This is the third post in this series on bandwidth - if you haven’t already, start with Part 1 and Part 2.

We’ll continue looking at the Social Energy score as an example in this post - so make sure you’re on page 17 of your Signature Report.

We’ve got this far without mentioning Stress scores, but some of you will be looking at something like 38 on Usual, 98 on Need and 25 on Stress. If your Stress score is different from your Need score, we need to take that into account as well.

So let’s back up a moment. If you are like John Public (38 Usual / 17 Need & Stress), or like me (99 Usual / 61 Need & Stress), or like the person mentioned in the last post with 99 Usual / 9 Need & Stress, then your behaviour when you start reacting to Needs that aren’t met - i.e. your Stress behaviour in Birkman terms - is a useful clue to what we can’t see.

Especially in the case of the 99/9 person, the fact that this normally gregarious person, withdraws totally at times is a) confusing to those who think they know her, but b) accurately flagging what is out of sight, if only any one could read it. In other words, her stress behaviour tells people “I need some space, leave me alone!”

But if your Stress and Need scores are different, as in my 38/98/25 example above, what we have is something to this effect:

What everyone sees is someone who is fairly autonomous and not particularly sociable (38 Usual);

…who will often withdraw completely into themselves and be frustrated with group demands (25 Stress);

So the idea that not only do they actually understand the need for plenty of social interaction, but desperately Need (98 Need!) that themselves, is going to take more than average genius to work out. Or a Birkman Report.

So how about you? We talked previously about the ‘mountain’ - Are both your Usual and Need scores on the same side of the mountain? Either side of the summit? Wide spread on both sides? Is your Stress different from your Need?

Now: go through the rest of your Behavioural Components, using the same framework. As long as Stress and Needs are the same, you are looking at:

  • same side of the mountain - easily understood, but less bandwidth
  • either side of the summit - reasonably understood and reasonable bandwidth
  • wide spread on both sides of the mountain - great bandwidth and easily misunderstood

If Stress is different from Needs, then you are looking at Usual and Stress behaviours which will mutually reinforce a misleading view of who you most truly are (your Needs). So whatever bandwidth you have, if your Stress is different from your Need you are likely to be misunderstood in a way and with a frequency that causes you problems.

Draw yourself a chart if you like, and summarise your scores. I have done this for John Public:

Same side (Left) Same side (Right) Either side of summit Wide spread, both sides Stress different from Need
Social Energy 38/17
Physical Energy 76/41
Emotional Energy 64/64
Self-consciousness 21/14
Assertiveness 87/75
Insistence 76/42
Incentives 71/34/75
Restlessness 90/6/75
Thought 62/62
Implication Easily read by others, but may struggle to understand people on the right-hand side of the mountain Easily read by others, but may struggle to understand people on the left-hand side of the mountain Reasonably easy to read and reasonable bandwidth Great bandwidth, easily misunderstood Usual and Stress mutually reinforce other people’s misleading view of me

As you can see, John doesn’t actually have any “great bandwidth, easily misunderstood” scores. He does have a lot of scores on one side of the mountain or the other, meaning areas where he is easily read but may miss fully understanding those on the other side (although note that this will vary - Self-Consciousness and Assertiveness are the two where he may be furthest from an understanding of “the other side”, simply because they are more extreme scores.)

He also has two scores (Incentives and Restlessness) where his visible behaviour will strongly reinforce a misleading view of who he really is. Those two areas are likely to be the most critical for him to learn to deal with.

Complete the exercise for yourself now. Are you a mix of all the possibilities, or do one or two predominate? What might that be telling you? And what areas will you need to pay particular attention to?