The Personality Data Assessment is an assessment that can help you find your unique and dominant style. It will help you evolve and progress through the different levels of your leadership journey. You will move from managerial to CEO if you just build on your existing strengths.
In this episode, Debra Adey interviews a repeat guest, Carlos Davidovich, on what you can learn from this Personality Data Assessment. Carlos recently co-authored a book with Larry Cash called Personality DNA. Carlos will share more about this book and how you can apply it to your career objectives.
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Levels Of Leadership With Carlos Davidovich
Hello and welcome back. I am with our special guest, actually a returning guest, which is fun to have someone come back to the show. Dr. Carlos Davidovich is back here. I will give a little high-level introduction for Carlos. He is a Neuromanagement expert, which means someone who is applying what we know about neuroscience or the science of the brain and how the brain works in organizations in order to optimize performance and engagement. He is also an executive coach and an author. Welcome, Carlos.
Thanks a lot, Debra. I am so happy to be here again.
It is great to see you. We have not seen each other in person in quite some time, but thanks to modern-day technology. I have invited you here because you have co-authored a book with someone else that you and I both know, Larry Cash. His entire career, for the most part, has been working on assessment. You are going to speak more cohesively about this than I am. We are both familiar with Larry’s work. He has taken his work and developed an assessment called Personality DNA.
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what we know about and what this assessment is telling us about career choices, how our personality and our natural talents apply to the work that we do, and how successful we can be in the paths that we choose. Also, we want to talk a little bit about specifically leadership because you also have something that you call levels of leadership. There are different talents that are important at different levels of leadership. I wanted to dig into that a little bit as well. Let’s start and give us a little bit of an overview of the personality DNA assessment, and then we will lead it into the leadership piece.
I am thrilled to be the co-author of a book with a person like Larry Cash, whom we both know. Larry has been working on this assessment for many years. He got a huge database of personalities and profiles of different levels of people all over the world. He already has one assessment that we know, but what he did was go one step farther. What he found out is that when he was statistically analyzing all these data about points of personality, behavioral traits, competencies and talents. He arrived at a conclusion that he was able to define 12 plus 2 personality types or styles.
The assumption is that we bring these characteristics. That is why the book is called the Personality DNA. We bring it with us from the beginning. We also have it in our DNA. What I am trying to say is that we were born with them. What he was able to say is, “This is a very nice pattern of a characteristic of people that now we can somehow name those group of undefined characteristics in one specific personality style.” That is how he arrived at this. Based on this is how the book started working. At this moment then, we talked about twelve personalities DNA. There are two more, I would refer to them. I do not know if you want me to refer more or less. What else would you like to know, Debra?
I do not know if we need to go into all twelve necessarily. The question that comes to mind for me is, are we saying there are only twelve types of people in the world?
That is one of the first thoughts that all of us had. The truth is that we are a combination. Some are more dominant, but all of us have some percentage of the twelve. In the end, it is a combination of the twelve parameters. We are talking about many options of personality. Not only that, one thing is to say, “I have this DNA information.” Another thing is to say, “I am expressing those characteristics.”
The personality styles that define you are the tools that you brought to this life to work with.
I will not necessarily express all my DNA information, and that also applies to my personality style. What I am trying to say is there is a combination of all of them. There are not only twelve like the static things like a box. It is not like that. We are a combination of them. Inside the combination, the way we express those characteristics are personal and particular. It depends on the person.
I am going to be dominant in one personality style, but then the ones that I am second highest, third highest, and lowest in is that combination of all of those things that give a unique picture of me. Not everybody who has the same dominant style as me is going to look exactly the same.
I like to express that when I explain this, what the personality style defines are the tools that you brought to this life to work with. What you can do with those tools is up to you. If I have a hammer or a drill, I can do more or fewer things with it. It depends on how I use it and how I learned to use it because that can be developed. That is also personal. What we can say is those are the tools. You do not have all the tools in the toolkit. You have certain tools. What you do with them is up to you.
