Transcript: PI Foundations

Welcome to PI Foundations.

Talent optimization requires self-awareness, or an understanding of how you naturally behave, and an understanding of the behavior of others. This helps you outline job requirements, identify the best candidates, form the right teams, and manage employees to accomplish their goals and the goals of the business.
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Four factors

We all have drives, which create needs. Our behaviors are a response to a need. The PI behavioral assessment measures the amount and intensity of four key behavioral drives to help predict and understand workplace behavior: Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, and Formality. We refer to each of these key behavioral drives as factors.

We all have some amount of each factor. Knowing how much and how intense they are provides insight into how we’re likely to behave. This helps us better understand how to communicate, interact with, engage, and motivate others.

The results of the behavioral assessment are translated into a pattern — four points plotted on a graph — one for each factor. In the center is the midpoint — essentially the average point for each factor. On either side of the midpoint are the sigmas, which show how far the person’s factor is from the average.

Everything to the left of the midpoint is referred to as low and everything to the right is referred to as high. Since there are no right or wrong responses to the behavioral assessment, there are no good or bad results. Low and high are neither good nor bad, they’re simply indicators to help you better understand a person. 

Explore each factor to see how they influence needs and behaviors. 

Factor A, dominance, is the drive to exert one’s influence on people or events.

Someone with a low need for influence or control is collaborative, cooperative, and harmony-seeking. They tend to be accepting of company policies and generally happy to go along with the ideas of others. They prefer to be recognized as part of a team, and tend to shy away from individual competition.

Someone with a higher desire for influence or control is independent, assertive, and self-confident. They enjoy being challenged, are comfortable with conflict, and like autonomy in problem-solving. They prefer individual recognition and, due to their desire to have things the way they want them, can sometimes come across as authoritarian.

Factor B, extraversion, is the drive for social interaction and is often the most misunderstood. This isn’t measuring how talkative someone is, if they like people, or if they’re an introvert. It looks at how much someone needs social interaction and how much energy they get from building relationships in their work.

Someone with less of a need to work with and through people takes time to trust others, values their privacy, and needs opportunities to reflect individually before discussing ideas with a larger group. They like to work with facts and are analytical and imaginative. They prefer private recognition and can sometimes come across as matter-of-fact.

Someone with a high amount of the extraversion drive connects easily and needs opportunities to interact with others. They’re outgoing, animated, and enthusiastic. They prefer public recognition and like seeing visible signs of accomplishments.

Factor C, patience, is the drive for consistency or stability and also influences a person’s perceived pace.

Someone with a low amount of the patience drive needs variety, freedom from repetition, and opportunities to handle multiple priorities. They’re comfortable with change and work at a faster-than-average pace. They can sometimes be seen as intense, restless, impatient, or brisk. Due to the intense pace at which they work, they may struggle to maintain patience with others.

Someone with a high amount of the patience drive craves a stable work environment and the ability to work at a steady pace. They need freedom from constantly changing priorities and are generally patient, calm, and peaceful. They tend to form long-term affiliations and like being recognized for their loyalty. Additionally, they may have more patience with people.

Factor D, formality, is the drive to conform to rules and structure.

Someone with a low desire for formality needs freedom from rigid structure as well as freedom from rules and controls. They’re tolerant of ambiguity, like to be spontaneous, and would rather delegate the details to others. They’re flexible, informal, and adaptable. They’d prefer not to follow a set process when completing their work. According to them, there are many roads that lead to the finish line.

Those with a high amount of the formality drive need clarity of expectations and time to gain expertise. They see themself as a subject matter expert and need freedom from risk of error. They are meticulous, thorough, disciplined, and prefer to be recognized for their depth of knowledge. Those with higher Ds thrive in process. According to them, even if there are many roads to the finish line, one of those roads is the best, and that’s the one that should be taken.

