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Posts Tagged ‘disc style’

Good listening: Listen up! It’s more complex than you knew.

Friday, July 6th, 2012

“Well if you would only listen…” “You never listen to me.” “I told you, but obviously you weren’t listening.”

Ah, listening. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but how often have you heard (or said) complaints like those above? Maybe good listening isn’t so simple after all.

So what makes good listening so complex?

If we look to behavioral styles we can find some clues. Observing behaviors through the lens of DISC helps us see that those who exhibit certain styles are demonstrating patterns that can predict how they listen. Many articles like this one on good listening, “How to be a Good Listener”, frame the advice in terms of modifying the behavior to be more effective.

Let’s look at the core styles in the context of effective listening:

High D‘s are oriented around achieving results, and are not shy about making fast decisions or bringing pressure to bear on a situation. If a conversation does not support the high D’s current agenda then that person may lose interest in the conversation. Being forceful by nature the high D is not hesitant to interrupt or walk away when someone is speaking to them. Their observed behavior prioritizes problem solving over social considerations so unless their D is accompanied by a fairly high I don’t expect the high D to be a patient listener. If you want to keep the high D’s attention make your message short, and to the point. Think bullet points, not back-story.

The high I is typically observed to be talkative, but does a talker make a good listener? Not usually. The high I individual is usually counted among the worst listeners. High I’s tend to seek out a lot of verbal interaction, but their focus tends to be more on the appearance they are making, and their social status rather than paying attention to the content of a conversation. When not the one speaking, the classic high I spends the majority of their time thinking of what they are going to say rather than focusing on and considering what is being said to them. A high I with a low S will be talkative and restless in a conversation – they’ll flit around a cocktail party or networking reception making small talk with everyone, but never sticking around in one conversation long enough to absorb much of the conversation because they’re always spotting someone else they “have to say hello to”.

A low S exacerbates the high I’s weak listening ability, but what kind of a listener is a high S? The high S demonstrates behavior that supports good listening: they tend to avoid confrontation, so they are unlikely to interrupt a speaker; they prefer things to move at a slower, steadier pace, and are reticent to upset the status quo – which means you will seldom see a high S walking away from someone who is in the middle of telling a story (no matter how much that story may go on and on). The high S observes, but doesn’t tend to reveal what they have in mind so their focus tends to be on what the other person is saying rather than emulating the high I’s tendency to be thinking up the next interesting thing to say.

Last but not least we have the high C. If high S’s make the best listeners then high C’s are the second best among the core DISC styles. The high C is process-oriented and attentive to detail. A high C makes use of conversations as a form of information gathering. They are very attentive to details revealed in even a casual discussion and will feel compelled to correct any errors made by the person speaking. These could be errors in facts or grammar, but the net result is that the high C can be perceived as snobby for this behavior. The C applies structure to the act of listening, observing rules of politeness and formality, even parliamentary procedure in a group setting. A high C with a fairly high D may interrupt you, but not because of disinterest, they just may feel they have a more efficient way of harvesting the information in the conversation and may tend to turn a chat into a mild interrogation.

Of course other combinations of DISC behavior scores will reveal more complex listening styles, as well as the individual’s preferences for ways of communicating verbally. A high C will prefer to listen to another high C because of the shared affinity for structured presentation and accurate information. One high I may not be listening to the high I that is speaking to them, but they are together more at ease feeding off of each other’s enthusiasm and energy than that same high I might feel in a discussion with a high S.

Going beyond observable behaviors, values and motivators add more complexity to the art of effective listening. If a listener’s values are similar to those of the speaker, then they will be naturally more interested and likely to listen. If they have opposing values, the listener will have a natural tendency to disregard what the speaker is saying. These tendencies may mitigate or aggravate the listening issues predicted by the behavioral styles of the people in question. Once again we find that the Golden Rule falls a bit short when it comes to communication. The effective communicator doesn’t speak to listeners in the manner that the communicator would like to hear, but rather adapts their communication to the listening style preferences of the audience.

