discovering THE UNIQUE BEAUTY of the “STRAIGHT LINE” PROFILE
If you’ve been to our Carmel office and used our powder rooms, you’ve seen the above statement (All (PI®) Profiles Are Beautiful) displayed next to each of the mirrors. It’s true. In almost 34 years of working with the Predictive Index® tool, I’ve had the opportunity to witness the beauty in all of them. And one of my most recent experiences helped fill in some of the empty spots.
The beauty of a Predictive Index profile is most clearly captured when a person’s profile and a job’s profile are perfectly matched; while, at the same time, the person is receiving the reinforcement from management / leadership that matches the needs their profile indicates they have. That symbiosis of job fit and management / leadership relationship pushes two of the four key engagement dials to their maximum. That creates a beauty that is measurable – individual performance is maximized.
I’d never had the opportunity to witness, until recently, the beauty of a profile where all four drives sat at the midpoint. I’d like to share my experience.
In 1982, when I was first trained in PI by Steven Daniels, the founder Arnold’s son; and again in 1984 when I was trained again by Arnold himself, they each talked about the “straight line profile” in the same way. They suggested that because of the flexibility the profile brought, that a person with it would be the perfect CIA agent – able to blend in almost any direction. Over the last 34 years, I’d not had any work with the CIA; nor had I had much experience with people having the profile. I’d only seen the profile a few times and until recently, had never taken a person with that profile through a training of my own.
Now I have, and find the straight line profile does indeed have a beauty, as all profiles do, all its own.
The person in question, we’ll call her Sue, took the profile applying for a training job within a client. She had all the right skills, presented well in her first interview and completed her PI survey. The administrator looked at the results (the straight line profile) and asked Sue to retake the survey because he didn’t know what to do with it. Sue did and the second result came out differently – a narrow spread highest D, high C, low A, lowest B.
On my next visit to the client, I asked why there were two profiles in the system for Sue and they explained the circumstances. I responded that the first profile may not be what you were hoping for, but that’s likely the best picture of who Sue is. I’d recommend they use it to best understand Sue.
Time passed. Sue moved into a “catch-all” kind of role as the implementer of company policy for a senior leader. The leader described Sue’s role as, “She’s my go-to person to get things done organizationally. When I’ve got a plan, program or policy that needs to be executed, I give it to Sue to get it done through the rest of our people within our organization. Sometimes it needs a little assertiveness, sometimes persuasiveness. Sometimes, it needs persistence. Sometimes getting in the weeds of execution. Sue is a uniquely flexible person who can adapt to all the different tasks I ask her to do. She’s perfect in her role and I couldn’t imagine anyone doing it as well as she does.”
Because Sue works with people throughout the organization in a variety of capacities, the organization decided to send her through PI training. I was privileged to get to know her and had the opportunity to have candid conversations with her about her profile, her role, and her motivation.
Here’s what I learned.
Sue told me she liked all the things she did. She didn’t mind being aggressive, or persuasive. Acquiescent or persistent worked for her too. And, she was comfortable getting into the details.
As we went through the training, she described herself as ambivalent about all the needs of the high drives. Sometimes she felt positive about praise and positive feedback, sometimes she was uncomfortable. Sometimes she liked personal connections with people. Sometimes, she just didn’t want to take the time. Her individual motivation was hard for her to get her arms around. She wanted to feel needed and feel productive – and, especially, to be busy. But, besides that, she couldn’t put her finger on what she wanted motivationally more than anything else.
During a private lunch discussion, Sue told me she both wanted and didn’t want all the different motivators of all the drives; and she wasn’t sure if this was good, right, bad or what. I asked if we could bring her manager into the discussion (as I knew he loved Sue’s work and might be able to help fill in some of the blanks for us both).
His participation was perfect as he confirmed Sue’s gumby-like flexibility and its suitability for the specific role she was asked to do in the company. He lauded her ability to flex into all the activities into which she was thrown. He also said he didn’t mind providing all the aspects of motivation to her and was comfortable with her occasional discomfort with some of his efforts. He related that she was in the perfect job for her and he would do his best to provide as much of what she needed as he could. She responded that she loved her job because she felt needed, productive and didn’t have to worry about ever being busy enough.
I think we all learned quite a bit.
This experience reinforced that, “All (PI) Profiles Are Beautiful” – because when people are put into jobs that match who they are and are given what they need, beautiful things happen. Great results blossom.