You are on page 1of 9

Ways to Use the LSI 1

Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or

The Life Styles Inventory (LSI) has been in use for over a decade by managers, trainers, supervisors,
psychologists, academicians, and consultants worldwide. While it was originally designed as a
diagnostic tool to provide individuals with feedback on how they see themselves, we know it has since
been used for many other purposes. This booklet is intended to provide you with some ideas as to how
it may be used diagnostically and developmentally.
They are only suggestions, of course, and we encourage you to utilize the inventory creatively. We
would also appreciate learning your approaches to LSI. Drop us a note describing how you have used it
and what kinds of results were achieved.

Hopefully all employees in an organization receive a performance review on a yearly basis. This
feedback gives them some notion of where they stand in terms of their superior s expectations. What it
does not typically provide, however, is a chance for employees to take a look at their own strengths
and weaknesses. The LSI gives individuals the opportunity to assess how they see themselves. Self-
awareness is the first step to improvement. Indeed, the LSI is not appropriate for use in formal
performance appraisals
; however its use is invaluable in increasing personal effectiveness.
Because LSI results are most meaningful when the participant feels he or she can be honest in
completing it, we strongly encourage its use in an atmosphere of trust. The following program format
may be a helpful guideline to follow.
A. Assemble participants in a group of no more than thirty. Distribute LSIs to each
participant and read aloud the instructions on the inside of the inventory. Tell them not
to put their names on it as the information is for their use only.
When they have completed the LSI (about 20 minutes), lead them through the scoring.
You may want to project a profile so participants can see what it should look like when
completed (overhead transparencies and PowerPoint versions of these profiles presented
on pages 37 through 47 of the LSI Self Development Guide are available from Human
Allow at least an hour to debrief LSI. That debriefing should take the form of an
explanation of the following:
1. The four quadrants of the profile;
2. The positioning of styles (adjacent and opposing);
3. Raw scores and percentiles;
4. Discerning one s primary and back-up style;

The LSI has not been validated for use in performance appraisals, hiring decisions or any other kind of placement
endeavor. The LSI is strictly for developmental purposes.
Ways to Use the LSI 2
Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or
5. What each means in terms of behavior, and how it may look

in the roles of the group members.
All of this information may be secured from the Self Development Guide (pages 6-10). Distribute a
Guide to each participant and walk them through it so they will know how to use it.
As you are explaining each style (starting with 3 o clock saving the best for last) participants will be
able to look at their own profile confidentially. Encourage them to ask questions. Solicit their
interpretation of how a style may look on the job.
Your basic role is to serve as a facilitator. Given the opportunity, participants will share their
perception of the styles and how those styles may impact their effectiveness. Even if you have a
psychological background, we strongly recommend that you refrain from clinical interpretations. They
tend to intimidate participants and prevent them from sharing their profiles with one another. One way
of measuring the success of an LSI program is to note the willingness with which group members
openly discuss their individual profiles.

As a trainer you may want to become familiar with how the organization thinks. Like it or not,
companies adopt behavioral norms that influence all levels. Knowing the organizational culture
facilitates your investigation of the type of training most needed. Furthermore, individuals within the
company will have a comparative means of looking at how they fit. A large discrepancy between the
ways a person thinks and what his or her organization or workgroup reinforces could result in non-
productivity and job dissatisfaction. Sharing the organizational culture with participants after they have
had a chance to assess themselves provides an insightful follow-up.
B. Determining the culture of the organization is a process that includes the Organizational
Culture Inventory® (OCI). Please contact your Human Synergistics representative for
ordering information.
Once collected, you will have a profile that indicates what it takes to fit in and be
successful in the organization or organizational unit. In sharing it with the actual group,
ask them to consider how misfits between an LSI profile and an OCI profile might
impact the following:
1. Daily routine work
2. Corporate goal-setting
3. Interpersonal dynamics with superiors and subordinates
4. Client or vendor impressions
5. Response to the competition
6. Organizational (or departmental) quality
Ways to Use the LSI 3
Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or
C. If you are using LSI with people from different levels or departments within an
organization, you may want to consider a comparative analysis. For instance, a typical
finding in many companies is that cultures become more Passive/Defensive (primarily
Dependent) in the lower levels of management. This becomes valuable information to a
company wanting to understand why its supervisors are unable to properly utilize their
authority. For example, an ad agency trainer with account representatives and creative
directors in the same program may want each group to gain insight into the other s
thinking. To do something like this, make sure the OCI results are separated by the
relevant departments.