To be a great listener able to traverse conversations with colleagues of multiple behavioral profiles and diverse motivations and values generally requires a high degree of emotional intelligence. The more emotionally mature individual may learn how to overcome poor listening skills by developing more empathy for others, and learning to recognize and adapt their behaviors to better suit the situation. They can then be far more effective at listening than one who has not matured yet and is highly self-centered.

Objective assessments give us the ability to measure all of these factors and can be tremendously valuable in predicting effective listening skills and identifying opportunities to coach individuals in improving this ability. For an example of a well-rounded assessment that can be useful in this manner see this sample report.

The World According to DISC – DISC Goes To A Meeting

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Whether you think they are the boon or the bane of the business world, one thing is certain, in corporate culture meetings are a fact of life. Some meetings are long and tedious, some are short and decisive, some involve the whole company, others just a task team of stakeholders. Google is famous for stand-up meeting where the lack of chairs are intended to promote an attitude of meet for only as long as is necessary. So what can we expect from our cast of DISC characters when it’s time for a sit-down?

Dorothy is a high D and the only meetings she really likes are the ones that she is running. When she’s directing the meeting (usually one she’s called on the spur of the moment) they tend to be short and to the point and they don’t happen unless there is a specific purpose to the meeting. Sounds great, but unfortunately sometimes Dorothy can be in such a rush to move the meeting agenda that she can overlook the input of quieter members of the team or gloss over important details. She sometimes falls into the habit of challenging and too-quickly dismissing ideas if they aren’t clearly presented or challenge her authority. Dorothy tends to dodge meetings if they aren’t ones she has initiated. When she does sit in a meeting she usually presses the agenda to nail down action items and generally “get on with it”.

Isaac is a high I and he loves meetings, or rather he loves the socializing that often happens just before and just after the meeting. If anyone is likely to linger in the conference room chatting with colleagues after the meeting is done it will be Isaac and his other high I friends. During the meeting Isaac’s interest will depend a lot on the style of the meeting if it is a lecture or company announcement with no interaction he’ll get bored, but will sit through it so as not to risk the social ostracism of sneaking out early. On the other hand if the meeting is very participatory Isaac will happily chime in to maintain status and will talk on subjects regardless of whether he is actually moving the agenda toward a conclusion. If Isaac calls a meeting it is seldom planned in advance, and sometimes it is hard to tell with all the talk and laughter if the impromptu gathering is a meeting or an office party.

Samantha is a high S and as such doesn’t give off a lot of signals whether she is enjoying the meeting or not, but she is loyal to her boss Dorothy and always backs her point of view. She also always sits in the same chair if she can, and gets a bit flustered if the meeting isn’t in the usual conference room or if someone has taken her favorite seat. The meetings she is most comfortable in are the regular weekly staff meetings, the ones that feel like a regular family dinner where the agenda and the cast of characters are all the same. On the other hand, when she is called into an unplanned meeting she gets stressed and worried that a new decision from management may change the status quo that she finds comfortable.

Chester is a high C and is always a stickler for following parliamentary procedures at meetings. If he calls the meeting, attendance gets taken and people are allotted a set amount of time for replies. Any question raised during a meeting is then reviewed by going around the room getting responses one person at a time. Chester’s meetings always start right on-time. He begins with a review of the minutes from his previous meeting and always end with detailed action items which he then repeats in his after-meeting memos to the staff. Nobody is allowed to leave until the meeting is officially adjourned. Dorothy particularly tries to avoid Chester’s meetings.

As we often do in our World According to DISC blog posts, we’ve shared with you here some one-dimensional examples to illustrate the traits associated with the core DISC styles. But meetings are a very multi-dimensional part of the fabric of a workplace. A recent study of more than 5000 CEOs conducted by the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School, has indicated that meetings are where CEOs spend as much as a full third of their time. The leadership of these companies usually only get about 6 hours per week in which they are able to work alone. CEOs often crave more alone time to build strategy and think creatively, but a lion’s share of their time is spent in meetings where they must contend with the communication dynamics of all the DISC styles. Learning to understand DISC behaviors and finesse the communication landscape of meetings can be vital to an organization’s success and overall culture.

