In her upcoming book, How the World Sees You, Sally Hogshead turns her attention from her expertise in advertising and writing tag lines for major companies to a focus on personalities. She argues that if you can identify what is fascinating about your personality and can articulate that clearly and quickly, then your employers and clients will understand how you add value. If you identify what she calls your fascination advantage, then you can maximize your chances for success, not by changing your personality but by being more of who you already are.
Hogshead argues that in our culture of short attention spans, we have only a few seconds to impress someone. So, we need to be able to quickly articulate how we are different and how we add unique value. We need to be able to communicate to our customers how we can solve their problem better than anyone else by tapping into our fascination advantage.
You can read more about Sally’s research on fascination advantages and take her assessment to find your personality archetype at her website.
Here’s a very brief summary of the seven personality advantages she has identified through her research:
• Passion: Creating warm emotional connections
• Mystique: Thinking before speaking
• Prestige: Achieving success with higher standards
• Alert: Careful precision
• Innovation: New ideas and solutions
• Trust: Building loyalty over time
• Power: Leading with command
Hogshead posits that when we are working on a task or in an environment where we can tap into our fascination advantage, the work feels less taxing and more invigorating to us. In contrast, when we are in situations that call upon us to use what she calls “dormant advantages,” we may feel weak or less confident and are less likely to be successful. If you are managing a team, knowing what your team’s advantages or areas that make them feel strong, confident, and energized (as well as what makes them feel drained and weak) can be very powerful information to have. If you can understand what makes each person on your team their best and then help them do more of that thing or approach other tasks in a way that calls upon their fascination advantage, you can create a team of high performers that consistently add value.
Here’s how Hogshead describes the way high performers add value:
• They contribute a specific benefit by specializing in their specific fascination advantage (for example, Trust, Passion, Innovation, Prestige).
• They are worth more than they are paid.
• They deliver more than what would be expected.
• They don’t focus on what they do, but on who they are and how their personalities can add distinct value. Many people can do the same tasks, but the way in which the task is completed can be uniquely delightful.
• They are still the preferred choice, even if there is someone else who will do the same thing for less money or in less time.
Hogshead argues that understanding these advantages and how to recognize them in others can help us to be more persuasive. For example, if you notice that one of your prospective clients is always asking about your family or how your weekend went, this is likely someone with a Passion advantage, someone who speaks the language of relationships. If you pick up on this, you can tailor your message and approach to appeal to this person’s advantage so you can create rapport and allow them to feel fascinating. Because you know relationships are important to this potential client, you can be sure to engage them in a way that honors their advantage; have face to face meetings, make an effort to understand their emotional needs in the business interaction, and express your genuine enthusiasm to build the professional relationship. If this sounds exhausting to you, then maybe you’re not the right person to close this deal. Is someone else on your team a relationship-oriented person? Do you have someone whose primary advantage is also Passion that would be great to work with this potential client?
Take some time to think about how the world sees you and what your unique personality advantages are. How can you tap into those and use them more often? How can you quickly communicate how you add value to those around you? How can you help your team members find their fascination advantages and use them to be more persuasive and perform at a higher level?