Most people’s factor levels fall between one sigma on either side of the midpoint, but you’ll see varying degrees along the continuum. The farther a factor is from the midpoint, the stronger those workplace behaviors will appear.

Click on a factor to reveal its continuums. Use the slider below the pattern to see how the language becomes stronger to illustrate greater expression and emphasis.


Remember, a drive that is high or low is not good or bad. I’m sure you can think of jobs at your organization where you’d need someone with low or high amounts each drive. For example, outside sales representatives need a higher B so they feel comfortable reaching out and starting those relationships.

Factor combinations

The four factors measure specific behavioral drives. 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 factor combinations.
Explore all six factor combinations! 

The A and B factor combination demonstrates the relationship between the dominance and extraversion drives. This gives you information about how people like to communicate, receive information, and interact with others.

If a person’s A is higher than their B, which we call A over B, their desire to influence is higher than their desire to work with people. They’re more task oriented. The high A means they’re likely independent and assertive and the low B means they’re likely analytical and introspective. They’ll be more direct and focused on completing tasks.

If a person’s B is higher than their A, which we call B over A, their desire to work with people is stronger than their desire for influence. They’re more people oriented. The high B is empathetic and sociable and the low A is collaborative and harmony seeking. This person focuses on involving people and bringing them together.

Imagine you’re on a team led by someone who is A > B. When it comes time to make a key decision, that leader may come to the group with a firm idea on what they think the decision should be without having discussed it much with the rest of the team. Contrast that with the B > A leader, who is more likely to ask the group, “What do you all think we should do?” Even if the B > A leader has an opinion, they look for group discussion and consensus first. 

The A and C factor combination shows us how the dominance and patience drives interact, which we think about when considering how someone takes action. This helps us understand how quickly people like to jump into things and the amount of variety they like to experience.

If someone is A>C, they’re considered proactive. The high A is autonomous and venturesome while the low C is intense and driving. Action is decided and taken quickly.

If someone is C>A, they’re considered responsive. The high C is stable and steady and the low A is cooperative and accepting, so action is taken with thoughtful and careful consideration.

When the time comes to implement a change or a task, someone who is A > C may push hard for immediate implementation once a decision has been made. Someone who is C > A is not likely to rush into things, and they may consider more angles on the best way to implement the change. The change will still be made, but on a slightly longer timeline than someone who is A > C.

The A and D factor combination provides insight into how the dominance and formality drives interact, influencing 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.

Someone who is A>D is considered comfortable with risk. The high A feels in control and competitive while the low D is spontaneous and flexible, so risk is viewed as an exciting challenge or opportunity. They know what they want to happen, but the process or the ‘how’ it gets done is less important. The end result is more important than the steps it takes to get there.

Someone who is D>A is considered cautious with risk. The high D is careful and diligent, while the low A is deferential and compliant, so risk can be worrisome and cause them to be more conservative in their approach. While they are more collaborative, they know the steps that need to occur and may be more insistent on how the work gets done as opposed to being firm about the end result. In fact, those with higher Ds can sometimes seem as though they have a higher A due to their insistence on how work gets done.

When the A and D are both high, it can create a situation of competing drives. Those with higher dominance drives want control over the outcome, while high formality drives need a set way the task should be done. When these two drives are stacked on top of one another, a person can feel a little stuck, especially if the set process of doing something results in an outcome that wasn’t what the individual had in mind, or if getting the desired outcome requires a slightly different process than intended.

When this happens, take some time to understand where the person is feeling stuck and support them. It’s okay that they are feeling that way, they just may need some time and help working through it.

The B and C factor combination provides insight into the Extraversion and Patience drives, which tells us know quickly a person establishes a connection with others.

Someone who is B>C is quick to connect. The high B means social and enthusiastic, while the low C is fast-paced, so connections and relationships are built quickly.

If they’re C>B, they take time to connect. The high C is calm and steady while the low B is more reflective and introspective, so connections and relationships are built over time.

