The C Blind Spot

– Questions and Criticizes Too Much –

Consultations with companies often include some one on one time with managers who are challenged with their team’s dynamics.  One such meeting was with a talented woman whose challenge was turnover in her department.  When the President of the company was sharing his concerns about Ashley he said, “I’m either going to have to put in a revolving door to accommodate the turnover or let her go, which would kill me because she’s incredibly talented and creates exactly what I need.  In spite of the cost of the turnover I’d hate to see her working for someone else.”

Ashley’s department was responsible for creating all the copy for the company’s written material including marketing, web site, manuals, etc.  When I met with Ashley she explained the system she used with her department.  She would assign a staff member a project.  At that time she gave them a deadline for the submission of their first copy.  After she reviewed it she would then meet with them and assign necessary corrections and give them their next deadline.  The process repeated itself until the project was complete.  This was essentially the only interaction she had with her team.

Ashley had 3 of these meetings scheduled for the next morning.  I attended the meetings to observe the interaction between Ashley and her team.  It was immediately evident what was going on.  Ashley’s DISC Profile had shown that she was a high C.  She was focused, precise, and methodical – common strengths for the C Personality Style and great characteristics for a manager in her position.  Unfortunately, this was being combined with the C Blind Spot of Criticizes Too Much, making her review impersonal, cold and harsh.

In each meeting Ashley never once said anything positive about either the team member or the project.  She went straight for the challenges with each piece and assigned the corrections.  Her critiques dwelled on the negatives and her delivery did not show any enthusiasm for the material she was reviewing.  I watched 3 smiling, enthusiastic staff members walk into the room.  I witnessed 3 defeated human beings leave the room carrying a piece of work they felt was a failure.

When Ashley and I met to discuss my observations I asked her about the talent of her team members as I truly wasn’t certain she felt they were competent.  She expressed she was very pleased with their creativity and enjoyed the innovative ideas they brought to the table.

“Do THEY know that?”, I asked.

She looked at me and didn’t answer.  I could see her wheels turning in true C fashion as she mentally reviewed interactions with her team members.  “I don’t know” was the only answer she could express.

I explained to her it was likely they didn’t have a clue how talented she felt they were.  We reviewed her DISC Profile’s explanation of the C Blind Spot Questions and Criticizes Too Much.  We addressed “Criticizes Too Much” and agreed her critiques could use a more positive, people-oriented approach.  We made 3 adjustments to her review process:

  1. She would open her review by mentioning the portions of the piece that pleased her.
  2. After assigning the necessary corrections she would include a discussion allowing the team member to offer ideas and confirm they were clear with her requirements.
  3. Ashley would end the meeting expressing enthusiasm for the project.

I then mentioned the 2nd part of the C Blind Spot – “Questions Too Much” by saying I didn’t see a challenge there as I hadn’t noticed her asking many questions.  She laughed and said, “You should talk to the people who attend the management meetings with me before you make that assumption!”

We met again after one month.  She was very comfortable with the changes to her process and she was thrilled with the results.  Her team was completing their projects faster.  The amount of reviews per project had decreased.  She was comfortable with the discussion and found her staff used that time to offer some excellent ideas.  She said, “You know, I am certain their creativity is increasing along with their enthusiasm for their job.  There’s a different atmosphere in our department these days.”

Of course, I was thrilled and congratulated her.  I asked if she had experienced any other changes we hadn’t discussed.  She smiled as she said, “I’ve also applied some of these changes at home with my husband.  It’s working out very well.”

 

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The S Blind Spot

– Agrees Too Much –

I was part of a group that hosted a huge fashion show for their annual fundraiser.  One year I was asked if I would consider being the co-chairman with Courtney.  I didn’t know Courtney very well but I had enjoyed volunteering with her at previous events so I agreed.

Our organization had been approached by the owner of a very well known boutique in the area regarding the upcoming show.  We were thrilled as the boutique was very popular and the owner, Jamie, had never agreed to participate in any fashion show.   She felt our show would be a great place for her shop’s debut into this venue.  Her requirement was that she be granted exclusivity as the only boutique for the show.

With most boutiques this would have been a problem as they often have limited lines of attire.  Jamie had clothes for everything – beautiful formal wear, savvy business attire, and a fun vacation/cruise line plus accessories to match it all.  The ease of dealing with only one shop for the show was very appealing so the Board unanimously approved her offer and signed the contract.

Over the next few months everything proceeded smoothly.  We were way ahead of schedule and ticket sales were booming.  Then…3 weeks before the show, by Being Too Agreeable and not being able to give a firm “No” at the appropriate time, Courtney almost destroyed the show.

