There are nuances to the approval process that really are all about the process but there are factors affecting approval that are personality driven. The key is in knowing the difference, knowing how to anticipate them and manage the process so as not to affect the creative output.
There are four major personality types and each one of them affects decision making and project management typically in defined ways. Here’s an outline:
1. Demanding Adventurer:
The Demanding Adventurer is more typically found in leadership roles such as managers and CEO’s although not exclusively. You’ll know them more by the way they are quick thinking, big picture, innovative, aggressive, analytical, strong-willed and impatient. They’re quick to see ahead of you and if you’re talking too much they’ll be quick to get that over with. They’re straight to the point, they see the bigger purpose in the process and likely to be very rational about what is presented without too much emotion and connection. They’re really interested in ‘Why?’ the approval is needed more so than the details.
2. Charming Influencer
The Charming Influencer loves people and is great for roles like sales and marketing, perhaps account management where they deal with clients and internal teams. They’re friendly, warm, enthusiastic, influential, optimistic (sometimes too much so), sensitive, fast thinking and sometimes a little self-promoting. They’ll love including some social conversation and chit-chat in the process and this feeling of collaboration really works for them. If you’re too cold and process focused they’ll switch off. Perhaps if you’re too cold and analytical in the process it could affect their ability to warm to you and your ideas. They can be looking for ways to continue the collaboration and can often come up with new ideas to explore and so what you present may not be the end of the line with them. They’ll want to experiment and feel like the project is progressing. Sometimes they can be bored very quickly and move onto the next thing which could leave you high and dry without their focus too. Keep it interesting and they’ll stay with you. These types are interested in what it is all about including the purpose for any decisions.
3. Steady Friend
The Steady Friend is also very warm and loves people but it comes from a much more calm and steady place. They’re more slow and steady, consistent, accommodating and highly linear. They’re great team players and love a sense of community. In the approval process what they’ll love to do is call on the committee and team for feedback and more interested in keeping the peace than sometimes in the end result. They really shy away from confrontation and it can present as a passive way to affect your process because they will either lack communication or will defer to collective others to make a decision which can slow down the whole process. Their decisions are well considered by contrast as well and they tend to stick to their decisions once they’re made. Bringing in a new idea after approval is less likely taken on for fear of shaking their linear structure. Any new ideas need to be brought in carefully and some support from a wider collective will help them consider a new idea if they feel safe enough. They’re particularly great in nurturing and supportive roles, they get things done in a careful and considered way. These types are more focused on ‘How?’ and want to know the detail of how something will be done more so than what the bigger picture is or why it is needed.
4. Patient Fact-Finder
The Patient Fact-Finder is highly conscientious, organised, careful, exacting, systematic and particularly well suited to project management, administrative roles and even financial tasks that require a lot of fastidious detail thinking. Where they really thrive in detail thinking they equally lack in big picture focus and application, often forgetting why they’re doing what they do. They can be the more aloof type loving stats and numbers more so than people. They’ll focus into the tiny detail and have more of a focus on what is wrong with what you present for approval than what is right or why it is needed. They can be very cool and process focused and in fact the least compatible personality type of all four. Luckily it is not that often we find someone that is completely all this personality type without some blend from one of the others to balance it out, however this is the dominant personality type for many. These types can affect the approval process in many ways – they can be stuck on the process rather than the purpose, they’ll nit-pick and find fault with everything and that adds to the process and the costs where it isn’t of value to the end result at times, they’ll have no interest in creativity and only be interested in the results it can bring. They’ll want to be sure and safe about the work they approve and feel that there is a proven track record that supports their decisions particularly around creativity (which they see as highly ‘fluffy’ and intangible). Use credentials, statistics, proven case studies with this type to support all your work and you’re more likely to get the approval you need.