What’s the Difference Between Styles & Personalities? “Full Blog”

People often ask what makes the Market Force Style assessment different from other profiling tools they are familiar with, like DiSC, Myers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder.

While there are many assessments on the market used to predict human behavior, it is important to understand that different parts of our brains are responsible for different types of behavior patterns.

The thing that differentiate Market Force Styles is that it is a biological assessment, not a psychological or personality-based one, like most 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! It is the foundational part of your brain you came pre-wired with that helps you survive life-threatening situations.

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 survival response, without your permission. Neuroscientists refer to this as an “amygdala hijack”, and when you find yourself in one, your lizard brain has essentially wrestled away the controls from your more-evolved neocortex. Your amygdala, supported by neurochemicals that encourage the most primitive part of your brain to do whatever it wants as fast as it can, runs habitual patterns of behavior (predetermined by your survival wiring) in order to save your life. Even if the only threat you are facing is an unhappy customer.

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.

Here is how this plays out for each of the four Styles:

Controls

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 seeking to dominate their environment. One of the ways Controls do this is by making declarations about the future. Controls are happy to make things up as they go along, and refer to this activity as “visioning”. Alas, 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. 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.

Controls with different personalities will play out their dictate strategies with their own flavors. The most obvious way is when Controls are demanding & aggressive, acting like bulldozers. Other’s 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 like puppet masters.

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

Influences

Under pressure, all Influences will lean toward evasiveness, driven by their incessant need for freedom. When Influences perceive that condition of freedom to be lacking in their environment, their biology compels them to generate their own version of freedom through the creation of distractions and diversions, often in the form of promising that they (or others) will get something done or in the form of new ideas. Remember, this behavior is simply intended to calm their biological reaction, they aren’t actually committing to accomplish any of the things they say. Influences just need to regain a sense of independence & spaciousness that allows them to calm down.

Their survival response is so effective at satisfying their concern for freedom that once their pressure is relieved (and because they live so much in the “now” timeframe), Influences can often forget the promises that they had previously made so emphatically. This is why other Styles can judge them for being unreliable and unpredictable.

Influences with different personalities will play out their migrate strategies with their own flavors. The most obvious way is employing dramatics and theatrics as a means of influencing others to move in a particular direction, away from the triggering situation. Others will become aggressive in an attempt to take control of the situation, causing discomfort in the moment. While others will take a light-hearted approach, diminishing the seriousness of the situation and entertaining everyone in the process.

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

Powers

Under pressure, all Powers will lean toward action, driven by their incessant need for stability. After all you can’t balance on a bicycle unless it’s in motion. When Powers perceive their environment to be unstable, their biology compels them to generate their own version of stability by filling their plates with lots of work in the form of actions & projects for themselves & others. Having an extensive “to do” list makes “all things seem right” in their world. Remember, this behavior is simply intended to calm their biological reaction, they aren’t actually focused on identifying the “right things” to work on. Filling their short-term horizon with known activities allows Powers to regain a sense of predictability that allows them to calm down.

Their survival response is so effective at satisfying their concern for stability that they can easily confuse their hard work with being productive, even when they are plainly working on things that are not the highest and best use of their time or even related at all to their  priorities. This is why other Styles often see Powers as non-strategic, judging them for wasting time and effort on non-important activities.

Now, Powers with different personalities will play out their tolerate strategies with their own flavors. Some take an “overly nice” approach, always happy to help out & chip in, befriending everybody as they go. Others will operate from guilt, martyring themselves in the process and being critical of others “poor work ethic”. Others still come across as pushovers, easily taken advantage of because of their inability to say no to things that they clearly shouldn’t be doing.

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

Authorities

Under pressure, all Authorities will lean toward evaluation, driven by their incessant need for security. It’s incredibly important for Authorities to be able to understand & predict the future before it happens that their biology forces them to generate their own version of security. They do this by engaging in an extended period of consideration whenever the path forward isn’t clear to them. But, remember, this behavior is simply intended to calm their biological reaction, they aren’t actually trying to make the right decisions as much as they are looking to avoid making bad ones. Authorities need to create the conditions where they can avoid looking incompetent in front of others so they can calm down.

Their survival response is so effective at satisfying their concern for security that they are able to convince themselves that their slow process improves the situation, unable to see the problem of their own inefficiencies even when they are being critical of others for wasting valuable time and resources. Authorities position themselves as the guardians of the future, but they tend to rely more on information in the rearview mirror than truly understanding the opportunities by looking through the windshield. This is why other Styles can judge Authorities for being too risk averse and slowing down progress.

Authorities with different personalities will play out their hibernate strategies with their own flavors. Some attempt it academically like a scientist, by taking a deliberate & inquisitive approach to eliminate possibilities that won’t work. Others take a skeptical and pessimistic approach in an attempt to prevent bad ideas from getting through and causing any harm. Lastly, others will take a superior stance, building their reputation as one who holds the highest level of standards.

Like the others, their biology makes them do it, but their personality shapes their approach.

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.