actually prompted me to ask one of my co-workers once if he had ever realized there is a “Reply” button in email correspondence he receives; I had sent three different email requests one day and received three reply phone calls. His contention was that it was easier to call me and tell me the answer rather than type it . In reality, he wanted to talk to someone. Knowing this about the High B drive allowed me to tease him about his phone call and how there is just no training sales people, and we were able to have a good laugh rather than get frustrated. Before PI®, I would likely have interpreted his phone calls as a lack of respect for my time and another instance of managing difficult people.
From the other side of the coin, I’ve come to realize how it is that I have been called “intense” and “distant” in my previous work-lives. Looking back I realize I was working with High B’s that didn’t understand my “things” orientation and took it as a personal affront. While I was never accused of being unfriendly, I was often accused of being too serious – not really a description I ever found accurate. I consider myself as someone who has a good sense of humor, and I laugh often. However, I was often told to “lighten up”. Knowing the High B’s need for fun in the workplace, I now understand the conclusion that I was too intense. For a High B, the occasional joke I told wasn’t really evidence that I was having fun because when it came down to having work to do, I got serious and did it. And, had I known then what I know now, I would have taken less offense to the statements that I was intense and too serious. And had they known PI®, they would have realized I wasn’t as serious and intense as they thought. But, as they often say in training, “You didn’t know what you didn’t know.”
And there’s the rub – now I know. Some responsibility comes with knowledge. That leads me to compromise. Now that I know PI®, I have the responsibility to try to meet the needs of my High B co-workers as a means to improving employee morale. I have learned over the last 6 months that those periodic phone replies are not something about which to get frustrated. In fact, it has become somewhat of an inside joke. And, just as my co-workers have adapted to my Lowest B (I was once told that I was only good for about 2 phone calls per day and after that, emails would be sent to me to accommodate my Lowest B), I have had to occasionally pick up the phone and call someone. It has taken some effort on my part (and energy since fighting your natural drive takes energy), but it has been well worth it. Compromise makes for a happy working relationship! And let’s face it, when you are the only person with a particular drive in your organization, by the sheer numbers of it, you are going to have to cross over to the Dark Side more often than they will be led into the Light (hey, I’m a High A too – my way is the right way!).