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Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there. – John Kotter

The MERIT Profile™ was developed by A-Check America, Inc. and Future Achievement International

© Continuity Consulting, 2012

Welcome Introduction Uniqueness of the MERIT Profile

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Behavioral Traits

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A Quick Introduction What is Behavioral Trait Analysis? The Four Traits: Defined Observing the Traits in Action What About You? Coach’s Corner Action Steps

Character Competencies A Quick Introduction What are the Character Competencies What About You? Coach’s Corner Action Steps

Next Steps About Continuity Consulting

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Welcome and congratulations on taking the MERIT Profile™ assessment. We believe you have made a good choice. We created this guide to ensure that you get the maximum benefit possible. Beyond being informative and insightful, it’s designed to help you gain greater self-awareness and motivate you to begin taking steps of personal development.

-- Your friends at Continuity Consulting


The MERIT Profile assesses both an individual’s character competencies and their behavioral trait make-up. It is utilized worldwide to optimize employee recruitment, engagement and leadership development efforts.

The MERIT Profile is web-based, secure and takes just 20 minutes to complete. The Profile results are available to organizations and certified consultants as a 6-page Recruitment Report, for effective talent acquisition, or a 13-page personalized Development Report.


Introduction to the MERIT Profile™


Uniqueness 3

The Uniqueness of the MERIT Profile The MERIT Profile is unique, in that it measures two complimentary aspects of the human personality. The Profile measures ten character competencies and four behavioral traits that influence “personal leadership”, as well as how you influence and lead others.

Fulfilling your potential begins with personal leadership, which means you learning to lead yourself well. As Plato said, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” The good news is that it is possible to grow in personal leadership through increased self-awareness and intentional development of our character.

Behavioral Traits Behavioral Traits: A Quick Introduction Behavioral Traits can be thought of as our “default mode�. The composition of our Behavioral Traits is established early in life through both genetics and the environment in which we were raised. They influence, for example, why some people are compelled to take control of situations, while others prefer to solve problems quietly in the background, why some like to be the life of the party, while others prefer to have a few deep friendships.

These traits remain mostly unchanged throughout our adult life, and knowledge of Behavioral Traits can help us gain greater awareness of our motivations, fears, communication style preferences, and how we can best work with others based on our similarities and differences.


Behavioral Traits

What is Behavioral Trait analysis? • Four-quadrant behavioral analysis theory goes all the way back to Hippocrates (460 BC). In the 1920s, Carl Jung began using standard four-quadrant behavioral analysis to assess behavior in the workplace. • Behavioral Trait analysis can help us understand how different people cope with their environment and what their present preferences are likely to be. It can also provide insight regarding potential performance in a particular job or function. It should be noted with regard to the MERIT Profile: • Everyone has some combination of all four traits. • All four traits are vital to functioning effectively. • No single trait is better than another. • An individual’s primary trait accounts for 50% of their behavioral tendencies. The top two traits combined account for approximately 80% of their behavior tendencies and preferences.

“Even though Behavioral Trait methodology allows us to group people together with similar people, giving us greater ability to predict their likes and dislikes, preferences and motivations, it is important to remember that people are complex and should be related to as individuals who have been uniquely shaped by their education, personal relationships and experiences.” – From Developing Authentic Leaders ™


The Dominance Trait represents a person’s desire to exercise control over their environment. The Extroversion Trait represents a person’s preference for communicating with others. The Patience Trait represents a person’s pace or rate of motion in thought or work.



You will notice… self-confidence, decisiveness, a desire to lead, and risk-taking.

You will notice… enthusiasm, charm, sociability, relational skills, persuasiveness, and expressions of emotion.



You will notice… cautiousness, an emphasis on detail and precision, restraint, perfectionism, and factuality.

You will notice… fortitude, a methodical approach, a team player, and concern for team members.

Observing the Traits in Action

The Conformity Trait represents a person’s preference for logical analysis and need for structure.