LSI is also known as a change motivator. A very interesting thing about human beings is that when
made aware of their weaknesses, they generally work to better those areas. We have found self-
awareness, as provided by LSI, to sometimes be enough by itself to motivate an individual to change
negative thinking styles. Other times, people see their disadvantageous thinking styles and then need
some guidance to correct them. That s when LSI becomes the first step to management development. It
identifies those areas for an individual which he or she determines get in the way of effective
management. To begin a management program, use LSI as a personal needs analysis tool.
D. After participants have completed their LSI and you have provided some debriefing of
the styles (see A), ask them to single out their three largest negative extensions. Those
are the areas in which they are most likely to need developmental work.
Explain that there are two ways to decrease those styles of thinking: 1) do less of the
behaviors that result from those styles, or 2) do more of the behavior that represents the
opposing positive style.
Behaving more in the opposing style works well for high scores in the 5, 6, 7, and 8
o clock positions. However, this does not hold true for 3 and 4 o clock which are not
direct opposites of 9 and 10 o clock respectively. For these styles it is recommended that
the 9 and 10 o clock styles be contrasted with the nearby Achievement style (11 o clock)
and the 3 and 4 o clock styles be contrasted with the Affiliative style (2 o clock).
Prescriptively, there are a number of ways to acquaint managers with more productive
ways of thinking. You may want to suggest they do the following:
1. Go back to see which descriptions on the LSI are associated with Achievement,
Self-Actualizing, Humanistic-Encouraging, and Affiliative thinking.
2. Listen to their own language for statements that connote negative thinking styles
(i.e., My opinion may not be worth much, but... ). Changing language to be
more achievement oriented may help to boost that kind to thinking.
3. Read about the positive styles in the Self Development Guide. Learn what they
mean and how they impact others.
Ways to Use the LSI 4
Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or
4. Read a book suggested in the LSI Self Development Guide Bibliography that
explains a desired style.
5. Ask a mentor or trustworthy friend to start pointing out when he or she sees the
negative style exemplified behaviorally.
In any kind of management development that involves an attitudinal or behavioral
change, keep in mind the value of encouraging realistic, measurable goal setting (review
page 56 and 57 of the Self Development Guide).

Probably the best way to build teams is to get a group directly involved in an activity. LSI can be
debriefed so that participants provide interpretations as a team. We have found that when participants
become actively involved in learning about a style, it becomes more meaningful and comprehensive
than if it was learned passively by lecture. The following procedure is recommended for maximum
involvement by participants and minimum involvement by facilitator. Note it is an effective means of
debriefing for any situation, but serves as a good beginning to a team building process. This method
works best when there is some flexibility in time and structure.
E. After you have briefly explained LSI (see A), ask participants to team up so that there
are twelve different groups (generally dyads or triads). Assign a style to each group to
study and eventually report to all members. They may learn about their style by reading
the appropriate two-page section of the Self Development Guide. The assignment for
each group is to, in their own words, do the following:
1. Define the style.
2. Explain what that type of person thinks of him or herself.
3. What does that person think of others?
4. How does that person make decisions and solve problems?
5. How does he or she manage others?
6. How does that person relate to clients?
7. How does this style look in your profession?
The foldout sheet at the end of the Self Development Guide will provide more insight for
When they have had a chance to learn their assigned style, ask them to report their
findings, beginning with the 3 o clock style of Approval. As a facilitator try not to
answer questions they have directly. Rather, attempt to ask clarifying open-ended
questions to pull the description out of the person presenting.
Ways to Use the LSI 5
Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or
If time permits, make up a hypothetical problem or crisis situation and ask how a person
high in each style would react. If the group is trusting and open, you may want to ask for
a volunteer profile and ask another person to debrief it based on what has been learned in
the session. Correct any mistakes. This provides personalized, individual feedback to
those volunteering their profile, and furthers the group members understanding of one

