COVID-19 has drastically reorganised the decision-making mechanisms of consumers and business leaders. Serious business development professionals posit that the personality type that will be most prevalent in the next 8-10 years will be one that is objective, logical, and makes decisions based on facts. They reject communication and sales “distortions” and aren’t bothered by criticism. They do all of this to keep the world free from lies and half-truths; they replace “theatre” with “raw honesty”. So, we can say that Broadway has closed for the foreseeable future.
Psychological Systems & RISE
We humans like to generalise! This is no different in business settings. Even the most thoughtful economic analyses make this mistake. This is a real problem in general, but if we want to analyse the current COVID situation, this error can be fatal. Who is affected, what impact the events of 2020 will have, who will emerge from it, and who will respond correctly to these new challenges: these issues will be significantly influenced by the decision-making mechanisms that stem from our personalities!
In addition to traditional strategic methods, business development specialists often use respected psychological/decision-making systems to understand the processes taking place in the world at large. There is now a wide range of methodologies to choose from: from psychology-based personality typing to state-of-the-art solutions.
More and more people are using a system called RISE for these tasks, as it combines traditional foundations with state-of-the-art generational and social research. One of the fundamental tenets of psychological systems that identify decision-making is personality “typification”. Typification divides people into specific personality groups — whether they are consumers, decision-makers, ordinary people, or world-famous leaders — and clearly define group-specific personality traits that directly influence one’s decisions. Critically, the respectable psychological systems do not look only at the basics of personality. Today, we are witnessing rapid technological development, social transformation, and globalisation — and all of it is captured on social media. Thus, new factors influence our decisions: knowledge of generational behaviour, historical events affecting how a given society functions, and the behaviour and decisions of those in each society. As a result, a functional personality identification system must include these elements. And why is all this important for a business development professional? We can look at the two most important pillars of the profession to find a clear answer.
During organisational development, we must focus on employees by defining their motivations and expected decisions, during both peacetime and crisis. We must note who is “play-acting” every day just to be able to do their job, the extent of their personality modification, and the resulting stress. It is now a given that stress levels affect a person’s performance. With this information, we can clearly see what we can get from an employee, when we can get it, and at what price. Within efficient organisations, people work with minimal personality modification, that is, with a minimal degree of acting, because they work in positions that suit their personalities, under expectations that also suit them. So, their lives are balanced; their performance is at its maximum. Therefore, one fundamental organisational development task is assessing the organisation and providing “personality profiles” for different positions and jobs. Once completed, professionals can create a company map that shows who is in their proper role within the organisation, and as a result, how this affects performance. From there, the situation is extremely “simple”: you have to rearrange it so that everyone is in the best possible role based on their personality. This allows the organisation’s performance to improve drastically. It is not too complicated; it requires precise personality identifications and the right experience in this sector! But a medical examination is no different! There are benchmarks, and if we experience deviations from them, we need to continue researching until we find the right cure!
The second pillar is, unsurprisingly, focused on revenue growth. Communication and sales are often the most emphasised, but the overall business strategy also has elements that can be included here, such as the creation of a product concept. Applying psychological systems can launch these methods into the stratosphere. If we can classify people into personality type categories, and then use that to identify the decision-making mechanisms, why can we not do the same for groups of people? That brings us to consumers, target groups, and market evaluations.
Whether we have traditional end-users or a group of decision-makers at a B2B company, the method is the same. If we want to sell a product, traditional solutions identify basic demographic information (age, gender, location, buying habits, etc.) of potential buyers. However, personality analysis allows us to go one crucial step further by identifying the personality types of potential buyers. So, if we complete a complex analysis, we can determine the main personality path of our product. And if we are aware of this information, we can exert profound psychological influences during the sales process that make it significantly easier for us to be successful. Different products attract different personality types. Some types of people value the fact that the price of a particular product is very high. High prices repel others, and for them, the cheapest product is the best. And to avoid any misunderstanding, this is irrespective of a customer’s financial resources; it is how they behave even if there is no financial constraint regarding a particular product. Do we think that just because someone is a billionaire, they will only and exclusively buy the most expensive products? Of course not! There are people who, even after acquiring massive wealth, will refuse to spend extra money just because a well-known brand name or logo is attached to that particular product. But there are also those who, while they cannot financially justify it, still obsessively buy name-brand products just to show off their non-existent eminence. And between these two extremes, there are still plenty of solutions for each type of consumer.
