PERSONALITY MANAGEMENT THEORY
The following short story is provided to help you gain a better, more rounded overview
of personality management and how it works. It is not essential that you read it, but
reading it may help provide a more rounded view of the PEP system and how it is used
in the business environment.
Jason and Ted met for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon. The day was warm and clear and a
slight breeze provided just the right setting for their sandwiches and drinks. Despite the
beauty of the day, Jason could tell something was bothering his friend.
"Something up, Ted?" he asked.
"Yea, lots of things, Jason," Ted answered. "Nothing I want to spoil your lunch with,
"Nonsense. We've always been able to talk. Let's have it."
"Well, I can't seem to get things going right with my business and I don't know why."
Jason had been present when Ted cut the ribbon on his factory and had been aware of
some of the problems Ted had been having. He had a good idea as to why.
"Employee difficulties?" Jason asked.
"Right on the head," Ted answered. "I tell you, it seems the more I try to get everybody
working right, the more seems to go wrong. I'm paying out more fringe benefits than ever
before, but production keeps dropping, and I keep losing all of my best workers."
Jason knew a great deal about employee problems, having a business of his own. "What
do you think might be causing the problems?"
"Beats me. I've looked at everything I could think of to see if I could find the problem. I even
went down to the floor for several days, just watching to see if I could find something going
wrong. Everything I saw led back to the same conclusion: my employees just don't care."
Jason considered a moment. He knew what the problem was already; in fact, he even had
the answer. But he didn't tell Ted immediately. He had to let Ted come to his own
"Ted, when you were down on the floor, did you talk to any of your employees?"
"The supervisors, yeah. They're as stumped as I am."
"And what about things going wrong? Did you find any?"
"Sure. Lots of things. People were moving too slow. I saw inefficiencies all over the place.
But you know, I don't think that's the root of it. I think there's something behind it all that I'm
just not seeing."
Jason nodded in agreement.
"You're right Ted. That's very perceptive. There must be things that are causing your
people to work at less than their best. Maybe we can work together to figure them out."
"If you can help, Jason. I'd appreciate it. Your business always seems to work fine."
"Yes, it does," Jason admitted. "And it's really no secret as to why it works. I use the
Personality Evaluation Program. It's a computer program."
"Come on!" Ted said doubtfully. "Are you telling me your whole secret for success is a
"No of course not," Jason replied. He paused a moment.
"You're a good businessman, Ted. You've built your business up from scratch. But tell me,
in your business, does a tool work by itself, or does someone have to use it?"
In order for a tool to work properly, someone has to use it.
"All the program does is present me with information I need in order to properly manage
my people. The rest is up to me."
"Tell me about it." Ted requested.
"I'll give you an example, which is even better," Jason said. "You went down on the floor to
search for things that were, as you said, 'going wrong'. When you were there, did you find
any things going right?"
"I don't understand," Ted said.
"You haven't thought about it," Jason admonished him. "For you to understand something,
you have to take the time to consider it from several different angles. You haven't done that
yet." He waited for Ted to think a moment.
"What do you think I mean about looking for things going right?"
"I'd guess you mean things that were working correctly, employees that were doing what
they were supposed to be doing."
"Right!" Jason affirmed. "Now, did you find anything like that?"
"Well, to tell the truth. I wasn't even looking." Ted admitted.
"Then that's a problem." Jason told him. "Think back for a moment, and pretend that you
are one of your employees. You've been working all morning, then suddenly the boss
comes down to your work area and hawk-eyes around a bit, speaks to your supervisor
and leaves. What impression do you, as an employee, get from this?"
Ted laughed self-consciously at the answer.
"I guess I'd think the old man was checking up on me and that my job might be on the
"That's how I would feel if I were in that position," Jason said, grinning. "Now, how would
you have felt if your boss had come up, placed his hand on your shoulder, and said, 'Ted,
I'm glad to see you here. We've had a few absentees lately and I want to let you know I
appreciate the fact that you show up every day."
Ted thought before replying.
"I guess it would make my day. I see what you're getting at. And you're right, I haven't done
that lately. But I still don't see how this ties in with a computer program."
"The program deals with an important question-- How would you know what to say to the
"I don't understand."
"Suppose the employee is bothered because his work environment is too dangerous for
his taste. You come up and say. 'Hey, I'm glad you're here.' His response, unknown to you
of course, might be, 'Yeah, risking my neck again.' He feels this, but he never tells you. Six
weeks from now his attitude and production are still the same. Where does that leave
"I would think I've done my part... and that he didn't care about his work!"
"Exactly," Jason agreed. "So what actually happened here to cause the problem?"
Ted considered this question.
"I think it was one of communication I didn't tell him what I really wanted, and he didn't tell
me what he really felt."
"Terrific!" Jason exclaimed. "You've named it. Communication is the key."
"And that's what this program does for you?" Ted asked. "It teaches you how to
"No, but it helps me," Jason explained.
