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Quick! - What's their MVS ?

Have you ever prepared for a meeting, made a stunning presentation and found that your audience/manager/steering committee did not get your point at all? Even worse, they went off on tangents and left you feeling deflated because your presentation yielded more questions than answers.

How can you communicate project information, such as project status, more effectively with project team members, executives and your business partners? Email is not always communication - sometimes it is just noise.

It is essentially a three step process. First, you become aware of who you are (your MVS®). Second, you identify their Motivational Value System® (MVS®). Third, you choose to communicate using words and behaviors that resonate with their MVS®. It is as simple (and hard) as that.

Let's go through the steps, so that you can implement this simple process:
  1. Become aware of who your are, and what your MVS® is. You do this by completing the Strengths Deployment Inventory® (SDI®) assessment. Contact me and I will facilitate this for you.

  2. You identify your partner's MVS®. We are focused here on helping you to communicate effectively, and I use the terms audience and partner interchangeably. It is the person or persons receiving your communication. Your goal is to provide the information in the format that is easiest for them to understand and accept. Without your audience taking the Strengths Deployment Inventory® (SDI®) assessment and sharing the results with you, you are not able to conclusively determine their MVS®. However, you can guess their MVS® with reasonable accuracy, based on their words and behaviors. This is the focus of this article.The common words and behaviors for each of the 7 MVS® groups are listed in the table below. Your challenge is to listen and observe intently, then try to identify the person's MVS®.

  3. You present your message using words and behaviors that increase their sense of self-worth. You do this by borrowing behaviors if you need to, which I address in my workshops and elsewhere in my writing. 

Here are indicators to help you quickly identify a person's likely MVS®.
MVS®Words commonly used & Behaviors exhibited
BlueTalks about the impact on people. For example, when describing a situation "Sally came late to the meeting and disrupted all the people around her." Often talks a lot, and likes to build rapport through dialog.
RedShort phrases and words, packed with action. You will hear "Go, Go, Go" and "Just do it". You won't hear about the impact on people or details of any projects. For example, when describing a situation "Sally rushed from another meeting and we got right down to business."
Green Talks about details and pragmatic plans. (These are good traits for project managers, in moderation.) Speaks in even tones, with unemotional communication, as a reserved bystander. For example "Sally was late to the meeting because she struggles to plan ahead and then did not have any details about her new hair-brained scheme."
HubKeywords are "flexible, options and experiment". For example, in a meeting trying to take a vote on the best way to increase sales, you will hear "Let's be flexible here and look at all the options".
Red-BlueSpeaks with the drive and energy of Red MVS® described above, but also has words and behaviors that reveal Blue MVS®. For example, when describing the situation "Sally came to the meeting late, which disrupted us. I will coach her on her behavior so that it does not happen again."
Red-GreenActs and speaks with the drive of Red MVS® described above and also includes strategies to achieve the results. For example, "Sally came to meeting with a clear plan of action to implement the new vision for our department."
Blue-GreenSpeaks about process and actions that allow others to become competent and self-reliant. For example, "Sally's proposal lays out the plan for team members to develop and implement processes so that they don't have to ask their supervisor questions for routine tasks."


Here is a simple game that you can play to assimilate this information and continue your own learning. Try to apply this simple table as you go about life. When you are in a meeting, reading a book, at your Rotary meeting, in church, or watching a speech on TV, try to identify the speaker's MVS®. Where are they coming from, what increases their sense of self-worth, and how would you communicate with them for maximum effectiveness?

You improve your chances of successful communication and better relationships when you know where the other person is coming from. Armed with the information in this article, you are now in a better position to customize communications and choose better words to suit your audience. Good luck.

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Note: Strengths Deployment Inventory® (SDI®) and Motivational Value System® (MVS®) are trademarks of Personal Strengths Publishing.

Copyright 2018 Wayne Botha Email Wayne Cell: 860.214.4897