What’s the Difference Between Styles & Personalities? (Controls)

This is the first of a 4-part series focusing on the the unique characteristics between each Market Force Style. In this article, we focus on the nature of Controls.

People often ask us what makes the Market Force Style assessment different from some of the other profiling tools that they may be more familiar with, like DiSC or Myers-Briggs. While all of these assessments are used to predict behavior in the subject, it’s important to understand that different parts of your brain are responsible for different types of behavior patterns.

Market Force Styles is a biological assessment, not a psychological or personality-based one, like many of the other tools. The biological distinction means that your Style is NOT what you think about, or even how you think. Your Style is, in fact, the thing that operates (on your behalf) when you aren’t thinking at all!

Normal business stress has a significant impact on your ability to operate productively. Coming up against the slightest challenge, like facing an impending deadline or receiving a proposal rejection, can trigger you into your hard-wired, fight-or-flight response, completely without your permission. And, when find yourself in the throes of an “Amygdala hijack”, your primitive, lizard brain has taken over control of your more-evolved neocortex in order to run your habitual patterns of behavior (predetermined by your survival wiring) in an attempt to save your life.

Your Style lives in your limbic system, along with your other involuntary bodily functions. Since your biology’s job is to fight for your survival, your Market Force Style always sits behind the scenes shaping your world view, ready to jump into action at any sign of threat. Your personality, on the other hand, sits in the part of your brain associated with higher reasoning and is a pretty good indicator of how you will react to and approach these situations as they arise.

So, while all people who share the same Style will likely become triggered and react when exposed to the same types of stimuli, each will behave somewhat differently under pressure depending on the nature of their individual personalities.


Under pressure, all Controls will lean toward decisiveness, driven by their incessant need for certainty. Whenever Controls perceive that condition to be lacking in their environment, their biology compels them to generate their own version of certainty, primarily by making declarations about the future. Controls are happy to make things up as they go along, and refer to this activity as “visioning”. But, remember, this behavior is simply intended to calm their biological reaction, they aren’t actually trying to be right about the future. Controls just need a sense of where things are headed to allow them to calm down.

Their survival response is so effective at satisfying their concern for certainty that Controls can actually convince themselves that their imagined future already exists. And, since Controls do most of their communication inside their own heads, they can fail to notice that others have no idea what they are thinking. This is why other Styles can judge Controls for being out of touch with reality.

Now, Controls with different personalities will play out their dictate strategies with their own flavors. The most obvious way is when Controls are demanding and aggressive, acting like bullies. Others act more calmly by taking a passive-aggressive approach, attempting to manipulate others emotionally. Still, others won’t address the situation directly, but will work quietly behind the scenes to orchestrate the outcome they seek.

Their biology makes them do it, but their personality shapes their approach.

Stay tuned for articles on the other three Market Force Styles: Influence, Power and Authority.

About the Author / Tony Cooper
Tony instigates breakthrough performance for businesses through his fascination of playing the “game behind the game”. He brings out the best in business leaders by helping them simplify complicated issues and supporting them to gain new skills and insights quickly. Tony has been training, coaching, and consulting since 2002, serving his passion of supporting the entrepreneurial spirit. He graduated with distinction from Cornell University, earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In Tony's youth he was a nationally-ranked diver and Tae Kwon Do martial artist. And now after a lifetime of city dwelling, he is raising his family on a farm in Davis, California.