The Four Perceived Personalities

While coaching executives, I’ve used multiple personality assessment tools from different backgrounds that assess different traits. I’ve come up with a very simple one, for negotiation and influence purposes, that allows you to categorize people into one of four major groups:

  • Vision-Oriented;
  • Detail-Oriented;
  • Competition-Oriented;
  • Cooperation-Oriented;

These four types have very simple descriptions that allow you to easily identify someone’s personality type with this framework:

  • Vision-Oriented people are focused on stories, on innovation, on the future. They love the big picture and hate the details. They are inspired by war stories and success stories. Very optimistic, persuasive, positive and many times impulsive by nature. Career examples include: Marketing / sales / PR professionals;
  • Detail-Oriented people focus on the numbers, the processes. They want to break the big picture down to its building blocks and analyze all of them. Many of them are pessimistic by nature and want to avoid risk, sifting through hundreds or thousands of possibilities before settling on one. Career examples include: Legal / accounting / finance professionals;
  • Competition-Oriented are focused on achieving above everything else. They are ruthless in their pursuit of having what others don’t, of surpassing others, of getting the gold medal. Career examples include: CEOs / professional athletes / hedge fund investors;
  • Cooperation-Oriented are focused on helping and supporting others. They love to nurture, help, teach others. Career examples include: Medicine / nursing / teaching / mentoring professionals;

Naturally, these personality types are not limited to the suggested professions — you might have a medical doctor that is oriented towards being the best surgeon, not really focused on helping people in the first place, in which case they are Competition-Oriented, not Cooperation. Suggested careers are the usual tendencies.

Tailoring Communication to the Four Personality Types

The goal of this framework is to facilitate persuasion and influence, be it for managing your talent, raising capital, or any other purpose. Therefore, it’s interesting to understand how each type of personality reacts to a specific message:

  • Vision-Oriented people react to messages that focus on the big picture. Success cases, vivid pictures, optimism projections. They want to share a vision for the future;
  • Detail-Oriented people react to the details. They want to know everything to the deepest detail and do the due diligence. They focus on numbers, facts, processes. They react very well to breaking something down to its smallest components;
  • Competition-Oriented are focused on getting things done and winning. They want to waste no time and get to the point. They are short-term oriented and want to get quick wins right here and now. They react very well to being direct, focusing on the benefit for them and how it will help them surpass others;
  • Cooperation-Oriented are focused on how others feel and their well-being, and they want to understand how you can help them, they can help you, and your negotiation or joint purpose can help others, possibly the whole world. They react well to statements of empathy, caring, talking about the long-term relationship;

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