In today’s DiSC® lesson, we’ll share “A Day in the Life of an S (Steady)”. For simplicity, let’s call our S style Scott.
My goal here is to show you how to apply DiSC® wherever you are. Use of DiSC® is about choice and intention. For example, I can go around all day being a D, leaving other styles in my wake by not choosing to use DiSC® and not being intentional. 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 S.”
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 Scott applies this model throughout his day. Scott’s first interaction is with the shuttle driver – Destiny - returning Scott from the airport. Destiny is surprisingly outgoing and fast-paced, immediately grabbing Scott’s luggage and stowing it where she thought it should go, stating, “the shuttle company always suggests we put the larger bags down below, but it’s easier for me to unload if they are on the top rack.” Scott asked if Destiny was in a hurry to which she replied, “Nope, but you never know what lies ahead and I don’t want to miss it.”
She eagerly tells Scott about her goal to complete her education and start her own limousine company. Now, Scott being an S shows a Cautious / Reflective pace with Accepting / Warm agreeableness. He patiently listens to Destiny and calmly observes how she interacts with other oncoming passengers as destiny declares, “Let’s go folks; All of us have somewhere else to be; watch for the doors closing”. As it turns out, Scott is the last drop-off for Destiny’s full van. Eventually seeing an opportunity to find out a little more about Destiny, Scott makes the usual, seemingly innocent inquiries about life, family, hobbies, etc. Destiny responds (what Scott considers) bluntly by saying, “No kids, no partner, just work and friends. Just two, though. That’s plenty.” Scott is a little taken aback with Destiny’s direct style.
Scott has at least 2 choices: 1) proceed forward with his 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 he is dealing with in Destiny. Wisely, Scott chooses # 2 and begins to track what he is observing (body language, tone of voice and expression, and word choice) and determines that Destiny is more fast-paced & outspoken, while also seeming Questioning & Skeptical which identifies her style as D or Dominant. Now, Scott can understand and track to Destiny’s firm, strong-willed, forceful behavior.
Scott recalls the model which now shows him the following: He & Destiny share NEITHER Pace NOR Agreeableness. As the S, Scott is motivated by stable environments, sincere appreciation, cooperation, and opportunities to help. The S motto is “Let’s Do It Together.” As the D, Destiny is about having forward momentum and variety. Destiny likes to “get things out the door quickly.” The D motto is “Do It Now.”
An S interacting with a D requires “stretch.” Scott finds Destiny’s direct, businesslike approach to be intimidating. Scott also tends to be more sympathetic and supportive and has trouble relating to Destiny’s fast-paced, competitive, results-oriented persona. Scott values personal connections and “wants everyone to get along”, and wonders why Destiny seems to push for fast action without stopping to consider how her insistent approach affects other people.
Scott remembers from the webinar that if he needs to be more effective with a D style, he should consider:
- Speaking up with his ideas and opinions early in conversation
- Remembering that Destiny appreciates a direct approach, so don’t be afraid to tell her what you’re thinking
- Be prepared for Destiny’s candor
How did it work out? Scott checked in with Destiny while she was sharing her business plan and offered a couple suggestions from his business experience. Scott said, “I think your assertiveness and logic-focus will help you in business. What company have you seen out there who you think is doing it right?” Scott simply “stretched” somewhat to meet a D on their turf, without really giving up any of his. Shuttle pulled up in front of Scott’s place, he shook Destiny’s hand, wished her luck with school and the new business, and said he’d request her on his next trip. AND, Scott said next time he’d share with Destiny how to get to know customers a little better through a simple tool called DiSC®. Scott is back on with his day. And, does Destiny know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but she certainly benefitted from it and will in the future.
Scott’s next interaction is with his new dental hygienist, Ian. They have never met and Scott has a cleaning appointment at 10AM. Scott was seated in the dental chair and in walks Ian boldly and confidently who immediately introduces himself while shaking hands, calls Scott by his first name, and begins chatting about traffic, the cost of living, and more than ever the need to maintain good dental health.
