The Power of the SDI


The Power of the SDI

The SDI is a powerful and effective tool for understanding the motives and values that drive behaviors. The SDI plays off people’s basic need to better understand themselves and others, and that understanding allows them to lead with clarity and empathy, build stronger teams, and more effectively navigate conflict.

Starting With the Why

While many tools focus on what we do, the SDI goes deeper and helps us understand why we and others behave the way we do.

The results reflect people’s experiences of themselves – they actually see themselves in the charted data. But they also don’t feel pigeonholed, because the SDI allows for the reality that people are different (even when they are similar) and react differently in different situations. Today’s workforce is more and more diverse, so it’s critical to understand how differences impact our interactions. The SDI provides a base for understanding who we are and what motivates us, and it provides the same insights into others.

These insights are particularly beneficial during the stages of conflict. The SDI is a “dual-state instrument,” meaning it shows the degree and nature of changes from the things-are-going-well state to the conflict state.

Charting What Matters


assesments-overviewThe SDI helps people relate to one of seven Motivational Value Systems (MVS) and one of thirteen Conflict Sequences. Each individual’s MVS is represented by a dot on a color-coded triangle, and their Conflict Sequence is represented by an arrowhead that shows how their motives typically change during the stages of conflict. And people who work together can see their results plotted in the context of their group.

This picture of personality makes it easier for people to understand the results and talk about them. The SDI provides a common and memorable language that guides people toward greater understanding and interpersonal effectiveness.

By experiencing the SDI, people can identify their motivational values, not just their behaviors. Conflict and motivational values are closely related, because people are more likely to go into conflict over things that are important to them – a critical insight in today’s high-change business environments.

What Sets It Apart

The SDI is a powerful tool for all levels of an organization. The critical insights it provides enable leaders and team members to better understand how to influence people who think, behave, and communicate differently.

As jobs become more complex and strategic, social and emotional competencies have become key differentiators for success, particularly for leaders. As people are promoted to more senior roles, their performance is measured not only on bottom-line results, but also on how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders.

The SDI helps leaders at all levels focus on how they communicate and work with one another and how they use individual and team strengths in light of their business needs. The result is reduced conflict and increased collaboration and trust, building productive work relationships for sustainable results.

Here are some ways the SDI produces results:

  • It measures motives. The science behind the art creates an accurate picture of what’s important to us – going beyond behaviors to reveal our individual motivations. And very few people disagree with their assessment results, which means they buy into the picture of who they are and what drives them so they can begin to work within that reality.
  • It’s bi-conditional. The SDI measures the motives behind the behaviors when conditions are going well and when conditions involve the different stages of conflict. By helping people understand what matters to people and why, and by providing a safe, common language for discussing tough issues, the SDI provides a non-threatening way to deal with conflict.
  • It strengthens a weakness. The SDI provides insight into the unique way we value different strengths and interpret the actions of others. This helps us recognize those times when we need to use different behaviors based on the conditions, our motives, and the motives that are driving others.
  • It’s a system of its own. The insights that come from the SDI are crucial to improving any situation where people interact. And the SDI seamlessly integrates relationship and conflict management skills into nearly any training and development program – team building, leadership development, emotional intelligence, you name it. In other words, it’s designed for human systems and organizational systems.
  • It’s memorable. The simple triangle graphic and the use of primary colors make this a highly visual, easy to understand tool. And by using experiential teaching methods, anyone can quickly internalize the learning. And because it creates a common language for understanding and discussing motives and relationships, the training is highly sustainable.
  • It depersonalizes conflict. Opposition is healthy, but conflict is unproductive. By helping people understand what matters to others and why, and by providing a safe, common language for discussing tough issues, the SDI provides a non-threatening way to deal with conflict.
  • It honors differences. The SDI provides insight into the unique way we value different strengths and interpret the actions of others.

Paper or Digital Versions

The SDI is available online or in paper versions. The paper editions are not tech dependent for the participants, can be scored by a facilitator at an event, and can be easily uploaded to produce paper or online reports.

The assessment produces a four-page report for the facilitator summarizing the results of the class and a 20-page personalized report for the participant that provides an overview of the results and key concepts, along with insights and information specific to the participant’s results.

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To learn more about finding the right TotalSDI Solution for your leadership development, team or organization, please contact Lee Broekman at or at 818.212.9196.

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