Communications: simple, easy, and stress-free!

This quarter, 2013 Q2, we at PV spent many fruitful hours exploring different communication influencers like gender, generation, and behavior. Each of these lunch and learn sessions added new value and dimension to the art of interacting with internal teams and external clients.  Personally I enjoyed and participated in all these sessions, although I must admit the ‘behavior session’ was my favorite!

Basically, the entire team took the DiSC assessment, which outlines four major behavior styles:

  • Dominance: direct, results-oriented, and firm
  • Influence: outgoing, enthusiastic, and optimistic
  • Steadiness: analytical, reserved, and precise
  • Conscientiousness: even-tempered, accommodating, and patient

What is so special about DiSC, given a whole slew of similar tests employed by human resources teams?

First of all, everyone has a primary style; most people have a secondary style as well – at the most two letters. For example, I am CS style (Conscientiousness / Steadiness) compared to an INJF in Myers-Briggs.  This is not just a matter of being lazy and cutting down letters; it does reduce the number of possibilities, thereby allowing for more generalization without discounting accuracy. This allows the subjects to think more generally about their behavior, rather than nitpick about details.

Additionally, at this session, we were sent off armed with a lot more applicable information like:

  1. Our own behavior profile: detailing our primary and secondary styles,
  2. A diagram of how everyone else (1-2 letters per person) on the team fit in the DiSC quadrant,
  3. A simple cheat sheet to help us assess a new person’s natural behavior style,
  4. (Some of us got) A ‘comparison report’ when we had other styles in the group that were drastically different from ours.

Right, how’s this different from the outcome of other such sessions?

For me personally, it was immensely helpful to have #2, #3, and #4:

  • Item # 2 helped me plan internal conversations, difficult or otherwise, knowing the other person’s natural style. Does the person enjoy a bit of small talk or should we hit the meeting topic straight off? On the flip side, being an introvert, I have a natural tendency to be quiet and invisible in large group settings. Also, with my CS style, I take my time to share my opinions: especially in a technical matter until I am confident in the subject. Since this session, I have noticed my colleagues take the time to bring me out of my shell and let me share my opinions.
  • Item # 3 is fantastic to have, given the number of people we get to meet and interact within our field. The cheat sheet lets me prepare for prospect calls or client meetings. Detail-oriented person or high-level visual picture? Loves to share or would like to run through the agenda? Again, given my natural tendency to be shy, this is such a useful tool in easing myself into new situations.
  • Item # 4 works like a nice individualized cheat sheet to interact with certain styles, especially if you are working with them on a daily basis and on challenging projects. A couple of us with these polar styles met in a coffee shop to go over our reports and to work towards adapting to each other styles which proved productive and lasting.

Not to say that #1 was not useful, it was more for myself – validating my strengths and accepting myself for who I am and what I bring to my team every day.

All in all, the DiSC session and the homework from the session proved to be hands-on and practical on a day-to-day basis. In so many ways, it has brought the team even closer together: it only gives us more opportunity to adhere to our core value ‘bring the fun’ – you’ll overhear the C types saying “Don’t make eye contact, he is an ‘i’ and won’t stop talking!”

Convinced yet? Want to invest in productive and professional team development? We chose the ‘Everything DiSC Management’ option that included individual assessments (and the aforementioned handy tools/reports) as well as a facilitator session. The session itself was about 3 hours and the assessment took about 20-30min from each individual.

Our facilitator: J Simpson and Associates, LLC [1.810.533.3410]

Here’s to fruitful ways to communicate!