Dr. Michael Abelson, is the CEO/President of The Abelson Group, has over 45 years experience consulting on organizational strategic planning, hiring, building, managing individuals and teams, and using psychological assessments to identify and enhance human performance.
Additionally he has been on the educational stage on four continents delivering over 1,000 keynote speeches, seminars, and other training programs, and consulting projects with over 100 different organizations.
He has led The Abelson Group to be one of the premier psychological assessment companies in the country with it selling over 500,000 assessments (and counting) and repeatedly being one of the Top 5 assessment companies in a network of approximately 2,000 companies.
Learn more and connect with Dr. Michael Abelson:
Voiceover 00:00:00 Welcome to GAIN THE PASSION with hosts Todd Foster, Alyssa Stanley, and Kelley Skar.
Kelley 00:00:11 All right, welcome to the GAIN THE PASSION Podcast. On today's show, we've got Dr. A. Michael Abelson. Welcome to the show, my friend.
Dr. A 00:00:18 Great to be here, and I'm looking forward to our time together today.
Kelley 00:00:22 Absolutely. If as long as Todd doesn't totally screw this up, I think we're gonna have a, a great show in front of us. So, uh, listen, for our audience that doesn't know you, why don't you give us a, a quick preamble of your history, who you are and what you're all about?
Dr. A 00:00:34 Well, um, I'm aware Doc, because I have a master's in clinical psychology. I was actually a clinical psychologist for a little while, but I also have an MBA and, uh, PhD in business management. So I walk in both paths at the same time, basically. Uh, so in our organization, we use both of those things. Uh, I am a retired emeritus professor of business from Texas a and m. Uh, but I'm not your typical professor either because I have done over a thousand speeches. We have hundreds and hundreds of, of projects that we've done with businesses. So we're very, very applied. And what we do now is we have incredible psychological assessment tools that identify people's behaviors and motives and emotional intelligence and leadership skills and, and, and how they deal with stress. And we show organizations how to use that for hiring, for team building, uh, for coaching, for personal development, for anything that deals with individuals. So that's what we specialize in. Now, we do an incredible amount of training and we actually do consulting. So we have different consulting products that we integrate. A number of the assessment tools to show people really had to understand people.
Kelley 00:01:39 I took one of your disk assessments when we're going through a, a, a coaching certification course here last year or summer of 2021. And we were talking before we started to hit the record button on the show about how absolutely accurate this thing was. It was about 99.8%. Uh, I remember printing it off and giving it to my wife and saying, here, read through this thing. And she's like, how in the world did this thing absolutely nail you? Like, just almost 100% nailed me right down to the simple little nuances about, you know, uh, the, the certain, you know, things that kind of jam me up every once in a while and, you know, take away my focus and all that, all the rest of that kind of, it was just incredible. Um, talk to us a little bit about how that system works and how it is so accurate.
Dr. A 00:02:21 There are dozens of disc assessments and behavioral assessments out there, right? Some of them are just terrible. There are, there are a couple that are pretty good. Uh, we we're told all the time by people that have taken multiple of these things that added data. Ours is the most accurate and, and easiest to use. And to, and, and to understand. Uh, it, it's a pretty complicated process. But the real neat thing is we have a behavioral assessment to disk. We have a motors assessment, and those are the two that most, most of our clients use. Uh, but you can take those assessments in less than 20 minutes, whereas a lot of these other assessment tools, you know, can take 45 minutes to an hour. So there's, there's all kinds of additional negative, negative issues. But the, the assessments are re normed every couple years. We change the language because languages change.
Speaker 3 00:03:06 Uh, and, and words that meant something five years ago mean may mean something different now. So we, so the assessments are updated and that's one of the reasons they're, they're so darn accurate. Uh, and, and what we typically find, and I've done three studies myself on the assessments, what we find is that about 75% of the people, uh, tell us it's 95% accurate or greater. And we have around 90% of the people that tell us it's 90% accurate or greater. And very, very rarely do we ever have anybody who tells us it's less than 85 or 80% accurate. And in those cases, we just tell them, Hey, uh, let's wait a couple days or wait a week or so, uh, and then why don't you retake it? And, and let's see what happens a second time around. Because for us, anything less than 90%, especially anything less than 85% is not accurate enough for us to wanna use with our clients. Cause it's, it's gotta be accurate, it's gotta be, right. If you're gonna be using an, an assessment tool for hiring decisions or team building or just to make, to communicate with different people.
Kelley 00:04:02 Would you say that the mindset that the, that the person is in is, is critical to the outcome when they take the, when they take the test?
Dr. A 00:04:09 It really isn't the, the, our assessments are, are very, very stable. Uh, and they're not impacted much by, by what's going on for the person at that time, which is great. I mean, we've had people that have taken it with a hu 102 fever, right? And it's still incredibly accurate. And they're looking at me and saying, oh my God, how is that so accurate? I was feeling lousy when I took them. Right? So as long as they can focus and as long as they're paying attention to the questions and answering them and not overthinking, uh, well a lot of times where, when it's less than 85% accurate, cause you's just overthinking. So we just say, Hey, just relax, take it again. And all of a sudden the accuracy goes up just because they're just being themselves and they're answering the questions.
Todd 00:04:50 Our listeners that don't know what the DISC really is. So there's a D I S C. Could you give us a brief description of exactly what a D and I and S and C is, and maybe even related to someone that we may know, famous or a celebrity?
Dr. A 00:05:06 Okay. Well, um, it, it, it's kind of interesting. Well, the, the DS are people who are very, very dominant. Uh, they're, they're very, very competitive. They like to be in control of things. Uh, so they're typically interested in, in power types of, of relationships. Uh, most of your, uh, big name politicians, uh, that you're gonna see, uh, are, are gonna have a quite a bit of d in them. Alright? Uh, the eye is refers influencers, alright? And, and what happens there is they like to talk. They're very loyal. They, they like to befriend you a, a stranger as a person who they have not had an opportunity to befriend yet. Uh, and, and there's all kinds of energy that they typically bring to the room, uh, and to the group. Alright? Um, Jim Curry is in the mask. I like to use that one because all of a sudden when he puts this mask on, he ha he has this, this high, high energy, uh, type of individual Es deals with steadiness.
