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How the Deloitte Business Chemistry Assessment Helped My Career in People Management

5 MINUTE READ | April 17, 2019

How the Deloitte Business Chemistry Assessment Helped My Career in People Management

Q1 of 2019 is officially over, and I’m proud to admit it’s been a transformative 90 days, both personally (I bought a house!) and professionally (I became a people manager!). Having never formally managed anyone but myself before, I attended PMG’s annual Manager Training Workshop and, over the course of two days, gained a better understanding of my own personal work style plus how that differs or complements the work styles of others.

That was over two months ago, and I’m still in awe of what I learned. So I’ll have to share my first-time home buying experience later because the only “foundation” that matters in the context of this post is one that stems from an understanding of Business Chemistry.

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD, senior manager, and applied insights lead for the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience at Deloitte LLP, defines Business Chemistry as a “system for understanding similarities and differences in workstyles so [professionals] can create stronger working relationships, more effectively tap into team strengths, and accomplish more together.” Simply put, Business Chemistry is the key to maximizing cross-organizational potential; it allows everyone to whistle while they work.

According to Deloitte, professionals fall predominantly into one of four Business Chemistry types, broken down and briefly described as follows:

  • Pioneers seek possibilities. They spark energy and imagination.

  • Drivers seek challenge. They generate momentum.

  • Guardians seek stability. They bring order and rigor.

  • Integrators seek connection. They bring teams together.

Those who take the 10-minute assessment will find they possess traits consistent with two or more types; however, most gravitate more towards just one type — and in some cases, that type may vary based on factors such as current workload and environment. Use me as an example: when I first took the assessment, my dominant type was Integrator followed by Guardian. Fast-forward six to eight months, and my dominant type — after retaking the assessment — was Driver followed still by Guardian.

So what if I’m consistently a little OCD and fear change (Guardian)? What’s really interesting is how quickly I went from getting my team together to getting my team’s … stuff together (Driver). Is one type better than the other? Not at all; it’s just that changing business needs, such as more aggressive goals under new management, require the ability to adapt in order to maintain or exceed expectations, especially in the client service industry.

Perhaps even more crucial than being able to personally adapt to a new or changing business environment is the ability to adapt to the working styles of others in a way that maximizes productivity and leads to success. That ultimately requires the right approach to communication and collaboration, which —believe it or not! — can be gained through a deeper understanding of Business Chemistry styles.

Earlier we provided insight into each of the four types by highlighting inherent desires and actions. Next, we’ll take it a step further by outlining various ways to engage each of the types in conversation that sparks excitement, creativity, and motivation.

According to Terri Williams, author of Business Chemistry: Are You a Driver, Guardian, Integrator, or Pioneer?, there are a few specifics to keep in mind per type:

  • Driver — be brief, get to the point, and head straight for the goal (only straying here and there for a perfectly placed pun)

  • Guardian — be patient with their many questions, make and stick to plans, and appreciate their need for details (but check your emotions at the door)

  • Integrator — be friendly and authentic, offer support, and balance facts with ideas and emotions (all while maintaining eye contact)

  • Pioneer — be lively, energetic, and optimistic, explore their ideas, and focus less on details and more on theory (but give them space to do their own thing)

So how do I actually use this knowledge to my advantage, and why should I care again? Great questions — I’m so glad you asked! For me, a first-time people manager after nearly ten years of individual contribution, I was able to more easily identify my direct reports’ strengths and capitalize on them by approaching all communication from the angle they respond to best. Because of this, I feel like they trust me, I trust them, and we trust each other to collectively get the job done right over and over again.

Some reasons to take the Business Chemistry assessment to ensure modern-day workplace integration and success include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

  • Helpful when joining a new organization and / or team(s) within an organization

  • Great for managers, both first-time and experienced

  • Makes collaboration easier and more effective

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Now that you’re familiar with the basics of Business Chemistry and how the system can be beneficial to you, I bet you can’t wait to put yourself and your teammates to the test! Go ahead; knock yourselves out, and then knock whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish together out of the park.


Posted by Katy Winans

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