Trissential Makes Personality Essential

Trissential Makes Personality Essential

A approach to business consulting.

At Trissential, a Minnetonka-based business-improvement consultancy, the firm’s leaders thought they might have found a shortcut in hiring five years ago: a survey, developed by Organizational Analysis and Design of Massachusetts, that has just two questions but speaks volumes about people’s personalities and work styles. Were the best consultants all similarly hardwired? Trissential gave the survey to its employees and prospective hires, looking for a pattern that would make the best job candidates readily apparent.

It didn’t emerge, but something else did—what Trissential’s director of integrated marketing, Rebecca Martin, has come to refer to as a “” approach to business.

Trissential was having success putting its consultants into client companies to tackle projects, says cofounder and principal Keith Korsi. But he and his colleagues realized that it wasn’t because there was a “best” type of consultant for Trissential to hire. Instead, the firm’s consultants had diverse personalities, according to the survey. Translation: There are lots of “bests” to have on staff if Trissential can match them well with clients’ personalities.

“You gotta know what is king at the client . . . cost, scope, schedule, quality,” Korsi says. “What are your hot buttons?”

The survey asks takers to check off on a list of personality traits the ones they would use to describe themselves, and then the ones they need to display at work. Based on their answers, Korsi says, most people fall into one of 13 distinct personality categories that are grouped into four color-coded quadrants. “Blues” are technically oriented architects and developers. “Greens” restore harmony and find common ground.

He needed a social-diplomat Green at a Wisconsin-based Fortune 500 with a highly competitive culture. The company was experiencing high turnover in a particular type of job. Korsi says he could see that his client was consistently hiring personalities that were inherently averse to the cutthroat work environment there. He sent his Green consultant in to temporarily fill the post and it became a long-term arrangement.

Some Trissential clients now use the survey with their own staffs. Texas-based MoneyGram International, a payment services company, has been changing up its sales presentations ever since the company’s senior director of global product development, Jason Patten, and 30 managers who report to him took the survey.

“We’ve got to be more sensitive, I think, to people’s styles and communications,” Patten says.

Korsi puts it this way: “People aren’t weird; they aren’t jerks. They’re different.”

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