Jacqueline: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us. For some it may be the lunch hour and some the morning. Whatever the case may be, thank you for joining us. For those who listen to our podcast in the archives as well, we always appreciate your support as well. We are continuing our bi-weekly episode with none other than Kupe Smith from B2T Training. Hey! Kupe. How are you?
Kupe: I am good. I think our show just went international since I am calling in from Toronto, Canada. We are officially an international show overnight.
Jacqueline: Absolutely. Connecting all of our worlds. Awesome! As always, we are serving up different flavors of technology and information technology and how that all works with projects and programs. Today is no different. We are kind of switching it. Our topic is around DISC. I am going to be genuinely asking questions because this is new territory for me and I am looking forward to your perspective of it. Why don’t you start off by telling us, what is DISC?
Kupe: DISC is, so I assume a lot of people have dealt with a lot of different kinds of test, the behavioral tests. DISC is a behavioral-type quiz that you take to find out what is your main behavioral style. These are the four main behavioral styles that DISC stands for: D is dominance, I is influence, S is steadiness, and C is conscientious. Of all of the millions of people that have taken this and the really smart psychologist that created this, it started back in the 50’s. Twenty Five percent of people fall into each quadrant. Everyone falls into one of those. To give you a little bit more background on each of those, for those that are in the dominance, they are the more decisive kind of people, they’re more independent, and they’re results-focused. They just want to get things done and get to the results. They’re very straightforward. I am sure we have all dealt with a person like that. Influence is the I. That’s where I fall. I am really deep in the I sphere. They’re people who are enthusiastic; they like to talk a lot. It is no surprise that I like doing a radio show because I get to talk a lot. Spontaneous and demonstrative, they really show expression, so for me, it’s really hard to hide my feelings. It is those people that people say “ you wear your emotions on your sleeve,” so very expressive. The S, those are the warm, friendly, very invitive type of people; they are very cooperative, very agreeable, and very collaborative. They want to work very closely with me. They are the ones you can rely on for things. Those are the one that have your back. The conscientious, that’s the C. Those people are very organized and orderly. They’re very persistent, and they come across very serious. There is a picture that I bring up whenever I am working with teams or facilitating a group; it’s a picture of a very serious cat. The C people are the people we all need. I know if I need something proofread, I give it to a C. I know they’re going to go through it, and they’re going to be very detail-oriented. They’re also the ones that follow up a lot. Mary, who is on our team as the operations manager, is clearly a C. If I have to get something to her, every 2 days there is a follow up email “ hey Kupe. you got this? What’s up with this? Get back to me on this,” so those types of people.
Jacqueline: You mentioned there are different behavior type tests. I know you have been exposed to so many. Why did this resonate with you?
Kupe: The ones that I have been privy to, I haven’t done strengthsfinder, but people have given me feedback on that one and people like it. Burkman is another one. It is very detailed. Then there is Myers Briggs, MBTI. You always hear people talking about are you an extrovert or introvert. So my comparison of why I like DISC over Myers Briggs, Myers Briggs deals more with how you think about situations where as DISC focuses on outward facing behaviors that people can feel and touch and understand. I think overall, DISC is accurate and very consistent. Also, it is easy to understand. Although I am a certified DISC instructor and I can read the test and tell people what it means and how they can work better with other people, it is fairly easy to understand for people. It gives a lot of tips on how to recognize your behavior style. With all of the behavior styles you fall into stress mode, and when you’re in stress mode, people tend to overextend themselves and their personality. For the D’s, when they get into tense situations, because they are so straightforward, you can imagine they tend to hurt people’s feelings because they are so direct. It is not like one behavior style is good or bad or better than another, but everyone has these over-extensions. We need to understand what happens when we overextend so that you can better interact with people. It is accurate, it’s consistent and it’s easier to understand how to use. The other thing is because it is behaviors that you can outwardly see, there are tips that I can share like how do you quickly read somebody to potentially understand what their behavior style is and act in that way so you best work with that person.
Jacqueline: Interesting. As we were building up to this, I saw the difference between the personality test and the behavior test. I’ve seen personality test people say “well that’s just the way I am. Accept me”. You’re not trying to change a person, but it’s behaviors. It also sounds like you said, it is of interest to you to learn those behaviors because you paint yourself into stressful situations and maybe you can see them coming and based on your behavior make some adjustments. It is also a way to help yourself and to avoid stressful situations or deal with stressful situations. That peaks my interest right away.
Kupe: The more you know about this, the more you start to sense it. You know when you’re overextending yourself, and then you can pull back and stop that from happening.
Jacqueline: You mentioned you are a certified facilitator. So what happens during a facilitated session? When you come out and you’re dealing with a team or a group, what does that look like?