Ask the Expert: Lowering your S

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

A reader from the healthcare arena recently used our Ask the Expert form to ask:

** What does it mean if you have a Naturally high S, but your Adapted S is significantly lower? **

Art’s answer:

If you are seeing a DISC report with a Natural S that is high and an Adapted S that is much lower then you are actually seeing one of the most common behavioral adjustments in corporate America today. In the DISC spectrum the S reflects our preferences for different paces. When the S factor drops to a strong degree, it typically means the pace you’re encountering is greatly increased, that the variety of the work you are doing has increased (juggling lots of assignments at one time), or possibly your priorities are changing rapidly.

A person with a high Natural S likes to know what to expect – they are more comfortable knowing what’s going to happen well in advance. But if you are responding to the environment with a low Adapted S then it sounds like you might not be able to predict what you’ll be working on from one moment to the next, or have so many things on your plate, you may not be getting the closure you like. I often recommend those making this adjustment either get a bigger staff or do their best to prioritize their projects and takes some things off their plate. This isn’t always easy, particularly in today’s job climate where so many people are being asked to shoulder larger burdens and compensate for the missing productivity of people who have been let go, but not replaced, due to economic constraints. However, forcing someone to sustain an Adapted style that is drastically different from their Natural style can cause severe stress and loss of morale, especially if the person in question is pushed into this state frequently and for long periods of time. Frustration and resentment can increase in these situations.

It is also important to remember that the issue isn’t as much the direction of change, as it is the magnitude of change and the amount of time spent in the Adapted state. We often see executives with lower Natural S scores, who become frustrated and restless if they find themselves in a situation that causes them to have a higher Adapted S. Often an executive in this situation will make a move and quit the position as soon as they are able to because boredom is generally the least tolerable adapted state.

What’s your question?

Data Dome’s resident expert is our founder, Art Schoeck. A member of TTI’s prestigious International Faculty, Art often receives questions through our Ask the Expert form. We try to answer questions here on this blog that are representative of common questions regarding DISC and other assessment tools.

Do you have a question about DISC? If so please submit it via the Ask the Expert form. Although it may not be possible to answer every question individually, we use the “Ask the Expert” category of this blog to answer the DISC-related questions most important to our readers.

Sales and DISC Behavior – It’s Easy to Sell to People Like You

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

(but not necessarily easy to manage them)

As discussed in our previous articles, “Sales Hiring Mistakes” and “Sales: What Makes a Great Salesperson (for You)?“, businesses that can sell well tend to do well – so it is not surprising that there is a lot of interest in making the sales process more predictable. Yet try as they might, salespeople and sales managers are often puzzled as to why some deals seem to go like clockwork while others feel like endless uphill struggles. They blame the market, they blame the people, they look to the 80/20 rule and see that 20% of the people bring in 80% of the profit, but can’t determine how to reliably duplicate the effective ones.

Communication is often the cause at the root of sales successes and failures. The fact is it is generally easier to sell to someone who shares the same communication preferences, that has a similar behavioral style, as you do. Comfortable communication is an important factor in establishing the trust and credibility needed to create a sale. By default we all tend to approach sales communication from the old golden rule “treat others as you would like to be treated,” however that old expression overlooks the idea that “others” may not want to be treated, in behavior or communication, in the way that makes you yourself feel the most comfortable.

DISC opens the door for us to understand that the behaviors or communication modes that feel natural to one person may cause stress to another. With this insight we can amend the golden rule to say “treat others as they wish to be treated” and use this idea to build a better foundation for sales success. Teaching salespeople to recognize their own behavioral styles and those of the clients they interact with gives them the opportunity to adapt to a mode of communication better suited to the client’s need. As the salesperson’s skill in recognizing and adapting to the styles of others increases so will their ability to build trust and credibility in relationships that were previously difficult and puzzling. Although the salesperson’s natural behavioral style will remain their same they will learn when and how to adapt for better results.