It sounds as though you have solved the chicken and the egg debate. There has been a lot of talk about it. You and I have talked about this over the years like, “I do these things. Are these natural?” There are certain things that are natural talents and natural gifts that people have. In the work that you and I do, we want to help people find an expression for those natural gifts while at the same time, we are not saying that you cannot develop other things and that your environment and your efforts do not matter. Let’s talk a bit about that and then we will get into the leadership piece. What we do not want people to go away thinking is you are born with ABC. You are stuck with that for life. There are limited career choices for you based on that.
Sometimes people try to be too schematic structured on this. We are able to express different talents. Maybe one of them is dominant to me, but maybe I need to develop another one that is not so dominant that will be useful for the work I am doing. Can I do that? Definitely, yes. What is the difference? Maybe it will require more effort to do it. If you ask me, “Dr. Davidovich, what is the most important component of this personality style?” It is the effort. It is how much you will develop that and how much you will work on it.
All of us remember some schoolmates in elementary or secondary school, and we used to see them as geniuses because they were talented. Throughout life, nothing happened for whatever reason. I remember one person in medicine. They said, “He was talented. Things were so easy. He never made any effort.” He never excelled in anything.
It is important to focus on the effort and the wheel. What do you want to do? The moment you tell me what you want to do, I can support and help you with what you want to do. I will tell you which tools you have, and let’s see how to work with them towards your goal. Know the other way around. You know the “I am fixed on this and this is what I can do.” It does not work that way.
We can develop but it is going to be harder. If I wanted to become an astrophysicist, that would be a hard and long road for me, given my natural talents and where I am weaker. If that is something I care deeply about, if I am interested and curious about that line of work and the work that is being done related to that, there might be other ways that I can be part of that with my own expression and own skills that I can bring to it.
You will be an astrophysicist with your own characteristics. Maybe you will not feel the stereotype of an astrophysicist. You will do it differently.
I would do it very differently.
That also means bringing different perspectives and that can add value in that.
Let’s talk a little bit about leadership. We talk a lot about leadership here in this show. For the work that you are doing related to the assessment and leadership, you have divided leadership into three chunks or three categories. Let’s talk a little bit about what those levels of leadership are and then how these talents or competencies relate to if somebody is looking at advancing through different levels of leadership. For example, they are looking at where they want to go in their career and wanting to move up the ladder, so to speak.
One thing I want to clarify to add to the previous comment, if you have X or a certain personality style, there are more convenient professions that you will excel at. That is true. You will have more possibility of success because there are certain professions or oppositions that are much better with your style. This is also a fact, but it does not mean that they are something that is zero. You cannot. That is the only thing I was trying to highlight. We help with the previous assessment and this one in particular for people to identify what they are good at that they can be successful at.
That makes it easier and they can go even farther and do better. That is one thing. Let’s go back to the level of leaders. We define our three levels. Let’s call the first level the managerial level. Let’s talk about the second level as the senior level, the executive level, VP. The third is a C level, the CEO and the level that reports to the CEO. What we mainly did was identify the talents that each level should have to be successful. I will not name the talents now because it could be confusing. What I will do is to define, in general, the aptitude that they should have and the talents, in this case, that they should have at each level.
You need to thrive in unexpected situations and lead decisively at all leadership levels.
One thing to start with for the three levels, managerial, executive, and C level, there are two talents that they should have. They are common to the three of them. One is the capacity or the ability to thrive in chaos. It is more understandable in the pandemic times, but it was always like this. To be able to organize this chaotic situation of the market or the company and that is changing all the time. Priorities are changing all the time, and the capacity or ability to serve in that environment is something that the three levels should have.
A low level of structure is how I think about that one. You do not need a lot of structure and things laid out for you. You can walk in. The confusing thing about the word chaos is sometimes people think, “I do not like chaos.” You do not have to like chaos because chaos is a big word.
It is not that everyone should be low in structure. That is not correct. People that are high in structure will be able to organize the chaotic situation better. Maybe you are right. Maybe chaos is a strong word, but we can say to deal with unexpected and uncertain situations and ambiguity. What happens with the lowest level, the managerial one? The three levels are important to how you connect with your team. That is true. At the lowest level, the managerial one is even more important.
