Food for thought: focusing on both the topping and the base to bring your L&D dish to life

PRINT® can reveal a lot of tasty hidden psychological insights that other top-level profiling tools can’t – opening you up to a whole new palette of possibilities. Bon Appétit!

Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth for a delectable dessert?

Take a moment to picture your favourite after-dinner sweet treat… from chocolate cake and apple pie to strawberry cheesecake and tiramisu, we’re sure you’ll agree that a good dessert is the perfect way to round off a hearty meal.

And one thing you may have noticed that many appetising afters – particularly of the pie and pastry variety – have in common, is that they’re often made up of two key components: a topping and a base.

The topping is typically the part of the dessert that visually steals the show. Think about it – when you look at an apple pie, chocolate tart, or a cheesecake, the topping is what gets your mouth watering isn’t it?

It makes you want to grab the nearest fork or spoon in sight, and waste no time getting stuck in.

But what if there were no biscuit or pastry base to hold it all together?

The base is the substance behind the glamorous and appetising topping. It helps to balance the flavour and texture of the dish, and keep its integrity intact.

So where are we going with this appetising analogy?


The case for the topping

Well, the same principles also apply to the tools you’ll likely use in your learning and development programmes.

We’re sure you’ll be familiar with the popular personal insights tools that are frequently found inhabiting L&D pantries – MBTI, DISC and Insights to name just a few. You might even use them yourself on a regular basis – whether that’s with the people in your organisation, or with external clients.

But whichever tools you may be more familiar with, we won’t have to tell you that their key strength lies in defining the behaviours and tendencies that are present in how we respond to the world around us – things like our likes and dislikes, preferences, biases and talents  (we call these ‘above the waterline’ behaviours).

In short, they identify and describe.

And if you’ve experienced these tools for yourself, you’ll know how tantalising it is to be able to ‘see’ your behaviours through a new lens – almost as if you’re looking at yourself through someone else’s eyes.

It’s a bit like your own personal recipe of your characteristics, and how they blend together to form the end dish – you!

But have you ever found yourself scratching your head as to how you can do more with the information from that recipe?

For instance, you may have noticed that the insights from these behavioural-profiling tools are pretty static in their nature. Once you have them, it can be challenging to build on them further.

It’s kind of like – what next? How can I put this personal recipe to use, for myself and for others?


The case for the base

So, now let’s get your mouth watering again. Think back to our dessert analogy from earlier, and the difference between culinary toppings and bases.

Can you see where our food for thought is going here?

Simply put, tools like the ones mentioned above are the toppings of the behavioural-profiling world – focusing on the things we can clearly see in play.

They’re exciting and intriguing – delicious even. But they’re not enough to stand on their own.

It’s one thing to have an awareness of what we do. But we need a few more ingredients to help us change and evolve our behaviour.

For instance – wouldn’t it be useful to also understand why we do what we do?

The good news is, there’s a base which you can add into your L&D recipe book to enrich the insights you uncover with more value and substance.

And that secret ingredient is PRINT®.

If you’re not familiar with what PRINT® brings to the table, its strength lies in its ability to uncover the unique personal drivers that influence our behaviours and actions – what we call Unconscious Motivators®.

It goes one step further than behavioural-profiling tools, by focusing on what we can’t see – the ‘below the waterline’ insights that lie behind our visible characteristics.

Although they each play a part in influencing our behaviour, there are two specific Unconscious Motivators® that we’re all primarily driven by: a major and a minor, where the major has the biggest impact on your behaviour.

Already, you can see that PRINT® offers an unparalleled level of insight beyond what other behavioural-insights tools can achieve.

This isn’t to say that PRINT® is designed to replace these tools though. Far from it.

In fact, it can complement the flavours of the other tools when you add it to your L&D mixing bowl – infusing it with a new layer of insight. (We’ll be exploring this further in our next blog).

With behavioural-profiling tools as the topping, and PRINT® as the delicious base underneath.


Using PRINT® to uncover a new depth of flavour and insights

So how does PRINT® stand out?

Well, as we’ve already mentioned, what sets PRINT® apart from behavioural-insights tools is its unique ability to reveal the intangible, but deeply impactful, unconscious drivers of our behaviours.

The way it does this is delectably simple. PRINT® operates via a super-intelligent and dynamic survey, which accurately pinpoints your personal PRINT® profile.

