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What Is Deloitte Business Chemistry?

The Deloitte Business Chemistry model was created by Deloitte co-workers Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg, who first explained it in their 2018 book Business Chemistry . 

According to Deloitte’s website, the Business Chemistry framework “ provides a simple yet powerful way to identify meaningful differences between people’s working styles. ”

The company also states that the framework is “ used by hundreds of thousands of professionals around the world to build stronger relationships, increase team performance , and create exceptional organizations. ”

AspectExplanation
Deloitte Business Chemistry is a personality assessment and team-building framework developed by Deloitte, a multinational professional services firm. It’s designed to help individuals and teams understand their work styles and preferences, ultimately improving collaboration and communication within organizations. , or “chemists,” each with its own characteristics and communication preferences.
At the core of Deloitte Business Chemistry are four primary personality types, often referred to as “chemists.” These chemists represent distinct work styles and preferences, each with its own set of characteristics and communication styles. Understanding these personality types is the foundation for successful application of Business Chemistry.
The primary goal of Business Chemistry is to provide individuals and teams with insights into their work styles and those of their colleagues.
Deloitte Business Chemistry is applied in various ways within organizations to enhance teamwork and productivity:
Business Chemistry helps leaders become more effective by understanding their own work styles and those of their team members.
When teams recognize and appreciate the diverse work styles within their group, they can optimize collaboration.
While Business Chemistry offers valuable insights, it’s important to consider some challenges:
Individuals may exhibit characteristics from multiple personality types, and their preferences may change over time.
Deloitte Business Chemistry provides a valuable framework for understanding work styles and improving collaboration within teams.

Table of Contents

Understanding Deloitte Business Chemistry

  • Deloitte Business Chemistry is a model that organizations use to develop emotional intelligence within teams.

In more concise terms, Business Chemistry is a way to increase the emotional intelligence of individuals with organizational teams.

It is well suited to businesses that often pose the following questions:

  • Why do some colleagues click while others clash?
  • Why do some teams excel, and others falter?
  • How do leaders make or break team potential?

Based on extensive research and analytics and years of proven success in the industry , Deloitte developed four different learning styles which comprise various behaviors.

Employees tend to exhibit a mix of all four styles but will favor one over the other.

These styles, which are explained in the next section, enable employees to:

  • Better understand the working styles of others and how they react to external stimuli.
  • Discover the unique composition, characteristics, and skillset of their teams.
  • Adapt their style to suit various contexts and better engage with co-workers, and
  • Create fun, memorable experiences that facilitate active learning.

The four primary Business Chemistry working styles

Let’s now take a look at each of the four Business Chemistry working styles:

  • Pioneers – individuals that enjoy taking risks and are open to new possibilities. They tend to be imaginative, creative, spontaneous team members who place less emphasis on finer details or how things have been done in the past. Unsurprisingly, pioneers are advocates of brainstorming and other methods of collaborative idea generation. They’re also comfortable with ambiguity and are adaptable to change.
  • Drivers – Deloitte notes that drivers love a challenge and can generate momentum even when it’s difficult. They tend to be focused, competitive, and adept at determining the shortest possible path to their objective. They’re also logical, technical, quantitative, and disdain small talk. But they do respect those who are at their level.
  • Guardians – these individuals are best known for their stability. They are methodical, disciplined, and meticulous, and only move forward once a solid foundation has been established. Guardians also believe it is important to follow a structured process when completing a task.
  • Integrators – as the name suggests, integrators love to create connections between people and ideas. They possess a trusting nature and the ability to develop meaningful relationships that extend beyond standard networking or team collaboration. Integrators are also more than happy to help when required and will always do so with a smile on their face.
  • Advertising Creative Team : In an advertising agency, pioneers often lead creative teams. They come up with innovative and imaginative ad concepts, pushing the boundaries of traditional advertising.
  • Tech Startups : Pioneers are often founders of tech startups. They thrive in the fast-paced, uncertain world of technology innovation , always seeking new possibilities.
  • Marketing Brainstorming : In a marketing department, pioneers excel during brainstorming sessions where they generate novel campaign ideas and are open to unconventional approaches.
  • Product Design Workshops : In product design , pioneers drive innovation by proposing out-of-the-box solutions, challenging traditional design conventions.
  • Project Managers : Drivers make effective project managers who focus on clear goals and timelines, ensuring projects stay on track and meet deadlines.
  • Financial Analysts : In finance, drivers analyze data and financial reports meticulously, seeking the most efficient and logical investment strategies.
  • Legal Counsel : Lawyers with a driver style excel in structuring arguments logically, getting to the core of complex legal issues quickly.
  • Sales Executives : Salespeople with a driver style are competitive, aiming to meet and exceed their sales targets efficiently.
  • Accounting and Auditing : In accounting , guardians pay meticulous attention to detail when auditing financial records to ensure accuracy and compliance.
  • Quality Control Inspectors : Guardians in manufacturing settings inspect products rigorously to maintain quality standards.
  • Administrative Assistants : Guardians are often excellent administrative assistants, managing tasks with methodical precision.
  • Compliance Officers : In the finance industry , guardians play a key role in ensuring regulatory compliance and adherence to strict guidelines.

