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My life as a PI Persuader

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Hi there! My name is Matt and I’m a Persuader. More on that in a bit, but let me first set the stage by telling you a little bit about myself.

I’m the vice president of product development at The Predictive Index (PI). I’m responsible for the long-term vision and roadmap for our unique portfolio of products including our workshops and software applications. I have the best job at PI because I get to work with people from every part of our company, from sales and marketing all the way to finance and people operations.

I lead a team of a dozen product professionals who I absolutely adore. I hand-picked each of them, and the best part of my day is helping them do some pretty incredible things for our clients. When it comes to behavioral styles, we are a very diverse group made up of a few Mavericks, a Specialist, an Artisan, a Guardian, an Altruist, and more! Being a trained PI Practitioner helps me understand what uniquely motivates each of them and how I can shape my own interactions with them so we can all be at our best.


My behavioral pattern

The PI Behavioral Assessment essentially reveals where you fall on the spectrum of Four Factors:

  1. Dominance: Dominance is the drive to exert one’s influence on people or events.
  2. Extraversion: Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people.
  3. Patience: Patience is the drive for consistency and stability.
  4. Formality: Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure.

Here’s my pattern: 

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 3.20.30 PM

To the uninitiated, that behavioral pattern may not mean a whole lot, which is where Reference Profiles come in. All behavioral patterns map most closely to one of our 17 Reference Profiles, which gives us a way to paint the picture of someone’s behavioral drives in broad strokes. You can think of these as easy-to-reference groupings of the characteristics of people who have similar drives.

My Reference Profile is a Persuader.

A Persuader is a risk-taking, socially poised, and motivating team builder. Expect us Persuaders to be a self-confident and persuasive bunch.

When I first learned about my Reference Profile, it resonated deeply with me! As a Persuader, my highest drive is Extraversion, and it’s absolutely true that I would always prefer to work with other people to achieve collective goals at work. My weakest drive is Patience, the fact that Persuaders are venturesome and have strong initiative is spot on. In a nutshell, I thrive in dynamic work environments where I can work alongside others to make things happen.

Persuader coming through!

I’ve enjoyed serving in product roles for my entire career. I think that my PI Behavioral Profile helps explain why I was drawn to this type of work. I’ve always had a great deal of empathy for the customers and users of my products. I’ve also enjoyed the collaboration that comes from cross-functional product development efforts. As I gained more experience, I began to take on managerial responsibilities. According to my Persuader Reference Profile, I’m a motivating team builder, and I think this is very true. I take great pleasure in finding out what drives the people who work for me and doing whatever I can to help them succeed.

“I try to right-size my communication, planning, and delegation efforts to better suit the behavioral styles of those around me.”

I also have a penchant for storytelling. I find that whenever I’m giving a product demonstration or explaining how a new feature should be developed, it really helps when I’m able to strike a personal connection. I’m a naturally energetic and optimistic person, which is reflected in a Persuader’s tendency to be a stimulating communicator. As an experienced product leader now, I’m often recognized for the coaching I’m able to provide to peers as well as team members who are earlier in their careers. This is a particular point of pride for me.

As a Persuader, I’ve even developed special socializing techniques at work. I recently began placing an assortment of mints tantalizingly close to my office door. I find that this invites my co-workers to pop in, help themselves to a mint, and tell me a bit about how their day is going. I’m sure that low Extraversion people would be horrified by this, but I always enjoy these quick unplanned visits.


The dark side of being a Persuader

Like all Persuaders, I face certain challenges in my world of work. Persuaders are a talkative bunch. I can sense there are times when my less extraverted team members are thinking to themselves, “we get it. Can we stop talking about this and just go do it already?” Meanwhile, my brain is thinking: Why would we do that when we’re having such a lovely conversation? (classic Persuader mindset.)

Persuaders are known for providing limited follow-up or attention to detail. This was particularly challenging for me when I was a less experienced manager. I would delegate quickly with relatively little structure or details. After attending a PI workshop, I learned that I needed to take extra time to provide more specific instructions and information, particularly when working with team members who have a higher Formality need than me. Today, I try to right-size my communication, planning, and delegation efforts to better suit the behavioral styles of those around me.

How to work with (and manage) a Persuader

Persuaders are considered a Social Reference Profile, characterized by being highly extraverted, with a heavy focus on relationships. That being said, when working with Persuaders, be sure to interact with us! We enjoy working with and developing people.

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As a Persuader, I need my manager to provide me with the big picture. I don’t need a lot of details, but I definitely need to see the whole chessboard. My Reference Profile advises my manager to give me variety and independence in my work, and these are indeed very important to me. I would much rather work on 100 things at once than on one thing 100% of the time. Most important to me is that my manager and I have a strong working relationship. I like frequent, casual interactions and check-ins. I’m very fortunate that while my manager is a naturally low Extraversion person, he’s also a trained PI Practitioner who’s able to accommodate my need to talk things out as needed.

“I never imagined that I would end up leading the Product effort at the company whose assessment had demystified my own workplace behaviors.”

The trajectory of my career changed after I learned about my PI Reference Profile and my behavioral preferences just over 10 years ago. I had always been interested in professional development, but after consuming more than a hundred books, audiobooks, and podcasts, I was still missing a type of operating system for better workplace performance.

Once I learned about my Reference Profile, things began to become much more clear and targeted for me. I embraced the aspects of my role that were a natural fit—interacting with stakeholders, taking initiative and using my natural enthusiasm and persuasion to open others’ minds to new possibilities. I hired complementary types of people to handle those things that I disliked but that still needed to be done—data analysis, detailed project planning, and documentation.


I never imagined I would end up leading the Product effort at the company whose assessment had demystified my own workplace behaviors. Now that I have, it’s supremely satisfying knowing that thousands of people like me are able to have a similar experience when reviewing their own profiles!


Matt Poepsel, PhD is the author of Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work and host of the Lead the People podcast. He serves as Vice President & Godfather of Talent Optimization at The Predictive Index. He holds a PhD in Psychology, an MBA, and a Harvard Business School Certificate of Management Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of leadership experience as a software executive and consultant. He’s also a US Marine, an Ironman triathlon finisher, and a student of Buddhist philosophy.

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