A friend of Courtney’s, who was a very persuasive jeweler,  approached her about displaying his jewelry at the show.  She said she “tried to tell him No but he wouldn’t listen”.  She eventually told him “She would see what she could do”.  He took that as a yes and immediately posted a notice on his website and in his shop announcing his participation in the show.  Of course, Jamie, the boutique shop owner, heard about the jeweler’s announcement and threatened to pull out of the show because we had broken our exclusivity agreement with her.

A quick visit to the jeweler by several committee members who had no problem explaining our contract and saying No resolved that side of the issue.  A tearful apology and explanation from Courtney pacified Jamie.

When Courtney said Maybe instead of No she hurt the organization’s reputation and she made herself appear weak and unprofessional.

Courtney and I met after the fashion show to celebrate our success and to wrap up our comments for next year’s chairman.  I brought up the subject Personality Style Blind Spots and asked if she wanted to chat about it.  She had no clue about the Agrees Too Much Blind Spot but admitted not being able to say No had often created similar challenges for her, especially  at work, which is common for the S Personality Style.  One of the men on her team wasn’t as experienced as she.  When he asked her for help she found she often ended up completing his work.  She said she did it to keep peace in the office but it often meant she stayed late without overtime and she ended up exhausted by the end of the week.

“What do I do?” she asked.  I suggested we practice saying No.  She laughed but she agreed.  As we role played a couple scenarios she realized that while saying No was a huge challenge for her, it was her need to avoid conflict that drove it.  An S doesn’t like confrontation.  They prefer to maintain peace and harmony.  As she realized she was trying to avoid possible confrontations, she saw how she was often saying Yes when it was inappropriate.  She left with a determination to change this.  And she did!  A few months later I needed some volunteers for an event.  Courtney smiled and very graciously told me No.

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The I Blind Spot

– Disorganized and Talks Too Much –

I’ve served on the Board of many professional organizations.  One Board I really enjoyed always had a mix of seasoned Board Members plus some “newbies”.  It was well organized and ran very efficiently.  Meetings started and ended on time.  Each job was well defined and as a result the Chapter functioned like a successful business.

One year we had a “newbie” on the Board, Jesse, who was full of ideas and enthusiasm.  In addition he was a lot of fun and did a great job of helping to increase the Chapter’s membership.  When the time came for nominations for next year’s Board positions, Jesse was nominated for President and was easily elected.  The problem was, the Chapter not only elected Jesse, they elected Jesse AND his Blind Spots!!

Jesse’s Talks Too Much Blind Spot was evident within the first few minutes of his first Board meeting.  He started the meeting in an entertaining way.  For the first few minutes it was fun.  Soon people were looking at their watches and getting a bit antsy.  Eventually the Secretary took charge and called the meeting to order.

At this point the Disorganization facet of Jesse’s Blind Spot emerged.  He didn’t have his meeting agenda.  He apologized and assured us he had completed it but had left it on his desk.  The meeting continued with complete confusion and finally ended very late when the Secretary frustratingly stepped in and called it to a close.

Jesse was embarrassed.  The experienced Board members were disgruntled.  The Past-President, a stickler for Parliamentary Procedure, was visibly upset.  We were not properly prepared for our first Chapter meeting nor were we used to being in that position.  There was some quiet grumbling by the senior board members about the coming year being a disaster.

Within a few days the Past-President called a private meeting of several veteran Board members.  Jesse was not included.  I anticipated a mutiny type of meeting and hoped I could persuade them the situation could be salvaged.  Sure enough, as he started the conversation, guidelines for replacing a President was the topic.

I agreed we had a challenge and asked if I could present an idea before we explored removing Jesse from office.  Everyone offered to listen as they were eager to have an alternative.  No one wanted the situation to escalate into one of confrontation and controversy among Chapter members.

I had prepared for this moment by reviewing the strengths of the I Personality Profile and listing those appropriate to Jesse.  I shared that he was inspiring, convincing, intuitive at reading people, diplomatic, and could move people toward a common goal.  We all agreed these were great characteristics for a President and the membership could thrive if we had a leader with these skills.

Next I mentioned that perhaps Jesse was nominated for this position a bit prematurely through no fault of his own.  He obviously had no experience running a board, something we should have explored before accepting his nomination, so part of the responsibility for this challenge lay on our shoulders also.  I suggested that since he was surrounded by experienced board members, including several Past-Presidents, we could put together a plan to coach him rather than explore the guidelines for replacing him.