Integrators:

  • Human Resources : Integrators thrive in HR roles, building positive relationships among employees, mediating conflicts, and promoting team cohesion.
  • Mentors and Coaches : People with integrator tendencies make effective mentors and coaches, offering support and guidance to others.
  • Social Workers : In social work, integrators form strong connections with clients and community members, fostering trust and collaboration.
  • Counselors and Therapists : Integrators in counseling professions create a safe space for clients to open up and explore their emotions.

Key takeaways:

  • Deloitte Business Chemistry is a way to increase the emotional intelligence of individuals with organizational teams. It seeks to provide clarification on common organizational problems around team harmony and effectiveness.
  • Deloitte Business Chemistry is characterized by four working styles: pioneers, drivers, guardians, and integrators. Whilst employees may embody a mix of all four styles depending on the context, they tend to prefer one style over the others.

Key Highlights of Deloitte Business Chemistry:

  • Creation : Developed by Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg, Deloitte co-workers, and first explained in their 2018 book “Business Chemistry.”
  • Purpose : Designed to identify meaningful differences in people’s working styles, increase emotional intelligence within teams, and improve team dynamics.
  • Usage : Used by professionals worldwide to build stronger relationships, enhance team performance , and create exceptional organizations.
  • Pioneers : Risk-takers, imaginative, creative, open to new possibilities, comfortable with ambiguity, and advocates of brainstorming .
  • Drivers : Competitive, focused, logical, efficient, dislike small talk, and value others who match their level.
  • Guardians : Methodical, disciplined, meticulous, value stability, and prefer structured processes.
  • Integrators : Relationship builders, trustful, enjoy creating connections between people and ideas, and willing to help others.
  • Adaptability : Individuals often exhibit a mix of these styles but tend to favor one over the others depending on the context.
  • Benefits : Helps individuals better understand working styles of others, discover team compositions, adapt styles, and create engaging learning experiences.
  • Application : Addresses common organizational challenges related to team harmony and effectiveness by enhancing emotional intelligence and collaboration.

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Deloitte's Business Chemistry®

Using working styles to build better teams.

Deloitte's Business Chemistry - Using Working Styles to Build Better Teams

© GettyImages AndreaObzerova

Combine the elements correctly to form stronger bonds.

Picture a team where the mix of people just doesn't work.

Perhaps there's a dominant individual who ignores consensus and insists that things are done their way. Or a blue-sky thinker who's always flying off on tangents. Or maybe there's a team leader who's great with detail and planning, but can't communicate their decisions.

Now imagine a team where everyone works together effectively, playing to their strengths to achieve the best results, even when they have conflicting priorities and needs.

Deloitte's Business Chemistry® gives you a framework that can make that vision a reality. In this article, we examine how the model works, and how you can implement it using five simple steps.

What Is Deloitte's Business Chemistry?

The Business Chemistry model was first outlined by Deloitte colleagues Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg, in their 2018 book, " Business Chemistry ."

It's a tool for developing emotional intelligence   within teams, so that co-workers can recognize one another's preferences and working styles, and understand and adapt their own behaviors accordingly. It can also enable managers to foster better relationships and reduce conflict in their teams.

Business Chemistry has much in common with other tools that categorize people by thinking styles or behavior – models such as Belbin's Team Roles   , Benne and Sheats' Group Roles   , Bonchek and Steele's Thinking Styles   , The DiSC® Model   , and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™   .

But the crucial difference is that Business Chemistry concentrates on observing the way that people work, rather than on their personalities or thinking types. And it requires no time-consuming tests or experiments!

Before you use Business Chemistry with your team, check with your line manager or Human Resources department that it aligns with your organization's established ways of working. Your company may already follow The DiSC Model or Belbin's Team Roles, for example.

