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Manage Difficult People Challenges with DISCerning Communication

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How To Use DISCerning Communication To Deal With Difficult People Challenges

Here is a different strategy for relating to difficult people.

Firstly, appreciate that many difficult situation challenges are really DISCerning Communication issues. The difficulties are largely a clash of behavioural styles.

When we recognize that difficulties are a conflict of behavioural preferences we are able to apply proven strategies to resolve them. However, if we tie the difficult situation challenges to the individual then it is more challenging to find answers.

A Map of Behavioural Preferences  

Dominance, Inducement, Steadiness and Conscientiousness (DISC)

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To get a better sense of how behavioural styles confuse communication we take a few examples from Dominant Style traits.

Others interpret “Direct” as blunt, undiplomatic and insensitive

“Decisive” gets translated as rash and reluctant to conduct proper analysis

“Independent” is viewed as being selfish and not a team player.

What happens when we use DISCerning Communication?

Let Don represent Dominance and Susan represent Steadiness and examine their perspective on “Direct”.

Johnny (colleague) has a problem with body odour. Don’s approach is to place his arm around Johnny’s shoulder and speak directly to the BO challenge advising that this brand of deodorant could solve the problem.

Susan reflects for a long time on how to get the message across to Johnny without hurting his feelings. Finally, she devices some subtle approach to give Johnny a hint.

Susan thinks Don’s approach is insensitive. It will hurt Johnny’s feeling.

Don thinks Susan’s approach takes forever while she devises her diplomacy. In the end, Johnny might even miss the message.

This brings their communication to a difference of approach rather than a personal issue.

We can disagree but it is on the grounds of approach not annoying personal flaws. We open our minds to the possibility that there may be an alternative point of view. There is a tendency to be less emotional in those circumstances.

Let us review an Inducement-Style case

Team members who have a preference for the I-style are often simultaneously the source of great pleasure and immense frustration.

Reliability is the major issue for others.  “But you said you would……” is a recurring phrase.

Here is a radically different perspective that might save you from pulling out more hair.

Our DISCerning Communication skills inform us that a feature of the I-Style is the desire to please. They seek success with and through people.

Given the need to please others, there is a tendency to say “Yes” readily.

There is also their need for interaction.

Let’s use Ivan as an example. You ask him to do you a favour and he says “Sure.” What are Ivan’s realities?

He has a full time job, is President of his Citizens Association, Vice President with responsibilities for Member Issues at his Service Club, enrolled in evening classes…….. Honestly, where would Ivan find the time to carry out your favour?

The bottom line is that people using the I-Style have a tendency to over-commit.  Their desire to please and to connect makes them want to serve. We poke fun at Ivan by noting that when he says “Consider it done”, he instantly considers it as having been done.

How does DISCerning Communication help?

  1. Take care to have Ivan clarify if his response is Yes (meaning I would like to help) or a genuine commitment to completing your task.
  2. Discuss implementation so that the issue is moved from the surface.
  3. Establish deadlines.
  4. Put reminders in place.
  5. Monitor progress.

DISCerning Communication makes a difference.

 

These principles are also incorporated in our 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People program.

SHRMThe program is accredited by SHRM and offers 16 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications. It involves over 16 facilitator-led, interactive hours of coaching plus 12 months of access to Online Courseware, e-Mail Consultation, Webinars and an exclusive Facebook Community.

Learn more at info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy.

 

 

How To Be More DISCerning With Others

 

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My 2+ granddaughter makes it clear when I can sing along and when I am to be silent. I discern that compliance is required.

Discernment enhances inter-personal relations and effective leadership. This is wrapped up in an approach that I call DISCerning Communication.

The concept incorporates behavioural preferences.  Questions about the value and validity of classifying behavioural styles have been raised.

Reference to an analogy of clothing preferences puts the issue into correct perspective. In reality, behavioural preferences are directly equivalent to our taste in clothes. We can put on or take off shades at will. At the same time, our library of photos will reveal a shade preference.

I have a preference for wearing blue. However, a pitfall would be to label me as a blue-shirt man. I am not wed to blue and wear other colours.

It is beneficial for the clothing store owner to know that there are people who have a preference for blue so as stock accessories and variations to satisfy them. However, it would be an error to confine their dealings with me to only items of blue. I might be seeking to diversify my wardrobe or could be encouraged to try on something new.

The fundamental principle is the need to separate the behaviour from the person.

The store owner should handle demonstrated blue shirt preference by showing things that go along with blue shirts. However, she should treat theindividual with an open mind, not knowing what they might want this time. Once the customer indicates a preference then the owner should roll out the things that are best suited to that style.

This approach dramatically improves the capacity of the store owner to satisfy customers. She identifies the cross-section of preferences that she will serve and works out how to best serve the needs of each preference. She does not need to be concerned that customers might have complex tastes. She focuses on learning to discern when a preference that she has classified is displayed and roll out her tested strategy for satisfying the identified needs.

