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TRG in the Board Room Blog

How Chemistry Enhances C-Suite Communication

Posted by Thai Pham on

As a C-level executive, dealing with a variety of stakeholder personalities is inevitable. How we interact with others, more often than not, determines the success rate of achieving our goals. If this piece of fact about relationship complication bothers you, then worry no more!

Business chemistry and CFOs' communication

Business Chemistry - a social science

Designed by Deloitte in cooperation with scientists, Business Chemistry is not just a single personality test. Rather, it is a system defining four dominant behavioural elements which are the Driver, the Pioneer, the Integrator and the Guardian.

The Driver

  • They are analytical thinkers with intellectual creativity.
  • Experimentation is more appealing than theorisation.
  • They are task-orientated, practical and decisive.
  • People factor and others’ needs might be neglected
  • They can sometimes impose a huge workload on themselves.

The Pioneer

  • They love exploring ideas and redefining the status quo.
  • Bored by routines, they hardly do the same thing in the same way.
  • They are spontaneous, flexible and adaptive.
  • Being supportive and upbeat, they can boost the whole group’s spirits.
  • Practicalities might be ignored for the sake of their own ideas.

The Integrator

  • They are in favour of harmony in their environment.
  • They spend time considering everyone’s opinions and smoothing problems out.
  • They are empathetic, warm-hearted and cooperative.
  • They can facilitate the rest of the group and help settle conflicts.
  •  They can get overloaded because they know not how to say ‘no’.

The Guardian

  • They are interested in cause and effect but sometimes focus too much on data.
  • Using logical methods, they can organise facts and analyse them effectively.
  • They usually think things over before making decisions.
  • They follow what should be done logically and steadily.
  • Changes might be avoided for fear of instabilities.

Long story short, mastering the elements can help you to connect personally and more importantly, break down assumptions about how people should be treated. According to Deloitte, you will shift from the Golden Rule (treat others as you wish to be treated) to the Platinum Rule (treat others as they wish to be treated). Such recognition can trigger a huge beneficial change in a business environment – if you know how to make it happen.

How to interact with each element

Generally, senior staff direct their team based on either their inborn ability or experience, which can cause performance inconsistency. To fill the gap, we should first do a team analysis. Questions to be considered include:

  • What are my team elements?
  • How can I make use of those elements to promote team coordination and, on a broader context, organisational engagement?

Or when facing a particular job, C-level executives should start with:

  • What elements does this job require? Which one does my team already have?
  • Is each member’s element compatible with his/her duties?
  • How does each element evaluate the job process?

Now that you have already had your team profile at hand, you should show your team members the blind spots each individual can’t see and provide them with covers. Also, avoid assigning somebody tasks in their weaknesses.

Having Drivers on the team, you should:

  • Make them discuss problems thoroughly with others before deciding
  • Ask them to listen and think about others’ viewpoints
  • Don’t let them take on too much work.
  • Save them from diplomatic tasks
  • Train them about tact and diplomacy in leadership

Regarding Pioneers, remember to:

  • Present details they ignore
  • Constantly remind them of deadlines and subtle implications of actions
  • Assign them creative tasks rather than repeated ones
  • Train them about time management

Covers for Integrators include:

  • Help them to prioritise their tasks
  • Give them specific deadlines and frequent reminds
  • Steer them away from people conflicts sometimes
  • Train them about time management

Guardians work best when you:

  • Tell them to explore other sources of information, especially social ones
  • Explain how necessary and useful changes are, using proven facts and illustrations
  • Engage them in planning phases, especially risk management
  • Encourage them to meetings and brainstorming sessions to be more open-minded

Divergent as the elements are, not everybody is exactly framed in one certain type. Instead, many people are a mixture of two, allowing them to summon up secondary traits when necessary.

Using four elements above as the guideline, identifying who you are and who you are dealing with is no longer that ambiguous. It now all boils down to how CFOs can apply the answers to map out communication tactics that work!

Learn more about Business Chemistry by downloading the full ebook bellow! 

Download "Business Chemistry:  How Personalities Matter to CFOs" now!

Topics: CFOs, Financial Accounting Management Software

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