Dr. A 00:06:01 And steadiness are, are people who, who like to be kind of like in the background. They don't like to be the in, in the center of attention, but they're very, very, uh, collegial. They're very, very family oriented. They don't like conflict. They like to, uh, bring people to together, uh, to deal with things. All right? Um, somebody like that would be, uh, Barbara Bush, for those of you who, who remember Barbara Bush. Uh, she is definitely, you know, the mother, uh, you know, figure, uh, and then, uh, c deals with compliance or conscientiousness. And, and with that, uh, what happens is they're, they're, they're very, very detailed. They're very, very quality oriented, uh, typical, uh, engineering profile or typical, you know, uh, accountant, uh, who isn't very emotional, uh, would, would, uh, would be your c you know, type of, of, of individual. Uh, so they're those, those are the, those are the four basic styles.
Dr. A 00:06:56 But what's the most important aspect of that is one of the neat things about our behavioral profile is only about 7% of the population is an intense d i s or C. That means around 93% of the population is a blend, which is really important. A lot of people, what happens is they get this notion of what a D is, and all these Ds are this one type of D well, our assessment actually looks at 384 different profiles. So there's actually 96 different levels of D, right? There's a same thing for IS and C. So it's important to realize that there's a blending, number one. Number two, most people tell you the disc is a personality profile. It is not a personality profile. Our personalities are much more complicated than just disc. Disc just measures behaviors. So if you're interested in behavior assessment, then get a really good disc assessment that'll, that'll help you do it.
Dr. A 00:07:54 It, some of you have taken the Meyers bricks. That's not a behavioral assessment. They tell you it is, but it's really a cognitive assessment. It's how we think and how we judge and, and make decisions. Alright? So, so you need to be careful what you have. That's why we have so many different types of assessments, because we do wanna give you a better flavor of what the person's really like. So that's why we measure the behaviors. That's why we measure motives cuz we want to know what's driving that behavior. You're can have two people that are very, very similar on the disk, but are very different people. Well, one of the reasons for that is their motives may be different, their emotional intelligence may be different, right? So that might be another reason. So we like to measure that. Of course we'll work with what our client wants to do, uh, but we have the ability to, to get into a lot of different dynamics and all that different aspects of what the person is, is really like. And that's, those are just about half of the assessments.
Kelley 00:08:44 I'm curious, you know, from a, from a hiring perspective, um, you know, for, for a company that, uh, you know, fortune 500, fortune 1000, fortune 10,000, doesn't matter, uh, how big the company is. Are you like, should you be using Meyer Briggs? Should you be using disks? Should you be using all of these different types of assessments to, to really drill down into the person that you're potentially bringing on into your, into your company? And, and then do you kind of lay that over top of your core values to see if that person is a good, would be a good, uh, a good employee, a, a good contributor to the company? Is that, is that something that you would recommend Dr.
Dr. A 00:09:18 A more and more people are doing this, more and more organizations are doing this because you, it's interesting in an hour interview, if you get an hour interview, even if you have several people interviewing them or you spend a day with them, I mean, when, when we're doing executives, uh, they're, they're, we spend a lot of time with them, right? Uh, there's certain filters that we have ourselves and certain blinders we have ourselves that we don't see certain things, alright? When we're interviewing. And, and that's one of the benefits of having multiple people interview. But it's still, still in those types of situations. You don't see everything. What happens when you have a really good assessment is you pick up all kinds of different nuances, different aspects of the individual. And one of the things that we always do when we use it, no matter what it's for, whether it's for hiring or team building or coaching or personal development, we validate a part of the assessment to, to see what the accuracy is.
Dr. A 00:10:11 And as you're validating it, one of the neat things about using an assessment is, is the report comes from a, a black box, a computer, all right? So you can ask questions and people aren't nearly as defensive as if you would just say, ask the same question without having, having the report in front of you. For example, there's a general characteristics or behavioral characteristics part of our report. And, and what we'll do is, you know, we'll ask them done on those things that they disagree with, and then we'll correct them. But we'll use that as a conversation. The assessment is an opportunity to have a conversation with the person. Don't assume that everything in the report is accurate, but when you have that conversation, all of a sudden you're starting to learn more about them. So you can have a line there that they don't say is inaccurate, i e it is accurate.
Dr. A 00:10:57 And then you can say, well, tell me more about when you're in this type of situation. Right now, when you are using a quality assessment, you have all those additional insights so you can start asking the right questions. Now, one of the things that we do is we have a benchmarking process and, and we're using artificial intelligence now for our benchmarking process. And it isn't really incredible because we're looking at behaviors, we're looking at what drives those behaviors or what their motives are, and then we're looking at what their habits are. And, and from that, we can actually come up with what types of behaviors, motives, and habits are the best fit for that particular job. And then we can measure that in the prospective employee, right? And then you com do it to multiple employees and all of a sudden you have this incredible information.
Dr. A 00:11:44 Now it could take you six months to figure out what the person is like. If you don't have a quality assessment, you can figure out in six minutes what the person is like if you have, have a quality assessment. Now, getting to the, the culture aspect, abs, ours absolutely, I mean, one of the, one of the areas is what is their ideal environment? And there's a whole bunch of bulleted items. And what we do in that case is we just have them circle the bullet in front of the item that they agreed to. So all of a sudden we can see what they're all ideal environment is. Another page looks at value to the team or value to the organization. So we can see where they are and we ask them to tell us, you know, what is accurate for those different areas. And, and it works marvelously because now we have a conversation and discussion and we also do things where, where we actually work much more closely with our clients.