Behavioral Traits

In the MERIT Profile assessment, we use the following four terms in classifying the Behavioral Traits:

The ‘people communication’ trait


Behavioral Traits 7

What About You? Making Sense of Your Results In your MERIT Profile Development Report, on the top of page 5, you will find a graph summarizing your Behavioral Traits results.

sample graph What exactly are you looking for? 1.

Find your longest bar. It signifies your primary trait, which may explain up to 50% of your ‘default’ behavior. In the example above, Extroversion would be considered the primary trait.


Find your second longest bar. In this case it would be Conformity. These two highest scoring traits have a significant influence of your behavior – up to 80%.


The combination of Behavior Traits that comprise our default mode will result in various strengths and limitations. This is where are character development plays an important role.


Sometimes all four bars are nearly identical in length. This is referred to as chameleon or facilitative behavior style. These individuals are able to better utilize whatever Behavioral Trait is appropriate to the situation.


The Behavioral Trait Definitions (at the bottom of page 5) provide a basic description of typical preferences and observable behavior in people who score high or low in each of the four traits.


In the case of a tie score, the results are read from top to bottom. For example if D and C were both 5.5 as the highest score, D would be primary trait and C would be secondary. If another trait were higher than 5.5 in this scenario it would be the primary trait, and D would be secondary trait, even thought tied with C.

The Behavioral Summary Statements (page 6) •If you have not reviewed these statements beforehand, take a few minutes to read them now. We encourage you to put a plus sign next to statements that resonate as true to you and a question mark next to questionable or confusing statements (before discarding these too quickly, you might want to discuss them with a friend, spouse or your coach). •Most people find that over 80% of the statements to ‘ring true’ to them. •Behavioral Traits represent your ‘default mode’, or the way you are naturally compelled to act. •The more you are aware of these ‘defaults’, the better. It will also provide confirmation of your uniqueness and greater awareness that not everyone is wired like you.

Behavioral Traits

What about you?

•As we understand more about ourselves (self awareness) and others (social awareness), we learn to appreciate others’ differences and we can then modify our communication style in our interactions with others. As you read through the summary statements, look for cautionary statements. For example: “may come across as aloof or indifferent to people” or “can get bogged down in the details”. These can alert you to specific limitations inherent to each of the traits. Believe it or not, there are situations in which your ‘default’ behavior isn’t necessarily the most appropriate behavior. Even strength areas can be over-relied upon and overused.


Behavioral Traits

Coach’s Corner

Since Behavioral Traits influence so much of our conduct, preferences and reactions, it takes intentionality to break out of wellestablished patterns. In fact, the innate limitations of your primary Behavioral Trait will likely remain a limiting factor in your personal and professional life unless deliberately addressed through character and skill development.

Here are a few examples of what we work on with our clients. Through mentoring and intentional personal development, someone with:





Can learn to …

Can learn to …

Can learn to …

Can learn to …

Better identify with others and play a supportive role when appropriate.

Manage time more effectively and value a focus on details and results.

Assert themselves when necessary and be more open to change.

Participate in groups, handle conflict and accept critique of their work more effectively.

What should I do now? 9

Now that you have had the opportunity to consider your Behavioral Traits results, there is a good chance that you have already increased your selfawareness to some degree and have thought of one or two areas you would like to address. Let’s quickly review them again and make a plan of action.

Ask someone you trust to weigh in


After reading the Behavioral Summary Statements (page 6), a ‘trusted other’ in your life – a spouse, close friend or manager –should be able to give you some helpful feedback. As you read through the results, some of the descriptor phrases may not immediately ring true to you, but don’t discard or discount the results too quickly. They may potentially be blind spots or areas of which you are not yet fully aware.

Behavioral Traits

Action Steps

Ask _______________________________ to review the results with you and provide feedback.

