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.


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



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



– 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


– 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


– 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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Are You Honest About Your Weakness?

Delegating is tough for a lot of people regardless of their Personality Style.  Delegating and not interfering is even harder.  This past weekend I met someone who had that ability and I truly admired her for it.

While enjoying a 3 day motorcycle adventure through the mountains, Dave and I noticed a hands-on teaching facility about local animals and their environment.  Upon exploration we learned the business had grown from the passion of the owner, let’s call her Anne.  As I observed Anne it was obvious she had developed her program with an understanding of her personal strengths and weaknesses.  Let me share what I observed:

The first part of the program was her lecture.  The second portion was hands-on fun with the animals.  Anne’s lecture was entertaining and informative.  To the delight of the kids, she turned one of their dads into an animal by adding cloth appendages, describing the purpose of each as she added it.  A young boy who was very excited started to interrupt her.  While Anne responded to him gently, it was obvious to me that her patience with children was very lacking.

At the end of Anne’s lecture her assistants took some of the parents and all the kids to visit the animals.  She stayed behind chatting with the remaining adults, an interaction  she obviously enjoyed.

I admired the fact that she recognized where she was talented – teaching the class and interacting with the adults – and where she was not – handling the enthusiasm of the kids.  I can see where, with her lack of patience, Anne might have gotten a bit cranky with the kids in the animal habitat as they excitedly bolted from one animal to the next!  Not good for business.  Instead, Anne had hired assistants with the patience she lacked and she let them do their job.

Many leaders don’t understand this. They rely on their strengths and ignore their weakness.  This cripples their success.  A great leader has the courage to not only acknowledge their personal weakness and hire someone who has that strength, but to also let them do their job without interference.  Because this was something Anne was capable of doing her business is thriving!

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DISC in the ICU

We are here for Bobby, my 29 year old future son-in-law, who is battling for life after being revived from cardiac arrest. Six weeks ago he was diagnosed with endocarditis. 19 days ago his heart failed.

Bobby was medivac’d to a cardiology hospital in Miami, a city that is a melting pot of people. As I sit here in the ICU waiting room observing the dynamics of the various families I see that even in times of stress, personality styles are predictable regardless of culture, religion or environment. Each family member’s behavioral style determines the role they will take during their crisis.

The personality to step forward quickly is the D. They are people who want action. They are on the phone, they take charge during Doctor consultations and have no hesitation seeking second opinions. They are ok with ruffling feathers if it gets results.

The I arrives with a huge smile. They bring the positive attitude. They break the tension with funny observations and they’re often the person who will reach out to members of other families in the waiting room.

The S brings hugs….they bring food….they have the tissues….they get coffee. They are also the quiet strength holding the family together.

A casual observer may not notice the C as they tend to stay in the background. I often see them huddled over their electronic gizmo researching and seeking data. The family will go to them with the question “What did that Doctor mean?” and the C will find the answer.

Our family unit is no different. We have each of the personalities represented, each one supporting the others with a smile or food, information or action. We are getting hopeful as every day brings another sign that Bobby may wake from this coma. He is opening his eyes, responding to touch and moving his lips to his favorite songs. We know he hears us, we’re pretty sure he sees us and we are faithful God is planning a huge miracle.

Thank you to each of you for your love and your prayers.

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