Within this profile, PRINT® presents you with three key areas of actionable insight: your BEST SELF behaviours, your SHADOW SELF behaviours, and your unique personal TRIGGERS.

All this information stems from your Unconscious Motivators®. But what does it mean in practice?


Getting to grips with your Best Self and Shadow behaviours

Let’s start with Best Self behaviours.

You know those days when you’re positive, productive, totally in flow, and bringing the best out of others? This is you in your Best Self.

Best Self happens when our Unconscious Motivators® are being satisfied. It enables high-performance ways of working, so we can achieve more, collaborate better, and get the most out of ourselves.

But what about when you operate in Shadow?

Just like you have days where everything just seems to go your way, you’re probably also familiar with those times when life seems like it’s out to get you.

You can’t seem to get into flow. People grate on you where normally you’d get on really well. Or maybe it simply feels like it’s just not been your day.

You might give yourself a pep talk, willing yourself to get back into the swing of things. But unfortunately, these Shadow behaviours occur automatically – meaning it can be hard to gain control over them.

They’re a passive response, rather than a proactive decision.

Now you might be thinking – what prompts us into exhibiting unproductive Shadow behaviour in the first place?

The answer is, your Triggers.

Triggers are the events, situations, or actions that cause our Unconscious Motivators® to be unsatisfied. And when they occur, you’re subconsciously triggered into Shadow. Which will have a negative effect on not just yourself, but the people around you too.

Shadow behaviour can stop teams in their tracks.

It can cause your personal productivity to grind to a halt.

You can probably recall times in your career when you’ve noticed Shadow behaviours taking effect, but weren’t quite able to put your finger on why.

And by the same token, you’ve probably also noticed that it can be hard to figure out why we experience positive periods of Best Self behaviour.

This is where PRINT® really comes into its own.


Why you should focus on the base as well as the topping

PRINT® offers unrivalled access to these valuable insights. Enabling us to create strategies, for ourselves and others, to change and modify our behaviours – so that we can avoid slipping into Shadow, and maximise our time in Best Self.

And the best thing? There are a total of 9 PRINT® types – leading to a combination of 72 unique and individual PRINTs®!

Imagine the possibilities that would be open to you with this level of insight – especially when working with large teams or groups!

But if you’re still not convinced of the value PRINT’s® insights can add to your L&D pantry, you might still be wondering – why do I need to focus on the base, as well as the topping?

Simply put, PRINT® gives us insights that we can use to make better choices around our behaviours, and how we respond to events and people’s actions.

By understanding your Unconscious Motivators® and your potential Triggers beyond your ‘above the waterline’ behavioural characteristics, you can recognise when you might be triggered into Shadow – and put steps in place to avoid it in good time.

And equally, it can empower us to consciously choose Best Self behaviours.

Much like we might choose to add a little more seasoning to elevate our veggie casserole, or mix a little more baking powder into our Victoria sponge to achieve the best rise.

Once we understand how we can make the difference – it becomes within our power to do so.


How PRINT® can bring out the hidden flavours in your own L&D dish

Just imagine the value you could bring to your organisation or clients if you had this greater depth of knowledge at your disposal.

You could help them unlock potential they may have previously been unaware of.

Work with people to create more robust strategies for achieving their goals.

Help them to continuously develop their behaviours, self-awareness, and sense of being.

Understand on a deeper level how groups of people connect and communicate, and how they can do it better.

Build leadership and manager capability to demonstrate Best Self behaviours that motivate and inspire their teams.

All while enhancing your L&D pantry with a super-useful and complementary tool!

We’d guess the key takeaway here is – when it comes to Learning and Development, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

It pays to focus on the wider picture – combining topping and base into a Michelin star-worthy two-course banquet.

You can achieve this by incorporating PRINT® into your existing L&D ingredients – or by using it as a standalone tool.

The choice is yours!

Interested in learning more?

If your taste buds are tingling but you’re not finished tucking into the unique flavours of PRINT®, you can find out more about how you can incorporate it into your L&D mixing bowl over on our Coach Accreditation page.

Or if you’d like to chat about how PRINT® could help you add an extra dash of zest to your personal development programmes, you can strike up a conversation with our Michelle at


In our next blog, you’ll get a taste for how PRINT® can complement the ingredients you already have in your L&D cupboard – and how it can add an extra layer of flavour that really brings the dish to life. Sign up here to be the first to know when it’s published.