PCM is an internationally praised, highly reliable, behaviourally based communication model, used to individually tailor connection and motivation and build trust and rapport. PCM profiles reveal a host of insights about how a person perceives the world, how they communicate, how they are motivated and how they will behave in distress.
If you are not yet familiarised with PCM, please read its short description HERE, so we’ll be on the same page and ready to discover how PCM can help you to recruit the right people for your team.
Below, it’s a short summary of main PCM concepts relevant for this post. If you are already familiar with them, then skip by starting to read again at the title “So how come PCM can play such an important role in recruitment? NASA is the answer!”.
So, we agreed that each of the six personality types communicates, learns and is motivated differently, and has a different set of behaviours when in distress.
We also said that the Base, or the ground floor in our personality condominium, indicates the dominant, most highly developed personality type. We also agreed that being able to identify another’s Base helps us to use the most effective communication channel and perception to connect with that person and “speak their language”, thus, making ourselves heard.
On the other hand, and this is where I we zoom in to another very important concept for this post, the Phase personality provides keys to understanding what motivates people and what stresses them. That is because one feels mainly the psychological needs of the Phase and these affect our motivation on a day-to-day basis. The second most-important psychological needs we feel are those of the Base, and thirdly, those of the Stage(s). If we feed these needs, we will be again positive, efficient, and able to focus on the tasks at hand. If we don’t have these needs fulfilled, we will enter in our phase-specific distress sequence, put on a mask and start exhibiting the specific negative behaviours, while trying to (unconsciously) fulfill those needs negatively…
While the Base personality type is fixed and will stay the same for all our life, the Phase can change under certain conditions. This is why, sometimes, we meet friends we known for ages but didn’t have contact for some years, and somehow they seem like a different person. They are still the same from the point of view of their base-related features (traits, perceptions, currency, strengths, etc.) but the elements that motivate or stress them now are different.
Note: early in our lives, our Base and Phase will be the same; depending on what life confronts us with, we might change our Phase once, twice, or more times… or not at all.
All this information (and its interpretation) about one’s Base / Phase Personality types are of great importance and utility to us, indifferent of the context in our lives: recruitment, team management and motivation, personal relationships, sales and negotiations, education, project management or simple day-to-day social interactions.
PCM Summary Table
Below is a scheme of the six personality types with their specific traits, perceptions, currencies and their strengths (which we will recognize mostly in the people who have that specific personality type as their Base) + the psychological needs (which we will recognize mostly in the people who have that specific personality type as their Phase).
It might sound a bit complicated (and in a way it is, really!), but the 3 days PCM workshops are designed to help you understand everything and already be able to use it before the end of it. Continuous practice helps too :).
Using the table above, we can better understand how our team members see the world (perceptions), what we “hear” more often in our verbal interactions with them (currency), what are the traits and strengths they can bring to the team, what are their psychological needs (so what motivates them and what stresses them and thus, how should we act in order to help them out of their distress sequence), etc.
So how come PCM can play such an important role in recruitment? NASA is the answer!
I recently wrote a small blog post on this subject. It’s quite interesting how PCM became popular outside the psycho-therapy world, so I invite you to read it HERE.
Ok, I hope you enjoyed the NASA article. To sum it up, PCM was the answer that NASA received when asking how it would be possible for each astronaut to be able to manage their emotions, communicate effectively with others and handle stress in a constructive manner. Keep in mind, that for NASA, the failure to achieve that would translate into losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The main idea, and the main differentiator of applying PCM in recruitment is that, besides finding the best person who matches the job, you’ll be more likely to also find the one who matches your existing team. And that’s worth millions!
But let’s return to planet Earth and “play” a bit with a clear example of a team, to help us clarify in a practical manner how PCM can be used in the context of recruitment. For the purpose of the exercise, and to make explanations straightforward, I will consider that our “characters” have the same Base and Phase.
Your existing team needs a new member… how do you pick the most appropriate one?
Of course, when deciding on a new member to join your team, you will have different objectives:
- It can be that you are happy with the way your team works and want it to continue as such, but you simply need more manpower. Then it might be good to bring someone who is very similar to the profile of your existing team.
