Why Behaviour is More Important than Personality – A Comparison Of Assessment Tools

April 16th, 2020 | 15 minute read

Have you ever considered the impact of behaviour in your business? Often the biggest challenges in a business are related to people and their behaviour. Because of this,  all of our work employs behaviour change strategies in some form. 

We believe the behaviour of you, your business and your employees is your differentiator. It’s how you do things, not just what you do, that enables you to outperform your competition, or in our words, out-behave them. The performance of your team is underpinned by the behaviours you drive day to day. If you ever want to measure your culture – look no further than the dominant behaviours that appear in your business – they will either be your main drivers, or detractors of success.

When looking at assessments, in particular pre-employment testing, personality profiling has traditionally been chosen over forms of behavioural assessment. While the insight into someone’s personality is interesting, it is static, so it cannot be changed which renders the insight interesting but not particularly useful. To put it simply – personality is who we are, whilst behaviour is how we do something.

Personality Is Fixed, Behaviour Is Flexible

Dr Robin Stuart-Kotze, professor at Oxford University says, “it has been maintained that personality becomes virtually fixed at about age five.” It is extremely difficult for people to change elements of their personalities. However, they can more easily alter their behaviour, to flex according to the needs of a situation. It is this flexibility, that enables businesses to employ behaviour change strategies to drive the right behaviours, and discourage the wrong ones.

Behaviour Impacts Performance

Behaviour impacts all aspects of performance and each different role needs different behaviours for someone to be successful. Being able to identify behavioural traits and pair them with the right job role increases performance.

It is useful to first understand what kind of behaviours would be best suited to the job role you are recruiting for. From there, you can identify key traits to look out for at interview. Some questions to consider:

  • Do they like process? Or prefer more flexibility?
  • Are they driven by results? Or more motivated by relationships with the people around them? 
  • Are they more interested in the end goal? Or do they like the details?
  • Are they a problem solver? Or more solution oriented?

It is much easier to change how we do things (our behaviour), than to change who we are (our personality).

Personality Assessments vs Behavioural Assessments

As previously discussed, the concept of “personality,” presupposes that a person will react the same way in every situation—an idea that was proven incorrect by cognitive psychologists in the 1980s.

We often get asked the difference between our behavioural map, and other popular personality assessments on the market. Outside of the obvious difference between personality and behaviour, one of the key elements is the depth of insight. In most personality assessments, and in the ones we compare below, they assess across a relatively small scope – in fact normally across four key areas. If you are looking for a top level overview of someone’s personality this is fine, but when you are looking for more in depth insight to be able to really drive performance changes with current staff, or to glean real insight into how someone will perform in your business during recruitment activities – you need deeper, more actionable insight.

As an example, we recently did some work with a large organisation who had previously used personality profiling. In this exercise, three team members had exactly the same personality profile, despite the fact that the manager knew that they had some intrinsically different behaviours. When they transitioned to behavioural profiling, it gave them the detail to understand what exactly was different and what to do with that information. 

It should be noted that we can provide all of the below assessments, and still run personality profiles if specifically requested by organisations we work with, however our preference is always behavioural, quite simply for the fact that they give you much deeper, and more flexible, insight to be able to then act on within your business.

We are going to compare below the behavioural map and three other popular assessments to compare key differences and benefits to your business.

What is the Duo Behavioural Map?

Richard Bandler introduced meta programs in the 1970s and since then they have become highly researched and used extensively through Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Meta programs essentially evolved as a model for understanding, predicting and influencing behaviour. They answer the question: “How is this person behaving, and how do I communicate with them to create win:win interactions?”

Having undertaken significant training in behavioural change management, and NLP, underpinned by meta programs, we developed our signature behavioural mapping tool – the Duo Behavioural Map.

This tool provides a blueprint to managers and leaders in how to manage their team to achieve higher levels of performance, how to communicate with increased impact, how to build deeper level relationships, and is used pre-hire to help you better predict how someone will behave and perform should you hire them. We have even had clients use it to map the behaviours of their clients for increased sales & customer service.

The map uncovers 8 key areas of behaviour with 18 separate behavioural patterns, and identifies an individuals key motivational and attitudinal preferences in the context of work. It helps predict how an individual will behave in certain situations and job roles, which can then be used in both recruitment, management and performance to drive even better results.

The areas include:

  • What someone’s source of information is – whether they have an internal sense check, or seek external feedback and input.
  • The reason and working approach – whether people need more process and procedure, or prefer options and flexibility.
  • An individuals action level – whether they initiate and are driven by action, or have a more reflective style that is more considerate and analytical.
  • How an individual deals with, and receives, change – whether they are more traditional, a driver of improvement, or an innovator and driver of change.
  • The direction in which someone thinks – whether they think forward in terms of goals and solutions, or whether they think with a past focus in challenges or problems.
  • Someone’s scope – whether they need the detail, or prefer the big picture vision.
  • An individuals working motivation – whether they are driven by achievement, the ability to lead and take control, or by people and a sense of belonging.
  • Someone’s working preference – whether they work more productively around others, or independently.

With the depth of insight the map enables both an individual to gain a deeper level of understanding into themselves, whilst also providing management insight to drive performance, facilitate better communication and relationship building.

