....and why now?
HDClarity is an e-zine for those wanting to develop more trust, understanding and camaraderie in their work environment, and their life in general. A smoother running team is a more profitable team. They get things done faster, for less cost. If you'd like to discover methods for reducing struggle, resolving
conflict, improving relationships, or just plain relieving stress, please read on.
"With the past, I have nothing to do: nor with the future. I live now."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
DISC - Hardwired or alterable?
Stop defending who you are and become who you want to be.
I've been using the DISC behavioral predictor assessment for
about 20 years. Perhaps many of you have taken it at one time or another in your paths. I've administered it to
100's if not 1000's of employees, managers, and volunteers. It's great tool to understand who YOU are,
and how your life filters are employed, but more so to understand those around
you and how THEIR life filters are employed.
In simple terms, the DISC profile gives us the influence of
each of four behavior parameters, Dominance, Influence, Steadiness,
on our outward interaction with the world around us. How we are likely to behave in the environment
is pretty predictably governed by this profile.
There are two outputs to the standard DISC profile, the
"Natural" profile (supposedly defining how we are "hard-wired", the natural
version of us with no external interaction), and the adapted profile (the one
we bring to work or marriage, or church defining how we think we're "supposed" to behave).
For most of my twenty some years of working with teams and
profiling, I have felt that the only part of this we could actually affect was
the "adapted" profile, since the 'natural' one was "who we are", and that
wasn't going to change.
BOY WAS I WRONG! And it's ignited a brilliant light above my
Below is a DISC profile of this author, circa 2003.
Note the similar profiles between "natural" and
"adapted". In 2003 (with me anyway) what
you saw is what you got. I'm clearly
aware that I walk the face of this earth as a high Dominant. And there are certainly times when this has
not served me well (although there are times when it was the perfect profile
for the situation!). Even back then, it
was slightly evident that I saw a need to temper my "D" ever-so-slightly, and
raise my "I" in order to better relate to clients, family, co-workers,
etc. But not much!
As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I spent some five
years in a mentoring relationship with Jut Meininger of mid 1970's Transactional
Analysis fame ("How to Run Your Own Life" is a book everyone should read...if you can find a copy). Jut had no particular respect for DISC or
Myers-Briggs, or any other particular predictor of behavior. He clearly understood that we could change
our behaviors on the spot if we wanted to badly enough (more about that in
One of my mentor-mates in this Master Mind Group, Donna
Spence (a reader of this e-zine) and I concluded one day that what Meininger
was saying is that we could alter our DISC profiles at will. That the "hard-wired" part could be re-wired
to better suit our needs....and beyond just adapting to workplace and social situations,
effectively changing who we basically were.
If we were a shy and retiring high "S" naturally, we could become a gregarious
high "I" if it suited our life purposes.
If we were a nit-picky high "C", we could become a supporting, involved
high "S". And even I, as a high "D",
could temper that and become more open and friendly and relatable.
Now take a look at my DISC profile from December 2008.
The "AHA" starts with the big difference in the "Adapted"
profile. Note how I seem to have
"decided" to de-emphasize my "Dominance" from 2003 to 2008, but also to
significantly increase my "Influencing" (comparing this Adapted profile to the
Now look at the resulting difference between the 2003
Natural profile and the 2008 Natural Profile.
The part of my behavior pattern that "Influences" has increased
dramatically while my "D" (although still high) has compromised somewhat. My "Steadiness" and "Compliance" factors have
remained almost the same.
What has this meant to me?
I took great care to listen to Marhsall Goldsmith whom I met at a recent
National Speakers Association meeting in New York when he said one of the
problems we have in managing our businesses, our teams, and even our lives is "TOO
MUCH WINNING". So I've become present in
the past half year and attempted to remain totally conscious when I found
myself starting to fight for what I thought was right. My lovely wife pointed out to me that I would
defend the idea that TGIFridays was the right place to go to dinner! In the grand scheme of things, that
was not a battle I needed to win! And
the more of those I choose to back out of, the more my "I" increases and the
more my "D" decreases....and the more friends seek me out, clients hire me, and
good things happen. My "D" (my need to
win every point, to be right) was blocking me from people I need to relate to
in order to be happy and successful.
