THOUGHT 4 THE WEEK
I’d been warned to expect someone who doesn’t display much humor; someone who is cautious around strangers; someone who doesn’t take things at face value; someone who doesn’t believe in single answers and seeks solutions based on a balance of consequence. Get past this, however, and she is an excellent customer.
From this description, I anticipated meeting a COOL/ASKER. I, therefore, needed to be sure of my technical abilities or take someone along who possessed them.
Arriving ten minutes ahead of our scheduled meeting allowed me to compose myself. Sure enough at precisely three minutes to our appointment; her secretary led me to her office, knocked and entered ahead of me. She introduced Mrs. COOL/ASKER to me, rather than me to her, giving me the impression I had entered a Headmistress Study.
Her office was tidy and business-like with a monitor and a Smart Tablet on her desk. A large logistics chart was on the wall adjacent to her. She was dressed formally wearing a crisp blouse under a somber jacket. She stood as I entered the room. With a perfunctory smile she said, “Good morning” and, “Please take a seat” indicating with her hand for me to use the chair next to her desk. She then seemed to wait for me to open the conversation.
Her demeanor within this almost ‘clinical’ environment, confirmed my expectation that she was a COOL/ASKER. Recognizing this I had to keep my emotions in check. I had to stick to the facts to gain her confidence in my abilities or I might as well leave now.
Curiously, the COOL/ASKER may appear assertive even though they are not naturally so. They gain their authority by following the rules, the protocols and procedures. They seek to comply and expect others to do the same.
Expecting a meeting with a COOL/ASKER, I had emailed an outline agenda in advance and referring to it I opened by thanking her for seeing me stating today would take no longer than the allotted time unless she thought to extend it.
As I was speaking I removed two copies of that agenda from my case offering her one. I asked if anything should be added or amended. Receiving it without comment she produced her own copy for comparison. I said nothing.
Meeting with Mrs. Cool/Asker
1025am Monday 3rd August, Olympia Buildings
Introduction of/background to my company (5 minutes)
My experience and credentials (3 minutes)
Published background on Mrs. C company (5 minutes)
The facts about my company’s services (discuss)
Suggest services that may be of specific interest (Mrs. C approval)
Arrange a working agenda to explore
Where are you now?
Where do you want to be?
What are the different methods of getting there?
Which are the most appropriate methods to commence?
After a few moments of contemplation, she expressed almost indifferent satisfaction that this might be an appropriate agenda but mentioned item number six had yet to be discussed.
Hard evidence carries more weight with the COOL/ASKER who remains suspicious of hearsay or anecdote. So, I’d brought copies of my formal qualifications plus two copies of my company’s service brochure, having revised its layout and memorized the page numbers to each main section. I had also researched her business through the Internet. If asked I could state their mission statement; what their principal markets are; what gross turnover they had achieved for the most recently audited years; how many people are employed; and, who their chief competitors are.
I anticipated no real decisions would be made during this meeting other than whether we would meet again. The COOL/ASKER must concede possible areas of concern before they have any interest in going further and everything, but everything must be submitted in writing prior to each meeting.
For meeting number two, I would forward a second agenda building on the first, with a copy of documents for discussion and allow two hours. For meeting number three, another agenda with a copy of preliminary report capturing items discussed from meeting two; another two hours. For meeting number four, I would forward the final agenda with an itemized report of the agreed areas of concern with alternative solutions to explore, set against a calendar for submission together with explanatory charts and supporting documentation; two more hours.
The pure COOL/ASKER is very high maintenance and moves towards resolutions sequentially. They can, however, yield extraordinary volumes of business directly and through professional introductions. Yet, most people can’t or won’t invest sufficient time to work with them on their terms.
After we had agreed on procedures and the sequence of our meetings, I asked if I could show her a model that outlined the four areas of my work. She agreed. I then asked, “What is your attitude towards ...?
That meeting went really well; I knew straight away I was dealing with a COOL/TELLER. Her office was tidy, coordinated and functional. Not too many personal items on display with a neat row of files on the return to her desk.
Her greeting was formal; no ‘hail-fellow-well-met’ reception from this lady. She was dressed conservatively and, giving me a firm handshake, looked me directly in the eye. With just a hint of a smile, she gestured for me to sit on the chair before her desk.
But the real clue was how quickly she wanted to get down to business. She was polite and spoke with quiet authority, never giving away much emotion at all. She made it clear from the outset she could only allow the twenty minutes we had agreed over the telephone. Sitting upright in her high back leather chair she looked directly at me and asked what I thought I could do for her. I reminded her that this meeting had come about because a colleague had recommended we meet and with twenty minutes in mind I suggested it might be sensible if I noted her opening questions; what she particularly wanted to get out of this meeting. This was well received.
COOL/TELLERs don’t like to be caught ‘off-guard’. They want to know they can rely on those they have ‘on-their-team’ to deliver what they want when they want it. They want to be in control and formulating a working agenda at the outset gives them the focus to direct events. I could see getting quickly to the purpose of our meeting was respected. I left my briefcase next to my chair just in case she wanted hard evidence of my credentials. Confirming her agenda I asked where she wanted to begin.
