How is the SOCIAL STYLE Model™ researched and validated?
What’s the difference between Versatility and Emotional Intelligence?
Do you have proof that Versatility impacts performance?
Does SOCIAL STYLE change in different audiences (ex. culture, gender, job function/level)?
What’s the value of a Self-Perception profile versus a Multi-Rater profile?
What’s the difference between your profile offerings?
What follow-up tools and/or training do you offer?
Is your training available in other languages?
Can I customize your training or incorporate SOCIAL STYLE and Versatility into my company’s programs?
Will my SOCIAL STYLE change over time?
How frequently should an individual complete the Profile?
Why can’t I buy all TRACOM products online?
I’ve completed SOCIAL STYLE profiles on different occasions and my Style came out differently. What happened?
I thought I had high Versatility, but my scores show I’m low. What happened?
How can I improve my Versatility quickly?
The SOCIAL STYLE Model has been researched for over 50 years. TRACOM continually ensures the reliability and validity of the model and its measurement systems using established psychometric techniques. The Model is not stagnant, but rather undergoes ongoing refinement and enhancement. The Model has also been researched and developed for global applications.
SOCIAL STYLE Profiles measure behavioral style. But behavior, like all psychological phenomena, is different than things that can be easily and accurately measured in the physical world, such as weight and height. So how do we know that we are accurately measuring behavior? In order to make this claim, the instrument has to adhere to standards that have been set forth by the scientific community. In particular, research evidence should correspond to criteria set forth in the “Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing” (AERA, APA & NCME, 1999), which provides benchmarks for developing psychological measurement instruments. This evidence comes in two primary forms: reliability and validity.
Reliability determines whether an instrument measures in a way that is consistent and dependable. As an example, if I weigh myself on the same scale every day for a week and my weight is registered the same every day, then this scale is reliable. Validity determines whether an instrument measures accurately. In other words, does it measure what it proposes to measure? In the example above, if I stepped on the scale and it told me that I have brown eyes, it would not be a valid measure since it isn’t measuring my weight.
Note: TRACOM’s SOCIAL STYLE Profiles have been administered to more than 1.5 million people over the past three decades. TRACOM’s SOCIAL STYLE profiles are valid, reliable instruments. TRACOM continues its ongoing research, updating validation on the instruments every six months.
- Personal Styles & Effective Performance – Written by the founders of TRACOM, this book outlines the history and research behind the Versatility concept. It includes anecdotal examples of the concepts in action and provides proof for the validity of TRACOM’s Versatility measurement tools (SOCIAL STYLE Profile).
- SOCIAL STYLE & Versatility Technical Report: – This report will give you the academic facts behind the enhanced version of the Social Style Profile (SSP-E). It details the development, reliability and validity of the instrument. Read the SOCIAL STYLE & Versatility Technical Report.
- SOCIAL STYLE & Versatility Facilitator Handbook is a book that explains the SOCIAL STYLE Model and hits history. A great resource for anyone who teaches Style courses or just wants to understand the application of Style. More than 100 pages of Style and Versatility information.
The Versatility construct was developed by TRACOM in the 1960s, and parallels some of the recent research on Emotional Intelligence (EI) (see chart). Unlike most EI models, Versatility is specifically measured and used in workplace settings. The dimensions of Versatility were researched and developed based on their importance for work-related effectiveness, whereas most measures of EI are somewhat broad and focus on global life skills.
|Social Awareness||Know Others|
|Relationship Management||Do Something For Others|
- Read the whitepaper Comparing Versatility to Emotional Intelligence.
Most people recognize the importance of interpersonal skills in the workplace, but it’s often hard to measure. The recent “Managerial Success Study” by TRACOM scientifically reaffirmed what we have learned through half a century of experience: TRACOM Versatility measure is a powerful indicator of workplace effectiveness. The study shows that interpersonal skills are an important element of overall success comparable to intelligence, previous work experience and personality. Statistical analysis identified a strong correlation between high Versatility and effectiveness in 47 elements of job performance such as “ability to effectively manage conflict,” “ability to influence,” “initiative” and “effective team leadership.”
- Read the summary of Versatility Research: Managerial Success Study
- Read TRACOM’s whitepaper, Workplace Performance: The Impact of Interpersonal Effectiveness
- Read our new whitepapers on Coaching, Conflict & Managerial Performance
A critical component of TRACOM’s research program involves testing the model for differences across cultures, gender, job levels, and other demographic breakdowns.
