DISC: Learn to Discern their Style

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We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it – and stop Mark Twain there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

Finish this sentence: I can’t stand talking to him/her because s/he always:

  • Hears a challenge and sees a contest in every situation
  • Is easily distracted and gets off topic
  • Won’t make a decision alone
  • Becomes insulted and defensive over the slightest disagreement

Before I understood how DISC helps me understand where other people are coming from, I would become frustrated, even angry, when I was confronted by someone in their style as they reacted to a statement I made or situation I was involved in.

I think it’s human nature to expect people to treat us in our style. Problems arise when we are in our style and they are in theirs, and their style is not the same as ours. Many times I’ve said:

  • I’ll never do that again!
  • I’ll never talk to them again!
  • That’s the last time I’ll have anything to do with them (or that company)!

Now that I know how to discern other people’s style and how their style influences their response, I have learned the key to communicating with people. As a result, I am a better communicator. When I am really good at it, the person thinks I am the same as them, when in truth, I may be a polar opposite!

You, too, can learn this highly valuable process to become more successful and less stressed in your business, your relationships, and your life. Start today with a DISC like the KITE DISCtest247.com because you need to know your style first. When you and I review your results in the debrief, I’ll help you understand how to put your discerning tools into action.

 

DISC: Better teams > Better results

Picture your business as a school bus, a really important school bus, and you have taken great care to be sure that the people who sit in the seats on your bus are the right people for the seat. Your Vice-President, CFO, maybe even your HR director and Sales & Marketing directors all have a seat at the front of your bus. Seats further back are filled with managers, supervisors, and others in your business. In normal day-to-day operations, you can comfortably drive your bus down the road you’reIs this your bus? following and avoid the bumps, potholes, and deer in the road.

But what happens if you face a detour? You may find out that the bus you are driving looks like the one on the right. Your detour could be:

  • a fantastic project or contract, the likes of which you’ve been working on for quite a while now;
  • an unexpected loss of business, and you need to make internal adjustments FAST.

You are now lost and you need to get back on the right track ASAP. 
Start by identifying your process issues.

  • Where are your problem areas?
  • Where do you need to allocate personnel in order to manage the problems you’ve uncovered?
  • What are you missing?

Your key to revealing your way through the detour: your people! Those very same people sitting on your bus understand your business from their unique perspective and talents. This knowledge is invaluable to you, and it’s what’s really been moving your bus down the road. But how do you harness this and put it to use?

DISC is your key to revealing the talents of  your people. In order to switch your bus to an updated model, my clients use DISC because it shows you the talents ofMove up to a new bus! the people who work for you. You may use a very different configuration of people for specific topics. Having your DISC results readily available in a spreadsheet format like you get with KITE DISCtest24/7 gives you the ability to quickly assemble the people to remodel your bus.

Detour done and back on the road to success. You may choose to continue along the detour, or you may choose to return to your original route. My points are that:

  • your choice needs to be informed,
  • your people hold the key to your being informed, and
  • one of the tools you use to become informed is DISC.

As you’re driving your bus down the road today, why not stop for a minute and visit with me to see how I can help you? I’ve been using DISC with businesses just like yours for many years. Happy trails!

Business Growth: Brand Development

Your brand is your reputation

In the fall of 2011, we bought a Kenmore washer. We didn’t hesitate because we knew from many years of experience that Kenmore is a reliable brand and we would get many years of laundry done with that washer.

Wrong! That Kenmore is now dead 2 years later, almost to the day. We’re replacing it with a GE we purchased from another retailer, and we won’t go near a Kenmore again. For us, the entire Kenmore brand is now off limits.

In the steps of brand development, the decision makers at Kenmore have made a mistake. They’ve trashed the brand they spent decades developing, and they are going to have a very difficult time re-establishing the brand in the future (assuming they get the chance to rebuild it).

Your brand is your reputation. Whether your business is a small one-person shop or a big corporation, your brand can be developed to bring in new business and to up-sell to existing customers.

Think of your company brand and where it ranks it in these descriptions for the group of people you do business with:

  1. Awareness: I heard of that brand
  2. Preference: I like it
  3. Desire: I need it
  4. Urgency: I have to own it
  5. Purchase: I’ll buy
  6. Evangelism: I’m glad I own it and you would be, too

The key to business growth is to nurture a group of people who are at each step in the brand awareness process.

