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Time For Something NEW!

Welcome to the Business Chemistry Blog, a blog about 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 Leadership Center for Clients—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.

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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!

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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

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.

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