The Four Working Styles of Business Chemistry

The Business Chemistry model divides behavior into four groups, called "working styles." The four working styles – Pioneer, Driver, Guardian, and Integrator – are arranged in a circle, as shown in figure 1 (click on the image to see a larger version).

Figure 1 – Business Chemistry Working Styles.

Business Chemistry Working Styles

Adapted from Christfort, K. and Vickberg, S. (2018). ‘Business Chemistry®,’ Hoboken: Wiley. Used with permission.

Let's take a closer look at each working style:

Pioneers are open to possibilities, and they revel in taking risks. They tend to dislike thinking through the finer details, or doing things "by the book."

Pioneers offer imagination, "big-picture" thinking, creativity, spontaneity, and the ability to think on their feet   . The downside is that they may not spare the feelings of those who they believe are holding them back.

Drivers relish challenge, taking ideas forward, and making decisions. They think logically and quantitatively, and demand clear data to inspect before deciding on a course of action, though they try to make decisions quickly.

Drivers don't like to be held back by rules and regulations, and they may lack empathy   .

There are two "sub-types" of Drivers: "Commanders," who specialize in getting things done; and "Scientists," who value exploration, experiment and deduction.

Guardians seek stability and thrive on order and structure. They tend to be methodical, meticulous, and keenly aware of the practical requirements of any job.

Guardians may be reserved, but they also tend to be loyal. They are often good at handling data, quality assurance, and planning, although they may not always be the strongest communicators.

Integrators value their connections. They enjoy team-building and forging strong relationships, and they bring empathy and mediation   skills to their groups. Integrators are less likely "driven by numbers," and they prefer leaving decision-making to others.

Integrators also fall into two sub-types: "Teamers" and "Dreamers." Teamers tend to be outgoing, and proactive about bringing others together. Dreamers are more inward-looking. They dislike confrontation, but they are good at analyzing the feelings of those around them.

Despite these categorizations, it's important to avoid "pigeonholing" people according to their dominant working style. Few people fit into just one category. As figure 1 shows, most have "shared traits" from two or more.

How to Use Deloitte's Business Chemistry

To get the best from Deloitte's Business Chemistry, follow these five steps:

1. Assess Your Team Members' Working Styles

Observe your colleagues' behavior at work and ask yourself the sequence of 20 questions that you will find on the Deloitte Business Chemistry website . (You'll need to register with the website to access them.)

Answering these questions enables you to form what Business Chemistry calls "hunches" about your team members' working styles.

If you're not convinced that your initial hunches accurately reflect your colleagues' working styles, you can repeat the 20 questions to refine them.

2. Assess Your Own Working Style

Next, apply the same 20 questions to yourself, to identify and understand your own working style. This enables you to analyze the way that you interact with other styles.

Answer the questions honestly, and remember that the way that you see yourself may be different from the way that others see you.

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3. Explore How Your Team Works

This step is to develop your understanding of your team dynamics, and of how they could improve. To do this, keep your hunches about your team members in mind, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your current team environment like? Are your roles clearly defined, for example, and do you work together effectively? Are there any "flashpoints" where conflict arises? A SWOT Analysis   may help here.
  • What is your team's role, and what are its goals? For example, are you involved in change management, or product development, or planning? Which working styles are best suited to take the lead?
  • Who are your main stakeholders, and how do they view your team? Are your stakeholders freewheeling creatives or data-driven finishers? Which working styles would each one prefer to deal with? (See our article, Stakeholder Analysis   , for more information on identifying and understanding your stakeholders.)
  • What is the current composition of your team? Do you have more people with one style than another, or is there an even split? Are all of the different working styles effectively deployed?

As you work through these questions, you'll gain insights into how to utilize your team's blend of styles more effectively.

4. Learn to "Flex" Your Own Working Style

Business Chemistry emphasizes the importance of "flexing" your working style when you engage with people who have a different style. Flexing your style doesn't mean changing it completely – that would be tricky, as it's part of your personality. But you can adapt your working style to fit the situation.

For example, it's important for Drivers to understand the value of patience when they work with Guardians. Guardians like to set the context for discussions, so they don't always "get to the punchline" as quickly as Drivers like. But both styles tend to be interested in data, so focusing on that can be a good starting point for a discussion.

5. Apply Business Chemistry to Your Team

The final step is to discuss what you've learned. Encourage your co-workers to consider how they could flex their own styles to improve teamwork.