While we have found no meaningful differences by gender or race, we’ve identified a few cultural differences. Some behaviors in one culture may be viewed as more or less Assertive and/or Responsive than another; however, the same primary dimensions of behavior exist. This is why TRACOM develops separate “norms” for each unique culture. A norm is simply a database of common behaviors that provides a convenient way to compare ourselves to others in a meaningful way. For instance, the range of Assertive behavior in some Asian cultures tends to be more restricted than in North America, therefore a person considered to be Expressive in Asian society might be perceived as more Amiable in North America. Because of these differences in degree of behavior, separate norms are developed for distinct cultures.
TRACOM examines differences by occupation and job level, and utilizes these analyses to develop profiles that are precisely targeted towards specific industries and groups, such as managers.
Self-perception profiles offer a quick, easy introduction to understanding styles of human behavior. Both paper and online surveys are available. The questionnaires take about 15 minutes to complete and are self-scoring, allowing for immediate discussion. The included guide gives participants a basic understanding of SOCIAL STYLE and where they fit in. It also offers insight for each Style about workplace success.
With a multi-rater profile, participants complete an online self-perception survey and have a group of colleagues, supervisors and subordinates complete a similar survey about them. The report combines feedback from at least three people and reports the participant’s self-perception scores separate from the raters’ scores, providing an objective view of the individual’s SOCIAL STYLE. A comparison of your own results to ratings from others helps solidify what you learn about how your behaviors effect others in the workplace. Surveys are completed online ahead of time so results can be discussed during a class or coaching session.
While self-perception provides a great first step toward self-awareness, it is important to note that a multi-rater profile will provide a more accurate learning experience. Research shows that a person identifies their SOCIAL STYLE different from the Style identified by others approximately 50 percent of the time. If other perceive you as Driving, but you think of yourself as Analytical, actions you take to adapt your behavior will be misaligned. Similar differences also occur in identifying Versatility. Statistics show that people with low (“w”) Versatility have an artificially high view of their Versatility with well over 40 percent believing they have medium-high or high Versatility.
- Read our whitepaper on the The Value of the Multi-Rater Profile.
TRACOM’s primary profile is the SOCIAL STYLE Profile – Enhanced (SSP-E). This profile describes people based on actual behavior (e.g., “Easily adapts to unfamiliar situations”), rather than single words (e.g., “changeable”). The SSP-E utilizes this type of behavioral statement instead of adjectives, which also provides more accurate assessment. Most importantly, the Versatility component of the model is now greatly expanded, providing more detailed feedback in each critical area of Versatility (Image, Presentation, Competence and Feedback). The SSP-E Profile for Managers and SSP-E Profile for Salespeople provides a comprehensive picture of a person’s SOCIAL STYLE and Versatility within those jobs.
The Applications Guide provides in-depth application of the SOCIAL STYLE Model™ . Applications guides are available for Managers, Sales & Universal Audience. In addition The Working with SOCIAL STYLE guide series teaches how to apply the SOCIAL STYLE Model and provide Style-specific advice for common workplace challenges.
The TRACOM Multi-Rater Versatility Checkup Profile is a follow-up product for those who have previously taken SOCIAL STYLE training and completed a Multi-Rater Profile. It uses an online, multi-rater questionnaire completed by the participant and a selection of colleagues and provides a detailed results report and actions for improvement for each of the four components of Versatility – Image, Presentation, Competence and Feedback. The Achieving Higher Versatility Resource Guide is included with the profile.
TRACOM offers SOCIAL STYLE Profiles in a wide variety of international languages. The use of local-country language results in a more effective training program. A variety of local-country comparative norms are also available.
Yes. Companies frequently license the SOCIAL STYLE Model and concepts for use in a variety of training programs including leadership development, managerial skills, coaching programs, etc. TRACOM offers flexible licensing so organizations can select the appropriate delivery options and content to meet their business objectives. We offer consulting on how to best incorporate the essential learning to fit within your time restrictions and to blend into your training objectives and audience.
Research has shown that SOCIAL STYLE remains relatively consistent across time. Once we reach adulthood, our primary behavioral tendencies tend to stabilize. What is most important is to understand your Style, and work on Versatility, or how you work with others regardless of Style.
It is possible for a person’s outward behavior to change, or at least be perceived, somewhat differently across circumstances. For instance, a person newly promoted to a position of authority may slightly change key elements of his or her behavior to accommodate the new role. Thus people will perceive this person’s behavior differently, which can result in a slight change in Style profile.
