The ABCs of Relating Effectively

The ABCs of Relating Effectively

Relationships can often be tough to navigate, because we are not all wired the same. Knowing what is important to a person is critical, but don’t assume it is the same for others as it is for you. The SDI (Strength Deployment Inventory) gives us a way to understand these differences and effectively relate to people who are not like us. In this blog post, we want to lay out a simple three-step process (ABC) for relating, so you get the results you desire.

Before you begin to relate to someone, you first want to (A) Assess their motives. You want to understand the underlying motive that is driving their behaviors and decisions and what is important to them. When you begin here, you are looking to understand a person at a much deeper level. You are seeking to understand their heart. Are they focused on people, performance, process, or perspective?  Knowing what is most important to people will enable you to adjust your relational style to connect with them, build trust, and accomplish your vision.

In the Assess step, remember that you need to understand what is important to a person when things are going well, but also when there is conflict. The motives of people change in conflict, and so do their behaviors. Knowing how people predictively go through this change will enable you to shift your response for a healthier result.

Once you have assessed motives, you are ready for the second step: (B) Bring the right strengths. You have 28 strengths from which to choose (seven for each color), even though you may have your “go-to” strengths. Relational Intelligence provided by the SDI paradigm helps you understand what strengths might be helpful based on your assessment of motivations. It is helpful to understand why you would choose different strengths and how they help you address your own motivations.

I am RED, but I can choose to use a GREEN strength like ANALYTICAL because I may be working with someone who is GREEN and will not accept my gut decision but needs more data to support my conclusions. By using ANALYTICAL, I may be able to secure their support for a project so we can win together. This strength is not natural to me, but because of the Relational Intelligence provided by the SDI, I can choose a strength that will preserve or even strengthen our relationship.

When I bring the right strengths, I need to make sure that I don’t overdo them. My confidence can be received as arrogance if I don’t tone down the strength, or my strength of persuasion can easily be experienced by others as manipulation. Prevent overdoing a strength by being aware of your propensities and knowing how others may perceive you. Remember that we all wear different colored glasses that impact our perceptions!

Once you have assessed motives and brought the right strengths, you are ready to (C) Communicate in the right style. For instance, if you know you are talking to a RED, be brief, be brilliant, and be gone! REDs want to get lots of things done, so they don’t have time for travelogues and lots of stories. They filter all that out anyway, and you risk losing them in the process. Get to the point; be direct, and speak in bullet points. Be brilliant! In other words, tell them what they need to win. That is what they want to know. They need information that will advance performance. Be gone! Don’t expect to just hang out and talk, because they want to get on to the next task. Perhaps this is overstating a RED’s relational style, but not by much!

Communication with BLUE, GREEN, and HUB will all look different, so make sure you use the right style to be understood. The more you do this, the more this will become instinctive and authentic. Our tendency is to use our own preferred style of communication, which works well with people like us but not so much with others.

This simple ABC approach—assess motives, bring the right strengths, and communicate in the right style—will help you have successful relationships. This is true for your spouse, your children, and the people you work with.

When you have a group of people who all have experienced the SDI training together, and you begin to practice the ABCs of relational intelligence, there is an opportunity for the entire culture to shift to a more positive environment. At Consentia Group, that is our passion—to see cultures shift where relationships thrive. If you would like to see this happen in your environment, contact us so we can help you experience a thriving relational culture.

Bruce Terpstra

Our President, Dr. Bruce Terpstra, has 36 years of pastoral ministry experience. He is a veteran of 17 years in denominational leadership and developed more than 70 new churches in the New York metro area and has given oversight to almost 400 pastors. He holds a doctorate in Leadership Development and is also the founder of 3KeyCoaching and the author of Three Passions of the Soul.