Dr. A 00:12:32 Most of our, our assessments are so accurate that most of our clients use the assessment and don't use our additional services. They might use our training, but they don't use our consulting. So, but when people are hiring an executive, we actually can go in and measure six different components of what the individual is like. And then I get involved and, and I make suggestions. I I, I look at where the red flags are and I make suggestions on what types of questions they should be asking in the interview process. And oh my God, alright, when that happens, it's kinda like, holy cow. You know, it, it's, it's kind of like, how did you know, how did you know to ask that question? You know? And, you know, and, and, and people will actually say that. And, and, and, and in those types of situations, then you can really get into a really good conversation with them and, and, and really know what they're like.
Dr. A 00:13:21 And a lot what happens, most times, a lot of people hire people that they really like in the interview process, all right? And they don't effectively use assessments, even if they're, if they're giving them in their organization. Now we have videos that they can look at to train them how to do that. But what happens is they love them in the interview. So they hire them and then three or four months later, they can't stand them anymore, right? Because they didn't do the right interviewing process. They didn't ask the right questions during the interview process. So even though they loved them three or four months ago, six months from there, they're saying, oh my God, how do I get rid of this person? Right? But then they have to go through the whole process all over again, which is very costly, not just money-wise, but it's costly time-wise.
Dr. A 00:14:04 And it's costly opportunity-wise. Every time you have to hire somebody because you're asking somebody else to leave, you're gonna lose clients, you're gonna lose relationships, right? And then there're all these additional opportunities. So it, it's very costly to not use an accurate and an effective assessment. And last thing I wanna say on that is you need to use an assessment that measures what you feel is important in the job, right? Myers Briggs again, is an excellent assessment. A lot of organizations use it. Academicians love the Myers Briggs. I know because I used to be an academician, right? And, uh, but again, it just looks at how people think personally. I'm much more concerned about how they're going to behave. And that's why we focus on using behavioral profile, alright? And not just a cognitive profile. Cause you've be, you've be thinking all kinds of things, but you don't do it, right? How many times have you thought, you know, you know Kelly or Todd that you are, you're gonna do this, but, you know, two weeks later it's still not done. Right? So I want to be able to, to, to see how they're going to behave.
Kelley 00:15:07 You just, you sounded like, like my wife there. <laugh>.
Dr. A 00:15:11 Sorry, <laugh>,
Kelley 00:15:13 Yeah. There's a couple things around here that need to be done that I said I was gonna do two weeks ago. Um, so we were having a, a kind of a good discussion, you know, prior to hitting that record button again, we were talking about the coaching industry and, um, you know, we've talked a little bit about the different types of, um, of testing that we can do. Myers Briggs, the disk, um, you know, we're talking about cognitive versus behavioral, you know, versus, uh, um, you know, personality and that sort of thing. It seems to me like there are certain, you know, there are a lot of coaching companies out there that, that utilize, um, a personality test, uh, before they bring on, uh, you know, a potential coaching client, or they use that as their hook to, to bring people in. You know, people are really interested in, in their, you know, whether their personality is, you know, this, that, or the other thing. What's the driving force behind their personality? W what is it that, uh, that coaching company should be using? I mean, is there a definitive answer? Should it be behavioral? Should it be cognitive? Should it be personality?
Dr. A 00:16:12 Well, my my answer to that is it depends on what type of coaching you wanna do, right? Because you can do business related coaching, and if that's the case, you, you should focus on something that deals with cognitive or, or behavioral or, or, or how they're going to act at work. Alright? You can do life coaching, which gets into other areas, alright? And, and then, then you're probably going to use other types of assessments, uh, and, and, and, and to look at and to look at what, what they're like, uh, as, as an individual, uh, in, in most cases, and again, why we lead with, with the disk is because no matter what it is that you're doing, it's important to understand how people are gonna behave, right? And it's, it, it's really helpful to do, to know that, uh, and, and from a coaching perspective, uh, and, and a lot of coaches don't do this.
Dr. A 00:16:59 They, a lot of coaches take whoever they feel that they can work with, right? Wouldn't it be neat and effective if you could see how you personally relate to the person who you're coaching and see where you're blind spots are in relationship to where some of their weaknesses are? Because then you don't have the ability, uh, since it's a blind spot for you and it's a weakness for them, for you to real actually identify it or help them identify it and, and to improve on it, right? So it's, it, it's really important, uh, to, to, to make sure that you understand, we actually have an onboarding and a comparison report where you, if both people take the individual assessment and then they don't have to take anything else, we just need to have, get, we take the data from their individual assessment and we do a comparison report.
Dr. A 00:17:50 So, so if, if you were coaching me, right, you know, Kelly, uh, and we did this, there, there would be a page on how to communicate with Michael, how to communicate with Kelly, how not to communicate with Michael, how not to communicate with Kelly. You know, what value do, do I bring to the team? What value do you bring to the team? Cause as a coach, here we are, we're a two person team, right? In, in, in every relationship. And as, as we interact with each other. So, so that, that tool is really, really helpful and effective because now I can see as a coach, things I have to be more sensitive to, I have to be thinking more about with, with my particular client. So, so yes, it's, it, it's very, very helpful. I mean, you can use our assessment and you could, you could use that for 10, 12, 15 sessions, all right?
Dr. A 00:18:38 To, to get into what the person is like, because we have one assessment that looks at behaviors, it looks at these motives or what drives the behaviors, and it looks at emotional intelligence, right? Emotional intelligence has really come on as a really important, you know, concept and, and, and area in the last 15 years or so. Uh, and, and a lot of people say people get hired, uh, you know, from, from their behavior and they get fired because of a lack of emotional intelligence, right? So, so why not look upfront at what their emotional intelligence is like, so you can see whether you're gonna have the right fit, because cultures are different. Some cultures are really collegial cultures, some cultures are really competitive cultures, right? So if you have a very, very competitive culture in your organization, somebody's gonna react differently regarding their emotional intelligence.