Recognizing that people have different natural behavioral styles also helps us understand a mistake that is unfortunately quite commonly made by businesses: they take their best performing salesperson and promote him or her to sales manager. Consider that the track record of the person in question indicates that the behaviors demanded to be a top sales performer are well-aligned with their natural behavioral style. Does a sales manager perform the same behaviors? What would indicate that the roles are interchangeable? As an analogy would a pro football team promote someone to quarterback because they were a great receiver? Not likely – the skills, the reflexes, the behaviors wouldn’t fit.

Let’s examine a scenario from a DISC perspective to further illustrate the point. At Company X the top performing sales people tend to be people skilled at keeping people happy and emotionally vested while driving for quick decisions and buy-in that keep the process moving forward rather than slipping into stasis. Meanwhile the successful sales manager at Company X must assert authority and accountability to the team, following a strictly defined process to assure fairness in hiring, firing, and compensation systems while also tracking the endlessly detailed expense reimbursement process. In the language of DISC that successful sales person is exhibiting high I (Influence) and high D (Dominance) behaviors while the sales manager’s role requires a low I and a high C (Compliance) – essentially opposite attributes. An individual might be able to adjust temporarily to fit the requirements, but quickly the stress and energy drain of maintaining that adjustment so strongly away from the individual’s natural behavioral preferences will cause the situation to either erode or explode. Reverting to natural behaviors the ex-salesperson now manager in question starts to try to make the salespeople she is responsible for as happy as she liked to make the customers she used to interact with, she grows restless handling the details and uncomfortable enforcing the policy and procedures because her C isn’t naturally high. Simply put, the former star receiver ends up being a lousy quarterback through no fault of her own.

At Data Dome we specialize in using the science of DISC behavioral analysis to unlock the keys to better performance, improved team dynamics and creating the best fits for your organization to thrive. Contact us to find out more about training and tools that can improve sales performance while helping you understand the success criteria for different roles in your organization.

Retaining Key Personnel: Understanding The Risk of Boredom

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Keeping your top performers, those key employees that really help keep your organization moving, is an item that is always near the top of any executive’s priority list. Yet the workplace is always subject to change and sometimes yesterday’s motivated MVP can become today’s flight risk.

Shifting circumstances in the work environment can force changes in the default DISC behaviors of your people. This can lead the employee to experience one or more of these four states:

1) Frustration – the individual feels thwarted by the change, unable to act in a preferred manner or feeling that the opportunity to be successful has been sabotaged.

2) Elevated energy expenditure – the shift in the work environment has pushed the individual to adapt away from her natural DISC behavioral style to a new profile of behavior, this requires energy to sustain and can be draining if required for an extended duration.

3) Stress – change brings uncertainty, disruption of the status quo, this can provoke a stressed emotional state that can be expressed in multiple ways such as anger, fear, agitation, impatience, withdrawal, etc.

4) Boredom – change can shift an individual into a state of weariness and restlessness due to lack of interest.

Of the four, the last one, boredom, is the one to watch. It may sound relatively innocuous – certainly stress gets more attention than boredom due to the linkage of stress and health issues – however, it is boredom that is in fact the least tolerable state of the four. It can be a greater indicator that an employee is about to quit or otherwise change their situation than the other three change reactions mentioned above.

Consider for a moment, how well do you personally tolerate boredom? How would you react if confronted on a daily basis with lengthy periods of tedium? Most dynamic leaders squirm at the mere thought of enduring a boring meeting, let alone an extended work session. Many leaders, although not all, have a high score in the D column of a DISC profile indicating a behavioral bias towards action. They feel boredom is a harbinger of wasted time, inefficiency and a lack of productivity and they will do anything to personally avoid it. When boredom seems inescapable the individual will take action to shift the situation, that action is all too often announced with the phrase “I quit!”

