Group 2A. - Personality Type A.

Question  11.   A wife of an A-type husband wants to know if her husband loves her after ten years of marriage.  She devises a scheme to measure his love. 

a. She hires a beautiful woman to flirt with him while watching on a hidden camera.

b. She hides intimate apparel in his car and waits to see what he does.

c. She lists at least ten things about herself that make her a great person.

d.  She watches to see if he is indifferent by counting the number of touches, smiles, and alone time with her.  

Answer:  (c).   Looking for a problem when none exists is a sure-fire way to find a problem, even if it is only inside your mind.  Negative thoughts are to be defeated, not nourished.  On the other hand, knowing that you are a friendly, loving person with ten great attributes will work to quiet those negative thoughts. 

Proposed schemes (a) and (b) involve deception.  That is contrary to the loyalty trait and will likely increase stress.  Proposed action (d) is another example of trying to find something wrong. 

Practice Session.  List the number of times last month you searched for a negative outcome.   For each item listed, rephrase the action to search for a positive result.  This is not a dumb exercise.  It takes repetition to shed a pessimistic approach. 

Question  12.  A young man started with a few rooms for rent that turned into buying a hotel and then a string of hotels.  A decision to over-acquire more hotels and a downturn in the economy resulted in banks foreclosing on the property.  If you had an A-type personality, what would you do?

a: Negotiate for a loan extension to stop the foreclosure?

b. Consent to the foreclosure to avoid a bad credit rating?

c. Hire lawyers and fight the foreclosure?

d. Negotiate with the bank convincing them to keep you as managers of the Hotel Chain with an option to purchase the property back when times are better.

e. Tell the bank that they loaned out too much money and they are in more financial trouble than you are.  Then negotiate a sizeable reduction in the outstanding debt.

Answer:  All answers have good and bad elements.   Conrad Hilton chose answer (d) and became the manager of the hotel chains.  He kept his workers employed, maintained his salary, and ultimately bought out the banks when the economy turned around with loans from many of the same banks.  Everyone was happy with the outcome.  This is an example of using debt as a negotiating tool to obtain a mutually agreeable solution.

Practice Session. Put yourself into Mr. Hilton’s circumstances and imagine how you would handle the situation.  These quiz questions aim not to find the correct answer but to make you think – analyze – resolve

Question  13.  A news report flashes across the television screen. Scientists have stated that eating red meat causes increased blood pressure, and many will die. We urge everyone to stop buying red meat. If you are an A-type personality, which action or actions would be the most likely?

a. Write a note to self — “Sell beef stock tomorrow.”

b. Turn off the TV.

c. Sarcasm like, “And that’s why all news anchors are filthy rich.”

d. “Honey, we need to stock up on filets. The prices should be lower tomorrow.”

Answer: (b), (C) and (d).  The A-type has learned from experience that the news media has minimal experience predicting the stock market.  If they could, then everyone would be unimaginably rich.  Scientists are saying that eating red meat will cause people to die, contrary to 7 million years of human existence. If it were true, we would have died out long ago.  Turning off the TV is a good way to reduce tension in the family. 

Suggested action (a) would be unwise and risky. A better approach would be to wait and see.

Question 14.  Jack enrolled on an internet dating site. It asked him to list his core values in seeking a partner. What would Jack list if he were an A-type?

a. Must honor and respect your parents.

b. Must not complain.

c. Must be confident in yourself.

d. Must not be selfish.

e. Must be attractive.

Answer: (a) and (c).  These are typical core values for an A-type. 

Suggested answers (b) and (d) are good qualities, but neither rises to the core value level.  Suggested answer (e) is ineffective since attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder.

Question  15    A British fighting Brigade of 8000 well-seasoned soldiers is going up against a band of 1000 volunteer countrymen with no battle experience.  The general commanding the volunteers positions his men on the top hill with deep trenches dug below.  The commander of the British Brigade has an A-type personality.  What action would he take?

a. Charge head-on into the smaller untrained force.

b. Surround the volunteers and starve them out.

c. Assess to see if the smaller force poses any strategic danger.    

d. Leave because the smaller force has the advantage of the higher ground.