You could begin by highlighting specific situations in which flexing would be valuable. For example, if team meetings are dominated by one or two Pioneers or Drivers, your team could be at risk of groupthink   . Challenge these individuals to consider their co-workers' points of view, and urge the team's Integrators and Guardians to stand their ground   .

Chances are, some people will need to flex more than others. For example, a team with a strong Pioneer component may need to pay greater attention to their Guardian colleagues when it comes to planning and scheduling.

You could also consider redefining certain roles based on your team members' individual strengths. You could make Drivers responsible for hitting milestones, for example, or charge Integrators with running better meetings   .

Enabling each person to concentrate on what they are best can increase productivity, job satisfaction and cohesion in your team.

Deloitte's Business Chemistry model identifies four "working styles" that exist within a team: Pioneer, Guardian, Driver, and Integrator.

Understanding these working styles can enable managers to build emotionally intelligent teams that work with a unified purpose, despite their varying needs, priorities and preferences.

To implement Business Chemistry, use the following five steps:

  • Assess individuals' working styles.
  • Evaluate your own working style.
  • Assess how your team currently operates, and how it interacts with stakeholders.
  • Learn to "flex" your own working style.
  • Encourage others to "flex," and to take on the roles and responsibilities that are best suited to their working styles.

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter , or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!

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deloitte business chemistry model

Comments (4)

  • Over a month ago BillT wrote Hi nfhc91616, Thank you for that useful comment. I was able to complete a full hunch profile without signing up to the website. BillT Mind Tools Team
  • Over a month ago nfhc91616 wrote Here is the link to the 20 questions. You will likely need to sign up with deloitte https://bc20questions.deloitte.com/#/
  • Over a month ago BillT wrote Hi ExpatCoachNicola, I had to search the internet for the tool, which appears to be only available from the US website and in book format. BillT Mind Tools Team

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a blog by Wayne Horkan

deloitte business chemistry model

Comparing Deloitte’s Business Chemistry and the DISC Personality Type model

Deloitte’s Business Chemistry and the DISC model are both frameworks designed to help understand and categorize human behavior, especially in a professional context. While both tools have unique approaches, one can draw tentative parallels between their types.

Here’s an attempt to compare and map the two approaches.

1. Drivers:

  • DISC Counterpart: Dominance (D)
  • Characteristics such as decisiveness, directness, and a results-driven nature are common in both. They take charge, embrace challenges, and push for results.

2. Guardians:

  • DISC Counterpart: Conscientiousness (C)
  • Both types value accuracy, reliability, and structure. Guardians, like those with high C in DISC, are methodical, detail-oriented, and often risk-averse. They appreciate processes and like to ensure that everything is done correctly.

3. Integrators:

  • DISC Counterpart: Steadiness (S) and partly Influence (I)
  • Integrators focus on collaboration, consensus, and harmony, which aligns with the steadiness and relationship-focused traits of the S type in DISC. However, Integrators’ emphasis on connecting with others and building relationships also resonates with some aspects of the Influence (I) category in DISC.

4. Pioneers:

  • DISC Counterpart: Influence (I)
  • Pioneers are outgoing, spontaneous, and comfortable with ambiguity. They closely resemble the I type in DISC, which represents individuals who are enthusiastic, talkative, and persuasive. Both types thrive on interactions, brainstorming, and new ideas.

While these parallels offer a basic mapping, it’s important to remember that these are distinct systems with their own nuances:

  • Purpose & Design: Business Chemistry is designed specifically for the business world and how individuals act within professional environments. In contrast, DISC is a broader behavioral assessment tool used in various contexts, including but not limited to business.
  • Granularity: DISC focuses on understanding behavior along four primary dimensions, while Business Chemistry offers a nuanced approach with hybrid types in addition to the primary four.
  • Flexibility: Business Chemistry acknowledges the blending of types, where an individual can display a dominant and secondary style. DISC, while also noting blends, primarily classifies behaviors into the four primary categories.

In summary, while tentative mappings can be made between Deloitte’s Business Chemistry and the DISC model, they are inherently different tools. It’s useful to view them as offering complementary perspectives rather than directly interchangeable insights.

IMAGES

  1. Deloitte's Business Chemistry

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  2. The Workplace Wheel: Deloitte’s Business Chemistry Framework

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  3. Deloitte Business Chemistry Report

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  5. What Is Deloitte Business Chemistry?