Every day talented individuals quit tasks, projects, teams, and, yes, even their jobs because of boredom. The turnover and loss of knowledge and experience is incredibly costly for organizations and much of it could be avoided with timely intervention. But how do you know when someone is bored? It is easy for you to know when you, yourself, are bored, but it isn’t always easy to outwardly observe when someone else is bored. This is an area where DISC profiles can be a valuable tool not just during the hiring process, but in the ongoing development and retention of your staff. Using DISC assessments as part of a routine employee development process allows DISC styles to be tracked over time. When anomalous shifts in behavior profiles occur they will be recognized and may provide the critical insight needed to rescue an employee who is sliding down the funnel of boredom toward the door marked exit.

In the DISC vocabulary S stands for steadiness – If in our tracking we see a strong increase in an individual’s score in the S column it is often an indicator of entrenched boredom. They may shift from a low S dynamic style to a non-demonstrative high S style indicating that the individual may not have enough to do, or may require more variety of tasks. The individual may have grown in skills and is no longer sufficiently challenged by the current activity or they may have been moved into a role that runs contrary to their behavioral profile. For example take the DISC style of a high D person who is used to driving activity in pioneering ways and putting them in a role where they have large amounts of tedious “busy work” and no options to change things or delegate the activity – we’ll see the unchanging grind lead to boredom that is expressed as an elevation in the S column. It is in this state when they feel boredom is inescapable within the situation that they start directing energy toward getting out of the situation.

Without regularly administering DISC behavioral assessments, the bored amongst your key personnel can remain a hidden, yet “at risk”, population in the work force. I’ve compared my observations from teaching in management and leadership development classes, with those of other faculty in management programs; we concur that boredom is a prime motivation for a large number of the participants enrolled in such courses. We estimate that 45 – 60% of those paying for additional education around their current working situation are doing so because they are bored in their current position and are intending to use the educational opportunity to change their current situation. Doing whatever it takes to make a change.

In summary, to keep your top performers keep them interested. To keep them interested recognize when they’re bored. DISC assessments, if used properly, can provide the objective data to help you identify when your best employee is about to yawn their way out the door.

Ask the Expert: Me-Me Conflicts?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Art Schoeck was recently asked the following question via our Ask the Expert form:

** What do you mean by the Me-Me Conflict? Could you flesh that out a little? **

Art’s answer:

There are certain DISC behavioral styles that pose a “Me-Me” conflict, meaning there exists internal incompatibilities between behaviors. The Me-Me conflicts occur when an individual displays behaviors that are at odds with each other, that interfere with intended outcomes or reframe the behavioral dynamics due to the combination of conflicting behaviors.

To illustrate this idea let’s examine some scenarios:

An individual who wants to like people (DISC profile = high I) and looks at others with warmth and emotion, yet has high standards with which she judges things, data, and… people (DISC style = core C). So she wants to be liked and wants to like others, but she holds others to high standards, which may relegate her associates to those with high standards for instance she may date only those who pass her strict checklist of criteria. Here we see the Me-Me conflict in the competition of the core C behavior with the drive of the high I behavior. However, as in the dating example mentioned, the result might not be one behavior preventing the other, but both behaviors combining, hence the C-driven checklist criteria applied to the I-driven dating.

An individual may have a sense or urgency to get immediate results (DISC style = core D) while at the same time desire perfection (DISC profile = high C), which takes time to achieve. They constantly have internal conflict of rushing to complete, which can increase the likelihood of infractions or errors, vs slowing the pace down adequately to perform in an error-free compliant manner. The high D wants results and action now, which is in conflict with the high C behavior of making sure things are done in adherence to the standard of perfection.

One more example, although there are many more Me-Me conflict variations, can be seen with people who look at things, data, and products in an emotional way, yet look at people logically and analytically. The may buy things based on their emotions, yet look at others with skepticism and a “prove it to me” attitude. Changing situational dynamics can reframe the conflict.