- Let’s say your team needs a bit more of a creative spark – then you’d do good hiring a Rebel Base (check on the column “Strengths” of the table above to see why); or you feel your team would need some more people who are “do-ers”, who are faster to action, and maybe don’t take too much time on over-analysing data – in this case, you might want to search for a Promoter Base, etc. Main idea is that, depending on the strengths you are looking for, there are high chances that going for someone who has a certain Base Personality Type can take you far.
However, one very important point to take care of: if you want to go for someone with a Personality Type (either Base or Phase) that is very different from those of your current team that means that they will most probably have a “different language” then the others, they will need a different interaction/management style, they will have different motivating/stressing elements. And if this is not handled well, you could see them leaving faster than you would want, after some unproductive tension period… Indeed, team “chemistry” is not an easy thing to achieve, and we all know it.
But let’s look now at our “case-study-team” (as I said, imaginary… but you know what? it can be as real as yours 🙂 ). We have four team members and their combined (average) perceptions as follows.
Average Team Perceptions
(Remember: Perceptions are filters by which we experience the world and become the way we open communication with others and prefer that they open with us. Each of us has a primary perception or preference as to HOW we should say the content i.e. WHAT we are saying)
This shows us that main perceptions in this team are those of Opinions and Thoughts, and that the perception of Emotions is also quite a strong one.
According to PCM, people with main perceptions:
Opinions – value trust and view the world by evaluating people and situations through a belief system. They prize loyalty and commitment. Their Base personality is that of the Persister and their main character strengths are being dedicated, observant and conscientious.
Thoughts – value facts and they view the world by identifying and categorising people and things. They prize data and information. Their Base personality is that of the Thinker and their main character strengths are being responsible, logical and organised.
Emotions – They value relationships and view the world by feeling about people and situations. They prize family & friendship. Their Base personality is that of the Harmonizer and their main character strengths are being compassionate, sensitive and warm.
OK, so this part shows us more or less what we can expect from a team that has these main perceptions to “look and feel like”. And as “like attracts like”, chances are that people with similar main perceptions (or with some of these Personality Types well energised, meaning, most probably on their first-second-third floor) will interact well together and easily build constructive relationships. As this team scores quite highly on an average for these first three perceptions, we will know that they will be able to connect, communicate and work together quite easily. This is something that helps team cohesion.
For now, it will be important to know that, when hiring a new team member, I’d want them to have at least one of those 3 personality types strong, so I can ensure the “connection” will happen easier with the other team members (I’d still focus more on the first two – the strongest ones)
Now, if my objective is to keep the dynamic similar and just increase manpower, I’d search for someone who has base personality Thinker or Persister (Harmonizer could also work, if their next personality type in the condominium is Thinker or Persister). This would ensure good communication, similar “language” in the team, a similar way of working, etc. (I will not discuss now what could also go wrong in such a team: e.g. two Persister-Base colleagues who have conflicting beliefs… that might be a good subject for a future post).
If my objective is to bring a “touch” of something different in my team, then I’d better go for someone whose Base Personality type might ensure that ingredient that I lack in my current team – e.g. Rebel Base for creativity, spontaneity and playfulness, Promoter Base for an adaptive, persuasive and charming character, an Imaginer Base for a reflective, calm and imaginative team member, etc. Just, as said before, be also aware that they will tend to “speak a different language” that most of your team…
OK, so now I know what Base personality type I’d want to add to my team. What kind of questions I ask in the interview to check their Base Personality, what kind of exercises do I give them… what do I need to look at?
Well, now that we know what Base Personality we are searching for, let’s finally get to action. And here are some ways of applying this:
Searching for a Persister Base:
Reminder: Persister main perception = Opinions – they value trust and view the world by evaluating people and situations through a belief system. They prize loyalty and commitment. Main character strengths are being dedicated, observant and conscientious.
Therefore, we will:
- Check for clear signs of strong opinions, values and beliefs in what they say about themselves
- Check if the “currency” they will exchange during our conversation is that of values
- Check for words like: “In my opinion” “We should” “I believe” “respect” “values” “admiration” “commitment” “dedication” “trust” in their conversation
- Check if indeed, they tend to view the world by evaluating people and situations through a belief system
- Check if loyalty and commitment are important for them
- Check if their answers show you that they are dedicated, observant and conscientious (you can actually ask them questions which aim directly at checking this strengths)
Searching for a Thinker Base:
Reminder: Thinker main perception =Thoughts – value facts and they view the world by identifying and categorising people and things. They prize data and information. Their main character strengths are being responsible, logical and organised.
