DiSC® - A Day in The Life of an i (Influence)
Posted by Bill Harshman on
Today we will continue by going 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 an i (Influence)”. For simplicity, let’s call our i style Irene.
My goal here is to show you how to apply 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. Here is a quick review of a couple points before we start our “Day in the Life of an i.”
The first are the Cornerstone Principles that we have 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 (body language, tone of voice and expression, and word choice). 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 Irene applies this model throughout her day. Irene’s first interaction is with a new neighbor moving in whom she notices upon returning from a trip to the grocery store. Irene hails the neighbor “Hello” as she retrieves 2 bags of groceries from her car. The neighbor, Donna, shifts the moving boxes she is carrying to acknowledge Irene and – without interrupting her task – mentions she’s almost done moving herself in, and can’t wait to get started on her first “new home” project of taking down a large tree in the front yard. She eagerly tells Irene about her goal to get all the changes done within 3 months. Now, Irene being a fast-paced / outspoken & Accepting / Warm “i” is eager to share information about block parties, who lives in which house, ask about Donna’s family, and even suggest some move-in ideas. Donna, however, is clearly focused on getting a lot done today and with an abbreviated tone, thanks Irene, but suggests another time for the neighborhood orientation. Irene is taken aback somewhat with Donna’s direct, results-oriented style.
Irene has at least 2 choices: 1) proceed forward with her shock without using his DiSC® knowledge, or 2) recall the Basic DiSC®® styles model from company training to glean an understanding of who and what she is dealing with in Donna. Wisely, Irene chooses # 2 and begins to track what she is observing and determines that Donna is more fast-paced & outspoken, while also seeming Questioning & Skeptical which identifies her style as “D” or Dominant. Now, Irene can understand and track to Donna’s firm, strong-willed, forceful behavior.
Irene recalls the model which now shows her the following: She & Donna share the faster & more outspoken PACE. Where they differ is their agreeableness quotient; Irene (the i) being Accepting & Warm versus Donna (the D) being Questioning & Skeptical. As the i, Irene is motivated by social recognition, group activities, and friendly relationships. The i motto is “Let’s Have Fun.” As the D, Donna is about having forward momentum and variety. Donna likes to “get things out the door quickly.” The D motto is “Do It Now.”
As Irene shares Donna’s motivation to action, she admires her drive to keep things moving. However, Donna is probably more concerned with tangible outcomes and results and is more driven to implementation. Irene wonders why Donna seems so determined to get things done on her own.
Irene remembers from the webinar that if she needs to be more effective with a “D” style, she should consider:
- Talking to Donna about how her adventurous ideas will lead to bottom-line results
- Take the time to listen to Donna’s opinions rather than just trying to persuade her to go along
- Let Donna present her case without interruption
How did it work out? Irene checked in with Donna occasionally and offered to lend a hand and break down the empty moving boxes. Donna got done even sooner than she thought. Irene realized she’ll have plenty of time to be her true “i” with Donna. Irene simply “stretched” somewhat to meet a “D” on their turf, without really giving up any of hers. Introduction has been made, moving is nearly done and Irene is back on with her day. And, does Donna know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but she certainly benefitted from it.
Irene’s next interaction is with a fellow manager – Sam - from another company plant with whom she will be partnering on a new project. They have never met and Irene will host a Zoom meeting set for 1PM today. Irene was chatting with a coworker about the upcoming holiday weekend when she suddenly realized what time it was. She hurried and was at the computer screen just in time and Sam was ready for their meeting as well.
So, Irene has chosen to use her DiSC® styles to see who and what he is dealing with in Sam. Wisely, Irene begins to track what she is observing (body language, tone of voice and expression, and word choice) and determines that Sam is more Cautious & Reflective, while also seeming Accepting & Warm, which identifies him as an “S” (Steady) style. Now, Irene can better understand and track to Sam’s even-tempered, accommodating, and patient behavior.
So, Irene knows the following: She & Sam share differ in their PACE, however share AGREEABLENESS of Accepting & Warm. As the i, Irene is motivated by social recognition, group activities, and friendly relationships. The i motto is “Let’s Have Fun.” The S is about providing support, maintaining stability, sincere appreciation, and encouraging collaboration. The S motto is “Let’s Do It Together.” To Irene, Sam seems calm, humble, and compliant, and whenever there is a question, Sam is always patient and eager to help. However, Irene is about taking action, generating enthusiasm, and valuing collaboration. The S approaches change cautiously, and avoids rushing into things.
However, let’s not forget what they DO have in common . . . the expectation of a successful project implementation for the company.
Irene exercises what I call “stretch” needed to be more effective with an “S” style, and reminds herself to consider the following strategies:
- Use her upbeat, charismatic approach to get to know Sam as an individual
- Show concern for Sam’s feelings and encourage him to tell you when something is bothering him
- Let Sam know how she shares their interest in working collaboratively
The Zoom meeting concludes on time and successfully, with Irene having not only a good understanding of Sam’s style, but also a good understanding of what he brings to the table as a partner on this project. And, does Sam know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but he certainly benefitted from it.
Irene’s last scheduled interaction today is with her brother-in-law, Clark. Irene has known Clark for many years, however realizes that she hasn’t approached him through an understanding of DiSC® and realized she doesn’t know his style. With all those interactions over the years, this should be easy, right?
Irene and Clark have agreed to embark on planning her sisters surprise party. Irene is so excited and enthusiastically dives into action with suggestions about different ideas, venues, and guests for the “big event.”
However, based on her DiSC® knowledge and two earlier interactions today, she took a deep breath, paused, and chose to use the DiSC® styles model again and glean an understanding of who and what he is dealing with in Clark as the meeting began. Irene backs up, sets aside the perceptions and biases accumulated over time, and begins to track what she is (and has been) observing and determines that Clark is actually more Cautious & Reflective, while also seeming Questioning & Skeptical . . . which identifies him as a “C” (Conscientious).
Up until now, Irene had never attempted to understand Clark better through the DiSC® lens. So now, Irene can understand and track to Clark’s analytical, precise, and stable behavior (which Irene now appreciates is actually a big benefit in planning such an event).
So, Irene reminds herself that she & Clark share neither PACE nor AGREEABLENESS. Irene will have to “stretch” more than she did previously today. To the i, the C requires the furthest stretching. (The same effort is required between the D and the S) The i is about maintaining enthusiasm, taking action and making progress, and collaboration and team spirit. The i’s motto is “Let’s Have Fun”. The C is about ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability, and challenging assumptions. The C’s motto is “Do It Right”. To Irene, Clark seems reserved and quiet and seeks opportunities to use his expertise or gain knowledge.
Clark’s C style tends to focus on facts and likes to carefully analyze ideas. Irene using a more forceful approach might be considered pushy and almost reckless to Clark.
So, how does Irene approach his list of concerns and not just “letting her i dominate the meeting” with Clark?
- Talk to Clark about the objective, fact-based aspects of the event
- Avoid pressuring Clark for immediate action
- Give Clark reasonable time to analyze his options
The meeting ends with Clark taking detailed notes on several action items (with outcomes and timelines), and thanked Irene for her care and concern about the importance of the party going perfectly. And, does Clark know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but - like the others along Irene’s 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.
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.