Dr. A 00:19:26 Then if you have a very collegial culture in your organization, just think of a law firm, right? You know, where you have a lot of, you know, very, very, you know, very, very competitive people. Or think of some real estate companies where they're very, very competitive, right? But you haven't assessed the emotionality of the person that you're bringing on. All of a sudden they come in and they're a bad outta hell, you know, type of thing. And they're really creating a negative, you know, milieu within the organization. Well, you could have known that upfront and my recommendation in those types of, you know, situations, even though they're a top performer, Hey, let 'em go to let him go down the street to the other organization and cause hell there, you don't want 'em doing that in your organization.
Kelley 00:20:09 Well, I think it also having access to that data, um, you know, exactly what you talked about in terms of, um, you know, knowing how to speak to someone, right? Uh, you know, I think, uh, from a, from a leadership perspective, this just creates better leaders within the organization, right? It allows you to really to, to help to foster that person and, and make sure that they're going to grow, uh, from a, you know, from a, you know, growth mindset type, uh, standpoint, and grow into the role that they're, that they're, that they've been slotted into the company. And, and, uh, it just a allows you to really kind of lead them towards, you know, the, the, the ultimate path that, that they want to be a part of, or the path path that they ultimately wanna be going down within the organization. Whereas if you didn't have that, then you're, you know, as a leader, you're continually guessing and or you're trying to fit them into your own idea or your own box of what that, what that, uh, that role should be. And, and, you know, trying to force that person into a, a type of behavioral type standpoint that maybe isn't going to fit within the company, or at least fit within the idea of what the C e O or c o or CFO f o decides is, is the right role for that person. Would you agree with that?
Dr. A 00:21:16 Yeah, a absolutely. And, and it, it's, it's interesting because we actually have an assessment that measures 25 different leadership characteristics, which is really cool because you can see some people that'll be very, very collegial and some people will be very, very competitive. So if we're in a, in a competitive environment, you want somebody who's really gonna be really good in sales, not too sharkish, okay? But, but, but really good in sales, then you're gonna want them to be a little bit more competitive then, then if you're, if, if it's a true team, you know, and some organizations really have true teams, and in that case, you want somebody who's gonna be more collegial, so they're gonna have more of a sensitivity to what other people in the team lead. Uh, because the value of the team is that everybody brings something that of is of quality and importance to the team.
Dr. A 00:22:00 But different people may have different areas of expertise and different specialties. Well, when you get two different people, uh, that have, that have different opinions in the same specialty, uh, sometimes you need to have somebody who's more collegial. Sometimes you need to have somebody who is more competitive, right? You can also decide whether you want to assign them on something that's really competitive. For example, if you have somebody who's, who, who is, uh, uh, an inside sales agent, right? So they're making telephone calls and they're really on there themselves, right? That's a different type of person personality, a different type of personal style than if you have somebody who's working with two or three other people, right? To, to make, to make this, to, to, to, to get the, the lead or to, or, or to get in front of that, that individual. Especially in, in commercial real estate, it's really interesting, you know, the teams need to be really, really successful.
Dr. A 00:22:53 But if, if you've got somebody who's really, really sharkish, you know, there, then they're gonna fight over the commission split and they're gonna fight over who's gonna do this, that, and the other thing. And they could easily kill the deal. And in a commercial real estate environment, it might take you four or five years, you know, to, to to, to get the deal. And all of a sudden, in four or five minutes, they mess it up and you're pulling your hair out because, oh my God, how did I let this happen? Well, it's, it's too late because they've just taken their 10, 2000 and 50 million project and going somewhere else,
Kelley 00:23:24 Man, I'd love to see the, uh, these, these profiles of some of the top leaders within the real estate industry. It would be, uh, certainly an interesting, uh, perspective to have, you know, considering some of the, some of the stuff that's going on right now, currently at the end of dec December, 2022, <laugh>,
Dr. A 00:23:42 You know, it's, it's not just the, the real estate industry. You know, every industry goes through transitions, you know, and, and with the interest rates going up as they have over the last six or nine months, uh, it's become much more competitive. Uh, and everybody that, that, that, that we work with, you know, has set their goals, not in 2022 as, as far as where they want to be in 2025, but they sent 'em in, in, in 2020 or 2021, okay? And then all of a sudden the environments shifted dramatically. Uh, and, and that has an impact. Well, do you have the right people? Do they have the right personality? Do they have the right behavioral or motive or EQ or leadership characteristics? Can they handle stress appropriately? Right? So, and, and, and we have tools that measure all those things. And we have training to show you how to effectively use it.
Dr. A 00:24:31 So it, it, it is really important. One of the things that you raise, and I just wanna share this, give you an idea, cause we were talking about this before we taping today. Um, how can you use us to increase your coaching practice? Well, we, we have the ability, and, and this is new for us, but we have the ability to, uh, for you to, to license you, uh, to using the assessments. And, uh, and, and if you're gonna use more than 18 or 19 assessments in, in the 12 month period of time, it pays for you to get a license. And the more you're gonna be using, the more it pays for you get a license. So, so let's say you did one assessment a week on a prospective client, so 50 assessments over the year, and you gave them an assessment and you comped them on the assessment.
Dr. A 00:25:19 Uh, and, uh, and then you use the assessment to better understand what they're like to better communicate with them and to better connect with them. And you gave them a half an hour coaching session, all right? Uh, and you use the assessment and you hand them the assessment and you know, this is the assessment that we're gonna use. After you debrief them a little bit and show them what you could do as a coach. I mean, that would be a phenomenal way to get new clients because you're gonna, you, you're gonna know how to connect with them cuz you know what they're like, number one. Number two, you're gonna have this great tool that you can use for a number of other, uh, opportunities. And, and you have now shown them in a half an hour, you might wanna do 45 minutes. You wanna give 'em a whole 50 minutes or, or, or an hour session, whatever. Okay? Do one of those a week, uh, and you're gonna get a whole bunch of clients. And the neat thing is, it's cost effective. Because if you're gonna do more than 18 or 19 assessments in, in a year, it, it's already the license already paid for itself. But you can do hundreds of assessments at the same price. So, so we're, we're really excited about this because this is a whole new, new area for us.
