Susan K Younger Personal Brand Origin Story:
“Susan, you are shy, smart, and tall which means people are going to mistake you for being conceited, stuck up, and arrogant. You will need to reach out to people, don’t assume they’ll come looking for you.” This was mom’s sage advice for as long as I can remember.
I was also a klutz.
Constantly tripping over my size 11 feet with an awkward gait. Yet on cold winter nights, when cars circled around our neighborhood baseball diamond to illuminate a sheet of ice, I became calm and graceful. Gliding effortlessly through a crowd of peers, skating backwards, and doing twirls in a blue and white parka. My skates had baby blue pom poms with bells, and I wore earmuffs to match. It was the only time my younger brother Fred – who thrived in all sports and in all social settings – did not mock me for being uncoordinated. Now in scholastics I had the upper hand, every grade Fred entered he got compared to his older sister, the smart, straight A-student.
“If I hadn’t been there for your birth, I wouldn’t know you were mine. You have a mole on your arm in the exact same spot as I do, and you look like your dad and act like him too.”
Mom called me her little Harold. It didn’t matter. Both of my parents loved us the same and encouraged us to become whoever we wanted to be. For me, from a young age that was an architect. Whenever we moved to a different house, which we did rather frequently, I’d sketch plans to solve problems my parents described in each home we considered. I was enthralled at the idea of being able to design a room.
Emboldened with this desire, in my junior year of college I walked into a local architectural firm, introduced myself, and asked if I could work as their summer apprentice. The position didn’t even exist but because I took the initiative and made a good impression, they created the job for me.
Taking this one bold step launched my career.
After that I managed teams of architects and drew plans for retail stores throughout the country, often finding myself as the only gal in the room. Quickly, I learned I needed to face my own ignorance and ask clarifying questions, even at the risk of sounding silly. Additionally, I had to understand what motivated people and how they made decisions. For a long time, I did this intuitively feeling the energies of a room or conversation, and then naturally was able to process what was needed to succeed. However, I had no way to communicate my process with others.
Once I got certified in BANK personality profiling – a simple, scientific methodology that takes less than 90 seconds to complete and reveals the primary way a person interacts with the world – I became empowered with a language to discuss the various energy dynamics happening at work and at home.
There are four personality types – Blueprint, Action, Nurturing, Knowledge – and each one is listed on a card with several values.
A person reads through and organizes the cards in the order of what is most important to them. I am a NAKB. Nurturing is my primary orientation backed by Action and then followed by Knowledge and Blueprint.
When I know people’s codes, I have key insights on how to communicate with them in their preferred style which is motivating to them, increases trust, and reduces a lot of friction and frustration. For example, when I managed two colleagues – one a Blueprint who thrives on structure and checklists, and the other an Active who enjoys freedom and creative control – I passed projects off to them differently to set them up for success.
For the Blueprint she wanted clear directives, so I’d encourage her to make a workflow that we could review together before she began. For the Active, this same approach would have stifled his creativity, so his projects were given with broad instructions and ample opportunity for him to make it his own. It’s also applicable in our personal lives. Looking back, it’s now easy for me to know that both Fred and my mom were Actives. They were vivacious, go-getters full of stories and always having fun. Often people will associate ‘architect’ with Blueprint but what fulfills me is designing a space that nurtures the people who are occupying it. How form can foster community.
Learning these codes enables me to dance among various personalities and feels akin to being back on that ice, gracefully gliding through the crowd.
If you are interested in ‘cracking your code’ you can do so for free here. Afterwards, feel free to reach out and have a conversation with me. We’ll discuss how this information can be immediately utilized to increase workflow and strengthen interpersonal communications either in the workplace or at home.