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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Treatment Tuesday - Motivating Beavers

This weeks assessment is from RJ, who is writing a science fiction book set in present day. In this story world, an Inventor (Otter/Lion hero) made a world-changing breakthrough that involves using Personality Science to organize the Web. To launch this invention, he needs access to a program that is managed by a group of Programmers (Extreme Beavers) who want the hero to follow strict procedure (the Beaver way of life). The hero, however, is being pressured to launch his invention sooner than later or forever lose control of it. Inventor needs to find a way to motivate the Beaver Programmers to "lighten up" and "move faster," two things they are loathe to do.

The Hero then decides to overcome their reluctance by creating a series of Personas, avatar-like spokespeople who communicate with the Programmers through digital media. The Hero creates these Personas to be persuasive, in effect deceiving the Programmers to do what he needs them to do. 

RJ wants to know:

1. What would motivate Beavers to speed up/ignore the rules and what Personality Types would best deliver this message to Beavers?
2. What secondary personality for a Beaver would help bring the Programmers around collectively? Which secondary personality for a Beaver would make them most oppositional?
2. If the deception is discovered after the fact what would motivate/prevent the Beavers from acting vindictively and shutting it down?  

One of my favorite areas to delve into is personality types. I think it's great that your Inventor's combination is primarily Otter with some Lion mixed in. That makes him diametrically opposed to the Beavers by nature.

So how to motivate them to go against their grain? Behavior therapy tells us that just about anybody can do just about anything under the right set of circumstances. People can be trained to do things a certain way if they are given the right motivators or demotivators. Beavers are motivated by acknowledgment and approval. They want to be seen as the best at what they do, so the Hero could try at first to appeal to this vanity side of the Beaver. Even offering some sort of promotion or recognition could be highly motivating, and perhaps one of the Personas could be a faux representative from some non-existent company who might want to hire the Beaver Programmer in charge...something like that.

As for the best personality type to present this motivation to the Beaver, I'd say either the Lion of the Golden Retriever, because the Beaver occurs naturally with both of these types (meaning there are many Beaver/Lions and Beaver/Golden Retrievers out there).  To go a bit further, I'd say the Beaver would take it better from a Lion in a work-related position (such as the Lion is the direct supervisor of the Beaver and could prohibit raises, etc.) and from a Golden Retriever more in a personal-related position (such as a friend saying, "If you do this for me, it would make X and Y difference in my life. Pretty please?") The only personality a Beaver would not appreciate it coming from is without a doubt the Otter.

Your second question about which secondary type would help bring them about to seeing the Hero's way of doing things is easier. The Golden Retriever subtype would theoretically be less oppositional than the Lion. Lions can be stubborn and argumentative, sometimes even arguing for the sake of arguing. Golden Retrievers want everyone to get along, so I could see a Beaver/Golden Retriever trying to make things better by facilitating a compromise or something like that.

Finally, if the Beaver Programmer was to discover the deceptive use of digital tools in creating a Persona meant to persuade them to go against their own grain, they'd be totally ticked. Revenge would definitely be a factor. Now to purely speculate, I imagine that the Beaver wouldn't seek revenge if they could be convinced that what happened had to happen for some greater good--preferably to help them further their own work. For example, of the Hero's invention will simplify the Beavers lives or revolutionize how they do their work, then I would think they'd be more likely to let things lie. (I'm guessing this based on human behavioral trends. We don't tend to bite the hand that feeds us.)

Hopefully I've covered everything, but if I missed something, please drop me your questions in the comment section (that goes for anyone!). Good luck, RJ! Sounds like a fascinating and creative read.

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1 comment:

Shannon said...

Well, that's certainly an interesting and off-beat analysis. I've never thought of comparing reactions and inter-relationships from a personality type basis. I've only ever looked at personality types as a 'this person is this' perspective and not 'this person is this BUT that person is that ... ain't that gonna cause problems?'

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.