Voiceover 00:26:26 If you are enjoying this episode, please leave a five star view at your favorite podcast provider.
Todd 00:26:33 You've brought up transitions in the past, and I would love to know, speaking of transitions, who Dr. A was like at 10 years old,
Dr. A 00:26:43 <laugh>. Oh my god. Uh, what was I like 10 years old? Well, my brother had cerebral palsy from birth, so, okay, so, so from when, when I was 10 years old, I was basically my brother's keeper, right? Because, uh, because I, I was the first child. He was the second child, right? We were, we were like, uh, three years apart. So, so when I was 10, he was seven. And, and when I would go out and play with my friends, my, my brother was with me in his wheelchair, and I would wheel him out there and, and he would, he would be with me. Uh, uh, so we would do stuff and on the weekends if we would go, you know, play football, you know, or, or something like that, or a sport, he was with me. Uh, when I went to religious services, my brother was with me.
Dr. A 00:27:28 I mean, it was kind of like, you know, we're, you know, wherever Michael was, that's where Kenny was, you know, type of thing. So, so when I was 10 years old, that's, that's what, that's what I was like, and, and, and that has had a significant impact on my life in a number of different ways because a, a lot of people are motivated by money. Yeah. I'm motivated by money, but what I'm really motivated by my, my true passion is to help others, uh, and, and to do things so, so others can have a better life. I mean, I, I taught a Texas a and m University for a little over 30 years okay? And at a university professor, I didn't make much money, right? But I, but for the last 20 years, I was teaching the small classes of 400 to 450 students, right?
Dr. A 00:28:09 And, and I would have, you know, typically two of those sections a semester. So I was teaching anywhere from 1500 to 2000 students a year, right. And for me, I was having sign significant opportunity to impact other people's lives through what they learned in the class. And even though I retired from a and m, uh, over a decade ago, I still run into students and they still come up and to say hi to me, I just, I just, last week, a student through social media says, Dr. A, I can't believe I have found you. You know, it's going, what do you mean? You have found me? You know? And, and, and he said, he said, you know, you, I, I really loved your class and I'd like to learn from you. Now it's kinda like, wow. You know, the, you know, so I feel great about that.
Dr. A 00:28:54 Is that, that he's, he's willing to do that now. You know, am I gonna charge him some money? Yeah, I'm gonna charge him some money, but believe me, it's not about the money. So, so that's one of the, so, so that was, that went on, you know, un until I was actually married. Um, because that's when I, uh, that, that's when I separated basically, you know, from, from the family. In fact, the first two years of my college education, I went to Penn State. Uh, and I went to a Commonwealth campus because of the responsibility of my brother. I didn't go to main campus until the third year. Cause you had to go.
Speaker 4 00:29:28 Because a lot of kids, they decided they wanted be an astronaut or race car driver, or in my case, a Greyhound bus driver, <laugh>. Which is a true story. Do you feel that pushed you along the route that you took in life?
Dr. A 00:29:38 Most definitely. You know, it, it, it, it pushed me, you know? And, and I have a whole bunch of positive feelings about that. And I have a whole bunch of negative feelings, you know, because as a, as a 10 year old, you know, all my other friends didn't, didn't have to worry about their brothers or sisters. Okay. You know? And, and here I was, you know, literally my brother's keeper, uh, in, in, in a lot of ways, in a lot of situation, you know? So there, there are those types of things. But yeah, it, it, it definitely had a, it definitely had an impact. And if, I mean, if you go through any of our training programs or, you know, or, or the, I mean, Kelly, you've, you've been through that tide. You've, you've been through that. You've seen me, you've seen me train. I'm, I'm passionate about what I do. And, and I love asking questions because that's how I know what people need.
Kelley 00:30:21 I'm curious about some of your past students that, uh, some of us may or may not know who they are. Can you drop some names for us there, Dr.
Dr. A 00:30:29 A, well, I'll, I'll throw some, I'll throw some football players out there. Okay? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, because they're typically the most, uh, the most well-known, uh, von Miller, um, uh, super Bowl, uh, MVP a number of years ago with, with Denver was, was, was stuck with me in my class. Uh, Ryan Tahi, who was, uh, quarterback okay. Still professional quarterback, uh, doing, doing, doing well, was, was, was stu with me, with me, uh, Matt Millen, uh, who used to be with Detroit, who was actually general manager Detroit Lions, um, uh, was a, was a student of mine when I was a grad assistant, uh, at Penn State. And I have some very interesting stories about Matt Madden. And, and for some reason, if any of you know, Matt Milli, I've been trying to get in touch with him for like a decade now, but his handlers won't let me get close to him.
Dr. A 00:31:17 Uh, I'd, I'd love for Matt to gimme a call cuz I'd love to get together with him. Uh, and, uh, and, and, uh, j just say, this is the guy who did the power play. Okay? And, and he will, he will know exactly who I am. And the guy who, uh, who we got the granite, a fictitious granite aide, Matt Millen actually got a Granite Aid for my best friend's, uh, son who happened to be also named Matt. Uh, and, um, and he, and it was really cool. I asked Matt if he would, uh, if I, if he could get me an autograph of Joe Paterno. Cause Matt at that time was one of the co-captains alright, uh, of, of, of the football team. Uh, and I forgot about it. And near the end of the, and I said, it's not gonna peck your grade at all, positive or negative, you know, I'm just asking, you know, this favor.