Myers Briggs

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was created to measure an individual’s personality. Based on the answers to the questions on the survey, people are measured against four pairs of patterns that then ladders up into 16 personality types:

  • Extraversion vs Introversion – Extraverts are “outward-turning” and tend to be action-oriented, that enjoy more frequent social interaction, and feel energised after spending time, or sharing ideas with other people. Introverts are “inward-turning” and tend to be more thought-oriented, reflective, and feel recharged after spending time alone.
  • Sensing vs Intuitive – People who prefer sensing tend to spend more of their time rooted in reality, particularly to what they can learn from their own senses. They tend to focus on facts and details through their own hands-on experience. Those who prefer intuition pay more attention to things like an impression or vision. They enjoy thinking about the possibilities, imagining the future, and coming up with more abstract theories.
  • Thinking vs Feeling – People who prefer thinking place a greater emphasis on facts and objective data. They tend to be consistent, logical, and impersonal when weighing a decision. Those who prefer feeling are more likely to consider people, feelings and emotions when arriving at an end decision.
  • Perception vs Judgement – People who lean more towards perceiving are more open, flexible, and adaptable to change. People who lean toward judging prefer structure, certainty and firm decisions.

There are free versions available that can be unreliable, but the real MBTI must be administered by a trained and qualified practitioner that includes a follow-up of the results. This can make this assessment costly as it requires so much time and structure around it.

DISC

The DiSC Model of behaviour and personality was first proposed by William Moulton Maston, a physiological psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard. Later, others developed assessments based on this model. The Everything DiSC product family, which we reference in this post, was launched by Inscape Publishing in 2007.

The DiSC profile measures your personality and behavioural style. It does not measure intelligence, aptitude, mental health or values. The DiSC profile describe human behaviour in various difference situations, in both a work and personal context, for example how you respond to challenges, how you influence others, your preferred pace and how you respond to rules and procedures.

The outputs of the assessment provides a score across the following four areas:

  • Dominance – someone with a high D style will be direct, strong-willed and forceful and will want to take charge.
  • Influence– someone with a strong I style will be sociable, talkative and lively and like to feel a sense of belonging in a team.
  • Steadiness– someone with a high S score will be gentle, accommodating and soft-hearted and like to have an sense of cohesion and fairness across a team.
  • Conscientiousness – someone with a high C score will be private, analytical and logical and will likely be the one who wants to work to detail and process.

Once taken the assessment you will receive a report that includes a percentage score of your highest to lowest areas on the four part scale.

Insights

Insights Discovery is a psychometric tool based on Jungian psychology, which uses a four-colour model to highlight key personality preferences and associated behaviours.

The profile separates people into four categories and outlines a unique “colour mix” of the four colour energies: Cool BlueFiery RedSunshine Yellow and Earth Green – each colour represents certain personality preferences.

The profile is quite similar to the DISC categories:

  • Cool Blue – similar to a high C style – a cool blue is cautious, precise, deliberate, analytical and formal in approach.
  • Fiery Red – similar to a high D style – a fiery red is competitive, demanding, determined, direct and strong willed.
  • Sunshine Yellow – similar to a high I style – a sunshine yellow is sociable, dynamic, enthusiastic and persuasive.
  • Earth Green – similar to a high S style – an earth green is caring, encouraging, sharing, patient and accommodating.

The process starts with an online evaluation which takes about 20 minutes to complete and is comprised of detailed multiple choice questions. Following completion of this, a personal profile is then generated providing in-depth insight into individual strengths and weaknesses, communication style, approach to problems and value added to the team.

Key Differences

Measurement Type

  • MBTI – Personality only.
  • DISC – Some personality, some behaviour, but doesn’t look at attitude or motivation.
  • Insights – Personality only with some behaviour.
  • Duo Behavioural Map – All behavioural and measures motivation & attitudinal components.

Age

  • MBTI – MBTI dates back to 1943 and hasn’t changed very much in the proceeding years.
  • DISC – New Everything DiSC developed in 2007.
  • Insights – Created by founder Andi Lothian in the 1990’s.
  • Duo Behavioural Map – Developed in 2017, with the background of NLP metaprograms dating back to the 1970s. Although the map is based on NLP metaprograms with years of proven application, the way in which they have been pulled together into the mapping tool enables us to use the latest findings in cognitive science to measure work attitude and motivation.

Scope & Depth

  • MBTI – Four groups with 8 personality traits.
  • DISC – Four quadrants.
  • Insights – Four colours.
  • Duo Behavioural Map – 8 behavioural areas with 18 individual behavioural patterns.

Assessment

  • MBTI – The current version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator includes 93 forced-choice questions in the North American version and 88 forced-choice questions in the European version. For each question, there are two different options from which the respondent must choose.
  • DISC – You’ll answer approximately 80 questions for an Everything DiSC assessment. Computerised adaptive testing is used so you could have more or fewer questions depending on how many answers are needed to determine your style.
  • Insights – The questionnaire is conducted online and consists of 25 questions. 
  • Duo Behavioural Map – The online survey consists of 74 multiple choice questions. 

Cost

  • MBTI – The cost of the assessment ranges depending on re-selling but it cannot be released without a session with a qualified MBTI facilitator so average range for the survey & follow up session is between £100-£200 per person.
  • DISC – Ranges depending on reseller but average of £75 – £100 a test.
  • Insights – Average of £80 per test.
  • Duo Behavioural Map – £50 per map.

Conclusion

As shown in the outline of comparisons above, there are pros and cons to each assessment. The firm difference that we see across the board is the fact that when you focus on behaviour over personality, you can see much higher levels of impact in your business. This is ultimately what led us to create the Duo Behavioural Map. Although some of the other profiles look at some behaviours, all are predominantly personality based, and look at a very narrow scope with only four areas of assessment, which as previously discussed, is not often enough to really drive performance changes in your business. 

When you look at behaviours, in the specific context of work, and across a wider range of 18 behavioural patterns – you can achieve a deep analysis into the people into your team, whether existing, or when used during recruitment to learn more about the person you may hire.

To find out more about how the Duo Behavioural Map could work in your business, drop us a line!

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