Personality vs Behavior: Why Focusing on One is Detrimental (Find Out Which One)

Man in a Car Driving

If there are things you can do to create better outcomes for your business, would you do it? 

Of course, you would. 

What if I also tell you that it won’t cost you anything extra, would that interest you further? 



Before I tell you what to do, watch this video that has gone viral in the US. It’s about a 20-year old who takes orders at a Chick-fil-A store. 

What Exactly Are Behaviors

Before diving in, what the heck are behaviors? 

Manager Tools defines behaviors as any one (or in most cases, a combination) of the following: 

  1. The words you say
  2. How you say them
  3. Facial expressions
  4. Body language
  5. Work products

I won’t get into the weeds of discussing that in this article as they offer the best resource out there about this topic. 

For now, let’s go back to our video. Did you notice of the use of the words “how may I serve you today?” being used over and over. 

Feel free to play it again if you didn’t catch it the first time. 

If you were the customer, how would that make you feel? Me? I’d be delighted. The person doesn’t interrupt me. Prioritized my needs. He’s not focused on upselling, rather, focused on listening to me instead of waiting to speak up. 

Contrast that with your last visit to another restaurant or fast food chain. How many times did the person taking your order interrupt you while you were still ordering? How many times did they focus on saying their “script” rather than listening to you? 

Why Focusing on Personality Is a Terrible Idea

Popular culture often talks about different personality traits and how we should understand the personality of the other person. 

While there’s nothing wrong with that, that statement is already contradictory. 

Personality, by definition, is a combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character. In short, personality is who you are. Behaviors, on the other hand, can be modified. 

Imagine with me here for a moment. 

Think of an outgoing/extrovert person — a friend, family member, a colleague. Anyone. 

Let’s say you went together to church or a funeral. 

Would you’re outgoing or extrovert friend continue talking in a loud voice or won’t stop talking? 

I highly doubt it. 

Why? Because even if the person has an extroverted personality, he/she can modify their behavior to suit the appropriate environment. That’s why focusing on personality doesn’t get you anywhere in business. It’s what most companies are focusing on. 

And that’s why Chick-fil-A is dominating fast food — all because they focus on behaviors rather than personality. 

Reason 1: Behaviors are repeatable

Let’s go back to our video. 

The person kept repeating the words “how may I serve you today?” 

That’s not by accident, nor is it because the person is outgoing or an extrovert. 

It’s because the company knows that behaviors— more specifically the words you say and how you say them— make a difference. 

That’s how Chick-fil-A claimed the No. 1 spot on the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual restaurant report for the fourth year in a row. 

Towards the end of the video, you should also notice the words “our pleasure serving you.” Again, that’s not by accident. It’s a variation of the words “my pleasure” which all employees say instead of “you’re welcome.” 

These things don’t happen by chance. Chick-fil-A has developed an airtight training plan for employees and has added other little details to make locations feel more hospitable and friendly. 

Business Insider

So, regardless of the personality type, the outcomes are consistent to what the Chick-fil-A wants — which is to make their customers want to come back and spend time at their stores. 

Reason 2: Hiring becomes a problem 

Focusing on personality also brings up another problem — hiring. 

You can’t just hire “outgoing” people for your customer-facing roles. Why? Because you’d end up discriminating and won’t have a diverse workforce. 

I personally don’t know the person in the video (identified as Jeremiah Murrill). But from the looks of it, he is not an outgoing person. Rather, he just adapted his training to create better outcomes for Chick-fil-A. 

He smiles. He listens. He doesn’t interrupt. He uses specific words. 

All are behaviors. 

Remember what I told you at the beginning? If there are things you can do that can create better outcomes and it costs nothing, would you do it? 

That’s how the management at Chick-fil-a sees it. 

They don’t just look at personality traits. Rather, they built a program designed to promote customer service that every employee goes through. 

How many of your employees go through such a training? Which words to use and not use? Which body language or tone of voice give you better outcomes? 

Still not convinced about why behaviors are better than personality? 

You don’t have to take my word for it. 

This superior customer service has helped drive massive growth at Chick-fil-A over the past decade. The company went from $3.2 billion in systemwide sales at the end of 2009 to $10.5 billion at the end of 2018, making Chick-fil-A the third-largest fast-food chain in America.

Over to You

Most people don’t think about the words they say because it’s natural to us. We’re not writing anything so whatever we say is correct, right? 

As leaders in your organization, it’s more important to look at your own behaviors. 

Have you ever experienced talking to someone, and they took it negatively? Even with the purest of intentions, the words you say and how you say them carry more weight. Then we shrug it off as someone being closed-minded. 

But we didn’t take into account the words we said or how we said it. 

And that’s why focusing on behaviors is more important than personality. 

What behaviors are important to your business? Are there specific words that make you appear more focused on your customer? Do your staff keep using “I” instead of “we”? 

Don’t leave things to chance. 

If there are specific behaviors your top salesperson is doing, wouldn’t it be better for your business if everybody in your sales team is repeating the same behaviors?

One Behavior You Do That Makes You a Boss and Not a Manager

Sitting in front of the computer the whole day and typing crazily as if you are the busiest person in the world may seem normal for most managers. However, let me be the first to tell you that that behavior is not effective.

