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Flowers, Pavers and Rats

While we are asked to stay home, I’m staying out of negative emotions and fear by creating a garden path to my back yard. Would you believe I’ve learned to mix concrete???

I’m also being proactive by applying the great advice Master Chunyi Lin related in his annual talk about how to get through the upcoming year in a healthy, positive way. He says this is the Year of the Rat. I don’t know much about that but I do know he was on target when he said the year would bring viral challenges. He suggests how to protect ourselves. You can read my notes on his talk, which also includes a lot of positive things to look forward to in the coming year in the April Newsletter.

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Flying Out of a Golf Cart

Well…..it wasn’t my intention to challenge the self-healing I have been learning with my Spring Forest Qigong healing courses but, when I flew out of a golf cart and did a belly flop into the road, it was time to apply the techniques I’ve been learning. Check out the March Newsletter to learn more.

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This Was Fun for 2 Days

In this month’s Newsletter I ask how you are doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? Did you know when we start something new our body undergoes a chemical change that lasts 3 days? Then it passes and we no longer have the excitement we initially experienced about the new idea or resolution.

I use a program that enables me to keep my enthusiasm and focus. Last year I accomplished every resolution on my list, plus some great ideas I had throughout the year. Check out how I did it in January’s Newsletter.

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Strengths of the I

 I’s are Influencing, Inspiring and Impressive

When the I Personality Style enters a room the atmosphere becomes lighter and more playful.  Their Style is fun-loving, gregarious and charismatic.  To them the world is a stage and life is an adventure worth exploring.  They will persuade you to join them!  My sister and my daughter are both I‘s.  Because of their influence I have been sky diving, skiing, SCUBA diving and parasailing.  My life is truly more exciting with them in it!

INFLUENCING…..

“The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.”     Douglas MacArthur

  • Motivates others through interaction and persuasion
  • Convincing – able to move people toward a common goal
  • Uses diplomacy in a tactful approach to people
  • Breaks tense situations with levity
  • Warm, personable, compassionate – will cheer you up if needed!

INSPIRING…..

“Attitude is everything.”   Dianne Von Furstenberg

  • Their optimistic outlook on life is an inspiration to others
  • Persuasively communicates the vision, mission or goals
  • Sees the big picture
  • Generates enthusiasm
  • Makes things happen by believing things will work out

IMPRESSIVE…..

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from coming up to bat.”   Babe Ruth

  • Makes the best of unpleasant circumstances
  • Accepting of others, sees their character and their good qualities
  • People-oriented, team-oriented, involved with a positive attitude
  • Negotiates conflict skillfully
  • Intuitive at reading the emotions and feelings of others
  • Creative problem solver with innovative ideas – thinks outside the box

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Strengths of the C

C’s are Cautious, Conscientious and Competent

The contributions of the C. Personality Style to our society are immense.  They are the Type who look at things objectively and improve them.  While they can be creative their strength is analyzing an established product or concept and making it better.  The technology of our future is in their hands.

CAUTIOUS…..

“Measure twice, cut once!   English Proverb

  • Plans for many contingencies, leaves nothing to chance
  • Assesses facts with objectivity and lack of emotion
  • Approach will be systematic, careful, methodical and accurate
  • Emphasis on details

CONSCIENTIOUS…..

“There is a better way – find it!”    Thomas Edison

  • Has clarity of purpose and will stay focused on the task with self-discipline and intensity
  • Questioning mind is always searching for answers
  • Enjoys learning the details
  • Reliable, predictable, accurate
  • Thinks in terms of bottom line

COMPETENT…..

“Plan your work….then work your plan!”    Margaret Thatcher

  • Fantastic ability to use critical thinking and see what’s going on under the surface
  • Will do their homework in order to make a thorough evaluation of both the choices and the consequences before taking action
  • Completes tough assignments correctly the first time as the end result is a personal statement of their ability
  • Loves to be correct!
  • Clearly assess positive and negatives
  • Keeps everything under control

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The I and C in Weakness Mode

I had the opportunity to spend more than a year observing a case of the I Personality Style and the C Personality Style working in their “Weaknesses”.

A national corporation that manufactured products used in the construction of multi-million-dollar office buildings decided to enter the small office construction market.  In order to accomplish this they decided to create a new model housing their 2 divisions – sales and product distribution – under one roof in order to accommodate the faster paced environment of the smaller construction sites.

The corporate office hand-picked 7 teams from current employees and placed each of the teams in new sales/warehouse facilities across the country.  Each team was to develop a process for approaching the small construction market.  After 18 months the top producing office would become the template for future facilities across the country.

I was hired to be the assistant to Rob, who would manage the facility in my area.  He had been with the company 20 years.  During the previous 10 years the office under his management was consistently one of the top 5 offices in the country.  He was known for ingenuity.  Many of his sales techniques were used in training new sales reps.  Rob was fast-paced, people oriented, enthusiastic and high energy.   I spent several days training at his old office with his previous assistant.  His staff was devoted to him.  He had obviously pulled the best from everyone who worked with him which is a characteristic of the I Personality Style working in their strength.