Kupe: So there are different levels. I just did one for a group at a conference. That was a simpler format. I would bring the assessment questions for everybody and it just on a piece of paper. Basically you answer 10 different questions. You have to rank how you are in ten different situations. Depending on what number one is which is what you’re most likely, you add up all the scores, then you find out if you’re primarily a D or I. Those sessions I go through, what does that mean? What does a D mean? I take a little longer than what I just did. We then plot everyone on a chart so we can see where they fall into place, and we look at where everyone is in the group. If I do it for a group where I don’t know who is going to be there, then we do a simpler version. If I know the group, then I can send them an online exam, which is a little more in-depth. The reporting that comes out gives specific examples to that person. Not only does it say that they are an I, but it also ranks how close to a D they are, how close to a S they are or how close to the center they are. It is a little bit more accurate. It’s delivered for the person. It also tells how you can work closely with the other types and which type you might have some difficulty working with, and it gives you tips and tools to do that. When we get in the session, we can plot everyone up and see where they are. It is a kind of a good visual for people to see. I explain what all the stuff means, what D means, what I means, etc. Then we do a day in the life. I get all the D’s together, all the I’s, all the S’s, all the C’s. They come up and they have to tell the group what a day in the life of a D looks like. It is not enough to just say D’s are straightforward, I’s are very talkative. But what does that look like. I could do it for a family, but I do it for people in the workplace. So what does it look like, what happens, what do you do? When we do that, we take 15-20 minutes in groups and then they report back out to the group and share, and people can ask them questions. It gives people really good insight on how they behave, how they want to behave, what makes them feel good, what type of situations are they okay with. We talk about people reading. I give them tips on how to quickly, without going through the whole session and finding out exactly who you are, you could quickly read what a person is. You are going into a meeting and you haven’t met them before and you don’t know their DISC style, but you could quickly ascertain their style so that you can quickly come up with an approach on how to work with them. The last piece is focusing on having them read their report and how they can best work with people with other styles. So I have them read that part of the report and have them think about 2 people who, typically, is harder for them to work with and then try to ascertain what might their style be. Then working in groups to talk about how to best work with those people. Then the last piece we do is a gallery walk. We have people, again, start in their buckets and talk about what their top two strengths are and what their top two over-extensions are. When they get in that stress mode what do they do? Everybody then goes to the next one. If they were at D, they go to I and they write what they think an I’s strengths over-extensions are. It is a real eye-opener and a good time for a team to have a conversation all around having better interactions with each other and understanding what the other styles are like and what that means. It is really fun and really opens people’s eyes up to how we can be better collaborators, better communicators. In the end, and I think that’s why I do it, I know you haven’t asked me this question. There are two things that got me excited about this. One of the things that got me excited about this, on the DISC facilitation there is another piece that incorporates Patrick Lencioni’s book Five Dysfunctions of a Team. So, not only does it talk about DISC, but we can walk through his book. We can talk about the pyramid thing that has to happen for a good team to work together. That is some of the things that sparked my interest. The other thing is collaboration. Everything we do today, we are collaborating. I don’t think anything, well I am sure there are some jobs that are completely soloed, but an overwhelming majority of us are collaborating. Even you and I, this radio show, that takes collaboration, making sure we are on the same page with what we are going to talk about and how we are going to do things. Collaboration doesn’t just mean working with a whole group with 5 or 10 people; it could be 1 on 1 interaction and collaboration. That is what this really helps with. I think if more teams focused on that and how they can work better together, then anything could be solved.
Jacqueline: This always peaks my interest because I am all about continuous process and improvement and looking at the whole aspect. It is not just about the process and the tools; you have to look at the people and take them through the different behaviors and personalities. Our show centers around technology, IT type projects and even when we talk about requirements, we talk about requirements as a team sport. I can’t speak about other industries, but I know how important the team is. We don’t have success in IT unless we have the team working together and collaborating. One of the experiences I had and I don’t know if you’ve had it working with facilitation, is there a trend where you see developers are of one type of behavior group and then PM’s come from another, and BA’s maybe from another because it is something about our personalities that maybe steer us in a particular direction. BA’s have to be detailed-oriented in a way. Do you ever see a general trend in that?
Kupe: Yeah I think with, my apologies to all the PM’s out there. But I think PM’s might be more in the D space. They’re that results-oriented group. I think there is such a wide variety of people especially in the world we play in, day in and day out. It might lean more to one way. Maybe it might be good for me to start compiling titles. I am going to see if I can look and maybe other people have this too that we can figure that out. I think there is some truth to that, that people on those positions tend to be more towards a certain space. You even look at the BA space, like I am an I because my behavior is more of that talkative, demonstrative, enthusiastic; there is a BA role for that on a team. Then there are also BA’s that are C’s, that are doing more of the documentation. A lot of C’s are also analytical and skeptical. Skeptical can be in a good way. BA’s need to challenge and say “hmm that doesn’t make sense to me. Let’s dig a little deeper into that”. I’d say BA’s span in the I, S, C. You don’t find too many BA’s on the D side. Even with developers, they span the group. There might some that lean a certain way, but it is not clearly in our space. I just led a group of Administrative professionals. Even though there was some kind of spread, most of the group was in the S category with the steadiness. One of the big thing in S is supportive. That is a very supportive role. I had 12 people. There were 8 in S, 2 in I, 1 in D and 1 in C. That was an area where it was clearly, I was not surprised. I figured it would mostly be S’s. I think there can be some professions or some roles that definitely lean that way, but that’s not always the case.