Sometimes people are confused by the mention of Me-Me conflicts in part due to the explanation that accompanies the DISC Success Insights Wheel in some reports. The wheel will sometimes have the word “Cross” on it along with arrows pointing to spots on the wheel (see this post for a deeper look at the Success Insights Wheel) this can indicate the potential presence of a Me-Me conflict, because we are seeing three of the four DISC factors above the line with the individual’s core (or most prominent) DISC factor and the factor that is directly across from it on the wheel constituting two of those three factors that are above the line. The confusion can come from the use of the word “opposite” which in the Success Insights Wheel’s explanation is meant to refer to the style which is on the opposite side of the wheel, however this is not actually an opposite of the DISC style: D and S are across from each other on the wheel, as are I and C, but these are not opposite behaviors. The opposite behavior of a high D is not a high S, it is a low D. Likewise the opposite of a high I is a low I, etc. There can be some similarities between a low D and a high S but the behavioral basis is different.

What’s your question?

Data Dome’s resident expert is our founder, Art Schoeck. A member of TTI’s prestigious International Faculty, Art often receives questions through our Ask the Expert form. We try to answer questions here on this blog that are representative of common questions regarding DISC and other assessment tools.

Do you have a question about DISC? If so please submit it via the Ask the Expert form. Although it may not be possible to answer every question individually, we use the “Ask the Expert” category of this blog to answer the DISC-related questions most important to our readers.

World According to DISC – Guide to Holiday Shopping

Monday, December 6th, 2010

‘Tis the gift giving season so we here at Data Dome want to help you find the perfect gift for all the different DISC profiles on your list. Not everyone has disc profiles as extreme as these, but thinking about DISC styles may help you choose a better behaviorally-fitting gift.

A high D DISC profile is likely to respond well to a gift that helps further a goal, but not if it adds complication to the process: Last year, Danny the High D was looking to start exercising more so his wife thought a new bicycle would be the perfect gift. It would have been if it had come pre-assembled, but Danny wanted to exercise not decipher an assembly manual. He’s now running 3 miles a day, but the bike is still in the box.

A high I DISC profile likes to be around people, interacting, talking and having fun. Good choices are gifts that either prompt a social gathering or elevate the high I’s social status, but follow through and attention to detail may not be strong with the high I. Last year, Irma the high I found out that several of her friends got together once a week for a knitting circle so she dropped a lot of hints about knitting to her husband. He dutifully got her a starter kit of knitting needles, a knitting video, several balls of beautiful wool and a book of knitting patterns. She was delighted and excited to join her friends at her first knitting circle, until she found out how hard it was as a beginner to knit and talk at the same time. She continues to enjoy meeting her knitting circle, but as of this writing she has yet to complete her first scarf.

Persons with a high S DISC profile aren’t very demonstrative and may seem hard to shop for because they haven’t outwardly expressed what they would like. Sam is a high S and last holiday season his wife noticed that the lining was shot on his winter coat. She thought it would be nice to get him a new coat that was more in-style than his old one, but she knew he wasn’t into fashion and that he tended to resist change so instead she got the old coat relined. When he opened the box he was confused for a second to see his old coat in a new gift box, but when he saw the new lining he smiled and quietly slipped the coat on over his pajamas.

The high C DISC profile can be intimidating to shop for because the high C can be meticulous and critical about quality and appropriateness of a gift. Last year, Clara, a high C, was dismayed when her friends in the office gave her an expensive planner from Franklin-Covey – they thought it would be a big hit because she is so organized, but she felt insulted that they thought she needed someone else’s system to stay on top of things. This year they did better, giving her a subscription to Consumer Reports so she can always have the data to make the most informed purchase decisions.

