Bonus Episode: How Small-Business Owners Can Use the “Four Tendencies” in Work and in Life. Sponsored by Dell Technologies.

This bonus episode is part of the Dell Technologies Small Business Podference.

Small businesses are constantly looking for ways to advance their marketing strategies and grow their companies. Dell Technologies assembled an all-star lineup of podcasters to create this year’s virtual conference, to share advice and inspiration for small businesses. To find more participating podcasts, search for “Dell Technologies Small Business Podference” wherever you listen to podcasts. We explore how small-business owners and entrepreneurs can use the Four Tendencies personality framework to know themselves and others better. This framework can improve communication, end procrastination, reduce conflict, and help people work more effectively with clients, customers, co-workers—and themselves. As I was writing Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I identified the “Four Tendencies” that people fall into: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act. 

In a nutshell, the framework distinguishes how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a work deadline, a “request” from a friend) and inner expectations (start a side hustle, keep a New Year’s resolution).

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense—essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

To identify your Tendency, you can take the free, quick quiz here. More than 3.2 million people have taken this quiz. I’m an Upholder, and Elizabeth is an Obliger.

We discussion issues such as:

  • there’s no “best” Tendency; the people who are the happiest, healthiest, and most productive are those who’ve figured out how to manage the strengths and weaknesses of their Tendency
  • how and why Upholders experience tightening
  • how Questioners can sometimes make others feel defensive or overwhelmed
  • why Questioners sometimes fall into analysis-paralysis, and how to deal with it
  • why Obligers need outer accountability
  • why Obligers sometimes develop Obliger-rebellion, and how to look out for it
  • how to help a Rebel (whether that Rebel is you or someone else) to meet an expectation

If you’d like to learn more about the Four Tendencies, you can take my online course or read my book The Four Tendencies. Just for fun, if you feel like it, you can read up on the Four Tendencies of the characters of the TV show Game of Thrones.




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