Jacqueline: Okay! That makes sense. Understandable. The other question is, do you sometimes find, I’ve heard this a lot of times as well, sometimes a manager will hire someone that aligns with their type of style. Like you said, you can end up with a team of one particular behavior styles and that can kind of skew. Do you need balance in any team that you have? What are the pros and cons of that?
Kupe: I think there are people that tend to want to be around people that are like them. There is no surprise that people in the I space want to be around people that are excitable, and want to talk about things. So when they deal with people on the C side, more serious, more skeptical, more challenging, more linear, they are thinking that could be frustrating and vice versa. I’s can get frustrated with C’s and C’s can get frustrated with I’s, too, because they’re like ‘oh my gosh can you stop talking so we can figure out what we are going to do here.’ There is a tendency to do that here, to hire people that you like to be around. What I try to tell people is that you don’t want that. You actually want a good balance. The balance is what creates success. If the I’s are talking and coming up with ideas and you don’t have a good D to reign people back in and focus, like, what are focusing we on, here, what are we going after. For me, I write but I need someone that is a C to go through it. At times I haven’t used a C and I’ve published some stuff, like blogs, and I missed stuff like grammar or spelling. I need someone on my team that enjoys that stuff, where that’s their behavior and that’s what they like to do. Having the balance, I think this is with mostly everything, you want to have a good balance on the team in order to be successful. People that are hiring people need to understand, well it is one piece of data, what type of behavior styles do we have on our team, are we lacking some or is it causing issues by not having some. With that being said, Wiley Publishing owns DISC, I have to when I do a session, I have an account I have to get people to sign up through so that they can take the exam. It is all done through Wiley. There is stuff that I have to sign and say on their stuff that you can use DISC as the sole source of hiring somebody. It is not intended to be a tool that will help you hire somebody. In the sense, back to your point Jacqueline, okay I am going to hire a BA and they need to be an I. So saying I am going to look for all the Is. It can be one of the pieces of data but not the sole source of use of hiring somebody.
Jacqueline: I noticed as I was pulling things together that there is a lot of conversation out there about social perspective, being careful about not using that as the sole source for hiring because you are still not weighing the capabilities in the field. I think maybe that’s soft skills, but you’ve got the soft skills and the hard skills and everything in between as well. People have to be balanced when hiring the right candidate. Interesting enough lot of organizations don’t use these types of tools and techniques. You find yourself hiring the person that’s interviewing the best. It is not until they are in the group that you find out their behavior type overtime and from observation. Often times you get a very mixed bag. It is kind of up to leadership to help them gel. One of the things you talked about during the facilitated session is being aware of yourself. Self awareness is important. Then it can kind of be a team building thing to expose them to see that everybody brings something to the table. It is just when and how you utilize them. I think that is so important for a good manager and good leader too is to try to find where people fit in, not just their skill sets but their behaviors too. It sounds very cool to me. Do you have an example of when you were in a workshop and you kind of saw that ahh ha or breakthrough or how in retrospect how a team really leveraged that type of exercise?
Kupe: It is pretty eye opening. The ones that I’ve done, people pretty quick are like now I know why that person is acting like that or doing that. It kind of takes the personal side out of it. What I mean by that is people act a certain way and they could assume or they are trying to push me and get me fired. It kind of takes that personal out. Once you realize that person is a D, that’s their behavior. They are not mean spirited. It is just how they act. It’s just what they do. Now knowing that, what can I do to interact with that person so they don’t get into that stress mode where they overextend. The Ds are easy to pick on, for lack of a better word, for this because they can be the ones who can hurt the most feelings because of that straightforwardness and directness. So knowing that as a D they are results oriented, they’re independent, they just want the information, don’t go off on tangents about what you did over the weekend. If you know that, when you go into a conversation with a person you can be prepared and just stick to the facts. Then everyone is real happy. They’re happy, hey thanks for getting to the point and staying focused on what we were trying to discuss. It’s not a personal attack. If I go into an office with a D and I want to have a longer conversation and be more touchy feely, it’s going to be frustrating for them. After while, they’re going to say Kupe just tell me what you came to tell me. Then that can come over and I can get defensive. Understanding that people get this ah ha moment like oh okay so it is not that they were being mean to me or they were acting a certain way and it’s not that they’re always on it, that’s just their mode of behavior and where they are most comfortable. Knowing that you can work with them better and give people what they want. I believe with interactions and communications and collaborations, I call it the platinum rule. The golden rule is do unto other as you’d do unto you, with communication, interactions and collaboration, you need to do unto others as they want done unto them. Just because I am talkative doesn’t mean every interaction I have with someone, it should be a talk fest. I need to know that this person is more of a D, more of a S, more a C, so let me adapt my style. That is really what this prompts being able to adapt your style to meet the needs of other people.