Here are a few more just-in-fun gift ideas -

The gift they want:

  • High D – NASCAR fantasy camp driving lesson, air horn, watch with built-in stopwatch
  • High I – Tickets to the Oprah show, karaoke machine, a huge holiday party
  • High S – Grandpa’s pocket watch, a family holiday dinner, savings bond
  • High C – Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine, statistical graphing calculator, US Chess Federation standard chess set

The gift they need, but don’t want:

  • High D – meditation retreat, biofeedback machine, chamomile tea
  • High I – time management system, accountability coach, Social Media blocking software
  • High S – home organizer session, procrastination-busters class, Toastmasters membership
  • High C – empathy training, improv class, mud-wrestling tournament entry

As always with the World According to DISC series, we like to keep it light while sharing some instructive, yet one-dimensional attributes of DISC behavior. In reality people are multi-dimensional and are influenced by a range of motivators and attitudes in addition to having a mix of behavioral styles.

Whatever your DISC style we at Data Dome wish you and yours a very happy holiday season!

Some DISC Profile “Quick-Takes” from the World According to DISC

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Our intrepid office reporter cornered a few colleagues with classically high DISC profiles and asked, “Wow, we sure are busy these days aren’t we?”

The person with a high D DISC profile said: “You said it! I’ve got some big goals to reach before the end of the year, now give me a hand and sort these files for me.”

The high I said: “I know! Can you believe it? I mean everyone I talk to says they are swamped. You’re swamped, I’m swamped, we’re all swamped! So what do you have on your plate? Hey Jerry, hey Margaret, come here we’re discussing how busy everyone is these days…”

The high S said: “Um, I guess so, can I go back to work now?”

The high C said: “Who authorized this interview? We’re working on a very tight schedule here. Have you seen the project plan? We can’t have unapproved interruptions like this. We have procedures for a reason you know.”

“Are you taking any time off before the end of the year?”

The high D: “Ski vacation in Aspen – this year I’m going to conquer the expert slopes.”

The high I DISC profile said: “We’re going on a cruise – I just love meeting all the people and getting to know them all week.”

The high S: “Visiting my parents for a week like I did last year.”

The high C: “I’m taking the Series 7 Financial Certification exam.”

“How do you unwind?”

Our DISC profiles responded:

The high D: “Coaching my kid’s basketball team.”

The high I: “Meeting friends for coffee.”

The high S: “Reading a book in my favorite chair at home.”

The high C: “Organizing my receipts. ”

“What do you like best about your job?”

The high D: “Always another mountain to climb.”

The high I: “I work with some fascinating people.”

The high S: “I’m very loyal to my boss, I’ve worked for her for twenty years.”

The high C: “Refining our processes for higher quality.”

“Is there a question you would like to ask me?”

The high D: “Are we almost done here? I’ve got calls to make.”

The high I: “How did you become the office reporter? Do you meet a lot of people? Everyone must think you’re fascinating. I wonder if people would find me fascinating if I had your job? By the way, you are great at this! How long have you been reporting? Do you love it?…”

The high S: “I’ve never been interviewed before.”

The high C: “What makes you think you have the authority to come in here and disrupt my schedule?”

We like to use these World According to DISC examples to give you a flavor of how people with strong one-sided DISC profiles might act in familiar situations. However, it is important to remember that unlike the characters our reporter encountered here, real people aren’t one-dimensional and it is rare for someone to max-out in just one DISC category without also being strong in at least one other. It is the knowledge of a person’s total blend of motivators, behaviors and attitude that really makes the difference in understanding how they will work with others.

DISC Profiles: How low can a Low C go?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The DISC Profile world is rife with examples and explanations of the various behaviors found on the high side of the charts. High D, I, S and C behaviors are the staples of behavioral consultants and organizational designers, but we here at Data Dome want to make sure you understand that very low scores in a behavior category can be just as predictive as the high DISC styles. Fortunately for us we’ve got a couple of great celebrities to look to for examples of Low C DISC profiles in action…

It almost seems that Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are having a contest to see who’s DISC behavior profile displays a lower C.

