Dubbo GRDC Update – matching advisor approaches to client personalities
Author: Ellen McNamara | Date: 05 Feb 2018
'Temperament typing’ is a relatively new concept for agriculture, but growers and advisors at the upcoming Grain Research Development Corporation (GRDC) Dubbo Grains Research Update in February will hear how it could help improve their working relationship.
Cam Nicholson of Nicon Rural Services is a keynote speaker at the two-day event on February 27 and 28 and will explain how ‘temperament typing’ can help advisors understand and develop their connection with clients and in doing so improve the effectiveness of the relationship.
“We all have clients who we click with, where our advice is valued and adopted, but it can definitely go the other way too,” he said.
“During my involvement with a GRDC investment, the Grain and Graze program, we examined how temperament influenced the messages received by the grower.
“Then we investigated how creating a range of approaches to delivering the same message, and then using the most appropriate one based on a grower’s temperament, could improve the uptake of the message.
“Temperament is the combination of the mental, physical and emotional traits of a person that shapes how they learn and communicate, make decisions and consider risk. For growers these traits ultimately reveal themselves in how they farm.”
Mr Nicholson said there are a lot of visual and verbal cues a grower will make that gives an advisor clues as to their temperament type, such as the state of their workshop, farm tracks roads, along with comments they made in conversation, both about the farm but also other non-farming or family matters.
“We can break temperament types in farming into four types based on Myers Briggs type indicators: being sensing/judging (SJ), sensing/perceiving (SP), intuitive/thinking (NT) and intuitive/feeling (NF). In Grain and Graze they were referred to as Dependables, Doers, Pioneers and Team Builders,” he said.
“Rarely does a person’s temperament fit neatly into one of these categories, but most people tend to be more dominant in one or two types. There is no better or worse type, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.”
Mr Nicholson said research work by Rod Strachan showed a clear majority of growers were S types, either SJ or SP.
“These are people who like detail, focus on the present and what is real and concrete. They like to learn using all five senses and work through problems from the beginning, progressing in a logical, incremental and sequential way. While they like to see facts they trust their intuition, local examples of success and past experiences,” Mr Nicholson said.
“The remaining ‘N’ types (NT, NF) jump in the deep end, motivated by the possible outcome, big results and what could be. The details get worked out as they go, innovation is valued and they can be speculative and are imaginative, liking theories and possibilities. They learn by connecting patterns or bits of the jigsaw and are future focused.”
Mr Nicholson said discovering a clients temperament type relied on being observant of small details and comments.
“Your ‘dependables’ commonly have a shadow board in the workshop with the tools neatly arranged in their place, while ‘doers’ will have the shadow board, but not everything will be in place,” he said.
“This is obviously a simplification, but what you are trying to identify is their personality type in order to tailor how you approach that client – maybe change will be slow and methodical, or you may need to make your suggestions bolder at the same time as being a mentor and guide.
“Our default or natural tendency can be to approach learning, communication, decision making and consideration of risk associated with a practice or approach that same way that we would like to be approached.
“But by recognising the different temperament types we are engaging with, our approach can be modified to better match the client.”
Mr Nicholson will present this research and explain temperament typing in detail on Tuesday 27 February at the Dubbo Research Update. He will also be presenting information on how grower can integrate livestock into cropping systems the same day.
Other speakers on the program include Andrew Smart of PCT on how to turn NDVI and yield maps into profitable decisions, Peter Hayman from South Australian Research and Development Institute on understanding and managing frost risk and chickpea water use efficiency from Kerry McKenzie of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland.
Cox Inall Communications
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