Everyone was immediately on board.  The Past-President volunteered to work with Jesse on agendas and parliamentary procedure.  The Secretary offered to sit at his elbow and be his time-keeper.  Other members suggested what they could contribute and we all left feeling very hopeful about the coming year.

Within the next few months Jess developed into a phenomenal President.  His I Personality Style presence created an enthusiasm that helped the Chapter grow.  The camaraderie he helped create among Chapter members led to a surplus of volunteers for events, resulting in our fundraisers being a huge success that greatly benefitted our scholarship program.

Thank goodness our Board was filled with seasoned members who knew what was required to achieve success – a well managed Board that stayed on task and ran the Chapter like a business.  If they hadn’t taken immediate action Jesse may have continued the year with Disorganization and failure.  Eventually Jesse would have established himself as a poor leader.  Sadly, he never would have understood what had caused it.

Your Blind Spot can kill your business image.  Discover it, acknowledge it, eliminate it!

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The D Blind Spot

– Over Directs –

Many, many years ago I worked out at a gym owned by a very talented man named Kim who was about 50 at the time.  He was a certified nutritionist who practiced what he preached.  In addition to being a fitness coach he was also accomplished in martial arts, having trained in Asia prior to moving to the US.  The combination of his fit appearance and his confidence in his ability to train someone gave him an impressive demeanor.  His training methods were very successful and helped many people hit their goals quickly.  He attracted accomplished coaches who wanted to learn his process.

His gym should have been incredibly successful and possibly have even grown into many locations and franchises. It didn’t.  His staff and client turnover (I barely made it through my 3 month intro offer) had him in constant struggle mode.  Kim had one huge problem – his Blind Spot!

The gym was set up with Kim giving lessons at one end while his coaches worked with other members throughout the rest of the gym.  From his position Kim could see everything.  He watched the gym like a hawk and often interrupted his coaches by shouting across the gym at the coach.  Everyone in the gym would stop to determine who he was shouting at.  Many of the members were uncomfortable with his constant barking.  His need to give immediate direction rather than offer his guidance after the session demeaned the coaches by making them look unqualified.

I could have understood a shout if it was necessary to stop a member from doing something harmful.  That wasn’t the case.  Kim had skilled coaches who were not jeopardizing the welfare of the person they were coaching.  He could have easily demonstrated the technique adjustment to the coach and client at the end of the session.  This would have been far less distracting to the atmosphere in the gym and would have made the client appreciative of the “Master’s” attention.  He would not have had a turnover problem.

Instead, coaches often left as soon as they felt they had mastered Kim’s techniques.  They went to another gym or started their own gym.  Kim was doing a fantastic job of creating his own competition!  In addition, the customers who had developed a rapport with their coach often followed them to their new destination.  Instead of success and growth, Kim’s business remained small and stagnant.  He earned his living from a nucleus of members who were either deaf or could tune out his shouting while they worked out.

The amazing thing was everyone but Kim could see his problem.  This is the point of calling it a Blind Spot!  You do it with no concept of the repercussions to your business or your team.  The Blind Spot of Over Directing for a D can also be intensified by the fact that the D can sometimes get into a “My Way or the Highway” mentality.  As you can see in Kim’s situation this combination of his Over-Directing Blind Spot and his “Do it My Way – Now!” mentality created a different type of highway – one that went right out his door and across town to the next gym.

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Who’s Who? Challenge

Here’s a challenge.  Can you identify the Personality Styles (D, I, S, C) of the following famous people?  I’ve put them in groups of 4 to help make it easier.

Should Be Easy:  Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Paula Abdul

Celebrities:  Barbara Stanwyck, Mike Wallace, Mr. Rodgers, Bob Hope

From History:  Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Winston Churchill

Some Old Favorites:  Mr. Spock, Tonto, Lucy, Dirty Harry

Scientists and Inventors:  Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Madame Marie Curie, Ben Franklin

Personality Style Characteristics that may help you:

D – Fast-paced, task-oriented, confident, well-groomed, expensive look, to the point, possibly loud, persistent, may enjoy an argument.

IFast-paced, people-oriented, spontaneous, upbeat, “hip expressions”, trendy, happy, big smile, very comfortable being in the spotlight.

S – Reserved, people-oriented, casual, comfortable, great manners, eye contact, hugs, personal, warm, calm, honest, soft voice.

C – Reserved, task-oriented, conservative look, serious, articulate, thinks before responding, great vocabulary, questioning, curious.

For the answers, look for my blog titled “Answers to Who’s Who? Challenge”.