Jacqueline: I think this would even resonate with Business Analysis because we talk about stakeholder analysis and we talk about it in terms of analyzing our subject matter experts, the business vs the technical team. We could probably see the spread of the D, the I, the C and the S, but now kind of flipping it too to look inward at your team members, your project manager. We do some informal stakeholder analysis, but probably didn’t tie it to something formally like this. If you’ve got your team and trying to mature your team, I could see you formalizing and doing something like this so you can put some of those different, you get a lot closer to the behaviors. You said, if people kind of saw, even though people are different, if they saw it as a strength that person that’s being action oriented. I remember someone talking about how they would walk in a particular area, everyone in the cubicle would jump up and start chit chatting in conversation and they could do that all day long. Then they could walk into a totally different group and everyone was heads down, no one acknowledged them until they called out, “hey I got an announcement. I want to talk you guys for a second.” They may look up like okay what do you have to say. I am ready to get back to work. Give me the information and I’ll do my thing. Sometimes that person could take it one way but if you can see you got the people with their heads down, they’re trying to do their work done. What’s funny is the person who I was talking about this with was facilitating the real social group and it was like they never got anything done. They kept getting off topic so they needed someone to keep them on track. That was never going to get their work done. You have to kind of respect and have that person to keep you on track. That’s why you need PMs. We kind of joke about them but they have a role, they have a job. They are needed. I can’t imagine a project where you didn’t have some type of balance across the DiSC.
Kupe: You brought up stakeholder analysis, I am actually tomorrow teaching stakeholder engagement in Quinapeg. You know what it takes to update material. I didn’t have time to update the course but i am weaving in the conversation and we will probably update the course at some point to have this content in there. I am weaving in how will you communicate with the different people involved in the team. Being able to quickly read your sponsor, you developer, your QM, all your team members, your PM, all your subject matter experts that you’re going to deal with. You need to be able to read them and understand how you’re going to approach them. I think what people do at a high level, they put a high level persona. They think this is a manager so they’re going to want high level data, this person is the developer so they’re going to be more detail oriented and want more information. Well maybe, that could be a good starting point but you really have to go deeper than that and don’t just put people in buckets. Back to your point about, do professions or titles fall into one role. You can rely on that as your stand alone point. You have to go deeper with your stakeholder analysis to really understand the individuals on your team, not just my title.
Jacqueline: We’ve talked about using it, facilitating, and stakeholder analysis. Can you do a self analysis? Is there something online? Do they have to go through a facilitator? How do you even do your own if you want to know where you fall?
Kupe: You know that’s a good question. I don’t know if you can go through, so you know, I’ve hooked up with a team in Atlanta who are distributors. I haven’t looked online but you might be able to go through Wiley and do it yourself. Wiley has these distributors set up so I go and purchase x amount of exams when I am doing a workshop. Then I can send links out to those that I am dealing with. You can contact me and I can do it for you or help you get that. Or you might be able to go online. That’s a good questions. I just never looked into that.
Jacqueline: Okay! Well just give your contact information in case maybe there is someone that wants to do it for their team or find out more about how to arrange one of your facilitated sessions.
Kupe: You can contact me by phone 404.939. 5873 or email email@example.com You can find me on linked in. I think i am the only Kupe on there. Send me a message and we can get it started.
Jacqueline: Can people be too extreme in their one area? Most people sometimes are a blend or do people change over time? Does that ever come up?
Kupe: There are life events that could change your style. There are a couple of things. Let me answer the first part of that, can people be too extreme? Yes. You can be extreme in one area. Visually the way they do it is this circle with these four quadrants in the circle so where you land kind of determines how strong you are in one spot. If you are in the middle of the quadrant and up to the top of the circle then you are really strong. That is your major strength. If you are closer to the other, like i am in I but if I was closer to D or S then I have that secondary one. Also how close you are to the center. There are some people that are in I or in D but very close to the center. That shows that whatever their behavior style is not excessive, it is not that strong. Even though they’re a D, they still have a lot of tendencies. Over time you might change with the work you do or some life change, a death in the family could change your entire attitude and how you approach different things or something traumatic that happens in your life can change that behavior style. It is not like you are always in that behavior all the time. With DiSC it says what you are typically in but that doesn’t mean you can’t flip to another one. For example, for me I am I. The opposite of me is the conscientious , the C, the detailed oriented people. I don’t like that but I can dip into that role. If I know that we have no body and something is getting published on our website and nobody is looking at it, as the president, I either get somebody or I jump in and do it. It is not like you can’t go into other spheres. The same thing with results oriented and we are talking about ideas and we are generating good stuff, but at some point I know we have to get something done, I’ll slide over into the dominant spot and try to get some to a convergence with the group and try to come to a consciences or some by in on what our focus is going to be. People go in a out of their typical behavior style based on their environment. That is constantly happening. That is something we talk about in the session, when you dip in and out of your behavior style.