Our Product Manager was Larry.  He was transferred to our facility to manage receiving, warehousing, delivery and installation.  He had been with the company for 30 years, starting as a laborer and ended up supervising the huge warehouse in our area.  Many of his systems and processes had been implemented in warehouses across the country.  He had a great reputation, was 2 years away from retirement and was excited about the challenge of making this new concept work.

Larry’s Personality Style was a C – reserved and task oriented.  He was methodical, detailed and analytical.  He was as quiet as Rob was charismatic.  Larry thrived on systems, planning, precision and contingencies while Rob ran on instinct and changing course rapidly when needed.  They were complete opposites in Personality Style and focus.  Rob focused on the positive while Larry obsessed about the negative.

Rob wanted to get business in the door fast.  He didn’t mind an initial small profit margin as he was certain we could win future more profitable contracts by demonstrating quality service.  Larry preferred a huge cushion in the bids to cover unexpected emergencies.  He felt Rob was unrealistic, unfocused, impatient and setting us up for failure.  Rob felt Larry was critical, pessimistic, worrisome and slowing everything down.

As they focused on what they called each other’s “shortcomings” they totally missed each other’s strengths!

Over time they both deteriorated to operating in their Personality Style’s Weakness Mode.  Larry was openly critical of Rob in front of customers; he used intellectual intimidation with him and focused on every error he could find rather than complementing what was going well.  He became protective of his domain, stayed in his office with the door shut and he pulled away from the team.  He became a rigid enforcer with anyone who came near the warehouse.  People obviously started to avoid him. Communication with Larry broke down rapidly.

Rob took Larry’s criticisms as a personal rejection. Criticism was not something Rob was used to experiencing.  He reacted to Larry with emotional outbursts and arguments.  Around the rest of us he became very self-promoting and needed our reassurance that he was doing a great job which, after a time, he wasn’t.  He spent a lot of time in the field, which would have been ok if he had a cell phone, but this was the pre-cell phone era.  His out-of-pocket time slowed our response time when a contractor needed a quick decision from management.  As a result we began to lose future contracts with companies who had been willing to give us a try.

After 12 months our office production was well behind the other 6 satellite offices.  Everyone on the team except Rob and Larry could clearly see why we were failing but no one (including me as this was long before I was introduced to the concept of DISC) had any clue as to how to turn the situation around.  After 14 months our office was closed.

While watching the dynamics between Rob and Larry was painful at the time it has certainly become a very valuable tale to share related to how our strengths can deteriorate to a weakness given the right circumstances.  Their story is a great example of how companies can spend a lot of money to hire people who are the cream of the crop, but who might fail miserably when the dynamics of the new job prompt them to work in their Personality Style Weaknesses.

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Weaknesses of the I

I’s can be Impulsive, Indecisive and Inconsistent

An I, who is naturally light-hearted, fun-loving and well liked, can become very fearful of not being liked when stressed or challenged. They can become weak-willed, easily pressured and can suffer in the areas of morals, truthfulness, ethics and integrity. The may become…..Impulsive, Indecisive and Inconsistent.

IMPULSIVE

  • May compromise themself in order to be liked
  • Resorts to self-promotion, loudness, huge gestures, emotion and exaggeration to regain attention
  • Prefers to argue rather than concede a point
  • Acts and speaks without thinking
  • Becomes impatient with normal tasks and with people they think are slowing them down

INDECISIVE

  • Unrealistic expectations due to inattention to detail
  • Runs on emotions, impressions and gut instincts
  • Lack of focus
  • Relies on charisma rather than preparation
  • Often has more confidence than ability

INCONSISTENT

  • Dislikes attempts at structure and doesn’t want limitations on freedom
  • May suddenly avoid a situation where they may be rejected
  • Natural restlessness results in disorganization, forgetfulness and poor time management
  • Ignores realities that are not pleasing
  • Controls by manipulating or talking smoothly
  • Difficulty focusing while attempting to work alone leading to poor follow through

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Weaknesses of the C

C’s Can Be Critical, Controlling and Cynical

The analytical, objective thinking C has trouble understanding that the rest of us don’t view things the way they do.  This often makes them their own worst enemy.  Their thoroughness can make them feel more competent than others, setting them up to view a simple question as a challenge by someone with inferior mental skills and abilities.  Depending upon the depth of the disparity a C can become vengeful, often waiting patiently for the right time to get even.  When operating in the extreme of their weaknesses a C can appear to be……Critical, Controlling and Cynical.

CRITICAL…..

  • If questioned, takes it personally.  May react negatively and defensively.
  • Focuses only on what is wrong, not on what is right.
  • Their cautious nature may present them as being aloof, unfriendly, uncaring.
  • Their focus on the facts and the task can make them insensitive to people.