At a networking event, those who are B>C are likely to walk up to others and start conversations and they’re talking with everyone in the room. Someone who is C>B might still be talking with others, but they may not feel as comfortable walking up to someone they don’t know and striking up a conversation. They may do more listening, and might take some time to open up to others.

The B and D factor combination tells us about the extraversion and formality drives, which influence how someone interacts with others.

If someone is B>D, they’re informal. The high B is social, expressive, and outgoing and the low D is casual and spontaneous. They’re uninhibited in their friendliness and social interactions.

If someone is D>B, they’re more formal. The high D is serious and reserved and the low B is analytical and introspective. They’ll be more disciplined and cautious with new people.

Someone who is B > D may not wait to be introduced to another person, even if it is an executive in your organization. They may just walk up, introduce themselves, and get a conversation going. A D > B employee is more likely to ask a colleague to introduce them to an executive. 

The C and D factor combination provides insight into how the patience and formality drives interact, which influences how someone views rules.

Those who are C>D are casual with rules. Their high C is agreeable and easygoing and their low D is informal and uninhibited, so rules are seen more as guidelines.

Those who are D>C are careful with rules. Their high D is precise and thorough and their low C is driving and intense, so they’re concerned with accuracy, punctuality, and adhering to the rules.

Someone who is C > D is more steady, and they’re not as concerned with ‘‘how’ things get done. If something goes awry, they’re more likely to brush it off and try again. An individual who is D > C may have a more intense need to get things done and a high need for process. In their eyes, a process will help get things done faster and more efficiently, so they’re more keyed in on doing things the way they’re supposed to be done.

Understanding factor combinations can help you pinpoint candidates who are likely to be a good fit for an open role. For example, if you’ve determined that salespeople at your organization must be people oriented, you might look for candidates with their B over their A, since they’ll focus on bringing people together. Keep in mind, the wider the spread between the two factors, the stronger the behavior will present itself. 


The most important thing to remember about factor combinations is that they provide an additional layer to understanding how a person is likely to behave. They aren’t individual measures themselves, but the interaction of two different behavioral needs.

Full pattern

The reports in the platform primarily use the self pattern. That’s because it’s the most important — it describes your true self — your most natural workplace behaviors — the person that you described when you were taking the Behavioral Assessment and selected the words “that you yourself believe really describe you.”

But there are times when you’ll see and use the information from a full behavioral result, which includes two additional patterns.

Click on the Self-Concept and Synthesis patterns to learn what they are and when you’d use them.

The Self-Concept is created from the words you selected to describe “the way you are expected to act by others.” This shows how you feel you need to adapt to your environment. Seeing differences in the self and self-concept gives you clues on questions to ask in an interview or how to coach an employee. 

The Synthesis is the average of your Self and Self-Concept responses. These are the behaviors likely to be observed by others. We all make adaptations based on the environment we’re in and the synthesis reflects those changes.

You’ll also see an E on the Synthesis. Factor E helps describe how someone is likely to want to make decisions. If the E is high, they tend to be more objective. They’ll want to examine facts, check sources, and look to the data to guide their decisions. If the E is low, they’re more subjective. Their ‘gut feeling’ is quite important, and they’re less likely to seek out all sides of the story prior to making decisions. They’ll rely more on what feels right, even if there aren’t numbers to back it up.


The full pattern can give you insight into how someone is trying to balance their expected behavior versus what comes most natural to them. If the patterns are close, they may not need to spend a lot of energy meeting the expectations of the role. Where they differ can indicate they may be adapting to meet expectations, which may or may not be sustainable long-term. It’s important to ask the right questions when you see differences.


Great job! You now understand the foundations of how PI measures workplace behavior — including the four factors, factor combinations, and the full pattern. There are almost limitless applications for how this data can be used to understand a person, build a team, and achieve your business results. Put it to use in the platform and reach out to your PI partner with any time you have questions along the way.

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