Therefore, we will:
- Check for increased usage of facts, data, number, analysis, planning, etc. in their speech
- Check if the “currency” they will exchange during our conversation is that of logic
- Check for words like: “I think” “What options” “Does that mean” “Who” “What” “When” “Where” “facts” “information” “data” “time frames” in their conversation
- Check if indeed, they tend to view the world by identifying and categorising people and things
- Check if data and information represent some kind of a mantra for them
- Check if their answers show you that they are responsible, logical and organised (you can actually ask them questions which aim directly at checking this strengths)
Searching for a Harmonizer Base:
Reminder: Harmonizer main perception =Emotions – They value relationships and view the world by feeling about people and situations. They prize family & friendship. Their main character strengths are being compassionate, sensitive and warm.
Therefore, we will:
- Check for increased reference to relationships and feelings regarding people and situations in their speech
- Check if the “currency” they will exchange during our conversation is that of compassion
- Check for words like: “I feel” “I’m comfortable with” “I care” “happy” “sad” “I love” “close” in their conversation
- Check if family and friendship are very important for them
- Check if their answers show you that they are compassionate, sensitive and warm (you can actually ask them questions which aim directly at checking this strengths)
Searching for a Rebel Base:
Reminder: Rebel main perception = Reactions – They value fun and view the world by reacting to people and situations with likes / dislikes. They prize spontaneity and creativity and their main character strengths are being spontaneous, creative and playful.
Therefore, we will:
- Check for increased reference to fun activities and a lot of likes/dislikes in their speech
- Check if the “currency” they will exchange during our conversation is that of humour
- Check for words like: “Wow” “I like” “I don’t like” “I hate” “I don’t want” [fun expressions, slang phrases] in their conversation
- Check if spontaneity and creativity are very important for them
- Check if their answers show you that they are spontaneous, creative and playful (you can actually ask them questions which aim directly at checking this strengths)
Searching for a Promoter Base:
Reminder: Promoter main perception = Actions – They value initiative and view the world by experiencing situations and making things happen. They prize adaptability and self-sufficiency and their main character strengths are being adaptive, persuasive and charming.
Therefore, we will:
- Check for increased reference to actions, results, high use of verbs in their speech
- Check if the “currency” they will exchange during our conversation is that of charm
- Check for words like: “The bottom line” “best shot” “make it happen” “Go for it” “Enough talk” in the interview
- Check if adaptability and self-sufficiency are very important for them
- Check if their answers show you that they are adaptive, persuasive and charming (you can actually ask them questions which aim directly at checking this strengths)
Searching for an Imaginer Base:
Reminder: Imaginer main perception = Inactions – They value direction and view the world by reflecting about what is happening. They prize privacy and their personal space and their main character strengths are being reflective, imaginative and calm.
Therefore, we will:
- Check for increased reference to need of directions and a tendency towards reflection in their speech
- Check if the “currency” they will exchange during our conversation is that of imagination
- Check for words like: “Need time to reflect” “Wait for more direction” “Hold back” “Easy pace” “Own space” “Don’t want to rock the boat” in the interview
- Check if their privacy and personal space are very important for them
- Check if their answers show you that they are reflective, imaginative and calm (you can actually ask them questions which aim directly at checking this strengths)
This is it! This has been quite a long post, but the above should give you enough information to be able to better find people who fit your team, not only the job itself.
Thank you for reading,
- These thoughts, this analysis and these recommendations are my own and do not represent the view of Kahler Communications.
- One must also aware that not everything can be explained through PCM. As much as I love this training and I see its utility in everyday life, we humans are way too complex beings to be deciphered through a training that is thought in only three days. The way we were educated, the culture and the society we grew in, the events in our life (happy or traumatising) all leave marks on the way we think, react, talk, behave, on the stories we build about ourselves and the world around us. Here’s to us!
Following the great feedback received for the Open PCM Workshop I organised in the spring of 2021 and the request for a similar workshop in Romanian, I decided to organise two Open PCM Workshops in autumn 2021: one in English and one in Romanian. Please register your interest HERE. Logistical details will be decided together with the interested participants. Please feel free to ask me any questions HERE.
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