Are You Risk Tolerant?

As my good friend John Jason and I rallied a pair of dirt bikes side by side on a mountainous road at a high rate of speed, it occurred to me that we are clearly risk tolerant and that we like to move fast. John Jason is the COO and heir apparent CEO to a five hundred plus person HVAC company, and I am the Business Development Officer to a fledging consulting firm. We are both familiar with a solution called Predictive Index (PI) and I couldn’t help myself from evaluating our behavioral patterns and how it pertained to us riding dirt bikes together over a three-day weekend.

I have known John for quiet some time and a few months back I had reached out to my old friend before taking this new opportunity at T2 Team. We discussed the firm’s success in helping other businesses succeed as well as its newest solution. John would share his professional opinion with me on one condition, and that was if I came to beautiful Steamboat, CO to ride dirt bikes with him. So when I agreed to this, John declared, "Ben, I use Predictive Index. Not just for every incoming candidate to our company, but on every person within our company. Given your firms past accomplishments and what this tool can do for businesses. I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity with this firm."

With the help of PI, I now understand why John and I are uniquely compatible as riding partners. While John and I are distinctly different, we compliment each other much like a COO to a BDO should in their professional lives. Our four factors of dominance, extraversion, patience and formality blend to make great team dynamics and a lasting friendship.

John and I have a 3+ and 2+ sigma with our Factor A's of dominance. This means that John and I are competitive, assertive and independent. While John and I race together side by side on the two lane roads, it gets a little interesting when we ride to our preferred single track. Typically I prefer to lead the pack going through rugged terrain, often at a rate of speed that most tend not to have. But in John's case he would rather put me into the trees going into the next corner then let me lead. John is a little more comfortable with conflict then I am, and in this instance I choose to be collaborative and let him lead the early goings.

With out fail John crashes and falls down often, up to six times a day when we go riding. This is typical of a very high factor A of dominance and someone that is risk tolerant. John has the mindset of risk and reward; he will push himself to be better in everything that he does knowing that sometimes he will crash. And quite frankly he is ok with that. At times he is upside down on the trail or challenged in his role as a COO, but he is going to take the moment to exert his influence to become better.

While John is comfortable with risk, surprisingly he can also be very calculating, precise, and diligent. At 1+ sigma with Factor D for formality our COO has what is called a corporate cut back or project manager cut back because he has to make sure that his commercial HVAC projects are done correctly. I was fortunate to have John prepare our bikes for this riding trip. Especially knowing that John has the certainty and risk from error that our machines our properly prepared for hundreds of miles of riding. Complimentary to someone who has prepped the bikes, is my -2.5 sigma Factor D of formality. Having flown in from Seattle to Steamboat I seize the opportunity to be spontaneous and I am flexible enough to ride a bike that I have never ridden before.

John made for a fantastic guide through northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. Often he paused or stopped at forks in the road and trailheads, verbally communicating to me what to expect with the upcoming terrain. With John's 1+ sigma for extraversion there was very little uncertainty as to where or what John was taking me through. Often celebrating that we would embark on challenging terrain, and with my -0- sigma Factor B for extraversion I would simply nod my head in agreement or sarcastically tell him that I wanted to go home.

What makes me an anomaly is that I have 1+ sigma with the Factor C of patience. Despite moving at a high rate of speed (4+ sigma difference between Factors A and D) I am patient, stable, calm, deliberate and comfortable with repetition. Because I do not need the variety the way that a low sigma Factor C does, I am able to concentrate and make perfect practice perfect. Through out the three-day weekend, not once did I fall or crash. Rather I get faster as the day goes on. What once was done in first gear is now done in second or maybe even third.

After five hours of riding John begins to fatigue physically and mentally. The crashing has taken a toll on his body. And with his -1 sigma Factor C with patience, John is ready to get off the bike and he is in need of variety and freedom from repetition. Quite simply, he is ready for a cold beer.

John's Factor A for dominance has dropped and he is beginning to fight himself on the bike, as he can't decide if he is risk tolerant or risk adverse. During these times, I have learned the hard way not to push him to go faster or he will fall down and hurt himself.

John has been our guide all day. That is until we come up on the last single track of the day. I make a slight gesture that I want to lead now; John obliges and sees harmony in me doing so. I grab a fist full of throttle and ride harder and faster at the 5th hour then I have all day. I rail the trail as fast and as hard as I can, and I comfortable with it. Autonomous and venturesome I am at peace leading the last bit of our ride.

The power of Predictive Index is that in as little as six minutes, it is able to decode the human behavior that John and myself demonstrated through out our three-day weekend. Quite honestly it's behavior that we have exhibited together for many years. This is behavior that I did not fully understand until I experienced PI.. 

*John Jason is a fictitious name to predict the identity of my good friend.