Report Support - Article written by Dan Perryman
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll recognize those Birkman names we had to explain to people. Empathy was not really Needs-based “empathy”. Authority was not really being authoritative. Structure was not about building bridges – that showed up in Mechanical (which is now Technical). Oy vey!
In the 25+ Signature Certifications that I have been involved in over the past two years, the new Component and Interests names have gone over very well. With one exception. People are still struggling with Self-Consciousness. Spelling it and explaining it.
In the “good ol’ days” it was called Esteem. A word that nobody hears any more unless they are listening to CSPAN and one congressman introduces another -- “The chair recognizes the esteemed gentleman from Arkansas…” The old naming convention was driven by putting the words “the need for” in front of them. So, how much need for Esteem do you have? Still not helping, is it?
In creating updated names for the Signature reporting, we changed to words that describe the Usual Behavior (what people see from you) instead of how you prefer people to treat you. High Assertiveness is more assertive in the way they act. Ah, that helps!
But Self-Consciousness is not really what you see from someone that scores high in it. The phrase implies that it is an internal mindset (absolutely true!) and maybe not how we act. What do you see? Sensitivity in the way they approach issues. Shyness around people they don’t know. Diplomatic language when they are trying to work out a problem with clients. Listening first and talking second. Asking questions, really trying to understand their partner’s position on the issues they are discussing.
Easy. Just call it Sensitivity. Then what do you call people who score low in Sensitivity? Insensitive? That’s the logical answer – and now that casts a negative light on a behavior that the majority of people ascribe to themselves! See how hard coming up with names for the Components was?
Our solution is to create what we call anchor words for the high and low scoring for all the Components. This allows us to have a great conversation with a respondent no matter which end of the scale they score on. For our high Self-Consciousness scorers, we have the word Tactful as our anchor. It’s a positive behavior that people can see. “When I have to deliver bad news I choose my words carefully.” For low Self-Consciousness scorers we have the anchor word Candid. It’s also a positive word, but the opposite behaviorally. “I just rip the Band-Aid off when delivering bad news. Lay it right out at the front, then we work it out.”
Are there other words that might work? Absolutely!!! Sensitivity is a great word. We love the phrase Straight-shooter for low. The thing is, the “right” word will depend on the respondent and the situation. Instead of telling them what word fits them, ask them what word sounds right for them. Use their language.
There is no single word that can encompass any aspect of the human personality. Use the bullet-pointed lists on your Companion Guide as starting points for the discussion of how their scoring shows up in their behavior.
Now, as for spelling Self-Consciousness, you are on your own! Just trust the red squiggly underline and spell-check as your friends. And if you’re writing on a white board or flip-chart, just do like I do and use the abbreviation “SC” instead of writing it out. Word Nerds are not always good at spelling.