So, Scott sees this as an opportunity to test his DiSC® styles skills to see who and what he is dealing with in Ian. Wisely, Scott begins to track what he is observing (body language, tone of voice and expression, and word choice) and determines that Ian is more fast-paced and outspoken, while also seeming Accepting & Warm, which identifies him as an i or Influence style. Now, Scott can better understand and track to Ian’s assertive, people-focused style.
So, Scott knows the following: He & Ian differ in their PACE, however share AGREEABLENESS of Accepting & Warm. As the S, Scott is motivated by stable environments, sincere appreciation, cooperation, and opportunities to help. The S is about providing support, maintaining stability, and encouraging collaboration. The S motto is “Let’s Do It Together.” To Scott, Ian seems charming, enthusiastic, social, optimistic, maybe a little bit scattered, and talkative. However, Scott is about patience, team player, calmness, good listening, and humility. The S approaches change cautiously, and avoids rushing into things.
However, let’s not forget what they DO have in common . . . the goal of a clean bill of dental health.
Scott exercises what I call a small amount of “stretch” needed to be more effective with an i style, and reminds himself to consider the following strategies:
- Speak up when you’re concerned about not knowing what is “next” during the exam / cleaning.
- Let Ian know that you value the patient / hygienist relationship and really want his ideas to have the next visit be “uneventful”
- Recognize the value of Ian’s enthusiasm and high energy
The cleaning concludes on time and successfully, with Scott having not only a good understanding of Ian’s style, but also a good understanding of what Ian brings to the “chair” as a dental partner on his side. And, does Ian know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but he (And Scott) certainly benefitted from it.
Scott’s last scheduled interaction today is with a new employee, Carla. Scott is just in from traveling and is preparing to begin Carla’s orientation. He can’t get a good read from just her resume, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
As some employers do, they can assume from previous positions what this person might be like. Carla is applying for a sales position for a health test kit manufacturer. Many unknowing employers suspect salespeople are either D or i.
However, based on Scott’s DiSC® knowledge and two earlier interactions today, he 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 Carla as the meeting began. Scott backs up, sets aside any perceptions and assumptions, and begins to track what he is observing (body language, tone of voice, expression, and word choice) and determines that Carla is more Cautious & Reflective, while also seeming Questioning & Skeptical . . . which identifies her as a C (Conscientious).
Up until now, Scott had never attempted to “question” a candidate, however wants to be sure of what he is observing. He notes Carla’s closed posture, semi-expressive face, and formality. He notices her questions are focused on why, and he particularly notices her priority on quality and measurement (which Scott now appreciates is actually a big benefit in a salesperson around a technical environment).
So, Scott reminds himself that he & Carla share a Cautious / Reflective PACE, however differ on AGREEABLENESS. Scott will have to “stretch” a little to be effective with Carla. The S is about giving support, maintaining stability, and enjoying collaboration. The S’s motto is “Let’s Do It Together”. The C is about ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability, and challenging assumptions. The C’s motto is “Do It Right”. To Scott, Carla seems reserved and quiet and seeks opportunities to use her expertise or gain knowledge.
Carla’s C style tends to focus on facts and likes to carefully analyze ideas. Scott needs to respect her dedication to getting things done right. Furthermore, while Scott is likely to accept people and ideas at face value, Carla tends to ask a lot of probing questions. Still, he can trust that she will follow through on commitments.
So, Scott should consider the following strategies:
- Don’t be put off by Carla’s reserved, sometimes skeptical approach
- Respect Carla’s preference to work independently
- Highlight his shared desire for accuracy by focusing on the facts
The meeting ends with Carla taking detailed notes on several items, and thanked Scott for his care and concern about the importance of the orientation being complete. And, does Carla know anything more about this thing called “DiSC®”? No, but - like the others along Scott’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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.