Throughout this BLOG series (which is archived on our website), you’ve explored various applications and learned many things about the DiSC® styles. However, DiSC® is much more than understanding just those interactions you have at work. Everything in our daily life which requires understanding and communication can be enhanced and improved with DiSC®. It is a tool for dialogue, not for diagnosis.
I decided it’s time to go deeper into the actual use and application of your DiSC® knowledge by following a particular style throughout a normal day. However, it is my hope to have you weave DiSC® into your communication wherever you may be – work and non-work settings. In today’s lesson, we’ll share “A Day in the Life of a D (Dominant)”. For simplicity, let’s call our Dominant style Dave.
My goal here is to show you how to continue applying DiSC® wherever you are. Use of DiSC® is about choice and intention. Once you make the choice, it implies an intention to prepare for mutual communication success. First, a Quick review of a couple points before we start our Day in the Life.
First are the Cornerstone Principles that we’ve discussed before:
- All DiSC® styles are equally valuable
- Everyone is a unique blend of all DiSC® styles
- Your unique style is also influenced by other factors such as life experiences, education, and maturity
Second is the Basic DiSC® Styles Model. A person’s DiSC® style is decided by the intersection of two dimensions of observable behaviors.
The first dimension is known as outward activity level (or PACE) described as either “Fast-paced & Outspoken” OR “Cautious & Reflective.” The second dimension is known as your agreeableness quotient. This means those who are “less agreeable” place a lower PRIORITY (concern) for cooperation and social harmony and we refer to them as “Questioning & Skeptical” on the left end of this dimension. Those who are “more agreeable” place a higher PRIORITY on cooperation and social harmony and we refer to them as “Accepting & Warm” on the right end of this dimension.
*It is the interaction between these TWO continua which forms the 4 quadrants (or basic styles) of the DiSC® model and by which you identify a person’s DiSC® style.
Let’s see how Dave applies this model throughout his day. Dave’s first interaction today is with a new Plumber who is scheduled to come to his house and whom Dave has never met or spoken. The appointment is set for 9AM. Well, about 9:20, Dave (especially being a D) begins to think he has better things to do and calls the plumbing company directly. JUST THEN, there’s a knock at the door. Dave is greeted by a very friendly, smiling, outgoing, high-spirited technician who we shall call Ida. Ida immediately introduces herself while shaking hands, calls Dave by his first name, and begins chatting about traffic, the line at Starbuck’s, and what a nice neighborhood Dave lives in.
Dave has at least 2 choices: 1) proceed forward with his frustration without using his DiSC® knowledge, or 2) recall the Basic DiSC® styles model from training at his workplace to glean an understanding of who and what he is dealing with in Ida. Wisely, Dave chooses # 2 and begins to track what he is observing and determines that Ida is more fast-paced & outspoken, while also seeming Accepting & Warm which identifies her style as “i” or Influence. Now, Dave can understand and track to Ida’s enthusiastic, sociable, talkative behavior.
Dave recalls the model which now shows him the following: He & Ida share the faster & more outspoken PACE. Where they differ is their agreeableness quotient; Dave (the D) being questioning & skeptical versus Ida (the i) being accepting and warm. The D is about having forward momentum and variety. Dave likes to “get things out the door quickly”. The D motto is “Do It Now.” The i is motivated by social recognition, group activities, and friendly relationships. The I motto is “Let’s Have Fun.”
As Dave shares Ida’s motivation to action, he admires her spontaneity and flexible approach (collaboration). However, Dave is probably more concerned with tangible outcomes and results and is more driven to implementation. Dave wonders how Ida gets work done with all the socializing and charm he is experiencing. Dave remembers from the webinar that if he needs to be more effective with an “I” style, he should consider:
- Finding ways to recognize Ida so she feels well-liked and appreciated
- Avoid dampening Ida’s enthusiasm
- Show Ida more willingness to engage in friendly small talk before launching into the business at hand . . . i.e., Fixing the plumbing
How did it work out? Dave checked in with Ida occasionally and offered to bring a soda, however didn’t stay too long as to distract her. He did, however, plan on spending some extra time with her as she was wrapping up and putting away her tools. Dave simply “stretched” somewhat to meet an “i” on their turf, without really giving up any of his. Plumbing is done and Dave is back on with his day. And, does Ida know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but she certainly benefitted from it.