This post is not about arguing about a manager and a leader (personally I don’t think there’s a difference though). This is about making you realize that what you think of effective managerial behaviors are, sadly, mistaken.

Managers are paid for results. 

You are paid for results. 

You are not paid to show up, nor send email, nor attend meetings. As managers, you are seen as effective if your team is effective. That can only be achieved through high performance.

Manager Tools keeps on saying that avoiding poor performance is not the same thing as achieving high performance. What that means is you constantly talk about performance — on a daily basis, not when the company needs you to (aka annual performance reviews).

If you sit around in front of your computer the whole day while you blindly close your eyes to the small failings of your team (like being tardy, missing their weekly quota), you are not an effective manager. 

You would prefer them to self-correct. Yes, we all want that. But that rarely happens. 

If you do not address the small shortcomings then you suddenly make it a big issue in your annual evaluation of them, what does that make you look like? How do you think that would make them feel?

You will be construed as a boss who takes grudges. You will make a fool of yourself. You will appear to be thinking solely of yourself and not caring about your team. They will start thinking “where is all these coming from?”

Your approach of not talking about performance because of your fear of creating conflict is only hindering you and your team’s growth. Your avoidance of conflict — by not talking about performance and only talk about it when a big issue is at hand — keeps you from achieving high performance.

Stop sitting in front of your computer and talk to your team. Talk about their performance – both good and bad. Manager Tools has a tool specifically for that called Feedback. What do you think? Do you exhibit that behavior? Do you avoid conflict by not talking to your direct reports about their performance? Or simply know someone who is doing exactly that? Share this article to them to make them realize they are not being effective.

3 Reasons Why Your Digital Marketing Efforts Suck


Digital marketing is young. If you plot this against a Product Lifecycle Stage, it will be in its early growth stage. Now, what does that mean for you as a marketer of today?

Since digital marketing is in its early growth stages, no one has that extensive research and data to say that a certain set of practices are, in fact, the best. However, if you are keeping track of the big players in the internet (in the likes of Google and Facebook) and where they are moving towards, you should have noticed that they give priority to searches or updates that is helpful to the user. Their algorithms have changed to only show those which are relevant to them, burying those they do not care about.

If you still do not get it, sorry to say but you are not cut out to be an effective marketer. But if you do, and want to know why your efforts do not bring in the numbers you think you should be getting, start by changing the way you use digital marketing.

Reason 1: You transferred your traditional activities to digital — literally

Don’t you hate it when you go to the malls and you see a group of people handing out flyers? They follow you, ask if you have credit cards already, or if you are looking for an investment, or what not. When I see them, I get so irritated. They are forceful, obtrusive, and you know they only want to get that sale.

There are two options for you at that point — either you want it or not. 99% of the time, you don’t want it. And because you are busy, you (1) go through the herd, appear busy and don’t mind them at all, or (2) go out of your way to avoid them altogether. And because Filipinos are such nice people, you fake a smile, take the flyer to not offend the person, then throw it in the trash at the next corner (of course, if you really want the flyer, you would go and get it).

Now you, the recipient, gets irritated. You go out of your way because of them. You’re busy. You have other things to do. Every second matters.

Imagine those efforts carried out digitally. You are browsing Facebook and you see tons of ads. You go through websites, you see popups. You check your email and see ones from people you don’t know or companies you don’t even recognize. Instead of handing out those flyers physically, you receive them via social media sites and your personal email. Yes, as the company, you cut down costs of printing and payroll. But at what expense? Irritating your market? Not a good return on investment.

Reason 2: Keep posting about your products, services, promos and discounts

People’s behaviors have changed. They are no longer swayed by your company’s efforts to make them buy. People buy when they want to buy, not when you want them to buy. If the only thing people see about your brand is promos and discounts, you will end up getting a dissatisfied audience. Your brand will be thought of as cheap and incapable of generating revenues without inducing a short-term demand. If this persists, you will not build any credibility. Your audience will not trust you. At some point, you will no longer be able to sell anything at a regular price. People will learn that every other week you are on sale so they will just wait for it. In turn, you get lower margins. Or worse, you will be known as a cheap brand that they no longer want to associate themselves with.

Reason 3: Not Being Personal

The internet has turned what used to be a one-way communication into a two-way street. Billboards, tv and radio ads are examples of the former. Social media, if done right, is a great example of the latter. People want to talk to people. B2B and B2C does not matter that much nowadays. The buzz now is P2P or person-to-person. If your email newsletters still come from [email protected] then you are way behind. When people asks you a question on Twitter or comments on your Facebook posts then your reply is “Thank you for your comment. Please send us an email so we can answer your questions” — OMG — you have so much to learn.

Stop acting behind the company name. Treat your audience the way you want to be treated. Engage with them by answering their questions directly by replying to them. That is the whole purpose of social media — ENGAGEMENT. Only discuss over email if the conversation demands private details like username and credentials.

Stop hurting your business’ digital marketing efforts. Understand that people behave differently online. Just like you, they like to be treated as humans. They love talking to other people. People are demanding. It’s time to change your marketing.