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Years ago Industrial Psychologist, Dr. Paul Green and I taught a two-day seminar entitled “The Interpersonal Effectiveness Seminar” based on the four behavioral styles and how to communicate successfully with people different from you.  Paul and I also learned from each other and from the attendees of this two-day experience.  A lot of people call psychologists “Shrinks”.  Paul said he was a “Stretch” since he wanted to get people to push themselves into previously undiscovered realms of success.  We are told that we had impacts on our clients that are still intact today, and we’re proud of that.

What does this have to do with our challenges of today?   A lot, since we are all still faced with periodic relationship stress and these skills, in their latest and best forms, work.  The skills to utilize today are more sophisticated and more sorely needed in light of enhanced interpersonal pressures in today’s marketplace.  I want to provide you with the latest and best ideas to use for results today.

One experience amused us when we had a fellow in our seminar who, when profiled, came back with a very low adaptability rating, and vigorously proclaimed, “I know I’m hard-headed, and I also know what I want!  I don’t have a need to change or learn any new skills.  I will continue to work hard and get it done!”

I asked him if he had ever heard about the guy who chopped wood all day with a dull axe and couldn’t understand why the other wood choppers cut more wood?  He gazed at me like an owl in a tree with no response.  It is only in learning and using the newest and latest skills that we progress, grow and enjoy new heights of achievement.  Whether you are in sales or leadership, better results are gained when we listen to and are adaptable with others.  We’ve got to keep the axe sharp!

The Adaptability Skill mentioned deals with our willingness to get out of our behavioral comfort zone and converse with another person as they wish to be conversed with.  The four-quadrant matrix we use is the Driver/Expressive/Amiable/Analytical model (check out the book SELLING WITH STYLE by Dr. Tony Alessandra and myself).  The idea that I would like to leave with you today is to adapt your message delivery (behavioral style) to others with the following tactics:  Be efficient and direct with Drivers; Be stimulating and enthusiastic with Expressives; Be pleasant and agreeable with Amiables; Be factual and accurate with Analyticals.  You will keep relationship stress to a minimum, understanding at a high level, and gain desired outcomes in less time.

I recommend you learn and practice these skills in a manner that enables you to make their use reflexive.  We haven’t truly learned a skill until we practice it sufficiently that it has become a habit.  That’s how the high performers make a difference!

So here are the takeaways for you:

  1. Listen to others for good understanding;
  2. Observe the behavior of others to ascertain what their behavioral style is;
  3. Adapt your communications style to be more consistent with theirs; (remember the chameleon?)
  4. Make 1-3 above habits;
  5. Enjoy getting desired outcomes faster and creating a more robust following!


Don Hutson is a NY Times #1 Best-Selling author, Hall of Fame speaker,

and CEO of U. S. Learning in Memphis, TN.  Contact him at 901-767-5700,

don@donhutson.com, or www.DonHutson.com