There are not a lot of TV shows where you watch an episode and then put a reminder in your diary to tune in in another 7 years’ time. I only know of one, and like thousands of other Australians, I tuned in to watch the latest instalment of the immensely popular 7 Up series, 63 Up on Monday night.
What a fantastic series this is, on a whole lot of levels. The show is based on the old Jesuit saying of ‘Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.’ The show follows the lives of some English children commencing at the age of 7 and then revisiting and shooting the next episode each successive 7-year period as they get older. They cover a broad social spectrum ranging from two kids in an orphanage, three children from the upper class, wealthy families and everything in between.
As I was watching 63 Up, I found myself trying to identify the individual characters in the show with the different profile types that we use at Agent Dynamics. One of the most commonly asked questions is ‘do our profiles change over the years?’ and we don’t believe that they do. The ‘Up’ series now spans 56 years and provides us with a visual and audio timeline that I believe shows that our innate strengths, challenges and traits don’t really change throughout our lives. Our behaviour and learned skill can certainly be affected by our upbringing but our ‘internal operating system’ stays the same.
Each week the series is telecast I will be looking at the individual participants and be providing an opinion on what I believe their profile may be and why. I hope you find it of interest and please remember that it is based upon observations of short snippets spanning 56 years.
Although I would love the opportunity, none of the participants has actually undertaken a Contribution Compass Profile with Agent Dynamics.
Tony Walker – Champion Profile
Everybody loves Tony Walker, the cheeky kid from the east end. When we watch the footage of him as a 7-year-old, we see him darting around, absolutely flat out, not only moving quickly but talking quickly as well. In all 9 episodes, his optimism shows thru, always talking about moving on to bigger and better things. Taking risks and coming up with more ideas, chasing that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I wouldn’t mind betting that Tony is a Champion Profile. Champions are the best promoters and we see him promoting either himself or others across the entire 56 years of the show. Tony certainly displays all the innate traits of a Champion profile. At 14 he wanted to be either jockey or a cabbie, interestingly, two occupations where no two days are the same, full of variety and so typical of a Champion. He went on to accomplish both. In each and every show his salesmanship comes shining through. In last Monday’s episode, we saw how his grand plans for developing commercial space in Spain disappeared before his eyes. Ever optimistic though he didn’t dwell on it and moved on in no time. So typical of someone full of Activating energy. I wouldn’t mind betting that when ’70 Up’ goes to air in 7 years’ time that Tony will still be as restless as ever, still going flat out and still wanting to be in the limelight.
Andrew Brackfield – Conductor Profile
Andrew was one of a group of three boys in the first episode, 7 Up, who had all come from successful and established families who, throughout the series have been portrayed as being born with a silver spoon in their mouths. When asked about the future as a young lad his answers identify a young boy who knows where he is going. As a 7-year-old he boasts of reading the Financial Times newspaper and details all the schools and houses that he will be attending all the way through to Cambridge University. As the series progresses, we see him study law before becoming a partner in a successful law firm. His entire life follows the path of “process over people”, a trait so typical of a Conductor profile. Conductors are all about the detail and rely upon systems and processes to get things completed. They are attracted to occupations that require accuracy and compliance so no shocks that Andrew became a lawyer. When he speaks you can almost see him move from one step to the next, processing as he goes. If you want proof of his attention to detail take particular note of him working in his garden in 63 Up.
Nicholas Hitchon – Cultivator Profile
Nicholas first appeared as a quiet deep thinking 7-year-old, born and bred into life on a farm. He shows an interest in the sciences and shyly tells us that when he grows up, he would like to ‘find out about the moon and all that’. At 14 he continues the theme telling us that he wants to study chemistry and physics. Throughout the entire series, his responses to questions are considered, factual and rarely rushed. Meticulous in everything that he does with a love for research, we see him move to the US at a fairly young age to further advance his career as a Nuclear Physicist. Nick shows all the attributes of a Cultivator profile. Cultivator profiles are reliable, careful and considered. They rarely over-promise and are excellent researchers. These traits have been constantly displayed by Nick across the years, particularly in the latest series, 63 Up when he is discussing his battle with throat cancer. His responses to questions about what the future holds for him are like they were 57 years prior when interviewed as a child. They are considered, factual and rarely rushed.
Susan Sullivan – Custodian Profile
Susan is another East-Ender, who, right from the beginning, appears very much to be a Custodian profile. In the early years of the series, Sue has two friends Lynne and Jacquie who seem almost inseparable. Custodian's love keeping the team together and while her two friends become a little outspoken over the years, Sue will often see both sides of an argument or debate and sits in the middle. The Custodian's deep sense of fairness certainly rings true with Sue and we hear it in her dialogue throughout the series, each time she raises a point she then goes on to discuss the counterpoint, very nonjudgmental and balanced. Custodians are all about the timing from an employment perspective, they are reliable and don’t change jobs at the drop of a Hat. Sue’s first job after leaving school is a customer service role with a Travel Company and then, after starting a family, she takes a position as an administrator in the School system. In 63 Up, she has a more senior position, but still working within the same school system and still looking after the needs of the team.
For me, the first episode of 63 Up has validated and reinforced my belief that although our environment and lifestyle changes throughout our lives, our innate talent and our Profile type do not. Each participant in the TV programme is still very much displaying similar traits and personalities as that they did when we first met them when they were seven.
I very much look forward to next week’s episode on SBS next Monday at 7:30 and will be sharing some thoughts on their profile types again.