CONTROLLING…..

  • Protective of their thoughts as they have trouble understanding that others don’t view things their way.
  • Strongly feel their opinion should be the norm resulting in a lack of flexibility.
  • The way to the “correct end” is more important than the people involved.
  • Fear of being wrong can immobilize them.
  • Will enforce rules and policies through intellectual intimidation.

CYNICAL…..

  • Keeps a ledger of wrongs committed against them and will patiently wait to get even.
  • Glass is always half empty.
  • Presents their knowledge in such a superior manner that even when they are right people don’t want to agree with them.
  • Rigid nature impairs creativity.
  • Myopic vision compounded by huge fear of failure.

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Meeting People Using DISC

A Director for an international Direct Marketing company asked me to train her local reps to utilize Personality Styles to grow their business.  Theresa said that all her reps are “Very energetic, have a high level of enthusiasm, are setting lots of first appointments but their closing ration is lower than it should be”.  She asked me to teach them how to make their initial appointments more successful.  I’ve had a lot of experience training sales reps and quite often I find the problem lies in the fact that they are focused on themselves rather than being focused on the concerns and the needs of their prospect.  My job is to change their focus.

As her team members arrived at the workshop I practiced what I was planning to preach…..I focused on recognizing their Personality Style and interacting with each of them in their Personality Style’s Language.  Shortly into the session they took the DISC Assessment and we grouped them according to their Personality Styles.   I asked each group to write on a piece of paper where they thought my assessment would place me.  When they simultaneously held up their papers they were shocked to see each group had placed me in THEIR group!  Their question became “How did I do that?”

I explained that as I met each one of them I had allowed them to lead me into THEIR Personality Style.  We dissected what I had done:

Starting with the Handshake……

  • S will often use a “double clasp” handshake.  I “double clasp” right back.
  • An I will usually “pump” up and down several times.  I go with their flow, let them pump my hand as much as they want while I return their huge smile with a big grin of my own.
  • The C Personality often prefers a lot of space.  I respect THEIR desire for space and move back.  They are often very serious so I only smile at them if they smile at me.
  • A D handshake is a firm grasp, very little movement, they look you right in the eye.  With a D, so do I.

Then the Speech Pattern……

I demonstrated my normal conversation pace and intonation to give them a base for comparison.

  • I then greeted someone from the S group and gently mirrored them as we spoke.  I made certain my responses to their comments were personal in nature while my intonation was soft and slow.  The S commented they were very comfortable with me.
  • My next conversation was with a C.   It was very similar except my responses were far less personal and much more task oriented.  I also gave the C far more space than I gave the S , who prefers to stand close.  The C commented they were comfortable with me and added normally they need more time with someone to develop a sense of rapport.
  • While the D and I had a conversation similar in topic to that of the S and the C, it was obvious the natural pace of the D is faster, louder, with a quick and succinct feel to it.  I was as loud as the D and  kept pace with the D by making my comments far more concise and impersonal.  The D was very comfortable with me.  I asked the C’s, the I’s and the S’s if they would have been comfortable with me had I greeted them in “D” manner.  They all gave an emphatic NO!!
  • When speaking with the I our conversation was rapid, we interrupted each other and went down bunny trails!  We spoke in terms of people, not tasks, and the audience laughed as they watched me add dramatic hand movements to my comments, which is very common for an I.  The I, in typical fashion, loved me because he loved our conversation.  I asked the D to be honest in his reaction to the I conversation.  He said it would have driven him batty and he may have ended it quickly!

The audience saw that I hadn’t changed ME at all during my conversations.  I had simply changed my conversation style in order to suit the Personality Style of the other person.  They also began to understand that when you are unaware of the other person’s Style characteristics you may turn them off with some of the characteristics of your own Personality Style.

We continued the workshop by discussing how to quickly recognize each Personality Style, how to tailor your presentation to each Style and what specific words should be used to close each Personality Style.  We then ended the session with role playing.  The room was initially full of laughter but then everyone settled in and took their “assigned Style” very seriously.  They learned how little effort is required to make a subtle change for success with their delivery.  They also learned that a conversation with someone you don’t know well goes a lot smoother when you are speaking the other person’s Behavioral “language”.

Several months later I followed up with Theresa to see how the team was doing.  She was ecstatic to let me know the closing ratios had improved tremendously.  She shared some of the team’s comments:

“Applying DISC makes me tune into the other person rather than being worried about how I come across.”

“By approaching a meeting from THEIR point of communication rather than from MINE, I feel the pressure is off of me to “perform”.  Because I can sense they are comfortable with me I can relax and have a valuable conversation about their wants and needs.”

There’s no magic to this.  Most successful sales reps will tell you their success comes from understanding God gave them 2 ears and 1 mouth.  Focusing on DISC simply makes you remember that.

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