Choose a strength to leverage


Using the Behavioral Summary Statements (page 6) as your guide, choose one strength area and consider how you can begin using it more deliberately and effectively, whether in your personal or professional life, or both. Strength area ______________________________

Choose a ‘cautionary’ area to address


Again, using the Behavioral Summary Statements (page 6) as your guide, choose a cautionary statement that you want to address. Ask your ‘trusted others’ about this area in your life. Then ask them to let you know if they notice you defaulting to this more derailing mode of behavior. Caution ____________________________________ 10

Character Competencies: A Quick Introduction Character Competencies, although impacted by our genetic disposition and up-bringing, are more readily developed than our Behavioral Traits. These are molded by the myriad of habits you form and the choices you make on a daily basis -choices about the attitudes you will have, the beliefs you will hold, and the commitments you will keep.

When it comes to assessing character competencies, the MERIT Profile gives insight into your present ability to be proactive and self-disciplined, to see yourself and your contributions in an accurate light, and to be optimistic; it assesses how well you operate by a consistent set of values and personal mission, your ability to integrate the personal and professional spheres of your life, to focus on and influence others through authentic relationships, to invest in your own personal development, to handle change and make necessary mid-course corrections, as well as your present ability to remain focused on what’s important to you and not quit.



Commitments 11

What are the Character Competencies? The Character Competencies are attitudes, beliefs and commitments that research has shown to be essential for personal leadership as well as the leadership of others.


Make Things Happen Be proactive, create new habits and develop personal discipline

Achieve Personal Significance Build an accurate self-image, be aware of strengths and weaknesses

X-Out the Negatives


Courageously deal with fears, problems and other difficulties

Internalize Right Principles Live a values-driven lifestyle at home and at work

March to a Mission Build a sense of personal mission and purpose in your life

Integrate All of Life


Develop balance in personal priorities, attitudes and goals

Zero in on Caring for People Listen, confront, empathize and coach others

Energize Internally Invest in your own development, choosing to live a character-based lifestyle

Realign Rigorously Handle change and make necessary mid-course corrections

Stay the Course Remain focused on what’s important and don’t quit

These are what you need in order to lead 12

What about you? Making Sense of Your Results Overview of Section I: Character Summary (Page 3)

•The ten character competencies are divided into three categories: attitudes, beliefs and commitments. Brief definitions of the categories are provided in the middle of the page. •To help you remember them, the character competencies have been named so that the first letters create the acrostic “MAXIMIZERS” – since development of these competencies will “maximize” your personal leadership. •At least one category, the one (or two) with the lowest score, will be shown in red, signifying lower overall strength in that category.


What about you? Making Sense of Your Results Overview of Section I: The Character Competency Scores (Page 3)

The Character Competency Scores give us a quick look at both strengths and potential areas for development. It is helpful to compare your scores with the population norm score. The color red, indicates a score below the norm. However, it may also be helpful to compare your scores with your Personal Norm (middle of page 9) which can show if you scored yourself generally low or high across all ten competencies. Page 4, Section II, provides brief descriptions of the tendencies of people who score high or low for each of the character competencies.


What about you? Making Sense of Your Results Overview of Section IV: The Character Competency Group Summaries (Page 7-8) This section shows your character competency results under the categories of attitudes, beliefs and commitments. This allows you to get a quick view of your scores by competency grouping.

Attitudes The pattern of emotions and actions that reveal your mental and emotional outlook and approach to life.

Beliefs A mental framework of your formed opinions, judgments and things you believe to be true. These beliefs result in personal values that are demonstrated in certain behaviors.

Commitments The mental framework you use to make choices that are consistent and aligned with your attitudes and beliefs.

In this box is a general description for each of the character competencies 15

What about you? Making Sense of Your Results Overview of Section V and VI: Your results, highest to lowest (page 9-14) •Section V and VI walk you through your character competencies results, listed in order from highest to lowest score. •Higher scores are strength areas to be leveraged. Section V lists competencies at or above the Norm line. •Lower scores may indicate weaknesses or under-developed areas. But remember, improvement is possible. Section VI lists competencies below the Norm line. (Note: If there aren't any competencies below the norm VI will be blank) •An extremely high score can reveal a strength area that may occasionally become a limitation. Look for cautionary statements among the descriptor phrases, such as the one attached to the example below: “has a strong desire for the approval of others, there may be some reluctance to speak out on certain things for fear of being rejected.”