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  6. Deloitte Business Chemistry Field Guide :: Work :: Gershoni Creative

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COMMENTS

  1. Deloitte's Business Chemistry®

    The Business Chemistry model was first outlined by Deloitte colleagues Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg, in their 2018 book, "Business Chemistry." It's a tool for developing emotional intelligence within teams, so that co-workers can recognize one another's preferences and working styles, and understand and adapt their own behaviors accordingly.

  2. Business Chemistry 20 Questions

    Take the first step in changing the way you communicate by creating a hunch. Based on what you know about an individual, we will develop a hypothesis about their Business Chemistry working style and give you specific advice that can help improve the effectiveness of your interactions with them. The 20 Questions tool helps you hypothesize ...

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  4. PDF For better business results, try chemistry

    and teams, Deloitte has created a framework called Business Chemistry®. Business Chemistry focuses on working styles—more specifically, on observable behaviors likely to be seen or demonstrated in the workplace. With a focus on research, analytics, and data, Business Chemistry can help professionals not only better understand their own

  5. Business Chemistry

    Business Chemistry is rooted in science, and designed for business. Leveraging powerful, patent-pending computational techniques, Business Chemistry is a data-driven approach to understanding people—both in terms of what they are as well as what they are not. The system is focused on traits that are core to business behavior, such as risk ...

  6. Building Strong Teams and Work Relationships With Business Chemistry®

    CFOs and other C-suite executives can be more effective leaders and communicators if they understand where others are coming from, appreciate the value they bring, and determine what they need to excel, say Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg, both with Deloitte LLP. The authors of "Business Chemistry®: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships," discuss how to use the ...

  7. Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators, and Guardians

    She is the primary author of the Business Chemistry Blog on Deloitte.com and co-author of two books: Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships, and The ...

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    Expressly designed for use in a business context, Business Chemistry draws upon the latest analytics technologies to reveal four scientifically based pattern...

  9. PDF How to take the Business Chemistry Assessment

    on your browser.Click Create your account.Review the Terms and Conditions, and then click th. I acknowledge radio button and click Submit. If you do not agree to the terms a. conditions, you cannot take the assessment.Complete all required fields to create your Business Chemi.

  10. Business Chemistry: Crafting Powerful Work Relationships

    CIOs and other C-suite executives can be more effective if they understand where others are coming from, appreciate the value they bring, and determine what they need to excel, say Deloitte LLP's Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg. Using Business Chemistry®, a behavioral assessment framework designed specifically for business environments, leaders can glean insights into personality types ...

  11. Business Chemistry®

    Business Chemistry provides a user-friendly lens and a common language to explore teams' behavioural styles. Generates a greater understanding and connection for collaborative and efficient teaming. Builds deeper more meaningful relationships for greater success. Download the Business Chemistry brochure here.

  12. What Is Deloitte Business Chemistry?

    Deloitte Business Chemistry is a model that organizations use to develop emotional intelligence within teams. Deloitte Business Chemistry is a way to increase the emotional intelligence of individuals with organizational teams. It seeks to provide clarification on common organizational problems around team harmony and effectiveness. Deloitte Business Chemistry is characterized by four working ...

  13. Business Chemistry in the C-Suite

    Although different work style types are present in the C-suite, Pioneers—those who value new possibilities and spark creative thinking—are most common, according to a Deloitte LLP Business Chemistry® survey. CIOs are typically Pioneers or Drivers, who are known to be direct, logical, and willing to make tough decisions. The survey offers behavioral insights that can help business leaders ...

  14. Deloitte's Business Chemistry

    The Business Chemistry model was first outlined by Deloitte colleagues Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg, in their 2018 book, "Business Chemistry." It's a tool for developing emotional intelligence within teams, so that co-workers can recognize one another's preferences and working styles, and understand and adapt their own behaviors accordingly.

  15. Comparing Deloitte's Business Chemistry and the DISC Personality Type model

    Deloitte's Business Chemistry and the DISC model are both frameworks designed to help understand and categorize human behavior, especially in a professional context. While both tools have unique approaches, one can draw tentative parallels between their types. Here's an attempt to compare and map the two approaches. 1. Drivers: DISC ...

  16. Business Chemistry

    Business Chemistry® can help provide the answers. Based on extensive research and advanced analytics, plus years of proven success in the field, the Business Chemistry framework provides a simple yet powerful way to identify meaningful differences between people's working styles. Expressly designed for use in a business context, Business ...