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Episode 9: How Different Personalities Respond to Change


In this episode, host Chris Thornton welcomes back Maria Dodd and dives into how different personality types adapt to change. Together, they discuss the key characteristics of “change-makers” and “analyzers” in the workplace and how individuals with these personality types respond to change differently. They encourage leaders to not shy away from different personalities but instead embrace the strengths of diversity to successfully navigate change.


This transcript was automatically generated with artificial intelligence. It’s in the queue to go through a review with human eyes!

00;00;00;00 – 00;00;26;13

Hello and welcome to Change@Work, a podcast about the ever evolving world of work and the human behaviors that drive it. I’m Chris Thorton, principal here at Daggerwing Group. We’re consultants who take a slightly different approach to change and how we work with our clients.

00;00;26;15 – 00;00;50;03

We’ll explore some of the things we’ve learned, what to do, what not to do, who we are as a team and as individuals joining us again is Maria Dodd. Hi, Maria. Hi, Chris. I’m really glad you’re back. Okay. If you haven’t joined us previously, Maria shared some great ideas about how people respond to change and in how to think about introducing change to people.

00;00;50;03 – 00;01;10;13

Today, we’re going to be talking about personality types and how different personalities respond to change. So let’s dig right in. Maria, we’ve not really talked about why you’re such an expert in all of this. I think we should let people in clued in to all the work that you’ve done and why you’re such a valued team member when it comes to, well, lots of things, but especially this.

00;01;10;13 – 00;01;56;06

Maria, how did you get into studying how people respond to change? Well, I’m really I’m going back to my school years right away. When I first studied psychology, I just knew that I wanted to do it at university and then studied it and then was lucky enough to forge a career in it as well. I’m a chartered organizational psychologist in the UK and then the more that we’ve been working and going with with clients to really understand the human response to change and therefore the strategies that we can form, it just became really parent to me and obviously following my passions, which were often allowed to do it, they’re going to really focus in more

00;01;56;06 – 00;02;30;22

on psychology in, I guess this year. So have carved out quite a specialist role, really looking into psychology, what’s happening into the brain, doing a little bit of research, working with real client problems, which has been fantastic. And I was lucky enough to attend the Wharton Executive Education at University of Pennsylvania just in September to really, I guess, go back to school and just to make sure that, you know, psychology is so fascinating.

00;02;30;22 – 00;02;54;22

But we want to keep up with the latest innovations in this area. So that’s me. I’ve been heading this app globally, really looking to see how we can leverage psychology as much as possible. But in order to gain deep insights into the mindsets, emotions of people so that we can strengthen our ability to work with clients to impact and change behavior.

00;02;54;24 – 00;03;24;03

All right. Let’s talk about personalities and how they respond to change. This is an area that I get really interested in, and we’ll talk about that When when you think about how different personalities respond to change, take us through some of the research that you’ve done because this is incredibly fascinating. Yeah. I mean, I think all the way through while we’ve been talking about change and at the fairly organizational level, you know, this is this is about emotions and it’s hugely individual.

00;03;24;03 – 00;03;52;21

So personality plays such an important factor here. Now, something else that we’ve been doing a dog away is looking into how we can get deeper insight into different people’s personalities. You know, there’s a lot of personality assessments and models in the market. So we we we’re experts in predictive index, which is which is one of the tools that we can look into personalities.

00;03;52;24 – 00;04;23;16

But what we can do is bring those together with, you know, how do different personalities respond to change? So by combining looking into personalities and thinking through change and how people respond, it is actually possible to look through typical personalities and those who are going to be your likely change makers, you know, the people who are going to embrace the change, then naturally you’re going to want to drive the change.

00;04;23;18 – 00;04;49;29

They naturally want to innovate. They’re the people who might even get bored if things don’t change. You know, they are the people who are going to be your change makers. So we can look within personalities to think, Well, if we’re pulling together some champions, we want them to help us drive some change. How can we think that through so that we’re getting these change makers on board and really thinking through who they are and the strengths that they’ll bring in that way?

00;04;50;02 – 00;05;17;28

I guess similarly, we can also look into different personalities and and also those who will need more support. So those people who will be needing more information, the analyzes, the people who need to sit and read the facts and the rationale and to analyze information to to become convinced or the people who are quite protective of the organization or perhaps more cautious.

00;05;18;00 – 00;05;40;25

How can we bring all of these people, regardless of whether they’re likely change makers or perhaps they they may be more cynical, but they’re still very powerful. How can we look into the different personalities and how they respond to change? And then we can think through strategies and our levers as well, thinking through how we how we work with these people to bring them for change.