It’s the way you can build consensus and the way you can communicate when you are at the lower level that is more a technical level. Normally, the managerial level is more technical. You specialize in something. It is important how you communicate and how you are able to keep accountable the team and yourself? Accountability will be the parameter or the talent that they need to have, how to keep people accountable, how to communicate with clarity, and the possibility to build consensus.
One question, Carlos, on that, I want to make sure we said both of them. The first level was, “Thrives in chaos.” What was the other one?
The other one is to lead decisively. That will be defined as a capacity to lead with determination, to define very clearly the objective, and to be with the team, lead that team, or go along with the team to get things done. That is what we call lead decisively. Leads decisively and thriving in chaos are the common talents of the three levels. On the other side, I already explained the first level, which is talent. In the second level, do not get me wrong. What I said are important in the second and third levels, but what becomes more important or determined at the second level are results.
How you can inspire others is not only building consensus. It is inspiring others. The relationship is not that close at the senior level, so you need to be a role model at this level. How much you can demonstrate energy and motivate those people to be engaged. Those will be the differential talent for the second level.
If we move to the third level, it is common sense because now we are talking about the C level. At the C level, there is another thing that will come into play. That is the political influence. Those are the people connected with the board and the stakeholders. They need to deal with other components that imply an ability regarding political influence.
Another component at this level to be highlighted is profitability. They should see the big picture. They should be able to take results at the highest level, but there is another component I like to comment on. That is how much they are able to initiate without receiving the information. Initiating independently is another talent that is important here.
In the first level, most of the time, they receive instructions on what to do. The executive level as well, but the first level, the C level, is the one creating the way to get results. Innovation should be something also involved here and what new can be brought to the picture, and how in the end, we will get the results and sustain that profitability that the company needs.
The other thing I think about when we talk about political savviness and political astuteness is an awareness of other people’s agendas and an ability to maneuver. I am sure you have seen this too in your coaching work. Sometimes people get stuck in that political maneuvering. Either they feel like, “I do not want to play political games.” They shy away from it. They have a certain belief system about it. As we go into more senior levels of leadership, the astuteness and the ability to be able to see other people’s agendas and push an agenda becomes more and more important. Is that a fair way of also saying it?
What we are talking about here too, is the likelihood of success. No one assessment can tell someone what to do with their lives, nor would we ever say something like that, but it is information. It is getting to know yourself a little bit better. That is the power that assessments can potentially have. This can give us an idea of your likelihood of success at different levels of leadership but also within different professions. A low likelihood of success does not mean you cannot do it. It just means that the way you go about doing it might be different from what is typically seen. This is where we talk about the Eddie the Eagle example.
Canadians will be more familiar with this, but you are not originally from Canada. Eddie the Eagle was a perfect example when Carlos and I were first talking about some of these concepts. I said, “It is like Eddie the Eagle.” His name is Michael David Edwards. There is a movie called Eddie the Eagle. He was a British ski-jumper who went to the 1988 Calgary Olympics here in Canada despite many obstacles and also a lack of natural talent, but so much tenacity and so much determination. From the time he was a boy, he had a dream of going to the Olympics. I do not think it mattered what sport. He did not care. It was just, “What is my path to the Olympics? I just want to go to the Olympics.”
People at the managerial level receive the instructions while people at the C level create the ways to get results.
He managed to do that. He was not the most talented, but it’s that idea that there are other things that contribute to our success in addition to those natural talents. In terms of the levels of leadership, there are different talents at different levels. What else do you want people to know about if they are thinking about their career and they are thinking about their desire for leadership or where they want to go in their career? What advice do you have for people based on this work?
It’s self-awareness. “Know yourself” is an old quote from thousands of years. It has a reason to be so important. This is not a philosophical thing. This is a practical thing. You need to know what you are able to do and mainly, you need to know your talents because there is a generalized bias. We mainly focus on our weaknesses. That is a mistake. To move forward in our life, we can do it only by pulling from talents, not from weakness. This is not about fixing things. It is about pulling from what I have.