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Answers to the Who’s Who? Challenge

I want you to approach the answers below with the following understanding.  When you take the DISC Assessment it will give you 2 graphs, an Environment Graph and a Basic Graph.  The Environment Graph reflects our Adapted Personality Style – how we behave for success in our environment.  We can call this our “I Do” graph.

The Basic Graph shows how we naturally behave when we are relaxed and at ease, how we would react without thinking.  We can call this our “I Am” graph.

My choices in the Who’s Who? Challenge reflect their “I do” side, not their “I am” side.  For example, we are only able to see Donald Trump when he is in public.  In public his behavior demonstrates D Personality Style characteristics.  Donald Trump’s behavior in his home environment may be totally different.  Saying that Donald Trump exhibits a D Personality Style is more accurate than saying Donald Trump is a D.

THE ANSWERS TO WHO’S WHO?

Should Be EasyD – Donald Trump   I – Oprah Winfrey   S – Paula Abdul   C – Bill Gates

CelebritiesD – Mike Wallace   I – Bob Hope   S – Mr. Rodgers   C – Barbara Stanwyck

From HistoryD – George Washington   I – Winston Churchill   S – Abraham Lincoln   C – Jackie Kennedy Onassis

CharactersD – Dirty Harry   I – Lucy   S – Tonto   C – Mr. Spock

Scientists and InventorsC – Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Madame Marie Curie and Ben Franklin. *

* This is not to say that every scientist is a C, however science requires the type of environment a C will embrace so many C’s are naturally drawn to this vocation.

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C Types

– C TYPES –

– CAUTIOUS / CONSCIENTIOUS / COMPLIANT –

I’ve often had people describe the C Personality as being a bit withdrawn compared to the other Personality Styles.  This came up in conversation with a C I know who understands DISC.  When I asked him if he felt there was any validity to the comment he readily agreed that he often senses people think he’s a bit distant.  In true C Style, he’s thought it through:

“I believe when someone asks me a question, rather than give them a quick reply my mind instantly goes into processing mode.  It runs through a lot of scenarios.  I get immersed in trying to come up with an answer that will give the best solution to the individual.  Sometimes I sense the other person thinks I’m not involved or worse, I don’t care.  In actuality, the total opposite is happening.  I care a great deal and I’m attempting to be very thorough as I find the best response.  I’ve learned it helps if I say ‘Give me a moment to think’ before I start to process.”

I then mentioned this to the wife of a C over lunch the other day.  She agreed also.  She disclosed that her husband’s very slow reaction time to her questions would drive her crazy when they were first married.  “I would suggest a new item for the house.  He would just look at me and say nothing.  When I pushed him for a response, he’d say, ‘I’ll think about it’.  I’d give him a few more seconds to think.  When he didn’t respond I assumed he didn’t care.  It took a good while for me to realize that his decision making process took a lot longer than mine!”

When I asked her how long it took for her to get used to it she replied with a twinkle, “Honestly, I haven’t.  His need to think can still drive me crazy after over 20 years.  I’ve simply come up with a way around it.  When we need something small I just go get it.  He’s fine with that.  If it’s a larger purchase, say a couch that’s wearing out, I plant the seed long before we need to replace it.  This way he has plenty of time to do his research.  I really appreciate his ability to be so thorough because I certainly don’t have the patience to do so.  Over the years we’ve become a very good team.”

I know this couple well and they are awesome together.  They figured out their differences over time.  My passion is helping people arrive at understanding each other’s differences through DISC so it won’t take them ‘years’ to become a good team.

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D Types

 

– D TYPES –

– Dominant / Direct / Decisive –

The other day I was standing in line at a store waiting to check out.  In front of me was a Mom with a daughter who appeared to be about 5 years old.  The little one was informing her Mom where they would go next, what she wanted for dinner AND that she should be able to stay up an extra 30 minutes because she had not “had a single time out all day”.

I couldn’t help but smile as I recognized her D Personality traits.  At the tender age of 5 she already saw herself as the one who should be in charge.  Her Mom caught my smile a gave me a slightly embarrassed smile in return.  I said, “Let me guess, she started to become the head of the household when she was in her crib?”  Mom recognized my understanding of her daughter immediately.  She laughed and informed me it was either there OR when she was still in the womb!

Mom then turned to her daughter, gave her 2 choices for their next destination and informed her that, based on her behavior through the afternoon, they would see about the rest later.

