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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 Avoid Costly Mistakes: Top 3 Causes

 

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“But I thought….” is the lead-in to millions of lost strands of hair and even more dollars. Re-work challenges real work for primacy.

Why is it so difficult to give and receive instructions?

The ability to give instructions that get it done, when the task is to be done, in the way it should be done escapes even seasoned leaders.

I have distilled 3 recurring factors that disrupt the giving and receiving of instructions. Working on reducing their impact will bring greater peace of mind and reduce re-work losses significantly.

#3. Different starting points

I land at the Miami Airport and go to pick up my rented car. I ask for instructions as to how to reach my destination. Detailed instructions are given – Exit # off I-95 and the lane to take on nearing the Exit.

I get in the car and after circling the airport twice, I return to the parking lot and seek instructions as to how to get on to I-95.

The agent thought I knew how to navigate from the parking lot on to I-95 and I was too ignorant to realize the difficulty.

Assuming that the person receiving the instruction is further ahead of where they are in reality is a major cause of frustrating mistakes and failed attempts. Hubby bought the wrong brand – shucks!

The added problem is that this often takes place in situations where there is a need for urgency.

Beware “Go now!” … “Do now!” Mistakes lurk behind them.

Darling, run to the store and buy some salt. Now honey!

Oh, no what is this …you know we only use sea salt!

You assumed incorrectly.

The messenger is advised to break speed records to get a bid in before the deadline. His attempts at seeking clarification are rebuffed with the call for immediate action. Go now!

He does get to the building in time but the 15 minutes it takes to find the right bid box causes him to miss the deadline. The dispatchers failed to start where he was. The things he wanted clarified were blocked by the deceitfulness of urgency and wrong assumptions.

Solution: Make no assumptions. Correction – assume that the person receiving the instruction is clueless and needs to be guided from appropriate starting points. Treat urgent situations with caution… they mask costly mistakes.

#2: “I got it!”

Without giving away too much about an instructive exercise from our Time & Task Management workshops, I watched the equivalent of the following play out as a senior professional gave instructions to a colleague:

Giver: “Go to the left”

Receiver: Voices “Left” but moves to the right

Giver: “Move forward”

Receiver: “Forward” but moves backward.

This actually happened and I share why.

I presented an outcome that should achieve and demonstrated one way to get there. One person was designated to give instructions to their partner with backs turned. No questions were allowed.

The receiver had a clear picture of the procedure that I used and was replicating that even while acknowledging in words the contrary instructions being given. He knew what to do and stopped listening.

Failure to listen effectively causes many costly mistakes. Hearing is not equal to listening.

Solution: Engage in meaningful two-way exchanges of information until you are convinced that the instructions have been received without distortion. Monitoring execution is also critical.

#1. Failure to follow procedure

Nadad and Abihu grew up in the temple as sons of Aaron – the High Priest. They would have witnessed countless sacrifices and would have been trained how to offer sacrifices. Yet, they departed from established procedure and lost their lives. (Bible – Leviticus 10)

User error is a primary cause of costly mistakes – despite manuals and training.

Solution: Seek ways to make adjustments to SYSTEMS that reduce user error.

Examples: Insert verification processes or use physical devices. Align that with improved training, monitoring and supervision. Increasing penalties is also a deterrent.

Register now for the SHRM-accredited 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People or our on-demand “Time & Task Management” course. E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

 

The next cohort of the ICF-accredited Certified Behavioral Coach Award starts in January 2017.

E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.  The Success with People Academy 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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Where Did The Time Go?

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Where Did The Time Go?

That expression is usually rhetorical. But, do you really know where your time is going?

If you are a normal human you can identify with that question. Sometimes we check the time and are struck by how quickly it has passed.

I recommend that you conduct an audit of how you spend your time. That action is one of the most transformational activities that you can undertake.

We hold mental images of who we are and what is important to us. However, it is what we do that defines us. How we spend our time is what gives us our true identity.

This time audit will expose the real YOU.

 

What is involved?

The requirement is that you track how you use each 24-hour day for 30 days.

The intention is not to place an additional burden on your time. Consequently, avoid using methods that take a lot of time.

It is important that you record events and activities as close as possible to their occurrence. Do not sit at night recording what you recall about the day’s activities.

You will get an amazing bonus from recording who initiates each action. Note down who made the contact or who gave the assignment. Slip in the nature and duration of each activity.

Here is one value of identifying who is involved in your activities – especially those initiated by others:

“Interruptions” are identified as one the major challenges to be overcome by my Time & Task Management participants. In many instances, the principal culprit is a supervisor who considers herself to be super-efficient. Reduce top-down interruptions with this strategy.

Some supervisors are guilty of blurting. Here is an example of blurting in action:

Jane starts her day by going through her incoming mail and To Do List. As she goes through she takes immediate action.