Jacqueline: I am going to deviate a little bit and be spontaneous here.
Kupe: That is part of being an I. if I had to read you, I’d say you’re an I. You have a lot of I in you. I might be wrong. Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, I try to read people and try to understand where they fall.
Jacqueline: I’ll be honest, sometimes i feel like I am really bad at taking these personality and behavior tests. I think first of all i second guess all of my answers. Sometimes when I am reading the question I go, sometimes I am and sometimes I am not. I psych myself out on these test. I think the other thing is I feel like I have two personalities because I have a personality when you let me do what I naturally want to do and there is probably the one because of job roles and responsibilities and accountability that I make sure I go above and beyond. In that respect it may come across that I am very steady and follow up. Sometimes you have some of these traits because of your job role and over time you’ve learn to compensate or you have your different techniques. Just recently, I am like you, I am probably the worst when we are trying to get ideas on a document. I am not always the conscientious one. I always need someone to help me proofread. I was just talking to someone and we were talking about a technique where read everything backwards so that you can catch things. You develop different technique in order to try to compensate because you have to balance yourself out. I can totally see that too. That was related to one of the things, if you did your own self assessment, is it important for you to try to adjust and incorporate some of these other types of behaviors especially if you find yourself on that spectrum where you are kind of strong in that area? What do you guys recommend as coaches?
Kupe: There is no right or wrong behavior style. It is not like D is better than I or C is worse than S. It is not like that at all. It is just the facts. It is reality. It is really just knowing who you are and what you lean towards most of the time. You were saying, sometimes I am more like this, sometimes I am more like that, the advice we give when filling it out is what is natural to you, what would you like to do, what is most important to you. I wish I had one of the previews then I would give you one of the questions that are asked to get a sense. Then you order them 1, 2, 3, 4 and the way they do it is they repeat a lot of stuff. Like a lot of these assessments it is repeating things in a different way or putting it with different things to try to put you with what you lean towards. It tries to eliminate some of the back and forth struggle of what people like you have when making a decision on a question. We also try to get them to think about and again because we are doing it work related like at work. I think i am a little different at home when it comes to DiSC at home because , to you point, at work you have to be a certain way because of your role and responsibility. So you may have a different behavior style at work than at home. In the end, whether you are at home or work, I think a lot of traits are still similar. The other piece to that is to coach to learn other styles. I don’t necessarily think to coach to learn other styles but to be aware that, back to the point I made earlier, so to be detailed oriented, in checking and proofreading documents is not my strength. But be aware that if the job or role requires that to be happening, do you have somebody to do it? If not, then suck it up and do it or make sure somebody is in that position. Even if there is a group of people just idea generating, if the outcome is for us to do something, somebody has to step into that role to get the focus back to the group or make sure you have somebody on your team that will do that for you at the time that is necessary. Let it be that one that naturally does that and enjoys it. At the same time those people who are more focus need to give those other people time. We can’t just go with one idea and run with it and say we did it, we got the job done. Yes but didn’t give enough time for us to focus on the right thing. Does that answer the question?
Jacqueline: Absolutely. It definitely does. It also relates to another question, in working with people that are small businesses, starting businesses or entrepreneurs, I think this is really important because you have to understand what your strengths are but if you have a team you have to balance behavior types and you all have to balance each other out. But sometimes the entrepreneur you’re kind of working in that vacuum. You might be missing, back to what we said, you might be stressed because you aren’t realizing that there are these other behaviors that are the opposite of what you naturally but you have to find ways to balance. That goes along with the thing that I don’t enjoy doing, I force myself to do that think first. Go ahead and get it out the way because otherwise the reverse is i will always do that area that I am most comfortable in, that comes naturally to me. Focus on, if I need the proofread something, I do it early in the morning, right after I have had my coffee, that’s when I have the most focus. Then I can go ahead and do the things that I like to play and do throughout the day because I will find the energy for that.
Kupe: There was a book I read one time, I am drawing a blank on the name right now. He talked about and I think he called it the grandma method or something, he talked about thinking about with kids, if you want dessert you have to eat your vegetables. First do the thing that you don’t like and you will always find room for the dessert, no matter how full you are. You have to do the same thing for work. Your approach is what he was promoting; do the stuff that you don’t like first while you have the energy. The stuff you love to do save it for later because you will always have time for that.
