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The Top 10 Articles of 2020: #3

Personality: Instigator / Behaviour: Perpetrator

Our decisions dictate our lives. Not only are they responsible for building and sustaining our business careers, but they fundamentally define the success of our private lives and our happiness as a whole. Everyone knows that our decisions have consequences, but we are less aware that our decisions are consequences—namely, the consequences of our personality and behaviour.

Internal driving force

Many posit that our decisions are based on achieving our goals. Goals represent a kind of internal driving force, which in turn determines the final path we take in a decision-making situation. This internal driving force is directly related to motivation, meaning that ultimately, our motivations are responsible for our decisions. And many times, even the best decision-makers and company executives get stuck at this point in the analysis. Thus, when we talk about decisions, we simplify things by focusing on a person’s motivation system. It is a less contentious topic. However, it is essential to know that motivation, like decisions, are “only” consequences. Everyone knows about motivations; they can be both short-term and long-term. Moreover, everyone knows that motivational preference is a constantly sliding scale, and from time to time, firm rankings form. Thus, the motivation and decisions of a given person will be utterly unpredictable if we start thinking about that person in the medium or long term. But that shouldn’t be the case! Not just because motivation is just a “victim”, along some lines of thinking. Or, if we apply the metaphor of an elaborate crime, the perpetrator itself is really the motivation. After all, we make our decisions — the “victim” — through them. But the “instigator”, the real culprit, is definitely our personality.

Personality, behaviour

These two fields have a lengthy research history. The analysis of behaviour is much more prevalent in business, and in the general public consciousness, because it has been the focus for decades. There is a good reason for this. Many of one’s decisions are influenced in the short-term by behaviour. We have specific goals that we want to achieve, and that’s why we worry about which “masks” we should wear. We engage in behaviours that we believe will help us achieve our current goals. Successful people choose their masks well; unsuccessful people do not. In other words, you could say that successful people are good at playing the part, and unsuccessful people are not as talented actors. But in most cases, these are really just well-chosen or poorly chosen roles, and they do not have much to do with reality. Because the personality is reality. Our personalities are the result of all our “serious” actions. Behaviour itself is shaped by personality, so it fundamentally defines our motivations. If you also define your motivations, however, it is easy to conclude that you are solely responsible for your decisions as well. In the old school method, the focus is on behaviour.

This created an all-too-common phenomenon: businesspeople thought that they had managed to decipher a particular person, but eventually, they were utterly surprised. The extent of this surprise is not global, usually varying significantly across societies and regions. This is because, in some cultures, we need role-playing to survive, while in others, we can be ourselves without adverse consequences. So, deciphering the personality is the real goal, as it is ultimately the basis and controller of all our decisions. Personality research is not a new science, but the part that examines business decisions is a relatively modern part of this profession. There are several reasons for this, which will also be worth discussing in depth. But there are also generational, technological, and social reasons that explain how a personality test that focused solely on behavioural analysis could help someone successfully manage a business for up to 20 years. Moreover, there are reasons why this has changed; nowadays, it is impossible to achieve success without personality analysis, as focusing only on behaviour is no longer enough. This situation already existed before the pandemic, so we cannot blame this change on COVID-19, but the virus put the final nail in the coffin of the “behaviour era” and officially rang in the “personality era”. The foundations of our personalities are present at birth and are finalised very early in childhood. We can change, of course, by acquiring new personality traits to adapt to different external expectations. The question, of course, is always whether to change for the benefit of others, and if so, to what extent. Neurologists and psychologists, and even generational and social researchers, are currently debating this topic. There is at least one point of consensus: a person lives their most stress-free life when they modify their personality the least.

The result of our decisions

Personality is the real motivating force that makes us adopt different forms of behaviour in the short term. That makes it easier for us to achieve our goals. It would be easy to say that because of this, all our decisions come from our personality. But this is not the case! Of course, if someone — assuming an ideal state — is always perfectly self-aware throughout their life, then there is no difference between their behaviour and personality. Essentially, the magnitude of the decision determines whether personality or behaviour is behind the wheel. Behaviour is usually responsible for our less important decisions. This is because we play a particular role in a given period, and our decisions, which are insignificant to us and our future, are determined by the role we are currently playing. To provide a concrete example, if a very creative person, whose level of precision is not high precisely because of his outstanding creativity, decides to become a precise person from tomorrow because he is fed up with creativity, then his current role is the “precise man”. Why would anyone do that? Why throw away a vital, positive trait like creativity? Because, for example, if someone arrives at a workplace or position with a heavily structured system, and it is the employee’s job to perform a certain task according to the system. So, this man becomes precise because he wants to get paid; he wants to support his family. Sooner or later, he transitions and starts making purchases as a precise person, primarily for his lower-value purchases, as creativity is no longer acceptable to him because it has become a quality that can be a danger to his work, and ultimately his livelihood. He transforms into a “precise” person regarding his savings, purchases, and behaviour at home. It also changes his private life, as it is now impossible in a manager’s life to “let work stay at work” at the end of the workday. But when the same manager is about to make a very important decision, he won’t care what is required of him at work. Creativity will be the determining factor for issues that particularly affect his life. Although it should also be added that there are societies and private lives that are based on role-playing, it is conceivable that a given manager will make all the decisions of his life with his behaviour, which means that he will live his whole life under severe stress, and each decision only deepens this state. But focusing on healthy conditions, we can say that the saying is indeed true: our current, less important decisions are the consequences of our current behaviour, and our crucial decisions are the consequences of our personality.

RISE Cooperation

It is clear from what has been described above that a magazine that deals with decision-making cannot be written without in-depth knowledge of the interpretation and analysis of personality and behaviour. This proved to be the most difficult task for us when we launched DECISION. After all, many psychological systems deal with behavioural research, but very few focus on the joint assessment of personality and behaviour. In addition, a real magazine, if it genuinely wants to serve its readers, needs to provide new, interesting content constantly. And this does not work on such a topic without a profound research background. Therefore, we decided to collaborate in the field of decision-making mechanisms with RISE, a personality and behaviour analysis system. Behind RISE exists the psychological, social, generational, and sociological research background that provides us with the appropriate level of substance for these topics. In addition, DECISION is aimed at business decision-makers, so RISE has another unique advantage: its business development and research background is brought together and applied on a daily base by business development professionals, business mentors, consultants, and analysts. The consequences of our decisions determine our lives. And our personalities determine our decisions. We must share this knowledge with business decision-makers, our readers.