D is for…

By Rowena Horne 

Recently we had one of our monthly Lunch and Learn sessions. This one was dedicated to getting to know ourselves better…focussing on what makes each of us tick.

There are tons of existing psychology tools out there …you can have your personality expressed in  letter codes, wear different coloured hats and be plotted on matrixes…but what we chose to focus on were DISC profiles.

Prior to our Lunch and Learn everyone completed online surveys to find out their personal DISC percentages, so that the group session could focus on the best way to engage with people from contrasting styles.

Naturally completing these questionnaires prompted much introspection, loud debate and a bit of discomfort ‘but I am both calm AND friendly, I have to choose?’

Some parts rang true, while others seemed less applicable. In short, every system has strengths and weaknesses, take the bits that resonate and don’t worry too much about the rest. Really these tools are a good way to get information on your radar, remind you of what you already know and may help you connect better with others.

So if I told you that as a group the Bunch team were three times as talkative (I) as the average population and about half as stable (S) would you run for the hills?

Early on one of our Client Strategy team members (who is a high I himself) exclaimed ‘Oh no, I just came from a meeting with a high D and I sent back a chatty “thanks for meeting, love to work with you” style email, when I bet he just wanted to decisively get started on next steps….’ We then knew the session would prove useful on many levels.

DISC profiles offer insights into people’s default style of operating and also offer a way to ‘de-code’ their behavior. They could be considered a structured way for those who (hypothetically) speak Swedish to communicate more easily with those who speak Swahili (or basically a system to help two groups with differing drivers to find common ground). Before tearing your hair out because you JUST CAN’T understand where someone is coming from maybe see if a DISC analysis could help!

We worked through various exercises to help broadly identify someone else’s dominant trait (exercise 1 below) and secondly how your own style works best alongside someone with that DISC profile (exercise 2 below).

Exercise 1 – WHICH STYLE are they?

WHICH STYLE slips on a banana peel, gasps, then looks around “Phew, no one’s looking; no harm done”?

WHICH STYLE slips on a banana peel and yells “Ow! Stupid banana peel!” as they continue on their way?

WHICH STYLE slips on a banana peel, then picks it up, analyses it and then looks for the closest rubbish bin so it doesn’t happen again?

WHICH STYLE slips on a banana peel, turns to a passer-by and exclaims “I can’t believe I just did that! Did you see that?”

Exercise 2 – Dealing with conflict

This was all designed to ensure we get the best out of (and give to) our colleagues and our clients. We now have helpful little postcards above each of our desks, showing our DISC profile percentages and ‘things to keep in mind’ when working with each other, to ensure we don’t forget the lessons.

If you know our team well, do you think you can use the charts above to identify which style each Bunch team member naturally gravitates to? Do you think DISC profiles and other similar tools are all a big waste of time? Either way we’d love to hear from you!