The World According to DISC: We Are Who We Are
Here are some words you've probably never heard (or said):
"You have got a great personality. You should be an accountant" (or engineer or programmer or dentist or in one of those other technical professions).
Based on this logic, great personalities must be reserved for salespeople, entertainers, motivational speakers.
On the other hand, individuals with "zero personality" should be locked away in Dilbert-like cubicles far away from customers and clients and the rest of the world.
Okay, so we know we have great personalities and zero personalities and even the right personalities. There must be other personalities out there, too. If there is a great one, there must be the horrible counterpart. And if someone is a zero, where is the lucky person who has all the personality?
Each of you likely recognizes a boss, co-worker, friend or even a family member who fits each of these personalities. But are these descriptions accurate? If you're not sure, just reflect back to that blind date with the "great personality" or the time you were accused of having the "problem personality".
What does it mean when people talk about personality?
Personality is typically defined as the unique bundle of motivations, attitudes and behaviors that make each of us who we are.
One individual's bundle may be outgoing, creative, and excitable and another is reserved, organized, and calm.
But when the quiet speak and the assertive are tamed, do aliens suddenly take over their bodies to do these weird things?
Can people actually change their personalities so easily?
No, not really.
When you observe changes like these, you typically are observing behaviors.
Behaviors describe how individuals react to specific situations like problems, people, pace of environment and procedures.
People, when willing and able, can adapt and modify their behavior easily but can personalities be changed?
Overwhelmingly, the consensus is that personalities rarely change after adolescence and when change does happen it happens slowly.
For example: Your salesperson refuses to work your database and call prospects and clients. He has been "diagnosed" as having call reluctance. You invest thousands in training, provide coaching and phone scripts, and add sales incentives. Maybe, just maybe his behavior will change.
But will this change stick? Not likely. If it does, how long will it be until the core personality shows through again or the individual burns out?
When it comes to the workplace, behaviors are like the wrapping on the gift.
Sometimes the shape of the box and the design of the paper give hints to what is inside. Many times the gift inside turns out to be something totally unexpected.
What is happening as a result of many of today's hiring and succession decisions is that managers are making decisions based on the "gift wrap".
After the gift is unwrapped and the proverbial honeymoon is over, all that is left is what's inside - the personality. And many managers are wishing they kept the receipts because they are now stuck with very expensive unwanted gifts.
Personality assessment is saving managers the enormous expense, heartache and embarrassment of hiring a "great personality" only to find out who they really hired was a "zero" or worse, the infamous "problem personality".
Assessments are becoming widely accepted due to their usefulness in finding out who a person really is and how they will fit an environment, a team, or a job.
Assessment tools help separate the achievers from the do-ers, the risk-takers from the risk averse, the outgoing from the reserved, and the relaxed from the easily excitable. They help predict if an individual will adapt or even lead change, display leadership or sales ability, or benefit from coaching and development.
When looking to build an organization of people with the "right stuff", think personality.
Breakthroughs in technologies and volumes of empirical research are beginning to crack the code for identifying and developing peak performers.