Research has shown that SOCIAL STYLE remains relatively consistent across time. Once we reach adulthood, our primary behavioral tendencies tend to stabilize, and generally, a single measure of SOCIAL STYLE is adequate. Once you understand your Style, it’s most important to focus on improving your Versatility, or how you work with others regardless of their Styles. The Versatility Checkup is a follow-up tool which gives participants detailed benchmarks of their Versatility and tips for improving. This may be completed every six months to two years.
However, there are a few circumstances in which TRACOM recommends completing a traditional Profile more than once.
If you have completed only a Self-Perception Profile, we recommend completing a multi-rater such as the SOCIAL STYLE Profile-Enhanced (SSP-E). Research consistently shows that a person identifies their SOCIAL STYLE as different from the Style identified by others approximately 50 percent of the time, so a multi-rater will give you a more accurate and complete view of your behavior.
Additionally, if an individual has moved into a new job role and/or is working with different people, it may be useful to complete another multi-rater profile. For instance, a person newly promoted to a position of authority may slightly change key elements of his or her behavior to complete managerial duties. People will then perceive this person’s behavior differently, which can result in a slight change in Style profile. If a person within these circumstances feels they need a good indicator of how others perceive them, it would be useful to re-profile.
Why can’t I buy all TRACOM products online?
TRACOM offers many products for sale via our online store, including self-perception profiles, application guides and Working With STYLE guides. Our multi-rater profiles and the training programs that use them, require a more thorough understanding of SOCIAL STYLE concepts and certification is required prior to their purchase. If you are interested in purchasing these products, please contact us at (800) 221-2321 or (303) 470-4900.
Because SOCIAL STYLE is a reflection of how others see your behavior, there are a number of possible explanations why the Style might have changed.
Self-Perception Vs. Multi-rater Profiles
The most common explanation is that one of your Style profiles was generated using a Self-Perception questionnaire. Research shows that people self-identify their Style different from others approximately half of the time. And because our effectiveness reflects how others see us, information gathered from others is much more helpful than our own internal beliefs. Style and Versatility scores from a multi-rater profile are the ones on which you should focus. (See our whitepaper on the Value of a Multi-Rater Profile.)
Different Rating Groups
Sometimes a person will have significant differences in the people that complete a SOCIAL STYLE profile. For example, a sales manager may behave significantly different with his colleagues and direct reports than with his clients. This could result in some differences in a person’s SOCIAL STYLE score, but research has shown that such differences are infrequent and relatively small.
Changes Over Time
Sometimes a person’s behaviors – and thus their SOCIAL STYLE – will change slightly over time and/or circumstances. For instance, a person newly promoted to a position of authority may slightly change key elements of his or her behavior to accommodate the new role. Thus people will perceive this person’s behavior differently, which can result in a slight change in Style profile.
Versatility Score Changes
Versatility scores do sometimes change when people are re-profiled, because Versatility is truly variable and a choice each person can make. We may show more or less Versatility in different situations, with different people or when performing different actions. The most effective people are those that learn to be highly Versatile in a wide variety of settings and in the majority of their interactions with others. When this is the case, Versatility will generally be perceived as high no matter the group rating you.
TRACOM’s research shows that people often misidentify their own Versatility compared to others’ view of them. People with relatively low Versatility sometimes assume they are more Versatile than others see them. People that receive higher Versatility scores from others actually tend to give themselves lower scores. One explanation for this is that more Versatile people hold themselves to a high standard and thus provide relatively lower self-ratings.
It’s important to remember that knowledge is power. Though it may be somewhat disconcerting to receive a lower Versatility score, you can quickly raise your Versatility by focusing on just a few areas. The profile report will indicate the different components of Versatility, and by focusing on your areas of greatest need, you can become more effective. Just remember, it might take a little time for your coworkers to notice these changes, so be patient and persistent.
The TRACOM Multi-Rater Versaility Checkup Profile is a follow-up product for those who have previously taken SOCIAL STYLE training and completed a Multi-Rater Profile. It uses an online, multi-rater questionnaire completed by the participant and a selection of colleagues and provides a detailed results report and actions for improvement for each of the four components of Versatility – Image, Presentation, Competence and Feedback. The Achieving Higher Versatility Resource Guide is included with the profile.
Versatility is all about practice and it is important to continually refresh your versatility. TRACOM’s Working with STYLE Guides offer advice for common workplace challenges. In addition, TRACOM offers a variety of training programs tailored to Managers, Sales Professionals & a Universal Audience.