The four factors (A, B, C, and D) measure specific behavioral drives and help us start to understand why we behave the way we do. But, just knowing the factors without looking at how they work together is like learning single notes without learning full chords.
We can learn even more about why people behave the way they do by looking at the how two behavioral drives interact. We call these interactions factor combinations.
Factor Combinations refer to where one factor falls on the pattern in relation to another. It’s the interaction of two different behavioral needs.
Two things contribute to how strongly expressed factor combinations will appear:
- If the factor combination crosses the midpoint (one factor is high and one factor is low).
- If the distance between the two factors is wide. In fact, we advise you to look at the two factors that are the furthest from each other on a person’s pattern.
While we always start with which factors are the widest apart, all of the factor combinations in a pattern can give you further insight. Let’s look at an example for each factor combination.
The A and B factor combination provides insight into whether someone is more task or people oriented. It also gives you information about how people like to communicate, receive information, and interact with people.
- If someone’s A is higher than their B, they’re likely to be more task oriented. The high A means they’re independent and assertive and the low B means they’re analytical and introspective. They’re more direct and focused on completing tasks.
- If someone’s B is higher than their A, they’re likely to be more people oriented. The high B means they’re empathetic and sociable and the low A means they’re collaborative and harmony seeking. They focus on involving people and bringing them together.
The A and C factor combination shows how someone takes action. It helps us understand how quickly someone likes to jump into things and the amount of variety they like to experience.
- If someone’s A is higher than their C, they’re considered proactive. The high A is autonomous and venturesome while the low C is intense and fast-paced. Action is decided and taken quickly.
- If someone’s C is higher than their A, they’re considered responsive. The high C means they’re stable and comfortable with the familiar and the low A means they’re cooperative and accepting. Action is taken with thoughtful and careful consideration.
The A and D factor combination tells us how a person views risk. This helps you understand how much detailed information and how much encouragement a person may need, or how much freedom and opportunities to take risk they want.
- If someone’s A is higher than their D, they’re considered comfortable with risk. The high A means they’re venturesome and competitive while the low D means they’re spontaneous and flexible, so risk is viewed as an exciting challenge or opportunity.
- If someone’s D is higher than their A, they’re considered cautious with risk. The high D means they’re careful, cautious, and diligent, while the low A means they’re deferential and compliant, so risk can be worrisome and cause someone to be more conservative in their approach.
The B and C factor combination tells us if a person establishes a connection with others quickly or if those connections take time.
- If someone’s B is higher than their C, they’re likely quick to connect. The high B means they’re social and enthusiastic while the low C means they’re fast-paced, so connections and relationships are built quickly.
- If someone’s C is higher than their B, they’re likely to take time to connect. The high C means they’re calm and steady while the low b means they’re more reflective and introspective, so connections and relationships are built over time.
The B and D factor combination tells us about how someone interacts with others.
- If someone’s B is higher than their D, they’re informal. The high B means they’re social, expressive, and outgoing and the low D means they’re casual and spontaneous. They’re uninhibited in their friendliness and social interactions.
- If someone’s D is higher than their B, they’re more formal. The high D means they’re serious and reserved and the low B means they’re analytical and introspective. They’ll be more disciplined and cautious with new people.
The C and D factor combination provides insight into how someone views rules.
- If someone’s C is higher than their D, they’re casual with rules. The high C means they’re agreeable and easygoing and the low D means they’re informal and uninhibited, so rules are seen more as guidelines.
- If someone’s D is higher than their C, they’re careful with rules. The high D means they’re precise and thorough and the low C means they’re driving and intense, so they’re concerned with accuracy, punctuality, and adhering to the rules.
A=D Conflict – when Dominance (A) and Formality (D) collide
The Dominance (A) and Formality (D) relationship is all about risk. When the A and D factors are clearly high or low from each other, it’s easy to determine how someone views risk.
But, this factor combination has an extra special relationship, which we call the A=D conflict, which occurs when someone’s A and D are right on top of each other.
Think about the Dominance (A) factor as a gas pedal and the Formality (D) factor as the brake. When these factors are aligned with each other, it can cause situations where it takes longer for a person to come to a decision because they have their foot on the gas and the brake.
When this happens, the person might need more information, or maybe assistance with narrowing down the options, or also feeling that they have support even if they make an incorrect next step.
Now that you have some insight into Factors and Factor Combinations, there’s one last piece of information that will help you understand your Behavioral Assessment results: Reference Profiles.