Understanding Conscientiousness – The Achiever Personality Trait 

When it comes to understanding our unique personalities, the concept of the “Big Five” personality traits provides a comprehensive framework. One of these key traits is conscientiousness, often referred to as the “achiever” dimension. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of conscientiousness, exploring its facets, real-life manifestations, and the importance of finding the right balance. 

At its core, conscientiousness is related to our ability to control and regulate our impulses. It encompasses traits such as self-discipline, organization, and a strong sense of responsibility. Individuals who score high on conscientiousness tend to be goal-oriented, reliable, and adept at turning abstract ideas into tangible results. 

Conscientiousness Sub-Facets:  

To better understand this multifaceted trait, let’s break it down into its sub-facets: 

1. Self-Efficacy: This facet reflects an individual’s confidence in their abilities to accomplish tasks and achieve success. Those with high self-efficacy believe in their intelligence, drive, and self-control, while those with low self-efficacy may doubt their effectiveness. 

2. Orderliness: As the name suggests, this facet relates to a preference for structure, routine, and organization. High scorers thrive in well-planned environments, while those on the lower end may find themselves more scattered and comfortable with a certain level of chaos. 

3. Dutifulness: This facet measures an individual’s sense of moral obligation and adherence to rules and regulations. Those high in dutifulness have a strong ethical compass and are seen as reliable, while those low in this facet may find rules overly confining. 

4. Achievement Striving: This facet encompasses an individual’s drive for excellence and goal achievement. High achievers set lofty goals and persistently work towards them, while those low in this facet may be content with minimal effort. 

5. Self-Discipline: Also known as willpower, self-discipline refers to the ability to persist through difficult or unpleasant tasks until completion. Highly self-disciplined individuals can overcome distractions and stay on track, while those low in this facet may struggle with follow-through and consistency. 

6. Cautiousness: This facet reflects an individual’s tendency to think through potential consequences before acting. Highly cautious individuals take their time in decision-making, while those low in cautiousness may act on impulse without considering alternatives. 

Observing Conscientiousness 

Real-life examples of conscientiousness can be found in various settings. In the workplace, conscientious individuals are often reliable team members who meet deadlines and follow through on commitments. In personal relationships, they may be the ones who remember important dates, keep their living spaces tidy, and follow through on promises.  

The Upside of Low Conscientiousness 

However, it’s important to note that both high and low levels of conscientiousness have their strengths and challenges. While high conscientiousness can lead to exceptional performance and reliability, it may also manifest as perfectionism or an unwillingness to let go of control. On the other hand, low conscientiousness can foster flexibility and spontaneity, but may also result in procrastination or a lack of follow-through. 

The key is to find a balance that works for you and your unique circumstances. For example, a highly conscientious individual in a creative field may benefit from embracing a little more flexibility, while someone low in conscientiousness working in a highly regulated industry may need to develop stronger organizational skills. 

Leverage Your Natural Gifts 

Understanding your level of conscientiousness can be a powerful tool for self-awareness and personal growth. By taking a personality assessment, such as the Big Five assessment, you can gain insights into your own tendencies and develop strategies to leverage your strengths while addressing potential areas for improvement. 

Whether you’re an achiever driven by goals and excellence or a free spirit who thrives in spontaneity, embracing the multi-faceted nature of conscientiousness can unlock new levels of self-understanding and success in both your personal and professional life. 

Dan Ritter

Dan Ritter

Dan is a data geek with a passion for computational social science and its applications in the workplace. Dan has never been a fan of the left-brain vs right-brain dichotomy–he is a dedicated "all-brainer." He believes in the power of data to help us better understand human behavior at scale, and also that a healthy dose of humanity is required to accurately interpret data and apply insights with wisdom and tact. In his free time, Dan enjoys wilderness camping with his family, reading, and tinkering with anything that can be taken apart. A lifelong learner, he holds a BA in Education, is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Data Science, and enjoys adding to his collection of certificates for fun.
Dan Ritter

Dan Ritter

Dan is a data geek with a passion for computational social science and its applications in the workplace. Dan has never been a fan of the left-brain vs right-brain dichotomy–he is a dedicated "all-brainer." He believes in the power of data to help us better understand human behavior at scale, and also that a healthy dose of humanity is required to accurately interpret data and apply insights with wisdom and tact. In his free time, Dan enjoys wilderness camping with his family, reading, and tinkering with anything that can be taken apart. A lifelong learner, he holds a BA in Education, is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Data Science, and enjoys adding to his collection of certificates for fun.
Max Kresch

Max finds creative problem solving deeplyfulfilling is highly disciplined in his approach to research. He brings an advanced mathematics background to illumyx with significant experience in machine learning techniques, computer programming, and complex statistical analysis.

