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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Merry Motivators – Holiday Shopping Edition

Monday, December 13th, 2010

While most of our posts here are focused on DISC profiles, DISC alone doesn’t give a complete picture. DISC tells us HOW a person will behave, but values and motivators are essential to understanding WHY they behave they way they do.

In the spirit of our World According to DISC series, let’s take a look at the spectrum of motivators and how they might influence holiday gift giving choices:

The high Theoretical values truth and knowledge, don’t be surprised if their kids find a junior science lab under the tree this year. Got a high Theoretical on your shopping list this year? Delight her with a statuette of Thoth, the Ibis-headed Egyptian god of knowledge or maybe the complete Oxford English Dictionary.

High Utilitarian/Economic people value money and time, things that are useful and practical. Be certain that they will be shopping for the best possible deal and the most efficient use of time. The high Utilitarian grandmother is giving all her grandchildren savings bonds this year getting the bulk of her holiday shopping done in one step. Are you shopping for a high Utilitarian? Consider getting him a membership to Costco or maybe just a nice thermos to carry coffee since he would never waste money at a place like Starbucks.

If you’re a high Aesthetic you are focused on form and harmony, beauty and inner vision. You might not know what you’ll be getting, but you can be sure that the gift from the high Aesthetic will be the most beautifully wrapped one in the bunch. If you’re looking for a great idea for a high Aesthetic consider a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or sign her up for a class in Feng Shui.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that the high Social values people. Altruism, empathy and generosity are important to them. It wouldn’t be out of character for a high Social to make a charitable donation in your name. Want to make a high Social happy this season? Lend him a hand when he volunteers at the local soup kitchen’s holiday meal.

High Individualistic/Political types value power and often view others as a means to an end. The high Individualistic/Political might give his boss a new set of golf clubs and a lot of hints about being available for his next power foursome. Want to make a high Individualistic/Political happy? Give her a copy of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”.

Last, but not least we come to the high Traditional/Regulatory who values unity, order and structure. They are likely to be very fixed in their beliefs. Your high Traditional cousin will be going to midnight mass and after will fill his kids’ Christmas stockings with chocolates and candy canes just like he had when he was a kid. If you’re shopping for a high Traditional consider getting her a keepsake ornament for her tree, or, if appropriate for her religion, a finely printed and beautifully bound bible.

As we often do when discussing DISC profiles, we are here in these examples simplifying the motivational profiles to isolate on a single value category. In reality multiple values will be a factor and the lack of motivator in a specific category can also be highly indicative of a person’s priorities.

We hope this post gave you a little insight into the spectrum of values and motivators and maybe an idea or two as you finish up your holiday shopping.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!

Data Dome Quick Tip: DISC or Motivator?

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Understanding people is a subtle science. Even with great tools like DISC Profiles and Workplace Motivators at our disposal it is not uncommon for there to be confusion about what is a behavioral style versus what is driven by a motivator. Sometimes the symptoms can be very similar.

Let’s look at an example – Charlie and Margaret:

Both Charlie and Margaret appear to be fastidious about how they have arranged their offices – do they share the same DISC profile behavior? If something is moved out of place in either environment, it isn’t long before it is quickly put back exactly where it came from – are they operating with the same workplace motivator? Let’s examine further and see if we can find out: One day Charlie visits Margaret’s office. When he comes to the door she drops everything she’s currently doing to give him a friendly handshake, asks him to make himself comfortable and asks him about several people she knows from the floor where Charlie works. Despite Margaret’s friendly banter Charlie feels compelled to say to Margaret that she should move her desk so that her seat faces the door as it is proper procedure to first acknowledge a visitor at the door, then signal the person to enter and finally indicate which seat the visitor should take. Margaret takes the comment in stride and remarks how nice it was for him to stop by while he was on her floor.

On another day Margaret stops by Charlie’s office and finds him on the phone. He seems to be ignoring her until she knocks lightly on the open door. He then looks up, signals that he will be a moment, finishes his call, then asks her what business has brought her to his office today. Rather than focusing on his question she says that she thinks he should also rearrange his seating – his office has a beautiful view, but the way his desk is arranged his back is to the window and he can’t enjoy the vista.

What’s going on here? Because of the similar outcome regarding how carefully the offices are maintained, one might assume that both Charlie and Margaret share the same DISC style and the same motivator, but this is not the case. Charlie’s formality with his coworker is a clue that his DISC profile is that of a High C, he follows rules and procedures with rigidity and sees alternate arrangements of the office as breaking with decorum. Margaret, on the other hand, is a High I – her greeting is friendly, her conversational focus is on people and she is willing to drop everything she is doing to welcome Charlie when he arrives. Her reason for being fastidious about her office decor comes from responding to her dominant motivator, a High Aesthetic. She’s meticulously arranged her office in the way that most satisfies her artistic sensibility and responds to other environments accordingly. By contrast Charlie’s Aesthetic score is quite low, he has completely ignored the beautiful view in planning his office arrangement.

In this example opposing behavioral styles and motivations led to a similar expression. This is why gaining insights into both DISC behavior and Workplace Motivators is so valuable in bringing a greater clarity to interpersonal dynamics in the workplace. Often sources of friction and other detriments to productivity can be difficult to diagnose without looking at both behavior and motivations.

DISC and Motivators: Keys to Competence

Friday, September 24th, 2010

In a recent post by John G. Agno for Coaching Tip: The Leadership Blog some interesting, survey results are brought to light indicating that an alarming 33% of employees consider their managers to be incompetent. The article goes on to suggest that communication problems and recession-induced organizational changes may have much to do with the very high incompetence rating.