Dave’s next interaction today is with his child’s middle school teacher, Steve, whom Dave has never met. The appointment is set for 1PM at the middle school. As hoped, Dave was at the appointment on time and the teacher was ready for their meeting.
So, Dave has chosen to use his DiSC® styles to see who and what he is dealing with in Steve. Wisely, Dave begins to track what he is observing and determines that Steve is more cautious & reflective, while also seeming Accepting & Warm, which identifies him as an “S” (Steady) style. Now, Dave can better understand and track to Steve’s even-tempered, accommodating, and patient behavior.
So, Dave knows the following: He & Steve share NEITHER PACE nor AGREEABLENESS. The D is about getting immediate results, taking action, & challenging self and others. As we learned, the D motto is “Do It Now.” The S is about providing support, maintaining stability, sincere appreciation, and encouraging collaboration. The S motto is “Let’s Do It Together.” To Dave, Steve seems calm, humble, and compliant, and whenever there is a question, Steve is always patient and eager to help. However, Dave is just here for a quick parent update meeting, then get back on the road. However, let’s not forget what they DO have in common . . . The educational welfare and well-being of Dave’s child.
Dave exercises what I call “stretch” needed to be more effective with an “S” style, and reminds himself to consider the following strategies:
- Provide a safe environment so Steve feels comfortable speaking up when something is bothering them.
- Show concern for Steve’s feelings rather than just pushing for results
- Be proactive in seeking Steve’s ideas and opinions
The parent meeting concludes on time and successfully, with Dave having not only a good understanding of his child’s status, but also a pleasant exchange with Steve. And, does Steve know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but he certainly benefitted from it.
Dave’s last scheduled interaction today is with his property manager, Carl, whom he has known for a short time having minimal dealings except for a couple complaints. The appointment is set for 3PM. Dave showed up early as he had a lot to cover with Carl, however offered no agenda prior to the meeting. Dave had compiled a list of items that he wanted done immediately. However, based on his DiSC® knowledge and two earlier interactions today, he took a deep breath, paused, and chose to use his DiSC® styles model again and glean an understanding of who and what he is dealing with in Carl as the meeting began. Dave begins to track what he is observing and determines that Carl is more cautious & reflective, while also seeming Questioning & Skeptical . . . which identifies him as a “C” (Conscientious).
Up until now, Dave had never attempted to understand Carl better which has been contributing to Dave’s impatience. So now, Dave can understand and track to Carl’s analytical, precise, and stable behavior (which Dave now appreciates is actually a big benefit in a property manager).
So, Dave reminds himself that he & Carl share AGREEABLENESS of questioning and skeptical, however they are on different ends of the PACE continua. The D is about getting immediate results, taking action, & challenging self and others with a motto of “Do It Now”. The C is about ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability, and challenging assumptions. The C’s motto is “Do It Right”. To Dave, Carl seems reserved and quiet and seeks opportunities to use his expertise or gain knowledge.
Carl’s C style tends to focus on facts and likes to carefully analyze ideas. Dave's use of a more forceful approach might be considered pushy and almost reckless to Carl. So, how does Dave approach his list of concerns and not just “shove a piece of paper” in front of Carl?
- Talk to Carl about the objective, fact-based aspects of the items
- Avoid pressuring Carl for immediate action
- Give Carl reasonable time to analyze his options
The meeting ends with Carl taking detailed notes on several action items (with outcomes and timelines), and thanked Dave for his care and concern about the property. And, does Carl know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but - like the others along Dave journey today - certainly benefitted from it.
I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC®. Whether your needs include Employee Engagement, Conflict Management, Team Building, or simply Communication, DiSC® is the research-based, proven, leading training solution.
As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DiSC® is understanding your and others’ styles and then using that knowledge for improved interactions.
For you convenience, I have included this link to a PDF of the DiSC® Profile. If you would like a live, complimentary webinar (online) for your team or organization, please send an email to email@example.com. If you’d like to purchase the DiSC®, visit DiSC® Classic or Everything DiSC® at our website. And, check out our products from The Ken Blanchard Companies as well.