Managers are people, too
Managers and business owners do not make the same decisions! Obviously, this is nothing new. But it may be surprising to some that businesspeople in the same personality type group make their decisions similarly, regardless of location, social background, and generation. If we look at the leaders belonging to the four main personality types of RISE, this logic makes immediate sense. The RULER is a determined leader with an affinity for brand and status. Profit generation and the presentation of success are the primary factors in their decisions. This type surrounds itself with expensive products that the masses cannot buy, and those products show a certain prominence to the world. For the INDIVIDUAL, the most critical thing is novelty and being the centre of attention. These are creative, dynamic people who can influence their environment, and they amass products that help them do just that. The most important aspect in the SUPPORTER’s decisions is to avoid significant change, to keep things normal. Security is vital to them, and they don’t like to take risks. They are not the first buyers of new products. It is also critical for them to be an integral part of the crowd, of society, not to branch out too far in any direction. If many people buy a product, then it cannot be bad. But throwing money out the window because of a brand name? Or just because something is unique? Unnecessary! The usual, the known, the routine: this is the only way. Last but not least, the EXPERT is a logical, objective person who bases their decisions on analysis, professional opinions, and facts. They gather a lot of information before they decide. An EXPERT does not like “fluff” that distracts from the point, and they do not like a particular brand being overpriced compared to its professional content. There are many more aspects of this personality-based approach to business development, and professionals need to use all the elements in challenging economic situations.
COVID-19 and personality-based business development
The current economic challenges are unknown even to the best business analysts, as the human psyche has never been so confused. Just looking at the last few months, which was marked by deep uncertainty, we can see that all businesspeople dealing with strategy have had to face severe, novel challenges. This is because COVID-19 not only causes a short-circuit or a temporary change in consumer habits, but also drastically rearranges the thinking and decision-making mechanisms of buyers, employees, sellers, and employers. The saying recommends “fighting fire with fire”. Of course, in a fight against a psyche-destroying crisis, we must use psychology as a weapon. If we use this tool, we can deduce the process of this crisis very logically. What has happened so far can be interpreted and, more importantly, that what is yet to come can be clearly defined. Professionals around the world are now doing this using different personality type identification systems. They need the systems to understand the various kinds and degrees of damage being done to people of different personalities by different aspects of the crisis: a downtime of several months, high unemployment rates, or even working from home. Most of all, we need to understand these effects so that we can plan for the future of the two pillars of business development.
More precisely: what will happen in our organisation? How will the different personality types react now? And what will their reactions be in the coming months? How can organisations become more cost-effective and efficient so that they can respond to new market challenges without losing their best employees?
Then there’s the revenue side, which is quite critical in the current situation. We need to be aware of which personality types will return to the consumer market sooner and what kind of needs they will bring with them. We must also know which types will stay at home due to fear, despite having the means to spend, thus causing even bigger problems for the economy.
Most measures and action plans, whether at the business or government level, are usually based on an assessment of consumer solvency and are rarely planned using psychological effects. That is now a serious problem for everyone. Did you know, for example, that the INDIVIDUAL type hates isolation the most? It keeps them from living their nonstop, dynamic lives, so they cannot wait to move around the world as freely as possible. This type of person can take serious risks for the sake of an exciting event, such as a good party, and they do not care about how their behaviour can affect the rest of society. Did you know that they are the ones who will spend as much as they can as soon as they can leave home? But it’s also worth planning around the SUPPORTER, who will not move and will keep their spending to a minimum because anything can happen. What if, pre-COVID, one of these personality types was the target group of your company? How should you pivot? Companies that focus on the INDIVIDUALs can actually do well during the crisis, while SUPPORTER-focused companies can do little as their “core business” grinds to a halt. Maybe you can do something! But you will need to change your target group, product portfolio, communication, and sales methodology! To relaunch in the right direction, you need to know which decision-making mechanisms you are aiming for!