Dr. A 00:32:03 And, and at near the end of the semester comes in with a cylinder. And he says, here. And I said, well, what is this? And he said, uh, well open it. So I opened it and I opened it up and oh my God, it was a grand in aid to be a football player at Penn State. Okay. And, and this kid was just born, by the way, all right? But at Penn State, it was signed by the president, it was signed by Joe Paterno. It was signed by the Chancellor and instead of the athletic director, it was signed by Matt Millen. So it was void. Wow. Okay. But, but, but that, I mean, that was a phenomenal gift. Uh, and, and make a long story short, I, I had the opportunity of, of talking with, with, with, with, with, with this Matt, not Matt Millen, but the other Matt, uh, a couple months ago. And, and, and reminded him of the story he said, he said, Michael, I have that on my desk. Okay. Cause he's so proud of it. Yeah. Wow. You know, so, so, I mean, I've, I've had some, some cool experience. I had an interesting experience with Ron Miller. You know, I, I've had some, I've been the very, very fortunate guy. So Matt Miller, if you're hearing this, please give me a holler.
Speaker 4 00:33:15 If you weren't doing this right now in your life, what would be your backup?
Dr. A 00:33:19 I will have no idea. I mean, uh, people ask me when am I gonna retire? And I say, my plan is, as long as this is working, I'm working. And I plan to die with my boots on. You know, because I'm, I'm always learning and hopefully getting better. Uh, you know, and, but for sure I'm always learning <laugh>. And, um, and, and I mean, if I could do it all over again, which is a different question, if I could do it all over again, I probably would've been a real estate attorney. Okay. Because a lot of our clients and accounts are, are re residential real estate. Uh, I love real estate. I happen to own some real estate myself. Uh, uh, so I understand the industry really well. Been working with the industry since, believe it or not, 1983. So, uh, so, so probably cause I would've loved to put the deals together, you know, be that type of real estate attorney.
Dr. A 00:34:11 But, uh, that is the water, you know, uh, uh, under the bridge or over the dam, uh, so to speak. Now, I, I did go to, I did visit Harvard cause a, a good friend of mine, uh, actually graduated from Harvard and he was teaching at Harvard at the time. And I went, went up there and I visited with my, my best friend. Um, and we sat in this class that, that Jeff did. But anyhow, we went to the law school and uh, we went into, if you ever have the opportunity to go to Harvard, the law school, right. Go to the main classroom. And when you walk in, it is just, I don't know if they've remodeled it since we were there, cuz it was a while now. But it was, it is just an awesome experience because they have these huge pictures of all these chief justices that actually went to Harvard, right.
Dr. A 00:35:00 And at the time they have all these old desks that people had actually had etched in initials and stuff like that. And you could walk around and sit there and be saint us. Geez. Did one of the chief justices was this a chair that he used? Okay. You know, type of thing. You know, so, so there's those type. So anyhow, the only thing that I'm sharing that is because I stopped o over in the, in, in the dean's office, uh, and the admissions office. And I, I got an application for the Harvard Law School. Uh, and, and so did my best friend and I went back and my wife at the time and I said, you know, hey, I'm thinking back on to, to, uh, to going back to school, to law school. I'm right. Keep in mind I already had two master's degrees. Cause cuz I had my master's in clinical psych. I had my MBA and I had a PhD in, in business management. And I'm saying to my wife at the time, I want to go back to school. She said, the hell you are <laugh>. I, I've, I've already gone through shit with you. I'm not doing this anymore. All right. So, so, and of course you didn't say use that language, but that was my interpretation. So, so needless to say, I don't have a law degree,
Todd 00:36:05 <laugh>. And you didn't even say, I mean, when you're talking about law school, you're not just talking about any law school. You're talking about Harvard Law School on top of that.
Dr. A 00:36:10 Yeah. Well, I don't know if I could have gotten it or not. But, but, but that's, but that, that's the application that I got
Todd 00:36:16 You were in at one point. Cause you saw the room, so you were in
Dr. A 00:36:19 <laugh>. Well, I'll tell you that, that really, I mean that, that, that's one of the most impactful single experiences that I've ever had, truthfully. Alright, so if anybody out there's listened to this has an opportunity, especially living in the Boston area. Again, I don't know if they remodeled or not, but, but just, just imagine it's kind of like it's, I I'm a Philly boy, so, so I grew up in Philadelphia. Just, you know, it's kind of like when you go to Independence Mall and you, and sit one of those, did Ben Franklin sit here, you know, did, did Jefferson, that, that he sit there.
Todd 00:36:53 Have you noticed over the couple past couple of years, because we've went through some crap over the last couple of years in terms of the world, have you noticed a change in people's disk or the behaviors changing due to the uncontrolled environments that they are living in?
Dr. A 00:37:10 That, that's a very interesting question. Um, uh, it's interesting that in our certification program, we actually have a graph okay. That looks at percentages that are primarily d i s or C. Okay. Um, or, or their lead major, um, disk, d i s or C is in those different areas. And there are shifts, right? There are definitely r shifts. Now, one of the neat things about our assessments is they're international. They're in over 40 different languages. So we actually have norms and we actually know what the percentages are in different cultures. Okay? In China, in Russia, in Germany, in England, in France. Uh, in Brazil, okay. So, so we have all of those in Canada, obviously in the US for sure. You know, so we already, we, we know what those profiles are. Now for those who are out there that might be using a different disc, shame on you.
Dr. A 00:38:08 But if you're using a different disc, um, what, uh, that, those statistics are typically from that disc assessment. All right? So it depends on how accurate that disc assessment is. It depends on how many people have, are, are in their study to determine whether there's a d i s or C or what the combination is. My advice always is figure out what that individual figure out what they, what their blending is. If they're not one of those 7%, that's, that's a much bias. Okay? Uh, because everybody's different. Everybody's different individual. Now, have I seen a shift? Yes. Alright. Uh, you know, I I I think it, it seems like our culture anymore seems to be less tolerant of other opinions, other people's opinions, right? And, and the way they do things. Uh, it it, it still amazes me that people who may have been lifelong friends, uh, might have different political stances on issues, and then one person isn't willing to talk to the other anymore.