00;05;40;28 – 00;06;09;15

You know, let’s make this real for people. So in pi, predictive index, my personality type typical type is maverick, which I don’t like that name, which I think is very typical of a maverick to not like that name. Somebody that needs change is ready for change to happen, doesn’t really need a playbook to figure it out. We’ll go off and figure it out and might ignore the playbook if it were there.

00;06;09;18 – 00;06;48;04

That’s very, very different from someone who is an analyzer and how they respond to change. So how you introduce change to me and how you introduce and support an analyzer is going to be very, very different. Have you ever seen anything like that with any of your clients where you’ve got some groups? As you said, they’re change makers, some some personality types who are change makers who can grab on to that, help create it, help implement it, but might not be there to make it work smoothly, where you’ve got an analyzer or craftsman type who are thinking about how do I make this work for the long term?

00;06;48;04 – 00;07;11;06

What support would you give to the analyzer? Craftsman Those people who need additional support. So we’ve actually come across this quite a lot. Chris. We’ve worked with. I’m just thinking about one client in particular. We looked across their department and the different personality types ran a human centered workshop where everyone said it was fantastic. This is back in the day when we were allowed to be in the same room together.

00;07;11;06 – 00;07;34;23

We had everyone standing on a human spectrum sharing their personalities, looking around their team, and realizing all the different personalities and diversity that they have in the group and facilitating conversations about where that brings opportunity and where that brings drawbacks. So the powerful thing which I think you touched on is you can bring people together, whereas Mavericks will be fantastic.

00;07;34;23 – 00;07;57;22

Stick at leading the change, jumping on the change, having ideas, innovating. I’m sorry, but not the most Fantastic four. The follow through on the detailed. Exactly. That’s right. That’s right. Because I’m going off and looking for that next change. Exactly. Yes. Follow it, follow through, follow like following phrase. So we’ve worked with clients to kind of pair them up.

00;07;57;22 – 00;08;29;28

Yes. So especially when working through change, thinking through change, how to buddy up people so that the maverick is with the analyzer. Yeah. And it’s it’s mutually beneficial because the analyzer and the detail people will bring that strength for that follow through that detail, making sure that things happen as they should. So by drawing on the diversity of personalities, I think you can get a really strong team out of this.

00;08;30;00 – 00;08;59;19

So the first thing that you need to do is have the insight. Yeah, and we can help you work with companies to really understand the different diversity and strengths that we have in the team and then help things very well to go to bring this change through. You do need both. You do need also, as we’ve used it with some of my clients, I think the approach has been to celebrate how people respond to change, celebrate where their energy typically is, where their strengths are.

00;08;59;19 – 00;09;28;04

Instead of saying like with a maverick, you’re not going to use me for follow through. But you really need me for the excitement of the change and to help get people on board. And when I’ve been paired with and when I’ve paired clients together. Right. To say, all of your responses are legitimate and good, let’s find a way to pair you together so we can actually move forward in a way that is reasonable, rational, sustainable, all of those things.

00;09;28;06 – 00;09;54;13

People aren’t embarrassed then to say, Actually, I need more information right now, or I do need more time to ask questions, or I’ve got great ideas, but I don’t know how to implement them. I’m so excited about this change, but I don’t know exactly how to get it done. There’s always somebody on the team, always, always somebody on the team that’s like, I can help with that, or I can help you do that, or Sure, I’ll answer those questions.

00;09;54;13 – 00;10;14;27

Let’s spend more time figuring that out instead of running away from personality types and wishing everybody were homogeneous and exactly the same and how they respond. And that’s typically exactly how the leader is in their preference to say, Wish everybody were just like me. Well, you don’t have a great team if everybody’s just like, you know, we can’t have 100 leaders.

00;10;15;04 – 00;10;48;24

Absolutely not. So the key principle is there is no right or wrong when it comes to personalities and when we’ve done these very interactive workshops, what you tend to see is it’s very liberating. You see people who are like, I am okay and I’m proud and I bring my personality because I think again, the business world does skew towards a certain type, but we should be celebrating and not just celebrating, but building and leveraging the strengths of all the diversity in the team.

00;10;48;26 – 00;11;17;01

We have one client where most of them are change makers and they have one person on that leadership team that is very focused in on process and bring in the rest of the organization along. So it’s a really unique combination as we identified that to be able to say, guess what, folks, this person on the team who’s focused in on process and bringing everybody else along, they’re your superpower right now.

