A more nuanced view of personality

Philip Morgan

In a recent post I said, _"As a business value creator, your personality matters less than your ability to create a desired outcome. You may be creative, quirky, cool, un-cool, or something else. That's great! But don't lead with your personality in your marketing."_List member Danny got back to me with what I think is a more nuanced view of this issue:---_Nice, but I think I have to (partially) disagree with point 2._Personality covers a lot of areas and I realise you're speaking in an employee context... but it can be a great differentiator - especially when talking about things like empathy, where highly tuned skills of listening and understanding work to uncover real problems, as opposed to arrogance in a 'my way or the highway' approach.Sometimes the arrogant approach is the best way because you flat out know that your way is the way it needs to happen, but even then your personality plays a part in delivering that diagnosis...I 100% agree that leading with skills and breadth are bad differentiators, but I don't believe personality is a bad habit. Some of the advice you deliver yourself is to work with clients you enjoy working with - that's essentially personalities clicking as much as communicating your ability to deliver desired outcomes - the two can be closely linked.Sometimes outcomes are tied to the fact that you were able to get along well with the decision maker and they 'opened-up' because you clicked. Or your business value might be tied to delivering improvements in company culture or staff retention, where your personality can play a huge role. Personality might even define your distinct lack of "personality", in that you are no-nonsense, all business, down-the-line etc etc - it doesn't always have to mean fun and quirky.Again I understand your point in a broad employee context, but I think throwing it out the window in your marketing is a mistake...---I'll add just one thing to what Danny wrote.As Danny said, a large part of working together with a client is "clicking" with them. In other words, a good personality match.The key is to not make your marketing 100% about you.If you look at enough dev shop websites, you'll come across ones where the goal was clearly to "help clients get to know us". There are two basic ways you'll see folks approach this goal.One is the "dating profile" approach.ImageThe dating profile approach is where you just vomit a bunch of information about you/your company, try to organize it coherently, and try to make it look good on a website. This is the "leading with your personality" approach I warn against.The other basic approach is the one I recommend: let your website visitors get to know you by a) talking about how you solve their problems b) supporting that with specific stories about your previous clients. Even with this client-centered approach, your personality will be visible in your marketing, no matter if you try to hide it or not. But even as you make your marketing about your client, your personality will be visible. That's a good thing.If you're worried that you'll land clients who are a bad personality match for you, don't use your website as a client personality screening tool. Have more realtime conversations with them before submitting a proposal instead.If your website looks a little too much like a "business dating profile", I can help fix that: /website-positioning-audit-quickstart/Talk soon,-P