Because of the systematic nature of our values, DNA can extract vast amounts of information from a simple 40 item questionnaire that may take as little as 10 minutes to complete. Each personal values report includes the above three graphics, which serve as entry points to describing and understanding a person's motivational system.
The first gives a broad indication of type: whether someone is more a conservative 'Shepherd', a competitive 'Hunter', an open and adventurous 'Explorer', an independently minded 'Philosopher', or a conflicted 'Moderator'. For recruitment purposes, this alone may be sufficient to shortlist those most likely to flourish in any particular role.
The second shows the relative importance a person attaches to the ten values in relation to Schwartz's circular arrangement. This is really useful when it comes to understanding motivational conflicts, as values situated opposite each other tend to pull in opposite directions. For example, it is difficult to reconcile great desires to conform and to self-direct (think and act independently), yet many have to do just this.
The third shows the same information but in relation to a development progression similar to that proposed by Maslow.
Because the influence of every value is affected by the influence of all others, the limitless potential for differences in the relative importance we attach to all values provides a rich source of information. Recipients of personal reports are often amazed by the detail and targeted insights provided in the commentary. However, these are foundations on which to build rather than ends in themselves.
A DNA report tells us what makes people tick and how they are likely to react in any given environment. However, an individual's environment comprises all the people with whom they interact, have influence over and are influenced by, as well as all the physical things and management systems they have to contend with; to mention nothing of the weather, geography, economy and other factors that affect all of us. The clearer the picture we can build up of the likely influence of these factors, the greater the understanding we can gain, and the greater the potential for development.
A starting point is a one-to-one feedback session. While this may move matters on considerably, the insights available are limited by reliance on one source of information: namely the recipient of the DNA report.
360 feedback and/or team reports are potential next steps. Through comparisons of personal value systems, self-assessed competencies and third party-assessments of the values and competencies of others, a far more comprehensive picture of the factors at play may emerge.
A final source of information is a consultative assessment of roles, structures and organizational culture. With this a complete picture of the complex interaction between individuals and the wider environment emerges.
Whatever the nature or extent of the information revealed, this provides a sold basis for development initiatives ranging from personal executive coaching, to team coaching, to full blown management consultancy.