In my constant struggle for CLARITY, I discovered that what
obscures it is everything that has happened in the past. The "Natural" DISC profile is a picture of
your past up to this point. It's what
life has taught you. It's how you've
been programmed to behave.
There's an old saying that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. But why do I need power? To win?
To be right? To get my way? In truth, KNOWLEDGE (gained from our
attachment to the past) IMPEDES LEARNING!
When you KNOW the answer, you have no room for real accuracy. If you're lucky, they are one in the
same. But it usually doesn't happen that
What do you want to change?
Ditch the past! It truly doesn't
mean anything from this point on. Stop
defending who you are and become who you want to be. If you MAKE THE DECISION to change something
about how you interact with the world, you can.
Looking right at a profile that told the world I couldn't befriend
Mother Theresa if I had to, I changed.
My world is far richer for it.
Yours can be too.
Let go of the past......
Last month I talked about "filters" we employ (whether we're
aware of it or not) in our day-to-day interactions with our fellow man (or
woman). If you followed along, you might
have had some fun with the little exercise about why you and your co-workers seem
to have problems from time to time communicating.
These filters are the sum and substance of our life...up until
now. Jungian Psychology suggests that a
lot of those filters were locked in place very early in life, probably before
you were 6 or 7 years old (there's a lot of variation on those dates, but
suffice it to say, quite young!). They
are a huge contributor to what your Natural DISC Profile looks like. The descriptors for DISC components point
right at some of the continua you sorted yourselves out with last month. Loud Voice - Soft Voice ("D"-Dominant vs "S"
- Steady Relater). Right Brain ("I" -
Influencer) vs Left Brain ("C" - Compliant).
They are the composite picture....of our PAST.
There is a saying, strongly supported by the Information Technologists
that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. In Political
and History buff circles there's the saying that "Those who pay no attention to
History are doomed to repeat it". And
there's no question that there's good data in history. There's a reason you talk fast and push your
conversation over your fellow workers.
You couldn't get a word in edgewise around your house with the 3 older
brothers you had to compete with. That's
just an example, but that's how it happens.
We develop the "pattern" early in life and, with no real stimulus to
change it, we reach 30, 40, 60 years old and we're still talking fast and talk
over others in a conversation. When you
were 5 years old, it was the only way you could get your point across. But how does it serve you NOW?
Patterns like this can have minor or drastic effects on
people's adult lives. The grown son of a
man who beats his wife frequently beats HIS wife. Women who cut off the end of the Christmas
Ham don't know they do it because one day their great-grandmother's pan was too
small, and since then every generation cut off the end of the ham because
that's what Mom did.
The KNOWLEDGE IS POWER trip slays me. Sure.
We need good data. But when our
KNOWLEDGE becomes a bulwark over which the enemy can never come, we find
ourselves defending our KNOWLEDGE and never seeing the accurate picture. How can we?
There's no room in our narrative for the other person's narrative
because WE'RE RIGHT!
I've heard the argument that it's the PAST that has brought
us to this very moment. True. And so,
that argument posits, we must revere it and use that accumulated knowledge to
help us live tomorrow. We MUST keep
cutting the ham off before cooking it.
We MUST keep beating our women.
We MUST keep butting into our fellow workers conversations. We must be the shy person we were raised to
be. We MUST, we MUST, we MUST. Our DISC Profile says it. Our HISTORY says it. Perhaps even our own parents even today say
it (my Mom's got a whole handful of baggage she likes to throw at me when the
mood strikes her!)
Is there some annoying habit that keeps getting you into
trouble? Can't keep your mouth shut when
you think it would serve you better? Or
maybe you need to speak up more often when you have an opinion. Or maybe your pan is big enough for the WHOLE
KNOWLEDGE IMPEDE'S LEARNING (when it is embedded into behaviors and positions
that don't help us navigate our lives).
And those that DO pay too much attention to the past ARE doomed to repeat
it....and repeat it....and repeat it....and repeat it. LET GO OF THE PAST! At least the past that doesn't work for
you. It worked for you when you were 5
years old. It probably doesn't help much
Get present. Today. It's your choice.
Power of NO, Corporate CoDriver