•Personalized, descriptor phrases are listed under each character competency. If you have not reviewed these statements, take a few minutes to read them now. We encourage you to put a plus sign next to each statement that resonates as true to you.

•This is also the easiest place to compare your score with the Population Norm and your Personal Norm (This is derived by taking the highest individual competency score, adding it to the lowest competency score, then dividing the sum by 2). 16

Coach’s Corner

“Knowing [yourself] is the most difficult task any of us faces. But until you truly know yourself, strengths and weaknesses, know what you want to do and why you want to do it, you cannot succeed in any but the most superficial sense of the word.” – Warren Bennis, Leadership Guru

The Importance of Self-Awareness Good intentions are not enough. We encourage you to take steps to increase your self-awareness and minimize your blind spots. Here are some suggestions: • Use 360-Degree Feedback from surveys or discussions to reveal areas where your ways of thinking or behaviors may need to change. • Invite an objective observer to shadow you – sit in on meetings and analyze your day-to-day activities to get feedback on how you spend your time and manage others. • Fully utilize your MERIT Profile™ Development Report. With the help of a MERIT-certified executive coach, you can craft a personal development plan. It is recommended that you retake the MERIT Profile every 12-18 months to measure your progress.


Intentional development of the character competencies provides our innate Behavioral Traits with the necessary self-awareness and self-control to enable us to respond appropriately in the face of stress, fear and uncertainty. In other words, character supplies our ‘default mode’ with the discernment and wisdom we need to make good choices in the heat of the moment. – Developing Authentic Leaders™

What should I do now? “Your power and ultimate success flow out of your character and are influenced by the depth of your maturity.” -- Dr. Ron Jenson


Action Steps Now that you have had the opportunity to read over the results of the character competency portion of your MERIT Profile, it is time to take some action steps.

Leverage Your Strengths Write down your three top scoring character competencies below, then circle the one you feel could be better utilized. My Strengths:

________________ _________________________ __________________ Reflect on the following questions. How is the circled character competency revealed in your personal and professional life?

How can you leverage this strength to increase your influence and impact? In your personal life?

In your professional life?


Address Your Development Areas Write down your three lowest scoring character competencies. Circle one – the competency that you feel the most urgency to address. My Development Areas: ______________ ___________________________ __________________ Reflect on the following questions. How is the circled character competency (or lack thereof) revealed in your personal and professional life?

How can you develop this character area to grow your influence and impact? In your personal life?

In your professional life?


A good next step is to take a next step, and another, and another, and… Well, you get the idea. Peak performers and successful people have a ‘bias for action’. Don't sell yourself short. Choose to be relentless in the pursuit of your personal leadership growth.

Ask a friend or colleague to hold you accountable. Remember to regularly ask them to courageously speak into your life. Most people, unless invited, are afraid to point out development needs or potential blind spots. This is especially true if you are their boss. This can result in the leader becoming isolated and insulated from potentially helpful feedback. Not sure who to ask? Find the people around you who truly wish for you to succeed and are willing to help you in your efforts. Ask them to hold you accountable.


Finally, there is nothing like a personal coach to help you clarify and pursue your goals. Listen to this: "I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities." -- Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot

"The coach is someone whose job is to be on your side of the fence ... They're there ... to help you achieve your maximum potential, and help you figure out how to get there along the way.� -- Atul Gawande, surgeon, best-selling author, and public health researcher, in an article advocating that even violinists and surgeons should have coaches (From The New Yorker)

If you are interested, at Continuity Consulting, we have trained, executive coaches who are passionate about what they do and eager to help.


We provide human-capital and leadership development services to help our clients lead themselves well, confidently lead others and create healthy, high performing organizations. Our services include: • Coaching for individuals and teams • Training, instructor-led and eLearning • Speaking, presentations and workshops • Consulting, assessments and advisory services

2250 E. Bidwell, Suite 100, Folsom, CA 95630 Phone 916-458-5151

Your Guide To The MERIT Profile  

A companion booklet to help you get the absolute most out of your MERIT Profile Development Report