The problem with communication is that people have different personalities. What makes
perfect sense to one person, may seem totally illogical to another.
"Personalities?" Ted asked. "I thought we were talking about communication." Then he
considered. "Oh. hold it. I think I understand. You have to communicate with people in
different ways because of different personalities."
"Now you're getting it." Jason said, smiling, "You see. personalities influence the entire
way people think and act. The way people respond to their environment is caused by their
personalities. It's all summed up in a word I came across in a dictionary: PSYCHE. I
memorized the meaning because it's so applicable to the business world and so
important to how we handle our employees:
PSYCHE: The mind functioning as the center of thought, feeling, and behavior, and
consciously or unconsciously adjusting and relating the body to its social and physical
"This in effect, is stating a simple principle: the personality of a person influences his mind
and body according to his environment."
"So what you're saying," Ted capsulated, "is that in order to change the productivity of my
business, I have to change the personalities of the people who work there?"
"No! Absolutely not!" Jason replied. He took a drink and leaned back in his chair. "Look
out there, at that building." He pointed across the street to a solid stone structure. "What
would happen if you tried to change the foundation of that building?"
"You'd probably destroy the building." Ted answered. "It's too heavy to move or alter
"Right. The same with people. Our personalities are our own. They're set early in life, and
stick with us. It's not impossible to change a personality, but it takes a great deal more
than most people would want to tackle. You don't change the personality to match the
"Then what?" Ted asked.
"You tell me," Jason stated.
"I guess you change the environment to suit the personality."
"That's one way," Jason agreed. "By doing that, you at least have a livable situation. There
is one other way."
"It was hard enough for me to come up with the first," Ted admitted. "You've got to help a
"Okay. The second way is to change the perception of the person so he feels his
personality and environment are in harmony."
"You lost me there." Ted stated.
"What happens," Jason asked, "if a person feels unappreciated? Regardless of the job
he's working at, regardless of the environment, pay or benefits, what happens if this
person doesn't feel wanted, or necessary, or valuable?"
"He feels left out, demotivated," Ted answered.
"DEMOTIVATED! Perfect word," Jason told him. "When people feel unimportant, it
doesn't matter what job they're working at, they feel bad, demotivated. If for some reason
you can't change the environment and you can't change the personality, what can you
"The PERCEPTION!" Ted now understood. "If you change their perception of the
environment, they feel better."
"In an ordinary work situation, what might be done to change employee perception?"
"Tell them they're doing a good job. Let them know they're necessary. Give them what they
need to do their work in the present environment. Maybe I could even get suggestions on
how to improve the environment,"
"Suggestions from whom?" Jason asked. Ted was ahead of him on this.
"Start with the supervisors. But go all the way through to the very bottom. Ask everyone, I
"Now." Jason continued, "If you wanted to motivate me to play golf this afternoon, how
would you do so?"
Ted thought for a moment, then thought again.
"You know, I really don't know," he admitted. "I'd just ask you to play golf. If you said you
didn't want to, I'd just let it drop."
"But what," Jason continued, "if you really felt it was necessary for my well-being to play
golf. What would you tell me?"
"Well, you're kind of energetic. You manage people well too. I think I'd say that you
needed a break from your hectic routine and that one afternoon wouldn't hurt."
"I'm glad you agree," Jason said. "Let's go."
"What, for golf?" Ted asked.
"Yea," Jason answered, smiling. Ted smiled too. Somehow Jason had gotten him to
prescribe his own medicine. Ted didn't mind a bit; he had to know more about the
Personality Evaluation Program.
They played a round of golf, but Ted was tense and his game was off. Jason let the matter
of business drop until after the game; he knew how important it is to relax. Proper
relaxation always made him more efficient.
"Listen, Ted, why don't you come back to the office with me. I want to show you the
Personality Evaluation Program program."
"I really need to get back to my plant," Tel replied. "I've got a lot of work to do."
Jason stopped walking and faced Ted squarely.
"What work?" he asked. "Work dealing with the same problems you've been having?"
"Well..." Ted started to protest, but he knew Jason was right.
"Okay. Show me this miracle of yours. I know I need something."
They drove back to Jason's Inc. and walked into the office. His secretary stopped him on
the way in.
"Excuse me, Mr. Freedman, but the decorators want to know what plants you would like to
put in this office."
"Keep it in something green, if you will," he told her. "A floor plant rather than hanging.
Use your judgement; you've got a good eye."
"Right, boss," she smiled back.
Jason and Ted walked on into the office.
"Okay, I saw that," Ted said. "I know you used this Personality thing there. But exactly
what was it you did?"
"I'll show you, Jason answered. He walked over to a file and pulled out two folders. One
was entitled JASON FREEDMAN and the other ANNALEE MOFFET. He placed both on
his desk and turned the one marked ANNALEE toward Ted. He opened it to the first
If you have not done so yet, please use the PERSONALITY EVALUATION PROGRAM to
produce your own personality report.