Your goal is to develop a group of people at the Evangelism level because this is where the strongest referrals come from. This may mean that you need to take some steps to shift your focus away from the Purchase level where so many businesses stop. Business growth and brand growth take place at the Evangelism level at the highest profit levels. To take your business and your brand to the next level, contact me today so we can get started.

Business Strategy: Focus using time chunking

Focus using time chunkingFocus: a time allocation issue
I’ve tried the serious and intense time management stuff. I’ve managed my time in 15 minute increments. I’ve kept a list of tasks and projects. I’ve worked on one of those tasks or projects at a time and used my timer to keep myself on my schedule.  My outcomes?

  • Stressed because I could not keep to my schedule
  • Tasks not completed because of interruptions

My focus strategy: I chunk my time
Chunking works for me and it might work for you. When you chunk your time, you step away from your task list and instead first look at how your week and days flow. I only chunk the current week. Here’s how I look at my time chunks:

  • Work week
  • Work day
  • Morning
  • Afternoon

With my calendar handy, I next look at my scheduled meetings, coaching clients, lunch appointments, and networking sessions. I now understand when I’m going to be in the office and when I will have a chunk of time.

The quality of a chunk of time is definitely worth your consideration. If you spend your first hour putting out fires, acknowledge this, allow for it in your chunking by scheduling it in that time slot. Putting out fires is important work!

Once you understand your time chunks for the week, go to your task list to fit your tasks into your time chunks. Be true to your plan if at all possible. I give you permission to reassign your tasks to another time chunk because we all know time chunks can change between Monday and Friday.

My hint: I acknowledge the completion of a task by highlighting it in yellow rather than crossing it off my list. I prefer the color to show my success.

The ROI of focus
While the term Return on Investment (ROI) is often used in financial areas, it applies here to the benefits I get when I chunk my time:

  • Feel more in control and successful at completing tasks
  • Complete more tasks than I do when I don’t chunk my time and respect my time chunking
  • Operate more efficiently and cost-effectively

Would you like to talk about time chunking and how it can work for you? Give me a call today at 910-215-0077. I look forward to our conversation!

Business Growth: Being Extraordinary

Extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people.
– Reepicheep

Reepicheep from NarniaI had the opportunity to watch the third installment in the Narnia series with our 8-year-old granddaughter recently. Reepicheep is the mouse character pictured at the right. At one point in the story, he says to Eustace that extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people.

I firmly believe that Reepicheep is right, and I’ll let you in on a little secret. I see this in the people I meet every day. Your story is phenomenal. You’ve done some remarkable things.

You see, I think that we are all extraordinary people, without exception. If you think you are common, ordinary, and not worthy to be called extraordinary, I hope you will read on and consider my argument as to why you are, truly, extraordinary and why you should use this to guide your business tactics.

Right now, today, are you where you thought you’d be when you graduated from high school? College? Discharged or retired from the military? From my conversations with many of you and my personal experiences, we have all made choices during our lives that have brought us to this point. These choices and the resulting experiences are what makes you extraordinary. There is no duplicate of you. You are the only one who has your unique combination of life experiences and personality. This gives you a unique perspective that you should use to your advantage.

How can you use your perspective to your advantage? By designing business tactics customized to take advantage of your experiences. This might require some introspection on your part, but it will be worth it if the exercise moves you toward the outcome you want.

We all know we have to be different from our competition. What makes you extraordinary is what will serve you as your differentiator from your competition. Sometimes, our differentiator is so different from our competition that we have difficulty believing that we can be successful. If you are in doubt, step back and analyze everything – your feelings (including your doubts), the true reality of the situation, and how your experiences will make you the better option for your target market.

It’s a well-known fact that YOU are the biggest impediment to your success. You’re wasting precious time. You have to get on with being extraordinary.

Managing Change: 3-ring Binders are History!

I have a shelf of 3-ring binders full of printed information. I need them…just in case. The contents are my resource materials I use in my executive coaching practice. It’s pretty important stuff, and I probably should scan the contents to pdf so I can access the information anywhere.

So if I do scan the contents to pdf, why do I need the 3-ring binders? In a word, I don’t. And that’s the way resources and information are flowing these days: Away from the 3-ring binders and into the cloud.