Once I am pulling from my strengths or my talents, then the rest will start accommodating not by itself, but I will start working on that. What I am trying to say is I need to have the self-confidence that I can do it. That self-confidence comes to know my strengths, my talents, and what I can do. Those are the things that will push me forward and make me do things better and reach success.
I have one last thing I want to cover because I have seen this also play out, and I am sure you have too. Is it possible to have the talents for C-Suite leadership but not necessarily as many of the talents for the first level of leadership? What happens when someone is maybe younger, starting out in their career, and we have this system where we have to climb the steps. We have to do that lower level of leadership in order to get to the C-Suite. What happens in that case if I am better suited according to my natural talents for that C-Suite level, but I am not so good at that first level of leadership?
That can happen. I would say the opposite one. People are capable of talent for lower levels and the C-Suite. This is what it is. That means I cannot reach the C-Suite. Maybe I can, but then I would need to pull from different factors. In the situation that you say, in one way or another, I need to walk the path. I do not know if somebody can just go to the C-Suite right away. Maybe, but that is not the usual thing. What you are saying is also correct. People can excel in those talents that are compatible with the C-Suite. When they need to deal with the day-by-day situation with the team, they are not so good at it.
They are better at seeing the big picture and think from different perspectives and know-how to get the results better. The two situations can happen. What we were discussing before, the scenario is when somebody has the talent to go to the C-Suite and there are extra parameters that can be roadblocks in their lives. We are talking about bias, mainly. It could be gender, race, and all these kinds of things. That requires a different conversation.
When I think about organizations, there are two things that I would bring into this because I do think that it does become problematic for some people in their careers. One thing is the more that organizations know what to look for in terms of talents, they can identify people who are maybe struggling in some areas at that first level but do have some talents to move forward into other levels of leadership. That is one thing. The other thing I would say is then I would be working with someone on, “What type of organization is best for you?”
The thing that is coming to mind is a smaller organization with fewer layers of leadership or a more entrepreneurial type of environment where you can exercise some more of those talents that are required at that more senior level and maybe fewer at this other level. If that’s how you are going to be most successful in that expression of your talents, we are looking at, “What are the environments there? What are the types of organizations where you are most likely to thrive?”
That was me telling everybody what I thought. That was me espousing some deep insights and knowledge because I have seen that come up. Sometimes it does get in the way. Sometimes those people can be almost labeled as the problem child in the organization. They naturally want to do certain things and are expressing themselves in a way that is not as appropriate at the lower level. If the organization and leadership do not know what to look for, we can mislabel people sometimes.
First of all, I want to thank you so much for joining us again. I am sure we will have more conversations down the road. In the meantime, tell our readers a little bit about if they are interested in this assessment, if they want to take the assessment, if they want to get a copy of the book, where can they do those things?
There are two ways. One way is to buy the book in the usual places that we buy books. You can find it on Amazon. The book has a QR code where you can do the assessment. This is one way. The book itself has the QR code that will take you to the questionnaire and then you will receive the report. Another way is to get into LeadersEd.com. On that website, you also will be able to do this assessment and you do not need to buy the book. You will see your report and then you decide if you want to get more information. It is in the book or you can contact the people that are in charge of LeadersEd and they will guide you on what to do.
Thank you so much, Carlos. It has been a pleasure talking to you again.
I am looking forward for the next. Bye.
Bye for now.
- Personality DNA
About Carlos Davidovich
For over fifteen years, Carlos has been coaching internationally supporting the development of leaders and management teams alike. Originally from Argentina, he has been living in Toronto, Canada and with Optimum Talent since 2013, working as an executive coach, facilitator, and is certified in Optimum Talent’s SuccessFinder Career System. Carlos has expertise in NeuroManagement, and NeuroMarketing. He draws on his skills as a medical doctor plus his twenty years of experience as executive in the pharmaceutical industry to deliver insights to both organizations and executives about neuroscience and leadership.