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The Skinny on Average Expression

My kids and I were driving home from a weekend getaway, when Scotty McCreery’s song “In Between” came on the radio. My older daughter asked me what the song meant. I explained that the song was about knowing who you are, and that the artist was describing himself as “in between/Friday night wild/And quiet Sunday morning.” In other words, he is highly adaptable to diverse circumstances.

Knowing yourself, or more specifically self-awareness, is critical in life and especially in the workplace. And although McCreery was describing himself to a woman who was sizing him up from across the room, it’s possible that if he were to take a Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment, he might fall into the reference profile known as an Adapter, or what some refer to as a “skinny” pattern, where some or all of the factors (Dominance, Extraversion, Patience and Formality) are expressed in an average, or near average, amount.

With Predictive Index, there are no “good” or “bad” patterns. Rather, the power comes from the insight the behavioral assessment provides. For instance, socially, as in McCreery’s song, a person with a skinny pattern could easily adapt to joining the all-night party one weekend and spending a quiet evening at home the next. Whereas, people with a more prominent expression of Dominance [A] and low expression of Formality [D], might be all party all the time.

  • Individuals whose expression of Dominance [A] and Patience [C] is average, are situationally proactive or responsive.
  • “I can be a steel toe work boot/40 hour blue collar, mud on my jeans/Then on weekend pack a bag/Disappear, kick back on a white sand beach.”
  • Those with average Dominance [A] and average Formality [D] are situationally comfortable or cautious with risk.
  • “Between/Done after one/And keep on pouring.”
  • A person with Patience [C] and Formality [D] might be situationally casual or careful with rules.
  • “I’m a far cry from being/A one night stand/But I ain’t ready/For a ring on my hand.”

The beauty of the skinny pattern is that these individuals can evaluate a situation and effortlessly slide into an appropriate behavior. So, whether they are meeting with the CEO or a customer service representative, they can adapt their personality and behaviors to be effective.

People with skinny patterns are also “bridge-makers” because of their keen adaptability. If you have a team with diverse personalities, having someone on the team with a skinny pattern can help bring the other team members together and increase productivity.

With all behavioral patterns, there are blind spots, or areas that can be challenging. People with a skinny pattern can appear so fluid or adapt so well that they appear fickle. People might erroneously believe the person with a skinny pattern is not presenting her authentic self.

For employers, interviewing a person with a skinny pattern can be challenging because the candidate can morph into what they perceive the interviewer wants. If the candidate perceives the interviewer wants a highly driven, risk taker, they emphasize those characteristics and nail the interview. If they perceive the desire for a highly methodical, process-driven person, they emphasize those attributes and downplay the others. It’s not that people with a skinny pattern are pretending or trying to deceive the interviewer. Rather, they are highly adaptable and situationally they can turn on or off aspects of their personality to adjust to the circumstances.

Predictive Index benefits employers by eliminating the guesswork in hiring. Having a behavioral assessment to compare and contrast with an individual’s application, resume and characteristics she displayed in an interview can give the hiring team a head’s up: a skinny pattern =  this person may be adapting to what she thinks I want in an employee.

Like McCreery, my eldest daughter described herself as “in between,” and in some ways she is. On the other hand, my younger daughter described herself as “all in, all the time.” While we don’t know for sure, I surmise her PI Behavioral pattern is much wider than her sister’s.  Thank goodness that a “wide” pattern, which would indicate very expressive behaviors and equally tightly held needs, is only present in about 2.1% of the population. Otherwise, I might be a little worried.


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