 

Max has experience working on complex Department of Defense projects and he recently transitioned his career into social science research. An erstwhile lecturer on data science at the University of Wisconsin, Max is gifted at communicating complex topics in easy-to-understand ways. Max assists the team in survey analysis and reporting and provides oversight on research design and analysis.


A father of two with a passion for music. In his free time, you’ll find him at a local park with his kids, cruising on his rollerblades, or jamming on his guitar with one of several bands he plays in. 

Max Kresch, PhD

Senior Data Scientist

Andrew Fleck

Andrew (Drew) Fleck, PhD, is a results-oriented organizational leader, certified executive coach, behavioral scientist, consultant, and entrepreneur. Drew is driven to add value to peoples’ lives by helping them become more self-sufficient. No matter what role he plays, he focuses on helping clients build strategic foresight into their organizations. He is a natural collaborator who looks for opportunities to partner and build-up others’ skill, knowledge, and confidence.

 

Drew is highly pragmatic and objective with a unique ability to think clearly under pressure. We can thank the US Air Force for that trait.  His studies and practical experience make him an expert in leadership, learning, organization design, organization development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Over his career, he performed a number of strategic roles that aligned him with his love for travel and learning about different people and cultures.  He has a reputation for transforming organizational systems from a reactionary transactional approach to a proactive strategic approach.

 

Drew started his career in High Tech, but has since worked across a variety of industry and government sectors. Drew holds Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University and a Master’s in Management and Organizational Behavior from Silver Lake College.

Andrew Fleck, Ph.D.

Chief Behavioral Scientist

Kristy Krautkramer

Kristy is a highly organized, strategic thinker and planner. She helps bring focus and levity to the nerd kingdom at illumyx. Committed and caring are two words that describe her best and she has endless energy to support projects and causes she believes in. Her background in music, teaching, and finance brings greater efficiency and harmony to illumyx’ processes and team interactions.

 

Kristy leads operations for the illumyx team, specializing in administrative functions that include finance, HR, and employee onboarding. Her love for order and accuracy frequently find her leading qualitative analysis projects for illumyx.  A former educator, Kristy has a Master’s degree in Education from St.Norbert College.  


Kristy is the mother of four boys. She often unwinds by hosting large gatherings for family and friends, having a good laugh, enjoying a glass of wine (or a swig of tequila), and diving into niche romance novels.

Kristy Krautkramer, M.A.​

Business Specialist & Qualitative Research Analyst

Dan Ritter

Dan is a data geek with a passion for computational social science and its applications in the workplace. Dan has never been a fan of the left-brain vs right-brain dichotomy–he is a dedicated all-brainer. He believes in the power of data to help us better understand human behavior at scale, and also that a healthy dose of humanity is required to accurately interpret data and apply insights with wisdom and tact.

 

Two of his favorite quotes sum up his approach to work:

 

“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion,” W. Edwards Demming

 

“...people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” Maya Angelou.


In his free time, Dan enjoys wilderness camping with his family, reading, and tinkering with anything that can be taken apart. A lifelong learner, he holds a BA in Education, is currently pursuing his MS in Data Science, and has amassed a growing collection of certificates from fine institutions around the country.

Dan Ritter

Director of People Analytics

Steve Utech

Steve’s life mission is to unlock the mysteries of complex human interactions to make people’s work and personal relationships more meaningful, productive, and satisfying. All things niche and complex are food for his ADHD brain. He’s a geek at heart with irreverent humor, but also has a deep love of people. An experienced leader in the areas of culture optimization, organizational effectiveness, and team development, Steve is the visionary and founder of illumyx.

 

His background in both the hard sciences and the art of family dynamics allows him to take a behavioral and systematic approach to organizational change and transformation. He has worked with Fortune 1000 organizations and executives in a variety of sectors to help them optimize their culture and achieve results. Steve holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver in Colorado and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota.

 

An adventurer at heart, Steve spends his free time exploring nature with his 4 kids and anyone up for testing their limits. He enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, and finding brief moments of rhythm out on the dance floor.

 

Above all, he enjoys seeing people grow and develop by giving them the freedom to explore and try new things. As someone once put it, “Steve makes it safe to be dangerous”.

Steve Utech, MSW

Founder, CEO, and Director of Consulting​

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