I believe that laws and rules should always be questioned, not just obeyed. I feel more comfortable with a chance to change my mind rather than just sticking with the same ideas all the time.

The ‘Adaptable’ attribute measures the extent to which respondents hold a questioning attitude to the world around them. Espousers of this attribute are those who tend to view their beliefs and actions as morally or ethically driven. We define ‘moral’ as subscription to a set of ‘rules’ framed by others and ‘ethical’ as a self-generated code of thought and behaviour.

Pioneers use this aspect of their values system to support their non-conformist streak, to question everything, and are prepared to shift their point of view if a better argument or solution is presented. Essentially they are ‘happy’ with who they are but are willing to change if they see better alternatives. This is a part of the classic liberal (small ‘l’) psychological mindset.

"The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment."
Bertrand Russell

The map clearly shows that it is not only Pioneers who espouse this attribute. Settlers, perhaps surprisingly, also contain a range of espousers. It is often assumed that Settlers are closed-minded about new opportunities and don’t listen to others. This attribute shows this is not strictly true.

The Settler orientation towards survival and a quiet life does lead them to be comfortable with a world that doesn’t change very quickly. But they also realize that nothing ever stays the same and that some things change faster than others - and that laws and ‘rules’ that once provided stability can lead to unanticipated consequences.

It is interesting that when Pioneers and Settlers adjust to new options presented by question-driven changes they may come to the same conclusion, but are doing so for very different reasons.

Pioneers are likely to adjust their attitudes and behaviours in order to continue to make more positive adjustments to their self-directed and creative lives: some may perceive this behaviour as contrarian.

Settlers, on the other hand, are likely to question and then adjust to the majority opinion - which they feel is always in some danger of being subverted by ‘others’, by which they mean people unlike themselves. Their adaptability is a part of their maintenance strategy in an ever-changing world.

Prospectors are more likely to reject this values orientation than the other Groups. Their pragmatic approach to life leads them to reject moral or ethical stances, be they conservative or liberal. They largely focus on what rules and laws work for them rather than why they work or don’t work. Their focus is on power and achievement, not on morals and ethics.

Clients often note that very different Values Modes can come to similar conclusions but they seem to do this for very different reasons. This is an illustration of the observation, and an indication why grouping people of similar behaviour together in “target groups” can lead to unsatisfactory results when attempting to change or reinforce their behaviour.


Using Adaptable

Demographic Skews:

1) Over indexed: Female, 45-54, down market

2) Under indexed: Male, 25-34

Adaptable espousers also espouse other attributes. The top five most highly correlated attributes of Adaptable espousers are, in order of the strength of relationship:

1) Unplanned
2) Conscience
3) Stupid Law
4) Tao
5) Inquisitive

In total, those who espouse Adaptable also over-index significantly on 49 other attributes.

If "Adaptable" (or the associated attributes) are important to you and you would like to delve more deeply, contact us at