Answer: Sir Edward Pakenham the commander of the British forces chose item (a). He lost 2000 men in 30 minutes before turning away and returning home. General Andrew Jackson lost 100 men in the Battle of New Orleans that day. This is an illustration of arrogance which is one of the weaknesses of A-type personalities. He should have chosen anything but (a).

Practice Session. List one way to suppress arrogance.  If you can’t think of anything, perform an internet search on “how to suppress arrogance.”  Pick the one that you feel would be best. 

Question No 16.  A baseball manager had five assistants that helped train and organize the players. Two older assistants had been with the manager for ten years but were becoming less energetic. The other three assistants were young, eager, and aggressive in their training styles. The owner asked the manager to improve the team performance by increasing the training time. As an A-type manager, what do you do?

a. Let one of the two older assistants go, and hire a younger one to replace him.

b. Call the two older assistants into a meeting and advise them of what the owner wanted. Promote one to oversee the other assistants, move the other assistant into a management position in head office, and hire an aggressive assistant trainer.

c. Advise the two older assistants to increase their training time and be more aggressive.

d. Promote one of the younger assistants to oversee the other assistants and tell them to increase the training time.

Answer: (C). The two major traits of the A-type are Loyalty and Winning. This question presents a potential conflict in this situation. Loyalty means that the first step is to give the older assistants a chance to increase their training. This increase in training should lead to a rise in the second trait – winning.

Suggested answer (a) violates loyalty and would be a last resort when all other actions fail. Suggested answer (b) is an action that would be more appropriate as a second step if the older assistants do not perform as requested. Suggested answer (d) would violate the Loyalty trait and create stress between the manager and the owner. The manager may tell the owner that such action would likely end up in litigation and cause problems with team morale.

Practice Session. List a fifth option that accomplishes everything the owner has requested and is consistent with the A-type personality traits.

Question No 17.  William and Betty have been living together for several months. William has been making small sarcastic comments to Betty, a type-A personality. Things like not putting her coffee cup in the dishwasher, eating with her mouth open, leaving the door open, etc. Her response was the silent treatment. What should Betty do to solve the problems?

a. Remind William that she works long and hard hours, makes all the money, and does not have much free time.

b. Tell William that he is making a mountain out of a molehill and needs to understand her needs, which are more important than a few minor annoyances.

c. Listen and control her urge to win. While he is talking, search for the real problem.

d. Be careful choosing her words, staying away from power words like: shall, duty, always, never, etc.

Answer: (C) and (d).  Although the urge to win is overwhelming, it must be suppressed and replaced with listening. The minor things such as not closing the door, etc., are not the real problems. There is something more. It may be associated with a loss of confidence, such as not having a challenging occupation or not bringing in a meaningful income. It could have been triggered by an initial quiet period caused by a problem at work. Perhaps the problem is that they are spending too little time together. Once the real problem is identified, it may be easy to find a solution.

Suggestion (a) might feel like you won that argument, but it will not fix the problem. Suggestion (b) will compound the problem, making him feel even worse. No one can call that a win.

Practice Session.  List 3 things your spouse or work associate has done during the last week.  Try and list the reason they do those annoying things.  Do they forget?  Were they distracted?  Are they losing their hearing?  If you can’t think of a reason, do the most challenging thing.  Politely ask them.  Next, search online for techniques to remember or avoid being distracted.  It may take an hour or two, but measure that against the stress relief it will provide. 