Now, it could be that in a single encounter, the customer displays different – even conflicting – preferences. That is fine. Be clear about which preference is being addressed at any point in time and present the solution that meets those needs. Then move to the next.

The challenge we have created with behavioural classifications comes from the need to affix labels on others. The store staff says here comes blue-preference Trevor and shuts down every other expectation of my behaviour. Then when I am drawn to the flaming red turtleneck there is shock and their faith in the classification concept is dented. Focus on behaviours not on individuals!

Properly defined the behavioural classifications are consistent. People are not. Learn to identify behaviours and how best to respond to or manage them and life’s journey is a lot easier to navigate.

Step 1: Master the descriptors of the classification framework such that you can distinguish among behaviours (not people!).

Step 2: Learn how to get best results in relating to each category in the framework.

Step 3: Discern when each category is being displayed and apply the ideal strategy from Step 2.

That is the real value of behavioural classifications – facilitating inter-personal relationships. Stapling types as labels on the foreheads of others is misuse.

Avoid relying on “He is X”; “You are Y”; “I am Z” use of classifications!

Inserting the word using  makes all the difference in the world. “He is using X” alerts me to use X appropriate responses. I am also open to the possibility that he could shift to using Z at any time and I am flexible to apply suitable Z strategies.

However, the question remains: Is the store owner who invests in having customers fill out a questionnaire that highlights their preferences wasting time and money?

Not at all and here is why.

The store owner soon realizes that the range of preferences could be reduced to a manageable number of classifications. For simplicity here, she realizes that at its core her customers have a prevailing preference for variations of red, yellow, green, blue.

She uses that understanding to learn everything about relating to the nuances of each category (colour) and meeting their needs. She figures that showing blue might attract my interest but the minute I signal I am into red today, she rolls out her red sales plan.

The beauty of behaviour-based discernment is that the owner has the flexibility to deal effectively with both old and new customers. She discerns what’s going on with each customer in this moment and acts accordingly. DISCerning Communication works!

Next time, we discuss the value of  behavioural classification frameworks in leading others.

 

Ask about the SHRM-accredited 3-D Leader Certification: Dealing with Difficult People. Earn SHRM Professional Development Credits.

The next cohort of the ICF/SHRM accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award is January 2016.

E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

How To Deal With Cliques

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How To Deal With Cliques: A Mathematical Formula For Great Teamwork III

We are using the BOMDAS formula to strengthen teamwork.

BOMDAS is an acronym for Brackets| Of | Multiplication | Division |Addition | Subtraction

Under Brackets we established that Belonging is essential if the team is to achieve high levels of success – in our homes, in our workplaces, and in any group. We placed responsibility for achieving bonding and cohesiveness on the shoulders of the Team Leader.

While the brackets signify inclusion, they also indicate that some things should be kept separate. Including what should be excluded produces the wrong result!

Leaders must exclude anything that negatively impacts their teams.

Culprit #1: Cliques or Informal sub-groups

Among the greatest challenges to the smooth running of a group is the presence of a clique. The clique is a small set within the group that looks to a source other than the official leader for leadership. Cliques have the tendency to undermine the influence of the team leader — deliberately or as a by-product of their agenda.

What can a team leader do to limit the influence of cliques?

The first thing to note is that a clique should not be ignored as it could present a major challenge if allowed to grow in influence.

Note also that threats, ostracism, imposing muzzling rules and any method that relies on coercion will not produce sustained positive results. At best they drive the clique underground and set the stage for guerrilla warfare.

A clique exists because there is the perception of unmet needs – voices not being heard; unhappy with treatment or an aspiration for a greater share of power etc.

A leader’s effectiveness is enhanced by their capacity to uncover unfulfilled needs and then address them to the satisfaction or acceptance of the affected parties.

Here are some steps in your plan to address the challenge of a clique within your group:

Step 1: Review the issue of shared vision, goals and objectives.

  • Use information gathering techniques – surveys, focus groups, informal discussions – to glean information on the aspirations of team members.
  • Work to identify key areas of alignment of team member objectives with formal team objectives.
  • Carefully isolate factors that are not aligned and have the potential to be disruptive or distracting.

You should recognize that the quality of the information received from this exercise is directly related to the environment that has been created. Where there is low trust and a sense that leadership is not committed to the empowerment of team members, people are likely to suppress their true feelings. No matter who is responsible, as leader you must sell “I am different. This initiative is different”.

Step 2: Camp out on identified shared objectives

Place laser-focus on things held in common.

Effective leaders latch on to 2 – 3 shared objectives. They then package and sell them such that they are seen as the glue that holds the team together. If the objective is to win the Gold Medal in the relay then get the stars to run their assigned leg without fuss.