She chose a heading stating it would be a sensible starting point and I opened with a soft-question that allowed her to probe me with “What do you mean?” This ‘invitation’ gave me permission to offer more information through more soft-questions.
After twenty minutes we had discovered and agreed what she wanted to explore. I paused reminding her that my time had elapsed. With a small smile of acknowledgment she glanced at her wristwatch and said she could allow a further ten minutes, but would have to arrange another time should this meeting fail to ‘conclude’. I used this extra time by asking her to describe her role in more detail so that I could fully comprehend what she does, what worked for her and what might be improved. Apart from making general background notes we never did start a formal fact-find.
At the conclusion of this meeting, she said she thought I had displayed a reasonable grasp of her situation and agreed to meet again in two days at the same time and place. I said I would email confirmation of that meeting and attach an outline agenda based on the things we had begun to explore today. This was well received.
COOL/TELLERs want meaningful specifics; not wandering generalities. They want their time used effectively and I could expect more of the same during the next meeting.
Well, what a contrast from my last meeting. Smiling like a long lost friend he rested his left hand on my shoulder as we shook hands. He reminded me of my childhood recollections of Father Christmas; jovial, friendly, inviting, trusting.
His office was more a den than a place of work with lots of personal items and pictures of his family. His overcoat lay slung over the back of his chair. I knew from the start I was probably dealing with a WARM/ASKER.
Recognizing this, it was essential I became his friend before anything else. I needed to give him sufficient reasons to trust me personally with those things most precious to him: his family; his employees. People come first with a WARM/ASKER and that means personal trust.
I remained relaxed and cordial; pulling out paperwork or raising an agenda this early would make him feel I was a machine. He would probably clam up and I would lose any relationship before it began. Oh, he’d never be so rude as to tell me to leave; he simply wouldn’t respond to any future contact from me.
OK, how do I behave with a WARM/ASKER? I took things slow and deliberate drawing upon his experiences with his family, his staff and his business; all the people who are important to him. Though in truth, almost everyone is important to him; even me!
I mentioned we were meeting because a close personal friend of his trusted me to do the right thing for her. I explained that I really needed to take the time to get to know him as a person and how he feels about his family, his business and his friends; not just for now, but for the foreseeable future as our relationship grows.
WARM/ASKERs are not assertive. They can be oversensitive to people’s feelings expecting their own to be accommodated, too. Therefore, I must use gentle persuasion to encourage him to move forward rather than appear pushy. As he freely displays his emotions, I was prepared to accept even his sadness as he let me into his private life; a loved pet had recently died.
WARM/ASKERs are not decisive, preferring consensus to outright decision making. So, I expected more than a couple of meetings with him and probably involving those he felt needed to join in, too. This awareness is helpful because it allows me to prepare specific, simple solutions to each of his concerns and ‘chat’ through ways of resolving them ~ together.
I needed to allow for his social agenda, too. If he does business with me it will be because he likes me. And, if he likes me enough to seek my advice, I can expect invitations to family or business events and must be careful to attend as often as possible.
After twenty minutes of hearing about his world, I casually asked, “What is your attitude to ...?”
Great question and the answer is, it depends what you mean by 'better'?
Given desire and relevant qualifications, any of the four primary personalities we have been exploring can perform just about any job-role! It's not a question of can someone do something, it's a question of will they be motivated to do it well, keep on doing it, and fit in with the existing organisational culture?
So, before applying motivational profiling (Why?) with personality profiling (How?) to each live candidate, it is fundamentally essential that an organisation determines what they are looking for in advance, and this includes casting every role to be performed within the entire organisation, identifying critical motivating values offered within those roles, and determining the best personality to complement existing people.
Failing to achieve this depth of understanding will inevitably lead to conflict and even, rebellion!
Casting ~ 1st Essential
Much like the role of a stage director, the first task of an organisation is to 'cast' each job-role they want performed, from the ground-floor upwards. This, of course, includes the classic job-specification with associated financial reward.
Money, however, is only one of twelve (12) motivating values people seek to satisfy. And, should an organisation solely play the cash-card to recruit someone, what happens when another organisation offers more?
Motivating Values ~ 2nd Essential
There are six primary motivators people seek to satisfy. They are: theoretical; economic; aesthetic; social; political; and, regulatory with each having polar opposites, hence twelve in all.
Strange as it may seem, consistently motivated people don't always do it for the money, and yet far too many organisations lean heavily upon this form of motivation [email email@example.com to explore each of the 12-classic motivating values]
Personality ~ 3rd Essential
Continuing the stage director analogy, job-specs' alone fail to take into account the character or personality of the role to be performed. Every casting director visualises the delivery of their version of leading man or woman long before they set out to look for the person to play that part. And, so should every commercial enterprise.
Failing to determine, in advance, the required behaviour within a job-role invariably leads to conflict, which becomes dissatisfaction, then disaffection and finally defection as people leave!
Email reply or call +44 7900 251 258 to explore how to apply these essentials to appropriate, sustainable and effective recruiting.
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A sales professional sells the idea of their integrity and skill to the customer.
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