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.

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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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