Dr. A 00:39:09 It's kinda like, why, why is this going on? You know? It's, uh, it's, it's very disheartening for me individually, but, you know, as, as many of us are very fond to say, it is what it is, you know, so it's just important to realize what that person's style is. And again, where if you're using a quality assessment, you know, from a business perspective, you know, you, you, you have some significant to, uh, into what the person is like and whether they have a tolerance, right? You can have somebody who's a very, very high C okay? And a very, very high D, we refer to them as an implementer, right? Cause they're task oriented and, and they like to get things done and, you know, competitive. So they, so they go after it, right? Um, but they can have a different motive set. And because of what they're motivated by, for example, one of them is, is referred to as traditional, well traditional, like that rules and regulations.
Dr. A 00:40:04 So it's not that unusual for somebody who's traditional to, to be very religious and to be less tolerant of other people's religious values or what they think are right or wrong. Let, let's, and I don't wanna get into this politically, but, but you know, you have some people who believe in, in, um, in choice as far as abortion and some people who believe that abortion is, is a cardinal sin, right? And then when they get in a conversation, what does that do to their relationship? Right? Well, it depends on what your motives are, uh, okay. As to how strongly you're going to be opinionated regarding different things, right? So, so do I see a shift? I do see a shift, but as I just said a moment ago, you know, it is what it is and we just have to learn how to deal with it. Cause people are people,
Kelley 00:40:54 Is there a, is there kind of a baseline, um, in terms of, uh, all of the assessments that you've done across, say, the United States where you could confidently say the majority of the population is, uh, ID or, you know, sc or is there kind of a baseline there? And, and, and, and further to that, if there is a baseline in the US then that means that there's baseline in Germany, in Russian, all of these other countries. And I'm curious how, how those baselines compare to each other, if there's any correlation or if they're completely different culture to culture.
Dr. A 00:41:27 Well, culture to culture, there's gonna be some differences for sure. Right? Uh, it's interesting. The German culture is very similar to the US culture as far as, as far as our disk assessment is concerned, right? Uh, but there's other assessments that are very different. China is different. Uh, Russia is different, you know, as far as behavioral. Now, the important aspect to keep in mind is behaviors are just one aspect of our personality. So when you looking at the person, you can't just look at the disc and, and, and make those assumptions. So are there bench, bench lines or are there different, you know, types of, of norms or what you might expect? Sure. Right? But again, when you're working with somebody, you really need to see what they're like as an individual and not make some assumptions that, well, 43% of the population is this style.
Dr. A 00:42:11 So they, so that's the likelihood that they're this style that, I mean, that's not gonna do you much good when you're interacting with an individual. Okay? When I'm interacting with you, Kelly, I need to understand what you're like as an individual. Todd, when I'm interacting with you, I need to know what you're like as an individual. And, and I'm a student off that, in most cases, I can pick that up without even giving the assessment, all right? Uh, but, but most people are not. So give them the assessment and especially let, lemme go back to our license opportunity again. I mean, you can, you, you can give all kinds of people the assessment, give it to your family members, you know, give it to people that you work with. If you're a, the church organization, give it to people in your church or have the church by it for everybody.
Dr. A 00:42:52 I mean, it's, it, it, it's really incredible. And then people can interact with others and know what other strengths are and others' limitations. So you can be more effective, whether it's a job or whether it's a family, or whether it's a religious organization or any type of volunteer organization. And, and when I do consulting, what I tell people to do is figure out what somebody's strengths are. Put 'em in situations where their strengths can be utilized. Know what somebody's limitations are. I don't like to use the word weaknesses. I like to use limitations. Uh, but know what their limitations are. Keep them away from those types of situations. Unless you want to have that as a growth opportunity. But don't, don't immerse them in an area where they having a lot of different limitations. It's, it's gonna be frustrating for them. They're not gonna be successful.
Dr. A 00:43:40 They're want to go, going to go get out of the situation. They're going to gonna want to procrastinate doing things because it's not a comfortable place for them, right? So, so those are wonderful ways to use these types of things. One of the biggest problems I have is people want to pigeonhole people into a certain behavioral style, right? They're a D Oh, wow. And some people wear a d as a badge of courage, and some people wear D as, oh my god, you know, you know, how dare you, you know, be a, be something. Please don't put a label on somebody you wouldn't like people putting a label on you. Don't be putting labels on people. That's another beauty of using our assessment because there are so many different blends. And by using a quality assessment, you can see what those blends are, right? And, and I've been told this and, and I, I don't have any real factual data to back this up, but, but, um, but the next accurate disc, I've been told only looks at 24 different behavioral stars. Ours looks at 3 84. And that's one of the reasons why people tell me all the time that ours is, is in their experience, the most, the most accurate one that they've ever done. Right? Every once in a while people tell me not, but, but, uh, in most cases, almost all cases, you know, that's not what I hear
Todd 00:44:58 As a business owner. And I guess that we've all been there at some point, either dating, you've picked the wrong person, you may have hired the right person, the wrong person, and it usually goes on that gut feeling, right? Yeah. So let's say I need to hire, uh, 20 or 30 different people for the same position. Is there a way for me to look at the disc and find out, okay, this is the perfect person, or are there other options out there for me?
Dr. A 00:45:25 Yeah, that, that's a great question. And that's where our artificial intelligence, uh, program comes in. Because what we do is we look at, we, we, we look at behaviors, we look at motives, and we look at habits of individuals, alright? And what we do is we create a benchmark for the position out of the 70 plus characteristics that we're gonna measure with those three different concepts, right? And sometimes we'll throw in the emotional intelligence too. Uh, these different concepts. What is the best profile that leads performance? For example, uh, we've done a study with a real estate company, and as far as the office managers are concerned, we were able to come up with a profile with very, very high level of confidence that, that, that the, this is correct of somebody who was going to have twice the net profit and twice the increase in agent count, right?