Leaders in every sphere must meet the challenge of identifying goals and objectives that can serve as the glue that holds the group together. When teams are guided into uniting around shared purpose their capacity for high performance is unlimited.

But it is not all milk and honey.

One particularly difficult clique arises when someone believes that they are better equipped to lead the group or for some reason refuses to embrace the leadership of the official leader. Ostracizing that individual and their supporters does not provide a sustained solution. Finding a mutually acceptable role for the individual in the process is a more viable solution. Reconcile rather than exile!

Leadership requires a transformed mind-set.

Our upcoming SHRM accredited “3-D Leader Certification” addresses dimensions not covered in traditional leadership training.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

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Home of the ICF-accredited “Certified Behavioral Coach Award”.

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Joint venture partner Extended DISC/FinxS Caribbean.

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Website: http://swpacademy.com

How To Use A Math Formula To Improve Teamwork

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At school I learned the life-saving BOMDAS formula without which solving Algebra problems would be impossible.

The order of operation should be:

Brackets | Of  | Multiplication  | Division  | Addition |  Subtraction

Here is an example:

Solve: 7 + (6 + 3) x 5 – 4 ÷ 2

Step 1 [Brackets]:  7+ 9 x 5 – 4 ÷ 2

Step 2 [Multiplication & Division]: 7 + 45 – 2

Step 3 [Addition]: 52 – 2

Step 4 [Subtraction]: 50

Answer = 50

I want to explore with you its application in the realm of teamwork and healthy relationships. Applying the BOMDAS rules creatively could help address some of the challenges that produce a lack of cooperation in groups at a time when effective teamwork is critical for success.

Brackets

The brackets represent both inclusion and exclusion. It indicates that the things within the brackets have something in common that sets them apart from things outside. It also dictates that the things within the brackets should be given similar treatment.

Let’s now take the leap from the abstract to the real live challenge of working cohesively with others.

The first concept is “Belonging”.

One common problem in dysfunctional teams is the failure of members to identify with the team. They don’t see themselves as being part of the whole that is bonded by common objectives and shared goals.

The brackets say – there is a bond that ties us together. The on the ground reality is that many speak of their teams in terms of they instead of we.

Other tell-tale signs that the brackets are meaningless include the fact that team successes are not celebrated as personal successes. It is like a disgruntled player coming home to report that they won the match. After investigation you realize that it is actually his team that won. From the bench he does not see himself as belonging in the team and so he refers to his team as they.

Today’s crisis of low employee engagement has some of its roots in the fact that some team members feel like bystanders rather than being actively engaged in the field of play.

Do a bit of investigative work over the next days and listen carefully to the dialogue of colleagues – your team and other groups. See how often you can detect pride in the accomplishments of the group to which the individual belongs.

In cohesive and functional teams the pride comes from just being a part of the team. Members champion the cause of the team as a whole and each member individually. Team member Jenny’s graduation is ours. In a real sense it might be because we helped so much with her research projects and proof reading her submissions!

That is the spirit that fuels high performing teams and tightly connected groups.

Meanwhile, back in dysfunctional land, Desmond has been like a zombie since he was passed over for the Team Leader role. He might not openly tear down what Martha puts forward but his lack of interest cannot be missed. It is also noticeable that people who were close to Desmond and who felt that he should have got the promotion are also not engaged.  The separation is not only mental as they have now started to eat as a clique in a corner of the lunch room.

This team is on a downward spiral and the impact will soon be evident in their key performance indicators (KPIs).

Unfortunately, it is Martha’s responsibility as Team Leader to solve the problem. She may not have appointed herself but now it is her job to get the best from her team.

She needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with Desmond. She can share that she has observed that he is not the dynamic, vibrant person of three months ago and she would like to discuss the change. She needs to steer clear of even a hint of accusation with respect to his lack of support.

One strategy that might work well for Martha is for her to find some solution – a role, maybe – that helps Desmond to save face and feel better about himself. Could she identify a discrete part of her responsibility and invite him to take charge of it without weakening her authority?

That could produce the benefits of getting Desmond engaged once more while giving her the opportunity to focus on other areas. Of course, if Desmond messes up that would provide grounds for another conversation.

Leading teams is a challenging endeavor that requires a cross-section of well-developed competences. Formal ongoing professional development is essential.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

Home of the ICF accredited “Certified Behavioural Coach Award.”

Joint venture partner Extended DISC/FinxS Caribbean …world leading behavioral assessment solutions.

 

 

 

A Revolution in Behavioral Assessments

The Extended DISC platform of behavioral solutions has been transformed and is ready to alter how organizations address assessments in the future.

This is truly revolutionary.

It is a blank canvas on which to paint virtually anything your mind can conceive.

Below is a sneak peek of a sample comparative analysis for multiple persons applying for a Client Services position.