00;11;17;03 – 00;11;39;20

They’re the one that you need to turn to to say, let’s help us think this through. What are we missing? And creating that dynamic on that leadership team, I think has been incredibly powerful for them that they actually make time for personality types. They make time to play to people’s strengths now, especially as they’re thinking about implementing large scale change.

00;11;39;20 – 00;12;07;16

So in incredibly powerful to know the personality types and how to use those strengths to lead change. Indeed, and it starts with self-awareness and that insight, once you’ve got that is so powerful. Yeah. Let’s talk about overcoming change resistance. I worked with one client who new CIO, fourth CIO and five years, pretty incredible turnover there and he couldn’t get people to grab on to his strategy.

00;12;07;16 – 00;12;38;10

They intellectually they knew it was the right strategy, but they just had this behavior of putting their head down and not digging in to to make this strategy a reality. We worked with that leader to overcome that change resistance, but it was a very deliberate approach. Maria, how have you managed overcoming that change, resistance when when it’s clear that people aren’t going to move forward without a special, special support, special intervention?

00;12;38;10 – 00;13;08;14

Can you talk about how you’ve how you’ve managed that? I mean, one thing that we’ve done is work to try and really personalize that change for the individual. And individual will change when it means something personal to them. So you know what, I want my first instinct is people will resist change, just be difficult. They’re resisting change for a reason that’s personal, emotional and rational to them.

00;13;08;16 – 00;13;40;21

So spending some time and again, this does allow for that uncomfortable thing of allowing some time and space to do this and some honesty to do this for digging into those frustrations, allowing people to surface their hopes and fears, giving people the space in the forums to ask questions, to have those difficult conversations and to really, you know, I guess, address the elephant in the room, too, to look beyond any barriers to the change, because ultimately, is the change the right direction?

00;13;40;21 – 00;14;21;08

Does it make sense? Are we behind it? Are we going to make it happen? Why are we not getting behind the change? Why are we really resisting the change? So we’ve worked with leaders on a very personal basis, on a more individual basis to really look through those personal reasons as personal barriers. And one thing that we we have as an advantage is as a consultancy is to be able to really address and surface those hopes and fears and have those conversations that perhaps don’t happen naturally in an organization, but giving people the permission to be honest and then playing that back in a professional way so that they’re on the table and they can

00;14;21;08 – 00;14;45;27

be addressed, that’s always that’s a good first step, I think, in terms of looking at change and any change resistance is having those conversations and allowing that honesty. So if you are leading change and you’re finding people digging in their heels, not implementing, not grabbing on to it, not owning it, stop and listen. Is that the advice? Ask them.

00;14;45;28 – 00;15;13;11

Right. Okay. And if they’re afraid to tell you why, provide the forum where it is safe. Okay. Find a way to make it safe. Ideally, you’d build in listening upfront, right? You’d make it part of the process. But if you’ve got change resistance, it’s time to listen. Yes. And I think listening from across the organization, you know, how can we listen?

00;15;13;13 – 00;15;36;15

Well, across the organization, who do we need to speak with? It could be anyone in the organization. It doesn’t necessarily need to be. Leaders know how to really understand the emotional space that these people are in so that we can help bring them through into the change. Thank you, Maria, for this discussion today. I loved having you again for the second time.

00;15;36;18 – 00;15;58;13

You come back for a third time, please. I will. I will. Thank you. I’m so glad. I would have been devastated had you said absolutely not. Now, I love this topic, so I’m happy to come back.

More in the Series

Chris Thornton is a Senior Principal and member of the global leadership team at Daggerwing Group. In his role, Chris serves as a source of strategic counsel for Senior Executives with client firms, advising them on how to help clients achieve Executive alignment, transform their cultures and equip and enable people managers to lead and embed change. An expert in the people side of change with both client-side and consulting experience, Chris has worked with leading companies including Nestlé, Pfizer, and GE Aviation to do change right and make it stick. He is also an active speaker on business transformation, a driver of innovation in Daggerwing’s breadth of change consulting services, and the host of Daggerwing Group’s podcast, Change@Work. Chris and his wife were featured in the New York Times for their love of pie.
Maria is a Principal at Daggerwing Group. She has twelve years of change management and engagement programs experience, across a range of sectors including pharmaceutical, technological, automotive, aerospace and financial services. Maria is passionate about psychology and applying human insights to help clients to inspire and enable their people in achieving the organization’s goals. Maria has an MSC in Organizational Psychology and is a Chartered Organizational Psychologist. In 2020, Marie picked up the piano again and got in her daily 10,000 steps in the English countryside.