Which brings me to the theme for this blog post: managing change. The world we live in is constantly changing. It’s difficult to keep up. Now that I’ve said it out loud (figuratively speaking), you can agree. Now you know that you are not the only one who feels like the world is constantly changing.

Why do the constant changes cause such turmoil in our lives? Because we don’t have the knowledge we need to adjust to the change. Or perhaps we think we don’t because we react emotionally at first. At the core of the change, what is required of us?

Learning is at the core of change. When you get right down to it, you need to learn something different than what you already know. That’s where the stress comes in.

  • When are you going to find the time?
  • How can you afford to pay for it?
  • What are you going to do about family demands?
  • If you learn this new thing, how will you change as a person?

Your cumulative life experiences provide you with a springboard for managing change. Emotion aside, you know more than you realize or accept, especially in times when you are feeling stressed by situations that appear to be out of your control. Step back, get your emotions under control, and devote some time to understanding what you can do to respond.

And above all, don’t stop learning.

Business Growth: Make the Domino Effect Work for You

As kids, we used to set up our grandmother’s dominoes in what we thought were intricate designs and then set off the chain reaction and enjoy watching those dominoes all fall down.

A couple of thoughts come to mind as I think about this:
♦ There is no one set pattern that must be followed in order to get the dominoes to fall down. The business world is much the same. We all bring our unique talents and experiences to our business tactics. The very fact that we are different from our competitors is a huge advantage to us as individuals and to the people who choose to work with us.
♦ If we don’t get the curve quite right and the domino string stops falling, we remedy the situation by resetting the dominoes so they continue to move in the direction we want the string to flow. How do we flow this concept to our business? Metrics. Measurements. Analysis. And ultimately adjustments to our business tactics so business growth occurs.

This is true: Your dominoes are falling in the exact direction you’ve set them up to fall. If you’ve hit a point where the dominoes stop falling or you don’t like the direction your dominoes are heading, make the adjustments you need to get the dominoes headed in the right direction.

How can you change the direction your dominoes are falling? Change your beliefs. One of my clients told me that she suddenly realized all the opportunities surrounding her when she started working with me. Her business is now stronger and better positioned to grow because she is seeing and taking advantage of those opportunities that were standing in front of her all the time. In effect, her dominoes had stopped falling and she reset and restarted them in the direction she wants them to go. Her business tactics support the flow of her dominoes.

Your business tactics likewise direct the flow of your string of dominoes. If your domino effect is not headed where you want it to go, the reason is your beliefs. Do an inventory of your beliefs and admit which ones are stopping the flow of your dominoes. Then change those that are stopping you and adopt new ones in order to make the domino effect work for you.

 

The Barr Associates Groups: How will it work?

Value through group synergy

You’ve joined one of The Barr Associates’ groups. Congratulations on taking a positive step towards your future! Now you want to have some idea of how the group sessions will work and what you can expect. Good questions! And I’m glad you’re asking. Your time is valuable, your investment in your group is important to you, and it’s important to me that you receive high value for your investment in The Barr Associates’ group you’ve joined. At the end of the day, odds are you selected a group in order to grow your business. As an adult learner, professional development through groups offers you new avenues  to explore your options and get a grip on the best steps for business growth.

You can have confidence in the materials you will be using. As an affiliate of Resource Associates Corporation, any of the materials I use in any of my groups or individual sessions are constantly used by thousands of people around the US and continuously updated to be current and relevant to the current business real world.

There are two sources for information and reinforcement for you in your group. The first is through the listening or reading that you will do outside of our group meetings and the written exercises you will complete in between sessions. The second is through the synergy you will find in the group meetings. These two sources combine to give you optimal results for the growth of your business you desire. Whenever you are considering a learning environment, you owe it to yourself to be sure you have quality written steps to follow along with the synergy of people to serve as neutral sounding boards.

Can you make the changes you desire without assistance? No. If you could, you would have done so by now.

Can you make the changes you want? Absolutely. As humans, we are versatile learners with the capacity to change and grow as individuals.

Whatever your reason for joining The Barr Associates group, welcome!