Item 3 requires John to do something. Jane summons John.

Item 5 involves John. Jane contacts John. And the process continues.

While Jane is being seemingly efficient, she is making it difficult for John to manage his time effectively. Organizations suffer badly from poor TIME TEAMWORK.

We must function as teams and the focus should be on how the team uses its time and not just the individual.

The time audit is the perfect antidote to blurting.

John might not have the luxury of telling Jane that she is negatively impacting his productivity. However, he could refer to this article and its recommended time audit exercise.

He can share from the audit the frequency, duration and content of his contact with Jane. He could translate that into dollars using his rate of pay x 2.

If Jane is a worthy team leader, the information should make compelling reading. The parties could then agree to meet at specified times during the day. Any issue that arises in between meetings will be held until the next session. Jane’s blurting would have been moderated.

Of course, Jane does not have the monopoly on interruptions. John’s time audit will identify the interactions that he has on a regular basis. He can then determine if that is the most effective use of his time and make the necessary adjustment.

True You

The Time Audit adds another dimension to self-discovery. It will highlight whether your professed commitments are supported by concrete action. It points to habits good and bad that have entered into your reality.

I strongly urge that you complete this 30-day, 24-hour audit of how you spend your time. Who, what, how often and how much are all laid out for your review and decision-making.

As an added incentive for men, John can also use the audit to highlight to his wife the absence of certain activities. Wives will point to the need for more quality time together.

BOMDAS followers we are at Addition: Brackets|Of|Multiplication|Division|Addition|Subtraction.

Access the series here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/ Enter in search: Outlook Trevor E S Smith

Register now for the SHRM accredited 3-D Leader Certification course. November 6 & 7. Kingston/face-to-face.

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

E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.

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Cohesiveness: How We Use Maths To Improve Teamwork

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We are using the BOMDAS formula to strengthen our relationships in teams.

It is an acronym that depicts the order of operation:

Brackets| Of | Multiplication | Division |Addition | Subtraction

We are dealing with Brackets. Brackets speak to inclusion; belonging.

Belonging is essential if the team is to achieve high levels of success – in our homes, in our workplaces, and in any group. Groups experience different levels of bonding, unity or team spirit – what I call cohesiveness.

Yet, cohesiveness plays such a critical role in the life they experience.

History is replete with records of sports teams that triumphed primarily on the basis of their cohesiveness while the loser’s column is filled with those who were caught up in on and off the field strife and disunity.

Why is cohesiveness – bonding, unity, team spirit – so important? The oft used –Together Each Achieves More applies. Group work is more effective that independent individual effort.

It is useful to examine what is a team and why they add value.

My preferred definition is:

A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals and approaches for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

What can we learn from this definition?

A. People with complementary skills.

Team work incorporating Team Cohesiveness does NOT mean that everybody has to be same. Successful teams need people to bring different talents, perspectives and ideas to the table.

One sign of a successful team is the fact that it helps its members to achieve self-fulfillment. Team leaders must empower team members.

B. People who are committed to a common purpose.

The glue that holds the team together is the commitment to the common purpose. Without the commitment to the common purpose the team loses its compass.

Without the commitment to the common purpose, members do not have any point of reference that can hold them together. It is like using rubber bands to tie a team of wild horses together.

Commitment has two distinct and critically important components:

1. There must be a clearly identified purpose that is understood in the same way by all the members of the team.

2. The second component is that all the members of a functional team commit to the same understanding of the common purpose.

One indelible sign of a dysfunctional team is the fact that some members are wavering in their commitment to the common purpose.

C. People who are committed to a set of performance goals and approaches.

  •  Successful teams know where they are going. They also know how they are going to get there. In addition, they know if they are on track.
  • Successful teams are clear on the strategies and the activities that will lead them to the achievement of the common purpose.
  • Successful teams have guidelines and yardsticks that indicate to them whether they are on course or not.
  • ​Successful teams do not lose bearing and lose momentum because they have set performance goals that keep them on track.

In successful teams members:

  •  Know and commit to the performance goals. They understand that the guidelines and yardsticks are tied to the attainment of the common purpose.
  • Understand and buy into an agreed approach that is tied to performance goals that lead to attainment of the common purpose.
  • Do NOT come up with their own approaches and guidelines as they deem fit. This issue of the importance of commitment to the team and its values is not widely understood and accepted. That is why there is so much conflict and lack of cohesiveness in households, in work groups, in organizations, in communities and the wider society.

D. Team members must be mutually accountable.

Without accountability things fall apart. Great teams accept the need for discipline and team members are open to receiving feedback.

LEADERSHIP has a critical role in addressing these issues.  The upcomingSHRM accredited 3-D Leader Certification deals directly with those challenges among others. It deals frontally with successfully leading difficult, dominant and diverse team members.

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

SHRM

 

 

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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.