The D Personality is easy to spot.  The are born self-starters who are decisive, determined and dominant.  They are fast-paced and task-oriented.  “Winners never quit and quitters never win!” could be their motto.  Their desire is to get results NOW!!

Their upbeat, winning attitude will come with confrontation.  They enjoy a good discussion and are capable of stirring things up by creating some conflict.  If you want to achieve success while working with a D – be like the Mom.  Give your D a choice, some control and a challenge.  Their results will be phenomenal!

 

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S Types

– S TYPES –

– Supportive / Steady / Stable –

I’ve joined a book club whose members have been getting together for years.  Their camaraderie lends itself to stimulating conversation.  This week a quote in the book led to a great discussion about taking on guilt when it isn’t necessary.

Our discussion reminded me of many conversations I’ve had with Supportive (S) Personalities.  They often comment, “I really care about people but sometimes it gets me in trouble.  People often share their problems with me.  Before I know what’s happening their problem becomes my problem – then I find I care more about solving it than they do, and then I start to feel guilty because I haven’t solved their problem!”

I respond by telling them they’re creating self-imposed and totally unnecessary feelings of guilt.  You can imagine, since they were probably seeking empathy, they’re initially shocked with my comment.  As I explain what’s going on related to DISC they begin to embrace my concept…..

An S is naturally:

  • Service-oriented
  • Team-oriented
  • Help-oriented
  • An empathetic listener
  • Excellent in a support role
  • Very caring about others

When someone comes to them with a problem it’s natural for an S to want to help resolve it.  Their confliction happens as they assume the other person is asking for their help, which is probably not the case…..

  • A D is probably looking for a new idea that will improve the solution they already have in mind.
  • An I simply wants to converse as they process best while talking.
  • The like-minded S may appreciate some help as they are wired to be part of a team.
  • A C would value logical input.  Nothing more.

As you can see, none of the conversations involving the D, the I or the C involve a request for the S to be part of the solution.  It is the S who takes ownership of the other person’s problem without being asked to do so.  They assume that’s what’s expected of them based upon the make-up of their Personality Style.  It’s so easy to transpose our Personality Style’s characteristics onto someone else.  As you can see from my example, this can lead to horrible assumptions regarding what is actually being requested.

This instance with the S repeats itself in a multitude of ways with all the Behavioral Styles.  Understanding our Personality differences can truly make life less complicated.

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I Types

– I TYPES –

– Influence / Inspiring / Involved –

My husband has a Harley.  On weekend mornings we love to go exploring on the bike, often stopping somewhere for breakfast.  We wear our leather Harley jackets and boots for protection.  I think we look pretty stylish and not at all intimidating but this weekend there were some 70 and 80 year old youngsters in a packed restaurant on the other side of the mountain whose stares said otherwise!  When Dave leaned over and whispered “Ok, champ, pick us a safe booth”, I knew he felt it also.

There appeared to be only one server who was handling the entire room with ease.  She made her way toward us, stopping for a quick word at each booth.  We saw her nod in our direction more than once.  When she arrived at our table and took our order her demeanor was that of a Mama Bear.

Call me crazy, but I love the challenge of diffusing an unfriendly situation by applying what I know about DISC.  First, I needed to determine her Personality Style.  What had I observed about Mama Bear?

She was very fast-paced when she moved and when she spoke.  That narrowed my choice to either a D (Dominant) or an I (Influence) as they are the fast-paced Personalities.  How to tell the difference?

The appearance of a D is normally conservative.  The I leans toward contemporary, fun, and a flair with accessories.  Our server had 4 earrings, 3 necklaces, a bright jeweled watch and very colorful, patterned nail polish.  Her hair was short and brown with bright blond spikes.  I was certain Mama Bear was an I.

The next step?  People want to feel comfortable with others.  It was important I speak to her in the language of an I:  fast-paced, fun and with warmth.  The greatest fear of an I is a fear of not being liked or accepted so it was important she know I accepted her.  When she returned I said, “There’s one VERY important thing I need to know.”  She turned.  I smiled, looked her in the eye and asked “What is your name?”  After a brief hesitation she returned my smile and said “Sue”.

“Well, Sue”, I said, and briefly told her of our ride over the mountain seeking a restaurant with nice people and a great breakfast.  I delivered our tale in the language of an I – fast, warm, personal and fun.  As Mama Bear Sue enjoyed our conversation she relaxed.  We’re sure she shared our story as evidenced by the nods and smiles we got as she made her next round with her customers.

I’m sure Dave and I will return to what we now affectionately call “The Bear Den”.  We look forward to seeing how Mama Sue and her cubs welcome us the next time.

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