Welcome! Let’s Stir Things Up

Time For Something NEW!

Welcome to the Business Chemistry Blog, a place to explore leadership, teams, and how relationships fuel our work. The launch of this blog coincides with the 5-year birthday of Business Chemistry, which I’ll describe in more detail below. To begin with, I’ll be writing from my vantage point within Deloitte’s Greenhouse Experience Team—I have so many questions to explore here—but other voices will join in along the way and you’ll have the opportunity to engage with more members of our team.

I hope that in time I’ll get a chance to know a bit about you, our readers, but for now I’ll share a little about me and my perspective. I’m a social-personality psychologist, which means I study how people’s thoughts, behaviors, and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. Like many psychologists, I started down this path with a somewhat vague notion of wanting to help people. Along the way I became fascinated by questions about why people act the way they do, and in particular, what makes some people so different from me.

Like why isn’t everyone on my team as interested as I am in all the minute details of my research? Or how can Kim, the leader of the LCC, come up with super creative ideas on the spot, while I need time alone for reflection in order to be the least bit creative? And why does my teammate Grace seem so excited about a big event we’re planning when I’m only feeling a sense of dread? And perhaps most importantly, what can we all do to understand and embrace our differences so we can move forward as a cohesive team?

Do you ever wonder about things like that? I hope so, because these are the kinds of issues I want to discuss here.

It goes without saying that each of us is unique, but we share more in common with some people than with others. At Deloitte we use Business Chemistry as shorthand for talking about these similarities and differences. Why is this important to us? Because understanding makes our relationships stronger, and strong relationships enhance our work together.

Business Chemistry identifies four primary patterns of characteristics:

  • The Driver pattern is characterized by a quantitative and/or technical perspective, logic, directness, and competitiveness.
  • The Integrator pattern is distinguished by empathy, a focus on relationships and consensus, and a comfort with ambiguity.
  • The Guardian pattern is exemplified by practicality, reserve, a structured approach, and a focus on details.
  • The Pioneer pattern is typified by spontaneity, adaptability, imagination, and a fondness for brainstorming.

Of course none of us fits perfectly into any of these categories. In fact, we are each a unique combination of all four. Yet most of us find that we strongly associate with one or two of them, and understanding which pattern someone associates with gives us a bit of insight into what makes them tick and how we can strengthen our relationship with them.

For ease of use in this blog we’ll refer to these four patterns, and to people who fit into them, by using the simple labels of Driver, Integrator, Guardian, and Pioneer. We trust that you, as our readers, will understand that we’re using a shortcut here. When we refer to someone as a Driver, what we really mean is a person with lots of characteristics that fit into the Driver pattern, as well as other characteristics that fit better into the remaining three patterns. While the former isn’t perfectly accurate, the latter is prohibitively awkward. So we thank you in advance for remembering that we’re simplifying.

I consider myself spectacularly lucky to have a career focused on exploring the questions that so interest me. The only thing that could make it better is more people to discuss them with. So please join in!
Dr. Suz


Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)
Dr. Suz is the LCC’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together. Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

This publication contains general information only, and none of the member firms of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collective, the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this publication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

10 thoughts on “Welcome! Let’s Stir Things Up

  1. For years, I struggled a bit as I thought I had to change to be successful in business. After all, it was all inner evaluation of my type and I wasn’t very successful at being someone I wasn’t. However, after learning more about it, I finally realized I just needed to recognize the differences between those around me and simply change how I worked with people based off of what they needed to work with me. That’s much easier to accomplish than trying to reign it all in all the time. And, I love it when my team also recognizes what I need and makes me feel comfortable, too. I love this!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is a really interesting framework! To me, it gets at the idea of trying to be gracious and meeting people where they are at. Rather than expecting everyone to conform to what you need, you get out of yourself a bit to make that person more comfortable and therefore more open to what you want to say.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is a great blog which brings up some really thought-provoking questions… Sometimes I feel like I have a “yin yang” tendency with the integrator and the driver in me competing. Is that even possible? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Kathy- I’m glad I’m not alone in this dilemma… Cheers to our yin yang dynamic! Perhaps a certain aspect our our driver tendency is fairly strong, even thought it ranks lower (overall) relative to the other 3 areas?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that’s absolutely possible! We’re all made up of at least a little bit of each type, and the situation we’re in may influence which perspectives are most prominent at a given time. Particularly in ambiguous situations we might even have conflicting tendencies. Its part of what makes each one of us unique, even though most of us are likely to associate closely with one or two types.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have had opportunity to take the training on Business Chemistry. I have been trying to practice the same in my work. This is excellent framework to make stronger relationship.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ever since being introduced to the Business Chemistry framework, I find myself applying it to everyone I meet and everything I read. For example, came across this list of leadership quotes while perusing my morning Twitter feed. (www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/the-100-best-leadership-quotes-of-all-time.html?cid=sf01001). Observation of day: there seems to be more Integrator-like type of leadership beliefs than that of Driver and Pioneer and almost no Guardian. Thoughts, Dr. Suz?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love this. My first thought is that the person who selected these quotes likely has an Integrator perspective herself—her website says she uses a “heart-based leadership approach”—and that likely impacts what she sees as great leadership. Then looking through the quotes, which really are inspiring, I see lots of different perspectives. Just a few examples of what I see in here:

      Guardian perspective: “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through–then follow through.” — Edward Rickenbacker

      Pioneer perspective: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Harold R. McAlindon

      Integrator perspective: “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

      Driver perspective: “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” — Margaret Thatcher

      I’m interested in what others see in these quotes!

      Liked by 2 people

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