Jacqueline: I didn’t forget. I told you I was going to be spontaneous. I did a little bit of research and I saw where they show the D, the I, the S, the C, and they matched up some of the celebrities that are well known and I just wanted to kind of throw these by you and see if you thought they would fall by there from what we know of them or how they fall into that. This will also help people kind of visualize and relate to what they are talking about. I am going to throw the name out there and see what comments you might have on them. Under the D for dominant they had other words like dominant, determined, demanding, driving doers and they had none other than Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Michael Jordan and Barbara Walters. Is that who you would have thought of in those areas?
Kupe: Yeah other people would be like Jack Welch. Those type of CEO, you know Jack Welch was the GE CEO. Jack Welch was results focused. He had his employees put into buckets and the bottom ten got fired and all that. It was all about getting to the results. Same thing with Donald Trump. You know I don’t know Barbara Walters as much, off the air, or her behavior style. With Michael Jordan he was all results focused. Now you hear stories about him that he wa just a pain in the butt to work with. If somebody was screwing up, he probably said you’re screwing up get better. He probably wouldn’t be that influencer to try to make that happen or a collaborator to try to make that happen. Donald Trump says enough for himself so we don’t have to go into that right now.
Jacqueline: So here is my I. There are successful people in all of these categories so it just goes to show that not one is better than the other. I is for influencing, impressing, inspiring, initiators. We have Oprah Winfrey, we have Dolly Parton, we have Jay Leno and we have Drew Carey.
Kupe: And if you want to throw in Trump, I’ll put him in the politician category now. A politician like Bill Clinton would also fall into the I category. All of those people are very engaging. They bring you in, they’re inspiring, influential. You like them, you want to be around them. All those people that you named I can’t argue with any of that. Most of those talk show host are like that. Maybe not Rush Lilenbaum or the offsides of whatever issue it is. Those argumentative type host aren’t very warm and engaging type of people.
Jacqueline: The C they down cautious, competent, creative, curious, and coordinators for the C. They have Condoleezza Rice, Bill Gates actually, and they have Albert Einstein.
Kupe: Yeah obviously Albert Einstein would be about the data and the facts and very detailed oriented, the scientist and engineer. A lot of those people kind of fit into there because they are looking for the data, they’re focused on quality, as a scientist doing testing and making sure they’re doing it right and validating the data. They’re also about high standards. As far as Condoleezza Rice, I haven’t heard otherwise as far as I know, is very upstanding, high standing type person, high valued kind of person. They all make sense. I just want to reiterate if people didn’t pick up on your comment before, I just want to reiterate, they are all successful people in their own right. Whether you like them personally or not, it doesn’t matter, they’re all successful. That is why is all goes back to with these profiles, one is not better than the other. There is no guarantee that all Is will be successful and all Cs won’t. That has nothing to do with it. So you should be comfortable with where you are. Sometimes people get all “oh man i didn’t think I was a C” and it’s okay. It doesn’t determine your future. Whether you are going to be a failed employee or not. It has nothing to do with that.
Jacqueline: Exactly. And that is why I made that point too because some people will tend to think that you should be working towards one particular letter or your letter is not as good as the other. That is where I think the team to really respect and it goes back to something I always talk about diversity. You have to respect the diversity in that each one of them is need in what we call a well performing team. Instead of knocking or it being kind of derogatory that you are a D or C, that’s a strength. So how do we as a team leverage that and help them perform in a space that is comfortable and that they enjoy.
Kupe: That is exactly it. That is a good point about the teams that you’re on. One respect the diversity but be on a team that will allow you to be in that space more often than not. I think that sometimes people get in positions on their teams and this is something good for managers to think about too to incorporate. I was talking about this last night how managers got put into roles, we were talking training in general, managers get put into positions without being trained. That causes problems. Don’t just assume that because somebody is a good communicator, they’re good collaborators, they still might not be good managers. You still need to help them along with that. What good managers need to do is look at their team and make sure their team make up that they have the right people and the right mix of these behavioral styles so that the team can function properly.
Jacqueline: Exactly. I have one more letter in fairness just to round this out. The last one is S. How they describe it is supportive, sensitive, steady, stable, servant. Who we had there was Jimmy Carter, Laura Bush, Jimmy Stewart and we have Michelle Obama.
Kupe: Yeah they’re those loyalist, supportive, you used a lot of good words. Something I saw awhile back had one of my, I am losing his name, Berkshire Hathaway. The big investor. Do you know who I am talking about? He is out of Omaha. He is the biggest investor in the world. Warren Buffett! He also falls into that category too. He is a S; the traditionalist, the loyalist, stable, organized, patient, good listener, enjoys collaborating. This is the guy with billions of investments and he is that supportive person. Back to what we were saying, you can be successful in any of these in however you define success.