It is not by accident that some people have better problem-solving skills than others. It is the way a
person thinks that is responsible for his or her skill proficiency. And to a large extent, if you know the
way a person thinks, you can predict how he or she will solve problems. LSI is an excellent predictor
of how well people will score in a problem-solving simulation such as the Desert Survival Situation
or the Subarctic Survival Situation . If you have ever used these simulations and would like to make
their impact more long-term, consider using them in conjunction with LSI.
F. After participants have completed LSI and it has been debriefed (see A and/or E), tell
them they will be splitting up into teams to work on a problem-solving exercise. Mention,
however, that you would like to assign the groups on the basis of LSI results to get a good
mixture. Walk around the room, glancing at LSI profiles and suggest that certain people
group together for the problem-solving exercise. Break them up so that:
1. Those with styles predominantly in the 11, 12, 1 and 2 o clock area are together.
2. Those with styles in 3, 4, 5, and 6 o clock area are together.
3. Those with styles predominantly in the 7, 8, 9 and 10 o clock area are together.
Distribute, for example, Desert Survival Simulations to each participant, keeping group
sizes between four and six people each. Prior to debriefing the simulation, distribute a
Group Styles Inventory (GSI) to each participant. The GSI assesses the interaction styles
of group members who solve problems or make decisions. When they have worked through
the simulation, chart all the groups scores in the front of the room. If the styles, as were
indicated on LSI, are in play, you will find the 11, 12, 1, and 2 o clock group to be quite
effective. If you ask why the 7, 8, 9, and 10 o clock didn t do as well, you may discover
they couldn t agree on anything. All were likely to be out for their own personal gain. And
the 3, 4, 5 and 6 o clock group may have had too much agreement to bring out concerns
that reflected a difference from the group opinion.
As you become more familiar with the styles and their impact on behavior, you will be able
to predict results more specifically. You will find that a person high in the Oppositional and
Approval styles will exhibit very predictable behaviors (he or she will generally be a
friendly pain in the neck).
We recommend you run a few programs using LSI and a simulation without applying any
predictions, just to get a feel for how the styles actually do impact problem-solving
Ways to Use the LSI 6
Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or

The way a person thinks is causative of how he or she utilizes time. People don t fail to get things done
because they are lazy or irresponsible. Rather, they may let things go because of an Avoidance
thinking mode for example. And if you train people to manage their time more productively, chances
are they will still be avoiders. To allow them the opportunity to discover why they waste time, and
provide them with some coaching to change that cause is a much more effective enduring form of
training. Once you fully understand each style of thinking, you will be able to interpret how those
styles negatively and positively affect time management skills. The following format may be a
beginning to a time management program using LSI.
G. Basically you will run a typical LSI program (see A) but when describing each style, will
emphasize their reference to time use. That information may be obtained from a brief
section in the Self Development Guide on Time Utilization (page 5), and from the
description of each style (pages 11-34).

If you look at the back personal data page of LSI you will find questions relating to stress effects and
life events. It has been thought for a number of years that when one experiences a stressful event, then
a stress symptom will follow. Our research for over a decade indicates that even more predictive of
stress symptoms than life events, are thinking styles. In fact, even the most distressful events (death of
a spouse, divorce) do not necessarily produce stress symptoms, provided the individual experiencing
the situation has primarily healthy styles of thinking. Eleven, twelve, one and two o clock styles
literally act as buffers against stress.
An LSI can be read in terms of a person s level of, and to some extent, cause of, stress.
Combinations of particular opposing thinking styles have been shown to be indicative of high stress
levels. For instance, people high in both Competition and Approval tend to check off several stress
symptoms on the personal data sheet. It has become clear that people with a need to win and with a
need to be liked are setting themselves up for failure. Their behavior is generally self-defeating, and
likewise, highly stressful. So the results of LSI can be used to determine stress levels of individuals
and groups, along with the kind of thinking that influences that stress.
We are able to make those claims and to back them statistically because we have been collecting the
type of data on the back page of Level 1 and correlating it to styles and events. The Self-Development
Guide explains some of those results in various places (page 3, 5, 10, and 11-38). There is one section
that specifically addresses our stress research (pages 45-46) which may be helpful if you intend to use
LSI as a stress assessment tool.
Research for the Life Styles led to the development of the Stress Processing Report, a powerful
diagnostic tool for identifying individuals stress causes. Contact our office for further information
about the Stress Processing Report and SCOPE Seminar.

