HDClarity Logo
      High Definition Trust, Understanding and Camaraderie
            Reduce Struggle Resolve Conflict Improve Relationships Relieve Stress

In This Issue
DISC - Hardwired or alterable?
Let go of the past....
Why Clarity.....
....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, and Compliance 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 head.
Below is a DISC profile of this author, circa 2003.

 DISC Profile 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 future posts).
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.
  DISC Profile 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 2003 version).
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 way!
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......
Leg 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 HAM! 

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 today.
Get present.  Today.  It's your choice.

Kim DeMotte
Power of NO, Corporate CoDriver
(877) 245-8250