Dealing With Others Through Understanding Situational Behaviour

By Andrew Grant

The Key To Increasing Your Productivity

What do the Four Seasons Hotel Bali and the Surabaya International Hospital
have in common? The Four Seasons Bali has been recognised as one of the best
resort hotels in the world, while Surabaya International Hospital is one if
Indonesia’s leading hospitals. Both companies are striving to lead their
respective fields in customer service, and both have recognised that the way
to do this is through creating high performance work teams, by understanding
staff-to-staff and staff-to-client relationships.

But what is the biggest difference? Those who enter the lobby of the Four
Seasons are anticipating spending the best week of their lives, while those
who walk through the front doors of the Surabaya International Hospital are
most likely in a very different mindset.

When we recently ran training programs for these two very different
industries, we found it was a fascinating exercise to consider the value of
recognising the similarities and differences. Both of the executive teams we
worked with not only realise that everyone is an individual and must be
treated with respect, but also that each of us responds differently to
circumstances depending on our environment. The staff can either create an
environment to encourage the most positive responses, or adapt the way
individuals relate to each other according to the particular environment they
are working in.

Failure to respond to individual people’s needs in the given environment can
result in lost sales, dissatisfied customers, low team morale, and
misunderstandings, sometimes resulting in serious and costly industrial
action. Knowing how to react to people in these different situations is an
acquired skill. Many conflicts can be avoided and even apparently
insurmountable problems can have positive outcomes with an understanding of
the way people behave.


Quick Quiz

Consider the sample questions in this quick quiz, which demonstrates how
people differ and how they can and should be dealt with differently. Try it
on yourself and your work team:

About yourself:

  • What motivates you: Achievement, recognition, stability, or the need to be
  • What environment do you work best in: Busy, relaxed, stimulating, or
  • How do you make decisions: Quick and impulsive, based on relationships,
    slow and studied or based on careful research?
  • What is your preferred conversation style? Bottom line, people orientated,
    systematic or factual?

About customer service:

  • How do you know when a customer wants to chat or be left alone?
  • How do you turn a complaint into a victory, where the customer is
    transformed into your best marketing person?

About your team:

  • How do you decide on the best combination of people to work together in a
    work team?
  • How do you decide on the best role or job for an individual?


Consider how, for example, if you place someone who needs challenges in an
environment that is too relaxed they may become restless and invent challenges
and cause problems. On the other hand, if you deal with someone who needs
stability, you will make that individual feel insecure if you introduce rapid
change, and they may react against the situation. Anyone in any leadership
role or with any concern for work team functioning should appreciate the need
to adequately deal with these questions.

By discovering individuals’ drives and motivations and then learning about how
these affect our behaviours, behaviour profiling systems such as DiSC can help
individuals understand typical behaviours in specific settings. We used this
profiling system with both the Four Seasons Hotel and the Surabaya
International Hospital to identify staff and client needs, and help bring an
appreciation of how these can best be understood and dealt with. The outcomes
were amazing.

Through understanding what people’s leisure needs and expectations are,
customers at the Four Seasons can now be treated on even more of an individual
level, right down to recognising and appreciating their personal preferences.
By understanding the fears patients may have when entering a hospital setting,
the Surabaya International Hospital can now help them through what could be a
traumatic time, ensuring a holistic approach to health care. Most of all, by
understanding how each of the work teams function, both these companies are
able to demonstrate to their clients a high morale and a positive strength.
They can ensure that stressful situations are successfully dealt with by
maximising the resources and strengths of the team and minimising any

We don’t want to just offer a training program but want to help you solve
problems! Tirian is able to provide solutions to problems through their
creative “Justified Fun” training programs. For more details
please visit

©2000 Andrew Grant


T-Thoughts articles may be reproduced with written permission and must
also be acknowledged with a web link back to the Tirian pages.

2 Responses to “Dealing With Others Through Understanding Situational Behaviour”

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