Growth in Business Starts with You

  • Begin with the outcome in mind. Where do you want to be? What does that look like? If you want more money, how much more? If you want more customers, how many more – and in what target markets? If you know you need to change employers, what kind of a position is an ideal fit for you?
  • Make this outcome relevant to you. You need to understand how your efforts to make and sustain a change will pay off. What’s in it for you? For example, if you invest in professional development or business coaching to get the support you need, your investment is worth it because it will increase your business or your income or your free time or make your work easier. Bring it right down to the present and how it will help you today. Most important, assign some numbers to this to make it worth your time and effort.
  • Stay the course and keep your eye on your outcome. Your personal accountability in the outcome you’ve identified is significant to you – and to those who depend on you. You cannot afford to allow yourself to slack off, rationalizing any roadblocks that present themselves as reasons to stop or delay.  This is another area where a business coach can support you and keep you focused on your outcome.
  • Invest in learning to move forward. Your willingness to learn will help you maximize your results as you move toward the outcome you are working towards. Often suggested is to learn about someone who has already achieved what you want and model the steps they followed to get to their success. Investing in professional development will give you the foundation for bringing your thought process from a good idea (maybe) to the activation of your steps to make the change and realize the outcome you desire.

No matter what your role is, you need manageable steps through your process of self-discovery to realize your desired outcome. If you find yourself putting off the growth in business you are striving to achieve, start with a conversation with a trusted adviser or a business coach to get the change you are planning to make broken down into manageable pieces.  Once you do this, you can design a series of steps you will follow and your chances for success are much greater.

One closing thought. You can’t do this on your own. You need support in order to make the business growth happen. The longer you do not accept your need for support, the longer it will take you to achieve the outcome you want. Make the call today to a business coach to get started.

Hiring an Employee Who Fits Your Company

Finding the game day mix of employees that your business needs can be a challenge. A few of the questions you might ask yourself are:

  • How can I tell if the applicant sitting across the table from me will work out?
  • What will I do if I hire the wrong person?
  • How will my other employees and my customers respond?

Here’s information you can use to not only understand what the job requires but also what the individual you are interviewing brings to the job. Even better, once you understand this, you will probably find other situations where you can use this information to help you understand the style of the person you are interacting with.

How can you tell if the applicant sitting across the table from you will work out?

First of all, see my blog post How People Buy to see the different styles we deal with every day. These are common around the world, regardless of the culture or language. The difference with a hiring or promotion situation is that you need to match the person’s style with the requirements of the position.

There are 2 hiring outcomes I often see that you can avoid if you pay attention to the syle.

  • On the one hand, I often remind employers that an applicant can pretend to be anything you need for 20 minutes (the average length of an interview). This means you have to ask questions that dig deep and you must pay close attention to their body language, especially their eyes.
  • On the other hand, if you only hire people you are comfortable with in an interview, you are only going to hire people just like you and that may not be what you need in the position. This means you need to take a look at the styles to identify the best characteristics for your position and then screen accordingly.

Quite frankly, both of these situations can lead to a failure that can be avoided if you pay attention to styles.

What will you do if you hire the wrong person?

It’s not the end of the world. By the time you reach the end of your rope, you have a significant investment of time and money in an employee. When the employee doesn’t match up with your expectations or fails to hit the benchmarks you’ve established, if it’s not due to changes in your business, then the chances are good that the employee can be coached to change attitudes and behaviors in order to generate the return on investment you have in them. It will take a matter of weeks, and the results will become visible to you shortly after we start working together because of the materials my coaching uses. It’s up to you as the manager or business owner to respond quickly to the situation.

How will your employees and your customers respond to your new hire?

Your employees and customers are crucial to your understanding of the performance of your new hire. They have expectations. They understand what they need your new employee to do for them, what the job requires from their perspectives. As the leader, you need to make sure these important people are heard from and understood and that this critical information gets to the new hire. Companies accomplish this through a process known as on-boarding. When we on-board a new employee or recent promotion, we listen to the stakeholders to understand their needs and expectations, then we bring the new hire together with the stakeholders for an open dialogue. Devoting a few hours to this process can save you months and significant dollars of training and re-training, reduce the stress among your stakeholders and the new hire, and get your new hire started on the right foot for your business. The best news? Your return on investment in your new hire begins sooner when you pay attention to your hiring practices.

For more information on how I can help you with this, I invite you to call me at 910-215-0077 or email me at sbarr@thebarrassociates.com. If you’ve got an employee that’s not working out, I can help.