Personology Turns Business Inside Out
by Sue Wright, p. 9
Personology Turns Business
We live in an increasingly impersonal and time-conscious world ruled by cell phones and email. That means fewer opportunities for meeting people face-to-face. Yet, success in business can rely on one's ability to successfully read others when you do come face-to-face.
According to Bill Whiteside, a trainer, speaker, author, coach and consultant in Personology and People Reading, who has written two books on the subject, it's something anyone can learn to do. "I train people on how to get mutually beneficial long-term relation results through profitable relationships." Simply put, Whiteside says he works with individuals and groups who want to improve their people skills and get better results.
Personology may sound like something a little New Agey, but in fact this method of profiling individual traits and human behavior has its roots in the venerable discoveries and wisdom of the ancients such as Aristotle, Hippocrates and Galen. Franz Joseph Gall, an Austrian physician, took it a step further and came up with the system of Phrenology, or the study of character and mental capacity from the conformation of the skull. That practice didn't gain much credence and eventually faded into history.
Then, in the 1930s, Edward Vincent Jones, a California circuit court judge, began to notice that people charged with similar crimes had similar facial characteristics. He subsequently solidified the link between physical characteristics and behavior. His skills in people reading became legend among law enforcement, and he became a respected authority on Personology.
When a skeptical Robert Whiteside, editor of the Tulare California newspaper and Bill Whiteside's uncle, attended one of Jones' Personology lectures and was impressed with the accuracy of the method, a partnership was formed. From studies and surveys of 1,050 adults conducted at the Personology Foundation of San Francisco, a master list of 68 behavioral traits emerged, which proved statistically significant at the one percent level.
Although the entire body is considered in such analyses, the majority of traits are on the head and face. These fall into five trait areas: Physical, Automatic Expression, Action, Feeling and Emotion, and Thinking. Each individual expresses a unique blend of traits.
If you give me seven or eight [physical] traits, I can almost draw you a picture of that individual," Whiteside claims. This has nothing to do with parlor tricks or guessing your weight, although it could have something to do with "What's My Line?"
In addition to doing individual analyses or face reading, Whiteside helps people get into the right line of work by guiding business owners in
effective personnel placement. But it goes much deeper than that. "When I counsel people in business, I have to tell them this is not just an organizational chart with boxes. These boxes represent people," Whiteside says. "They also represent sons and daughters and Little League and soccer and a vacation to Seattle to see the Space Needle. You have to increase your awareness of that. This is your challenge." The practice of Personology has to do with people, and so does business if it's being done right.
"We have all these companies that have started up. They have no people skills training and people leave them left and right." Whiteside states, "The most valuable assets they have in that company are the people who show up for work. If nobody shows up at work, you have no company.
What Cloth are You Made off
Whiteside describes some people as silk and some people as burlap. Silk people are finer textured, porcelain-skinned and more affected by what goes on around them than burlap people, who are literally and figuratively thicker-skinned. Can you guess which of these types would be better suited for work as a tree-trimmer? How about a receptionist?
He quickly clarifies, "That isn't to say that that's the only person who would do well in that job, because people who gain dominion over particular aspects of their personality or behavior could do equally as well." He adds, "if you're going to be in the Kentucky Derby, do you put a Clydesdale in there? And if you want to tow the Budweiser wagon around, do you use a thoroughbred?" By the same token, Whiteside explains that you wouldn't normally place someone with a long torso and low center of gravity, that is, people who are typically good at outdoor activities like skiing and walking, at a sedentary desk job. It's just a matter of common sense, really.
Appreciate, Assess, Allow
Whiteside stresses that Personology is not about judgment. "There's no good or bad. There's a little bit of bad in the best of us and a little bit of good in the worst. It's what we do with our traits. Where do we set our -boundaries?" That's why practitioners of Personology embrace the 10-acre principle. This dictates that we each have our own 10 acres. Whenever we interact with someone we share three of our acres with that person. Some share more, some less. When we understand boundaries, we establish areas of mutual respect. And isn't respect what everyone craves out of any interaction? It's all about learning to talk to another person's traits, make allowances for those traits, and at the same time work on our own.
Sue Wright pens mystery novels under the name Sue Owens Wright (www. beanieandcruiser com)
July 2001 California's Capital Region - Comstock's Business