Jacqueline: From time to time, organizations come to you, is it usually that they’re in trouble or is it that they’re trying to get their team more well performing? What are some of the environments that you’ve been brought in and what were they looking to get out of an assessment?
Kupe: It is all about, whether it’s an open session, where individuals are trying to understand how can they interact better with people they deal with day in and day out or teams or groups realizing this could really help us collaborate better. The organizations that recognize that collaboration is key. I think too often, especially with the agile teams, frustrations, struggles come about because teams get formed and it sounds great on the surface. Oh yeah let’s work together, let’s collaborate. You’ve probably seen this a ton too where people aren’t getting along and now they’re being forced into this model where they have talk more often. Then it becomes a conflicts and it is like oh we are suppose to be agile, we’re supposed to be having these conversations but I really can’t talk to this person or I struggle working with this person all the time. People have these internal, external, conflicts. I think just putting a team together and saying go for it and be a self managing team is a little short sided. I mean you can get there but this is one way using the DiSC profile assessment to help the teams realize how everybody likes to act and their behavior style and what’s the best way to interact with them then you really take it to the next level. Then you can really take advantage of the great stuff that is related to the agile approaches.
Jacqueline: We have already kind of tied it back to the business analyst role. You can kind f use this knowledge even diving into and going a little further and understanding the different behavior styles you can use it when you’re doing stakeholder analysis, you can use it when you’re doing facilitated sessions. So much of what we do is dealing with people’s personalities and different personality types, and so trying to find their motivation and even how you’re communicating with and even some assumptions you are making about them. It could even really destress something. Even what you said, you think some people may be acting out in a certain but really it is what feels natural and comfortable to them. It’s not anything towards you, it is their style. I could really see diving into this a little more and understanding it, it would help people.
Kupe: Earlier in my career, I worked with, now I know she is really in the dominant space. I was a younger BA and I’m in the I so I come into a meeting and I start having small talk with the stakeholder, I think was talking about baseball. She said don’t talk to me about baseball, let’s get to work. I was like oh my gosh what a pain in the butt. I probably used other language, but i am thinking what’s her freaking deal. Chill out. If I had this knowledge about DiSC at the time then it would probably be okay. Now this person is a really good friend of mine. Learning that that’s her style, it could probably come off as rude. That is why I think the Ds are probably the ones that have to watch out the most. Even the Is when we upset people, they almost feel bad saying something to us because we are too talkative. Who are the people you talked about, Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno, Dolly Parton. How can you not love Dolly Parton? People look at Ds when they are in their overextension as if they are just rude people. It is so easy to see that and feel that. You were talking about facilitation. When you go into a facilitated meeting and you know who is going to be in that meeting, two things go on, you have to think, I have a bunch of Is and a bunch of Ds in the room, is that the best approach here? Or how do I make sure everybody is good? How do I make sure the Is feel like their voices have been heard and they were able to talk through things and make the Ds feel good that we are getting to results and that we are staying focused. What people focus on is how do I do this in a facilitated session. Yes that’s good but if you go out and do that technique without knowing who those people are in the room, is that technique going to work with them? It is not like every technique is good for every type of person. Maybe Ds are the people that you have one on one interviews because they’re going to want to take ten minutes because that is all you really need to get the information and then go to the next person. The Is or the Ss they want to be in a group. Don’t come to me to talk to me individually. Get me in a group. I want to be around people and hear their ideas too because that might formulate new things for me. It is thinking through not just the techniques you can use to elicit information but using the right technique based on those styles or going in how do you have to set this up to make everybody comfortable. If there is a brainstorming activity and you don’t set it up right with some of the Ds, then you are going to see their temperature rising and smoke coming out of their ears. They’re going to be wondering when are we going to get to the results, when are we going to get to the focus area. You have to set it up for them and give them the time blocks of the meeting. Then they’ll say okay in 15 mins we are going to get to what I want to talk about. So it is not just about the technique, it’s about understanding these behavior styles so you make people feel good and want to be a part and want to be engaged in the initiative that you are working on.
Jacqueline: There other reality is sometimes you don’t get to read the room until you walk in. That is where you have to have your toolbox and change up on the fly. We are facilitating everytime we walk into a classroom. We are facilitating that learning experience. That monday morning is our first time meeting those people. This is great from a learning perspective so you know what you’re seeing manifesting in front of you when the people start checking out or getting impatient. Sometimes I notice when we do an exercise, some people are rushing through it and get trying to get to the end. There are others who are trying taking their time really trying to soak it in. Now I am going to go back and see that is really an I.
