Keynote speaker Bob Davis of Wilson Learning makes a point during his presentation at NADCA’s convention.

NASHVILLE - It’s not surprising that coil restoration was one of the technical topics discussed in length at the 2007 National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) meeting and exposition. After all, coil cleaning was added to the association’s Assessment, Cleaning, and Restoration (ACR) standard two years ago. However, this aspect of HVAC system cleaning, apparently, still poses a challenge to many technicians.

Rather than overlook the issue, NADCA president Bill Lundquist stepped in to provide practical field knowledge for attendees, covering the equipment, tools, and techniques necessary for effective coil cleaning.

What surprised most attendees was the topic from keynote speaker Bob Davis of Wilson Learning, who zeroed in on the ins and outs of human behavior - a far cry from performing pressure drops and temperature differential tests. In his talk “Teamwork! Communicating Without Driving People Crazy,” Davis noted the importance to knowing the four “social styles” of humans and developing an appreciation for the value each style brings to a business.

In Davis’ estimation, when each person understands his/her own behavior style and recognizes the styles of others, they feel more “in sync” with the team. Understanding behavioral styles also enables the team to relate to customers more effectively, resulting in an increase in productivity, he said.

“Successful teams recognize why some individuals click and others conflict,” said Davis. “There are logical explanations for our reactions to others, which can result in an improvement in interpersonal relations.”


According to Davis’ research, there are two dimensions of human behavior that are key elements in understanding the behavioral-style model: assertiveness and responsiveness. He defined the former as “the way in which a person is perceived as attempting to influence the thoughts and actions of others.” He defined the latter as “the way in which a person is perceived as expressing feelings when relating to others.”

“It is the degree of responsiveness and assertiveness that combine to determine an individual’s style,” he explained.

People are assertive in two different ways, he said. They may be “ask assertive” or “tell assertive.” The ask-assertive person uses a questioning approach to indicate intention. For example, in discussing where they might want to go for lunch, they might ask “Do you want to go to McDonald’s?”, instead of “I’d like to go to McDonald’s.”

“The intent is clear; the approach is understated,” he said.

The ask-assertive individual frequently speaks more slowly, makes fewer statements, and may be quieter in volume. They may make less eye contact during conversation, minimize hand movement, and their body posture may be more reserved.

The tell-assertive individual is the one who more readily verbalizes a position. This individual may be recognized by a faster speech pattern, making more statements, and using a louder volume when speaking. “They tend to make more eye contact during conversation,” said Davis.

Responsiveness is the second dimension of behavior. Responsiveness is an indication of how much emotion a person may be willing to display to others, he said. The individual seen as controlling emotions may be perceived to be less responsive, and the individual who exhibits emotions more freely is seen to be more responsive.

Through close observation, the dimensions of behavior of others can be identified, said Davis.

“This awareness provides an insight to greatly enhancing relationships with them,” he said. “By combining the assertive behavior with the responsive behavior, the behavioral style becomes evident.”

NADCA President Bill Lundquist gave a thorough report regarding the cleaning of coils.


Davis said it was important to recognize the four behavioral styles.

Analytical- This style is ask assertive and tends to control emotions. This style is restrained in communication. The voice is often subdued, frequently monotone.

Driver- This style is tell assertive and tends to control emotions. At the same time, this person tends to make more statements. They speak fast and are very direct. Though they don’t often use a wide range of vocal tone or inflection, they often speak louder than those of other styles.

The driver style tends to focus on results and outcomes, said Davis. They may become impatient with those who take too long to make decisions or those who are overly emotional.

Amiable- This style is ask assertive and tends to display emotions. They speak more slowly and thoughtfully, use variety in their vocal tone, and they’re very sensitive to the needs or reactions of others.

This amiable style is the most concerned with relationships and can become upset if there is discord in the office, said Davis. They can lose sight of practicality if overwhelmed with emotional issues or relationship problems, he said.

Expressive- This style is tell assertive and tends to display emotions. Individuals of the expressive behavioral type tend to make more statements. They speak faster, use more variety in their vocal tone, and they’re frequently very animated in conversation. The expressive style tends to focus on issues with people, and they often use stories in making their points. They are often highly spontaneous and can generate high-energy and creative ideas for the business/team. Follow-through, however, can be a challenge for these folks.


Because of the significant differences in the four behavior styles, there are conflicts that can naturally occur in daily interaction, said Davis. Without the benefit of understanding the different behaviors, frustration and anger can occur.

“This can happen within the team or between team members and customers,” he said.

For example, a driver-style person who wants to get straight to the point without emotions can become very irritated with an amiable-style person who chats leisurely about family and seems tentative in action. According to Davis, this may cause the driver-style person to become more assertive and the amiable-style person to experience emotional stress in response.

“The key to making social styles meaningful in the office is to modify your own behavior to meet the needs of the other person,” said Davis. “This doesn’t mean giving up yourself, but adjusting your manner of self-presentation to help the other person feel comfortable with you.

“When this is done, it is far more likely that your verbal message will be heard. When the entire team strives to understand and communicate effectively with each other, the entire climate of the office improves, staff is happier, customers are happier, and productivity increases.”

When others see that you are striving to communicate more effectively, “you are likely to receive greater endorsement by them.”

“The purpose of behavior modification should never be for the purpose of manipulation,” added Davis, “but for the purpose of increased understanding.”

Publication date:03/26/2007