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The Personality behind Decision Making - The Golden Retriever

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Quote “ The face of a golden retriever feels like home”.  –David Rosenfelt

Golden Retrievers are the third most popular family dog breeds in the United States, fifth most popular in Australia and eighth most popular in the United Kingdom (Wikipedia). We all either own one or know of someone who has owned or owns this very special and loyal companion.  Bred as gun dogs to retrieve waterfowl, Golden Retrievers have a love of water and are easily trainable and incredibly intelligent. These lovable dogs are also known to be great search and rescue, guide, and detection dogs (Wikipedia). This widely popular breed of dog has a temperament that of loving, friendly, and dependable. “The typical Golden Retriever is calm, naturally intelligent and biddable, and with an exceptional eagerness to please” (ibid). If you have known a retriever in your life; you may have noticed that they are friendly to everyone whether children, family, or strangers as any form of aggression is just not a trademark for these lovable pets.  So what does this have to do to with personality? If you have been following my series on “The Personality behind decision Making”, you have already learned about the Strong-Willed Lion and the Analytical Beaver. What traits make up the Golden Retriever and how do they manage risk?

If you haven’t taken the 5 minute personality test by Dr. Gary Smalley that accompanies this series I encourage you to. Take a moment with your team and get an idea of who everyone is and how they handle risk and how you can best work with them or for them. You can call on my psychology services to assess you and your staff at your agri-business operation to be more efficient. Also, follow us on Facebook for postings and tips for each personality type. www.facebook.com/cattlehedgingtimes

If you or someone you know are a Golden Retriever personality type you/they tend to be patient and easy-going, empathetic and compassionate and a real team player. You/they may be sensitive to the feelings of others and are tremendously loyal. Others may say that you/they tend to put people above projects and are very agreeable and dependable. Golden Retriever’s tend to be the glue that holds everyone together; a great trait to have in a team but may not be the aggressive and determined risk taker. Because Golden Retrievers are such pleasers they also may have difficulty being assertive when needed. A Golden Retriever may miss out on some opportunities because they are not comfortable with taking the risk. They may be more concerned about others thoughts if the decision would turn out to be a loss.

According to Dr. Gary Smalley and John Trent, PhD authors of The Two Sides of Love: Using Personality Strengths to Greatly Improve Your Relationships explains that of all the animals in the zoo, golden retrievers can absorb the most pain and still maintain their commitment to another person (1990, pg 84). This extreme sense of loyalty is one of the greatest strengths of this personality type. When it comes to managing risk or simply taking risk these types may possibly be the employee who stays and does their job in and out to monitor all the inputs and risk management process but does not make the Risk Management decisions. They may be great at building relationships with customers and keeping them for a long time. Because of their deep need to please others; Golden Retrievers will work hard to stay motivated and work hard at their job; whether it is documenting others Risk Management decisions or answering phones. They are also incredibly adaptable. One of the weaknesses of the golden retriever is their reaction to sudden change. They just don’t like it! If the market changes from their expectations they are uncomfortable as to what to do next. While not the primary risk management decision maker, the Golden Retriever does not like to be left out of the decision making process. It is important that they get involved in decision making, are listened to, and are prepared for change. The volatility of Live Cattle Futures market can disrupt these types; usually for just a short period of time because they are highly adaptable that will not affect this loyal one for long. Smalley and Trent go on to describe another important traits that could be viewed as strength or a weakness. Golden Retrievers hold stubbornly to what they feel is right! (p.96). Although they appear to be soft and cuddly, Golden Retrievers still carry a great deal of strength and courage with them; especially if they feel they are being pushed into something they don’t agree with.  “Golden retrievers will follow all day behind a leader they respect but try pushing them and they won’t budge an inch” (p96). They hold onto what they believe is right and will often put their very own lives on the line to back up their convictions. The risk with this temperament may be that they will hold a losing decision until the bitter end!

Tips for working with Golden Retrievers: be pleasant and cooperative, not argumentative or aggressive. Provide them with assurances and information on how it may affect their circumstances or risk sharing. Golden Retrievers want you to be sincere and support their feelings and interests. Pushing them will turn them away so take it slow and show that you are listening. Stand behind their decisions and you will have a lifelong and loyal team player!


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