CSR Role Fit (Extract)

This Sample Report Extract shows the direct comparison of the results of multiple parties with respect to a battery of situation-specific behavioural competencies.

This will give you a sense of what you will be able to do with the platform. This is the type of situation/target specific report that can be produced in short order. The limits are defined by our joint creativity.

This then opens up huge possibilities for use in recruitment and coaching for performance improvement. You can customize the competencies and factors to be used in the evaluation and present the results for all candidates one below the other in the same report. Alternatively, you can produce individual reports.

There is an increasingly large library of behavioral competencies to choose from when creating your reports.

At the same time, it is our work with the development of high performance teams that evokes the highest level of acclamation from Extended DISC clients across the globe.

The Team Maps provide instant insights into the orientation of the team (and entire organization) to current and future demands. They are also invaluable in guiding decisions with respect to the roles that team members are best suited to play.

For more information contact: trevor.smith@swpacademy.com

How Psychometric Testing Aids Recruitment

Psychometric Testing In Aid Of Recruitment

A simple case study

Let us assume that you want to hire a general purpose handy-man. You want someone who can use a paint brush, a trowel, a screwdriver and a chisel. As you screen applicants your choice will be influenced by the level of dexterity of the candidate with the tool that is most important to the completion of your job. If painting is your top priority then the guy who is most handy with the paint brush would get the nod – other things being equal.

Similar thinking is applied to any job selection process. The person you choose to serve as a sergeant major for the war in Afghanistan is not likely to fit the role of being the guidance counsellor at a high school for girls.

Why psychometric testing?

Each job requires the use of certain behavioural tools to achieve best results. Like handy-men, while we may use a variety of behavioural tools, we tend to be more comfortable using some than others. Some behaviours take more energy from us. We can perform them but they wear us out more quickly than behaviours with which we are more comfortable.

Hence the role of psychometric testing. It assists us in aligning jobs with individuals who are more comfortable using the behavioural tools that are important to the successful completion of the related tasks. The goal is not to use psychometric testing as the sole criterion for selection. However, it provides some insight into areas in which applicants will need more or less energy to get given tasks done.

One of the great benefits of psychometric assessment is the fact that it provides employers with a guide as to how to get best results from new hires. It can take months by trial and error until a new hire finally settles in and performs at their best. A sophisticated behavioural profile equips employers and new hires with the information to enhance performance from the first day at work.

Grounds for resistance to psychometric testing

However, there is a school of thought that suggests that psychometric testing should not be used in the recruitment process because of a concern that employees are more likely to lie at that time than at any other period of their association with the organization. The concern then is that the psychometric assessments might influence the organization to make decisions on the basis of faked results.

It should be noted that the research does not claim that most applicants will lie during the recruitment process. It only suggests that if one is going to be dishonest, it is most likely to happen during the recruitment process. If a high percentage of your organization’s applicants feel disposed to lie then avoiding the use of psychometric tests is hardly the answer to a much bigger problem.

Also, we should consider the logical extension that applicants who are given to cheating on their psychometric tests are also likely to lie in the interview and maybe even with their documentation. However, organizations still interview and opt to ramp up their interviewing skills.

The great news is that there are assessment instruments that structure their questionnaires in such a way as to make cheating risky and very difficult to pay off. These more sophisticated tools also produce reports that reveal two profiles of the individual. One profile reflects the image the individual thinks s/he ought to portray. The other profile is the individual’s natural (or hidden) profile. This kind of assessment has a high degree of correlation with the behaviours that are exhibited post-employment.

Why psychometric testing still adds value

There is another important consideration.

Best practice in performance coaching advises individuals to adopt certain “roles” that are best suited to achieving desired results in given situations. “Act as if…” becomes the key philosophy. No successful coach advises individuals to “always be yourself” in the work environment. That would be a prescription for chaos.

Role playing is a key to successful performance on the job! Organizations expend much effort in getting team members to play appropriate roles when at work.

What does this mean?

Organizations that use psychometric testing as an aid in the recruitment process will either be selecting individuals who genuinely display the behavioural preferences that are desired or who have been able to fake them.

Since, playing the right role is what is required of all team members, the organization that uses psychometric testing is ahead of the game because new hires will either be naturally inclined to play the desired roles or are clever enough to identify and mimic the in-demand behaviours.

Organizations who fail to use sophisticated psychological assessment tools are left to rely on intuition and periods of feeling out new hires before creating the conditions that maximize performance. Being spooked by a small percentage of potential cheats is not a good enough reason to miss out on the overwhelming benefits of psychometric testing in recruitment.

TrevorESSmith

About the author

TrevorESSmith is a Joint-venture partner with Extended DISC International. He is a founding director of the Success with People Academy and the INFOSERV Group. The Success with People Academy provides performance enhancing solutions for individuals, teams and organizations. It facilitates success with and through people.