As a facilitator, I got the chance to work with a group of 20 seasoned and successful financial advisers specializing in institutional consulting. They were handpicked to be part of an Advisory Council, whose main purpose was to provide valuable insights and feedback to their Executive leaders on various aspects of the business, like product offerings, technology investments, processes, and regulatory compliance. The Council members were chosen from different regions and didn’t have much prior interaction with one another. So, I needed to find a way to create a positive and productive meeting environment. That’s when I decided to use Behavioral Styles as an ice-breaker to increase self-awareness, foster connections within the group, and establish norms for our meetings.

The Behavioral Styles assessment revealed an interesting mix among the members: 8 Controllers (4 CA, 3 CP, and 1 CS), 8 Persuaders (2 PP, 3 PC, 2 PS, and 1 PA), 1 Stabilizer, and 3 Analyzers (2 AS, and 1 AC). This diversity highlighted the various ways they approached their work, as well as the challenges and opportunities in collaborating effectively. During the debrief, I asked the group, “What do you need from these meetings to feel engaged, and what would make this time worthwhile?” The immediate responses showcased the dominant Controlling and Persuading styles in the room: “Let’s make decisions and take action,” “Stick to the agenda times because I’ve got calls scheduled during breaks,” and “Hold management accountable for their promises.”

However, I noticed that the Stabilizer and Analyzers hadn’t spoken up, possibly feeling overwhelmed or ignored by the more assertive styles. So, I directed the question specifically to them, with a playful wink to the group, saying, “Now pay close attention to how they answer the same question.” The momentary silence was followed by some knowing chuckles, and then only 2 people had something to add. One person suggested, “I need time to take it all in and think before we rush to decisions,” and the other said, “No interruptions, please, when someone’s speaking.”

This opened up a genuine and lively discussion on the “intent” and “impact” of behavior within a group setting, and the realization that each of them was accountable for the impact they had, regardless of their intent. They agreed to respect and leverage the different styles in the group and committed to learning how to balance participation and listening, differentiate expectations and commitments, and communicate effectively with one another and with their Executive leaders.

Once this awareness settled in, they came up with their “Be-Attitudes” (guiding principles aligned with the needs of the unique styles in the group) which served as the charter and ground rules for their meetings:

Fast forward 18 months, I’m still facilitating their meetings. We start each session by reading aloud the “Council Be-Attitudes,” and I always provide a slide displaying their Behavioral Styles as a visual reminder.

As a Persuader-Controller myself, I’m amazed at how they’ve integrated Behavioral Styles into their thinking, and it brings me joy when someone says, “Thanks for doing that touchy-feely stuff with us. It makes complete sense.”

Robert is Principal and co-founder of Business Visions Group (Est. 2008.) He uses his talents and experience in individual and organizational development to help leaders, managers, teams, and non-profit Boards increase engagement by identifying their core strengths and applying them to their aspirations and strategic goals.

Read more about Robert here.