Kupe: yeah our instructor told us we have to get this done, so what’s the fastest way that we can get it done. Not that they might not be learning as much. Then you have the Is that want to collaborate and the Ss want to collaborate. It is very different. When i did the session two weeks ago so many people walking out of there thought the portion on people reading was worth it’s wait and goal because that is what it helps you do. Again not that you’re going to nail it 100%. There was a girl, when everyone came in I tried to read them, everyone I had close, but this one I was way off. It is not always perfect, the people reading thing, but you are going to get close without having everyone in the organization go through the whole diSC assessment. If you can quickly read somebody, it helps. Especially in situations you are in. You are going into other organizations. You can’t say hey everyone fill out this DiSC assessment before I get there. You have to just jump in and quickly assess those people.
Jacqueline: It is very intriguing. I definitely want to read and learn more about it. To our audience, we are talking about DiSC assessment so you can learn more about people on your team and learning how to work, appreciate and even hone your own behaviors so you can optimize. I think everything that we have said, i think it is the balance that makes it work. I think this is such a great topic too because like your family, you don’t get to pick your family. Well you don’t always get to pick your teammates either. You are put in the mix and as managers/leaders i think that is important to helping form a team. The beautiful part of agile stressing the team. I think this can help the team. It gives it some more information instead of just going off your gut. Not everyone by instinct understands different people’s behaviors or motivations. This would be a great team builder for an agile team or even one of your retrospects, doing something like this.
Kupe: You mentioned, you don’t always get to pick your family, you don’t get to pick your team. I think for those, you mentioned entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, with people in that position, that is where you can pick your team, if you know where your strengths are then you can use this not just because it was assigned to you but use it to pick that team and get the right people around you. It might not be full time basis but part time that can help you meet the goals that you are after.
Jacqueline: I want to circle back to one other thing. For those of you out there that are doing a little multitasking and tweeting, I’ve tweeted and shared some of those different pictures we were talking about as well as different information about DiSC. Respond back to us. We will be on twitter after the show. I know Kupe has to move on. He has a full day. But talk with me on twitter. Let’s talk more about DiSC and other things you like to talk about. We will be back in two weeks and continue our conversation of Ask an Analyst in order to help you in this space of business analyst and project management. At the end of the day, it is about project success. What we have been talking about today is building a successful team that is going to put out a successful project. All of it goes hand and hand. One thing I want to circle back to and this might be the foundation to another episode. You talked about dysfunctional teams. I’ve heard that and use that. The 5 dysfunctions of a team and I believe it was Patrick Lencioni, that is so important too. It is so easy to fall into the blame game and finger pointing. I think stepping back and understanding and seeing when there are these different tracks and landmines they step into on their project, I’d said as a team not turning against each other, but more understanding, appreciating. Like you said earlier, with these different behavior types when you get stressed, you are going to see certain things how they react to their stress. If you can see that coming that in of itself is cause and effect of a dysfunctional team. It is really good stuff and understanding and appreciating each other and supporting. How did you say it, supporting people the way they want to be supported.
Kupe: You have to interact with them the way they want to be interacted with, not the way you want to. For me, I have to know the other behavior styles and if I can read those people to the D people, unless they bring it up, I am not going to start a conversation about baseball. That is not what they want to do. Let’s talk about the topics we want to talk about and move on. One of the things Lencioni talks about with dysfunctions is the first layer for a functional team is that the team has trusting relationships. What he means about that is it is not the type of trust where I say jacqueline we have a task and I ask can you get this back to me by tomorrow and you say yes and I trust that you’re going to get it back to me. That’s not the trust he’s talking about. He is talking about the trust that no matter what i do and what I say, we’re talking and I say something that throws you off or that you don’t agree with, you judge me for that. It is making sure I feel comfortable. No matter what I say or do that you’re going to be there for me and we’re still going to work together and we are still going to have a good relationship. To have that trust and knowing everyone’s behavior style and knowing that everybody is going at this with positive intentions, that they’re not acting in a way that is against you, that it is just their typical behavior style, then you can trust people better. Then you can get the second, third, fourth and fifth level of a functional team. By understand the DiSC behaviors and styles, then you can be a more trustworthy person on the team.
Jacqueline: Well we have taken our 90 minutes for this time.
Kupe: When we first started, I thought there was no way we are going to take up 90 minutes. But like most things I am passionate about, I could easily take up another 90 minutes. I am glad you brought this up. I think it is so important for teams and individuals especially for the spaces we talk to often.
Jacqueline: I was genuinely curious about this topic. I think people have generally heard about a personality test, but this may give them a new insight on how they can utilize it, apply it and how it can make projects and teams and people that find themselves in that dysfunctional space, kind of pulling themselves back. I really wanted the audience to give it a second glance. Even it you have done it in the past, make it work for you. I think there is a lot of value , so much of the business analyst space deals with different personality type and behaviors. This is something to add to your tool kit in in order to make it work better. I enjoyed the topic a lot and I hope our audience as always enjoyed it too. Please give us feedback. We will go where you want us to go.