Question No 18.  An Air Force fighter pilot is one of the best in maneuvering and scoring kills in practice exercises. However, a particular pilot has a reoccurring problem of breaking away from protecting the rear and flank of other pilots. The instructor calls the ace pilot into the office to determine what action to take to correct the break-away problem. What action would an A-type instructor likely do?

a. Advising the pilot that failed to protect his fellow pilots is a fatal flaw.  Because it has been a reoccurring problem, he will be removed from the program.

b. Tell the pilot that the rules must be followed.

c. Ask the pilot why he breaks away when he should be protecting.

d. Send the pilot a copy of the manual describing the importance of protecting fellow pilots.

Answer: (A).  Protection is a fundamental trait. Because this failure is reoccurring, there is a fundamental character flaw. It would be dangerous to others to allow this pilot to remain in the program. His skills may be used in other ways.

Suggested action (b) has not been effective in solving the problem since it has been reoccurring. Suggested action (c) did not work since it would have been asked the first time it occurred. Suggested action (d) implies that the pilot did not read the manual, which suggests another deficiency.

Practice Session List one other option to save the pilot from losing his dream job while keeping the other pilots safe.  

Question 19.  A young man wanted to play football. In college, he was average. He tried out for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was rejected. He scraped enough gasoline money to attend a tryout for another football team. He signed as a backup quarterback. When the main quarterback broke his foot, he played the quarterback position while the team searched for a replacement. In his first game, he went 0 for 2 with one interception. In his second game, the first pass was intercepted. In the next game, he fumbled the ball, and the other side recovered. If you were an A-type coach, what would you do?

a. Find another quarterback.

b. Refuse to admit that you made a wrong decision and keep him in the game?

c. Bench him and play the third-string quarterback.

d. Quit.

Answer:  Coach Weeb Ewbank of the Baltimore Colts went with (b) and refused to change his mind about Johnny Unitas. Type-A personalities do not believe in bad decisions, only bad results. Unitas went on to become the most successful quarterback in NFL history. This is an example of someone who made a decision and stuck with it.

Suggested action (a) is already being done, but a new quarterback has not been located. Suggested action (c) is contrary to Coach Ewbank’s observations during practice. Suggested action (d) runs from the problem contrary to the ambition trait.

Question 20.  Bill has worked for a company as an executive secretary for more than two years and wants a raise. His boss Martha has an A-type personality and is the owner of a chain of tire supply outlets. The company negotiated several lucrative contracts with Willarson, a leading tire manufacturer, for prices less than those given to competitors. Unfortunately, the owner recently lost their first major client. What should Bill’s first couple of sentences be to impress Martha?

(a) Start the meeting by announcing that he is requesting a 10% raise, then set forth all the reasons.

(b) Start by saying how sorry he was that Martha lost her first client.

(c) He says, “I asked for this meeting to discuss a raise. By the way, congratulations on landing the Willarson contract. Davy Jones Tire Supply will not know what hit them when they see our new pricing structure.”

(d) He says, “I worked very hard last year and helped to secure Willarson’s contract. I believe I’m entitled to a 10% raise.”

(e) Begin with “Congratulations on being this business’s greatest owner and manager. Everyone is talking about how great you are and how they enjoy working here. Your office decor and style show exquisite taste. I hope you will consider giving me a raise this next year.”

Answer:  (c). It gets to the point in the first sentence and then sets a positive tone with compliments on the boss’s negotiating skills with personalized facts.

Answer (a) is correct in getting to the point. But details of the reasons are likely not what the boss wants to hear. Answer (b) starts the conversation by acknowledging one of the boss’s failures and setting a negative tone. Answer (d) suggests that Bill only worked hard last year, implying he did not work hard in the previous years. Trying to share the credit for a win is not the best introductory tone. Answer (e) may be considered fake praise. ‘Touchy-feely’ things like decorator items, style, and taste do not impress an A-type. The final request for a raise is ‘wishy washy’ since it does not ask for anything concrete.

Practice Session    List the first two or three sentences of your last approach to a raise.  What did you say?  Can you change anything to reflect a more positive and assertive technique?  This does not apply to tenured occupations where raises are based on years of service.