Agno seems to be on the right track. Communication is an essential managerial skill, but what is often overlooked are the DISC behavioral underpinnings that can make all the difference between a distrustful and unhealthy communication culture and one where information flows freely, encouraging trust and a sense of inclusion around the office.

Relationship dynamics within the workplace can be impacted by conflicting motivations and communication that isn’t adapted to the diversity of DISC behavioral styles amongst the staff. When a worker doesn’t understand a manager’s motivation or is expected to digest information that runs counter to the worker’s DISC style then the worker may come to a conclusion that the manager is in fact incompetent.

For example, let’s say the manager is a high C who is operating with strong Utilitarian/Economic motivators and the employee is a high D with strong Individualistic/Political motivators. The manager may announce a cutback based on a cut and dry procedural determination – profits are down, so cut costs – while the high D employee is focused on the goals set forth for the department and has a hard time seeing how they can be achieved with less staff. Without adapting communication that reconciles these points of view and behavioral biases it’s easy to see how a conflict could arise. The high C boss could take the high D employees natural resistance to the cutback as a disregard and disrespect of procedural authority and even a naivety in the face to the dollar and cents facts of the situation. The employee in turn could see the manager’s action as callous in difficult times and sabotaging of the ability to reach important objectives.

So how might this go differently? If the manager above were a more skillful communicator and was armed with the kind of knowledge that assessments can provide about employees she could have adapted her style to better communicate with her employee – putting the platinum rule in action. Tools like DISC assessments would have uncovered the manager and worker’s DISC styles and a tool like Motivation Insights could have revealed how each rated the six value categories in the spectrum of Workplace Motivators. The manager could have made the employee more involved in the decision and discussed how the best way to help most of the employees was by pursuing the overall goal of keeping the business alive – a goal which necessitated the cutback. The two could then move to a more productive conversation of how to adjust strategy and tactics under the changed circumstances. The improved communication changes the employee’s perception of the manager as an incompetent, uncaring, dictator who ignores business objectives into a new appraisal as a competent leader willing to make tough decisions for the overall good of the many.

We’ve discussed here how the same decision communicated differently could change the perception of competence. Adapting communication based on an understanding of workplace motivators, values, and DISC behavioral styles can go a long way toward improving office morale and trust within the company culture.

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.

Springtime with Spranger

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Here at Data Dome we talk a lot about behavioral styles and how DISC can be used to measure both natural and adapted behaviors, but it is important to remember that behaviors alone are only part of the story. Examining values and motivators are essential for understanding an employee and for creating harmonious and productive work environments. One of the original thinkers in the area of values and motivators was the German philosopher and psychologist, Eduard Spranger.

In his book, Types of Men (1914), Spranger put forth his major contribution to personality theory; what he called value attitudes:

  • The Theoretical whose dominant interest is the discovery of truth
  • The Economic who is interested in what is useful
  • The Aesthetic whose highest value is form and harmony
  • The Social whose highest value is love of people
  • The Political whose interest is primarily in power
  • The Religious whose highest value is unity

Later, TTI founder, Bill Bonnstetter, changed the names of three of Spranger’s six attitudes:

  • Economic became Utilitarian
  • Political became Individualistic
  • Religious became Traditional

These updated names are now a familiar part of the tools we use today.

Successful Selling is More than Personality

Friday, September 18th, 2009

They can talk…but can they sell?

Many more can talk than can sell. Did you ever hire someone because they sounded so great – presented so well – you thought they could do anything? But six months later, you’re tired of hearing how great they sound, you just want some results?

Why? What went wrong? To answer completely, there are two areas that need to be addressed:

  • Behavioral Style
  • Knowledge of Selling

Behavioral style refers to the behavioral elements of selling a particular product for a particular company to a particular client base. These elements include:

  • aggressiveness
  • cold-call reluctance
  • extroversion
  • multi-tasking
  • rules compliance
  • natural enthusiasm
  • self starting tendencies
  • servicing
  • paperwork
  • tendency to detail
  • product information
  • customer relations
  • consistency
  • follow-up and follow-through
  • tendency to listen.

It takes a very different style to sell computer parts directly to computer engineers than it does to sell computers to the general public. Similarly, to close the sale to a low-key, easy-going, family-oriented type
buyer requires considerably different style than closing the same merchandise to a fast-talking, hurried, bottom-line oriented buyer.

By analyzing what you’re selling, who you are selling for, and who you are selling to, a company today can articulate the customized behaviors optimum for their situation. Salespeople can then be hired whose natural behaviors are ideally what you are looking for. Those salespeople who are not exactly ‘natural’ in these behaviors will nevertheless benefit tremendously from understanding just what behaviors are best to role-play, or emulate, to excel for your company.

Knowledge of Selling is totally different than one’s behavioral selling style. You may have the right personality style – the right mix of extroversion, aggressiveness, empathy, etc. – but do you know what to do and say in the selling cycle: when to ask for the close, when to remain silent, what strategy to use, and when to use it.

Most sales training programs, in effect, give technical training, but very little in the art of selling. Likewise, the tools for measuring these Sales Skills are different. What are the best things to do and when?

These elements include how to:

  • Prospect
  • Qualify
  • Probe
  • Impress
  • Demonstrate
  • Influence
  • Close

Make Adjustments: To communicate more effectively with a customer, you may be required to adjust your natural behavioral style. These adjustments may cause stress or require additional energy. “Pumping up” to get more motivated and enthusiastic than one normally feels requires focus and energy.

On the other hand, stress occurs when the results-driven aggressive salesperson has to slow down, listen more and show patience to slower-reacting people. That is why sales knowledge – knowing exactly what to do – is extremely helpful to minimize the extra stress or energy required to adjust behavioral style. Advantages include shortening the sales cycle, reducing stress and closing sales more often!

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