Let’s first look at the DISC adjectives to get a feel for what a low C DISC style is like:

  • independent
  • opinionated
  • unconventional
  • uninhibited
  • free-thinker
  • unconstrained
  • avoid detail
  • self-governing
  • defiant/rebellious of rules set by others
  • careless with details

Both actresses have been noted in the media for outrageous behavior and a lack of discipline in business dealings. Paris, famous for being famous, was described in an article on the 10 worst celebrity business owners as having “failed at the business of being herself.” According to the article, acting in an unconstrained way, inattentive to the details of endorsement deals has led her to being sued for millions in damages. And with several scandalous pictures and tapes floating about on the Internet, one would hardly categorize Paris Hilton as “inhibited.”

Similarly, Lindsay has had numerous run-ins with authorities, has shown flagrant disregard for public safety in her use of drugs and alcohol while driving. Despite her talent and creativity she has been called “officially unreliable” and unprofessional on movie sets. The notion of self-governing seems like an apt description of someone who smokes despite being an asthma sufferer since the age of two. With nude photo-shoots as Marylin Monroe and a movie role as a stripper, Lohan also fits the “uninhibited” adjective.

I imagine they would both nod their heads in agreement when they read in their DISC profiles: “Respect my defiant nature”.

That is they might if they bothered to show up to fill out the DISC assessment.

Understanding DISC Profiles: Productive or Procrastinating?

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Everyone procrastinates from time to time, but do all DISC profiles procrastinate the same way?

The person with a high D DISC profile is associated with adjectives like decisive, strong-willed, goal-oriented, and bold. Many things that others might allow to become subjects of procrastination, the high D won’t because of a behavioral bias toward decisive action. If something is not moving toward a goal it is likely to be dismissed, or delegated to another to accomplish. If it is moving a goal forward then it will probably be acted on immediately – the fear and doubt which may cause others to stall on a task isn’t usually a problem for the bold D. However, if a high D is avoiding something due to an emotional conflict or a misalignment with personal motivations, he or she is more likely to displace the task with other activities than to stall out and do nothing.

A person whose DISC profile indicates a high I is associated with words like flamboyant, gregarious, pleasing, political, enthusiastic and superficial. Distraction is often more the cause of lapses in productivity for this individual rather than procrastination, however, if a task requires working alone, in seclusion, or is something that is perceived of as not fun or popular, then it is far more likely to be avoided by the high I. When confronted with an undesirable activity the high I will often seek comfort through interaction with others, which can cause a losing track of time – a form of unintentional avoidance. The high I will almost always procrastinate when it comes to chores like giving people bad news or disciplining others – they avoid things that might cause the other person to have a negative reaction to them.

Words like persistent, patient, modest, predictable and resistant to change are associated with the high S DISC profile. That means an S is more likely to resist activities that disrupt familiar routines or threaten the balance of established relationships. The high S person can be very productive if the routine of activities aren’t prone to rapid change or disruption, she thrives on steadiness not chaos. Procrastination brought on by emotional stress or intimidation may not be outwardly obvious – the high S can have a relaxed, even phlegmatic demeanor – they are unlikely to rebel vocally against an undesirable task, so a manager may not realize they have given the high S an assignment that is distasteful. Of the four categories, the high S is the most susceptible to procrastination – slipping into the mindset of hoping that the situation will go away if ignored, or that “time will solve the problem.”

The high C DISC profile is associated with perfectionism, meticulousness, and being strict about rules and procedures. The high C is typically very disciplined and detail oriented – tasks that other DISC styles might avoid because they seem dry, procedural or tedious, may actually be well-suited to the high C. Additionally the high C may have a lower empathy for procrastination by others because it can threaten processes and carefully architected systems. When the high C falls off in productivity it is more likely to be because they have let perfectionism get in the way than because they are avoiding a step in the process. Unlike the high S, when faced with a task that breaks compliance with procedure, the high C is likely to express the displeasure.

Understanding the DISC behavioral tendencies of your team can be vital to balancing strengths and unlocking better communication so that procrastination is minimized and productivity is improved.

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