Reference Profiles

Everyone who takes the PI Behavioral Assessment automatically falls under one of our 17 Reference Profiles, which provide a shortcut for understanding behaviors and needs that drive your people. They provide a general idea of a person without having to know the specific amount of Dominance (A), Extraversion (B), Patience (C), or Formality (D) they have.

It all begins with the four factors (the foundation of PI’s methodology) and behavioral insights.

Reference Profiles are created by taking someone’s factor scores and comparing to prototypical Reference Profile patterns. Factor scores are essentially used as coordinates to determine a profile. People fall under whichever prototypical Reference Profile is closest to their pattern.

When you ask someone where they live, they’ll likely tell you the name of an area or neighborhood you might be familiar with. For example, someone from New York City might name one of 5 neighborhoods – the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens or Staten Island. When they invite you to their house, they’ll give you their exact address.

Reference Profiles are general neighborhoods and behavioral patterns are unique addresses. 

You should always refer to a person’s unique behavioral pattern for insight for any process you’re incorporating PI into.

Some Reference Profiles have more variability in their patterns than others. Two people might be Collaborators but still have differences in their patterns. Some patterns might look alike but actually have different Reference Profiles. A person might technically be a Controller, but be close to an Analyzer as well. Or, they might look a lot like an Analyzer, but they’re technically a Controller. 

Two patterns might look almost exactly alike, but have different Reference Profiles. Not to worry! Remember, the general behavioral characteristics of each Reference Profile still apply to these people. But, this is why you should always take a person’s full pattern into account. Remember, Reference Profiles bring you to a person’s general neighborhood, not their exact house.

To create an even faster way to understand some basic information about Reference Profiles, they’ve been assigned 1 of 4 groups. They are Analytical, Social, Stabilizing, or Persistent. Each group is represented by a different shape. A gear for Analytical, hexagon for Social, triangle for Stabilizing, and circle for Persistent.


The five Reference Profiles in the analytical group are more dominant than extraverted and have a low amount of patience. People in this group are generally more focused on tasks than people or relationships and tend to work at a fast pace.


The six Reference Profiles in the social group are all highly extraverted. People with profiles in this group are generally people-oriented and outgoing. 


The four Reference Profiles in the stabilizing group are less dominant and extraverted while having a high amount of patience and formality. People with profiles in this group are generally steady, detailed, and work well with structure.


The two Reference Profiles in the persistent group are more dominant than extraverted with a high amount of patience. People with profiles in this group are generally task-oriented and deliberate. 

Reference Profiles are descriptive, memorable and helpful general categories for the 17 different types of behavioral configurations. They make it easy to quickly communicate some standard behavioral traits. 

They’re also fun for you and your co-workers. Share your Reference Profile with pride!

The 17 Reference Profiles guide will help you fully understand a person’s needs, behaviors, signature work styles, strengths, common traps, and how to work well with each profile.

Our Manager’s Guide to Reference Profiles provides information on how to motivate and recognize, provide direction and feedback, delegate, and coach each Reference Profile.

A deeper look into each Reference Profile

Looking to find out more information on a specific Reference Profile? Check out one of the following video links to hear the Reference Profile explained by a PI Practitioner.

Translated Reference Profile guides