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

This is the third 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 Powers.

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 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 and projects for themselves and others. Having an extensive “to do” list makes “all things seem right” in their world. But, 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 and chip in, befriending everybody as they go. Others will operate from guilt, martyring themselves in the process and being critical of other’s “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.

Stay tuned for the remaining article in this series focused on the Market Force Style called Authority. Click to learn more about Controls and Influences if you missed those articles.

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.