Organizations change in response to the environment, client needs, the market, and the competition.
And as they do, so must the individuals within it. These changes may take the form of geographical
modes, role redefinitions, corporate policy, or job responsibilities. Whatever the nature of the change,
Ways to Use the LSI 7
Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or
people are best able to adapt if their thinking style allows for ambiguity in their life. They are ready for
change when they think optimistically and opportunistically. LSI may be used to assess readiness for
change by focusing on certain factors.
H. Have participants complete LSI and provide a debriefing (see A and/or E). In addition to a
round-the-clock explanation, draw their attention to those styles which enhance or stand in
the way of changeability.
We would encourage you to provide examples of how each style might look behaviorally if
it were occurring in your organization during a change. This information can be found in
the LSI self Development Guide in the descriptive sections of each style. Some sections
lack specific references to the style s impact on change. However, there is enough
information for you to infer how a high Conventional type might react to change.
Ideally you will want to encourage participants to move out of any lower right quadrant
styles into upper left styles. Those oriented toward any of the 4, 5, or 6 o clock styles are
intimidated by the notion of change and will not be ready to accept it until they exercise
some of the creative, risk-taking behaviors of the 11 and 12 o clock styles.
Lower left quadrant people are oriented toward achieving personal gain and are reluctant to
change in ways that may interfere with that need. They similarly will be more accepting of
change if they can become more self-actualized with a greater need for achievement.

There is no doubt that the design and implementation of certain workplace initiatives can have positive
results. They are frequently instrumental in identifying problems and developing high quality
solutions. But without a members

acceptance of the decisions made and the processes out into place,
they are not likely to follow through those decisions with action or support the resulting processes. LSI
provides feedback on the willingness of people to not only accept the results of workplace initiatives,
but to assist in their success. The process for implementing and debriefing LSI is similar to the
preceding description, Assessment of Readiness for Change.
I. Debrief the LSI (see A and/or E) in terms of how each style might impact one s willingness
to accept an initiative. In other words, imagine a high power (8 o clock) type in a
movement toward a virtual team environment. How might he or she react to decisions
suggested by other group members? How likely would that person be willing to accept and
act on a consensus decision? How would someone who is highly affiliative (2 o clock)
behave in this situation, and what kind of action could you expect him or her to take
afterwards? How could the mode of communication be mediated by personal style?
Using the same procedure as listed above, predict how each style might impact one s
willingness to cooperate in the following workplace initiatives:
Ways to Use the LSI 8
Life Styles Inventory

is a Trademark of Human Synergistics International. The Inventory and supporting materials are Copyrighted
1989 by Human Synergistics, Inc. Contact Human Synergistics at 800-622-7584 or

Six Sigma: The Six Sigma quality strategy offers a powerful approach to quality and
productivity. Inherent in the strategy s success is people s beliefs, values and attitudes
toward it. Therefore, how might knowing someone s personal style help in ensuring
an acceptable sigma level?

Fast Cycle Production: Using Fast Cycle Production as a management philosophy of
choice promises dynamic and enduring efficiencies. Takt, WIP and Resource
Management, when used correctly and with the proper value set, can help a company
to realize improvements well beyond expectations. Therefore, which personal styles
would enhance the adoption of continuous improvement? Which personal styles
might serve as obstacles?

Empowerment: Worker responsibility has always been highly motivating and
extremely efficient. Today's fast changing technology is forcing the adoption of
worker responsibility. Which personal styles should be developed in leaders to help
promote worker responsibility? Which should not?

Multinationals: Because of the diverse cultural backgrounds found in multinational
organizations, individuals and groups with different and sometimes conflicting values
will have to find ways to work together and resolve the conflicts or problems that may
arise. Are there personal styles that would work best with other cultures? Are there
personal styles that might not work well with other cultures? Should personal styles
be encouraged cross-culturally?

Cultural/Ethnic respect programs: Many organizations implement diversity policies
and initiatives to gain a competitive advantage. And diversity training can be very
advantageous to creating a climate of trust and support. However conflicts due to
perceived inequities often result from such programs and initiatives. Which personal
styles are conducive to embracing and working with difference (be they ethnic,
cultural or physical)? Which styles might be detrimental to diversity endeavors?

Ethics: Adherence to ethical standards and practices not only enhances individual and
corporate quality of life but also supports an improved bottom line, higher
productivity and morale, and positive image and reputation among stakeholders. How
would each of the personal styles deal with unethical behaviors/processes? Is there a
personal style that might be prone to behaving ethically? Unethically?
Prepared by:
Cheryl A. Boglarsky, Ph.D.
July 28, 2004

This document was created with Win2PDF available at
The unregistered version of Win2PDF is for evaluation or non-commercial use only.