Dr. A 00:46:16 Because of their behavioral styles and motives and, and, and, and their habits. Okay? So it's, it's really, really important to have a really good accurate benchmark because if, especially if you're gonna be hiring 20 or 30 people, um, I mean, that's very costly, right? Could the cost of wrong hire and research suggests that this is very, very accurate, percentage wise, it's gonna cost you anywhere from 25% to 200% of the first year's compensation. Now, compensation is salary, fringe benefits, bonuses, stock options, whatever. So if you're hiring a, a senior level person and they're costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars, then just look at what, what quarter of that is, and look at what twice that amount is, and that's how much you're gonna be spending, right? By making the wrong decision. So what if you're buying an assessment that that costs you x amount of money?
Dr. A 00:47:17 All right? You know, so what if you're going to, you're gonna have a benchmark and that might cost you some money. I mean, the, the, the amount of money that it saves you, the amount of aggravation that it saves you, the amount of frustration, okay? And the amount of positive impact you're gonna have on that person's life and other people's lives, all right, is just exponentially, you know, more valuable. So it, so it is really important, and again, we have excellent assessment tools. We have a process that does that. Um, and we're very proud of it and, and, and we're very successful.
Kelley 00:47:49 Yeah. So I, um, I, for the longest time, I guess I probably took, I probably took one of these, uh, um, you know, uh, personality disk, uh, as assess, you know, quote unquote assessments. Uh, and for the longest time, I, I thought that I was a high D um, high D, low y SC was almost non-existent. And when I took your assessment, your disc assessment, it kind of flipped the script on me a little bit and, and suggested that I was a high id, right? And sc absolutely register on the scale, but nowhere near as high as the I or the D. Um, do you think that that people's personalities can flip? Um, you know, over time, uh, you know, let's just say everything being equal. Let's say two years ago I took your assessment, then I took it two years on, two years later and things kind of flipped around. Um, number one, that's the first question. Can, can people's personalities change their, you know, their, their behavior systems change? And number two, would it then be important for a company to really invest on in these assessments to have their employees assessed every, like 12 or 24 or 36 months?
Dr. A 00:48:56 Well, lemme answer the first one. So let me ask you a question first. How accurate was it?
Kelley 00:49:01 Well, you, your assessment was, like I said, it was 99.8% accurate. Like it was just
Dr. A 00:49:06 Right there. Okay? So that, so that was an accurate reflection of, of your personal behavioral style. Now, can people's behavioral styles change? Have your behaviors ever changed?
Kelley 00:49:17 Sure,
Dr. A 00:49:18 Sure. Yes, <laugh>, the answer is yes. All right. So I mean, I, I actually wrote something a couple years ago is it's only three or four pages long. Uh, but it looks at 20 different 24 different myths regarding the disc, right? And one of those miss out there is behaviors don't change. That's so ridiculous. Alright? Yes, they change. Now, the issue then becomes when you're measuring that change is the difference in the assessment because it's not a good tool or because a person's behavior has changed. So that's really important, right? It's, it, it's called reliability, right? Reliability is consistency. It's reliable. Yes, it measures the same thing right? Over and over and over again. Validity is when it's accurate in what it measures. So they're two different, two different things. But our assessment is very, very reliable, right? Which means that if your behavior changes, alright, we're gonna pick it up.
Dr. A 00:50:18 That's validity. But it is consistent. So if, if you take the assessment one month and then three months later you take it, there might be some minor changes or minor differences, our assessment's gonna pick it up because it is so sensitive right now. Some of that might be because of measurement error, right? And even though our assessment is very good, all assessments have measurement error. So, so it's important to realize that, again, it's important to work with an organization that understands the statistical aspect of it. There's a lot of people out there that sell assessments that have no clue regarding really what's going on. So if, when you're picking a company, make sure you pick somebody who's really has expertise, you know, in, in the quality of the assessment and the concepts and how to use it, right? Because it's very difficult. So, so yes.
Dr. A 00:51:02 Can behaviors change? Absolutely. Now, can what motivates somebody or drives that behavior? Can that change? That's typically more stable, that's more difficult to change, but can that change? Yes. I mean, you go through a life-changing situation. God forbid you're diagnosed with cancer or you're diagnosed with, with the terminal illness, is that going to change your behavior? In most people, it's going to, right? They start thinking about different things and they, they change their behavior or somebody in your life. We refer to it as a significant life event. So if there's a significant life event, it can change. Now getting to your second question, and that is, how often should the assessment be redone? All right? If somebody's behavior has changed, a lot of organizations take excellent technicians and they make them in the managers, right? Well, if they're flexible, you know, their behavior might change.
Dr. A 00:51:54 Well, if that's the case, after they've been in the job for six or 12 months, have them do another assessment, right? So they can see it, right? What we recommend regarding our assessments, and they are so stable, but there are so accurate that every three or four years, if somebody's in the same position, have them retake the assessment just to see what's going on. If you're thinking of giving them a promotion, take the assessment, right? How much is it gonna cost you if you put person in the wrong position, then when you're moving them around in relationship to what does the assessment cost? Nothing compared to the problems that it can cause if you put somebody in the wrong position. So, so those are the times where we would recommend that, that you have them retake it, there's a behavioral change. You're asking them to be in a significantly different role. You wanna make sure that, that you, you're making that from accurate understanding. Okay? You know, or you know, there, there's a significant life event. So those are reasons why, why, why it might change. And some could say there's a fourth reason and that reason. Who the heck knows why. Okay, <laugh> people change their behaviors.
Kelley 00:53:04 Alright, doctor, tell us, uh, tell everybody, tell our listeners how they can get ahold of you and how they can potentially even go about ordering some assessments.
Dr. A 00:53:11 It's real easy. Uh, contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just spell it right, a b e l s o n.net. Or contact us at email@example.com or go to our website www.abelson.net, right? Or contact us or get ahold of us through LinkedIn or Instagram or Facebook.
Kelley 00:53:31 Again, as always, thank you guys so much for tuning in and onto the next show.
Dr. A 00:53:35 Thank you guys.
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