For Everything DiSC® Facilitators: Facilitating Change with Everything DiSC
Earlier in my career I worked for a company that, like many other companies, would reorganize periodically. These reorganizations often impacted reporting relationships, roles, and territories. Each time a reorganization occurred; it would lead to a significant, negative reaction from one of the company’s most successful senior operations leaders. And I remember thinking each time, that there would have been and easier and more effective way to handle this – one that took less time, created less angst, and resulted in less drama for all involved
Reactions to change are driven by several factors including whether or not the person chose the change, whether they view it as positive or negative, and how much change they are experiencing overall in their lives, as well as personality style. However, personality style can account for a significant amount of the variability in reactions. And the DiSC® model can provide considerable insight into how to approach change with your team members.
Everything DiSC® is a needs based model that looks at preferences, priorities, motivators, stressors, and fears. Understanding these aspects of personality are especially helpful in guiding communication approaches and managing resistance to change. It can also help us understand our strengths and challenges as leaders when it comes to implementing change.
Change and the DiSC Styles
Dominance or D Style:
Individuals with the D style tend to take bold action and are willing to taking risk to achieve results. These characteristics make them open to change However, they also have a high need for control. So, while they are comfortable being the initiator of change, they likely resist change that is thrust upon them.
In addition, they tend to be impatient and have a low level of tolerance for the conversations and time needed to get others onboard with a change. Therefore, as the initiator of change they may fail to take the steps necessary to gain the alignment necessary for a successful change process.
If you need to get someone with the D style on board with a change:
- See if you can find a way to make it their idea. They may already be open to the change and simply resist it because they are being told they have to change.
- Give them options.
- Allow them ample opportunity to help shape the change. For example, provide them with your desired outcome and let them determine the changes that are necessary to accomplish that outcome.
Influence or i Style:
People with the i style are bold and action oriented. They prioritize enthusiasm and tend to be optimistic and expressive. They are willing to take risks especially if it helps them progress towards exciting solutions. They value social recognition and having their ideas heard and considered. Because they are visionary and like novelty, they tend to initiate a lot of change. They may resist change when they do not have the opportunity to share their feelings or perceive it to decrease their social status.
The propensity for individuals with the i style to jump from one exciting idea to another can be frustrating for those they work with. This can cause those working with them to feel as if their priorities are constantly changing and that they never have the opportunity to complete what they started.
If you need to get someone with the i style on board with change:
- Focus on the big picture and exciting outcomes.
- Give them an opportunity to express their feelings and to use their gift of inspiration to help others accept the change.
- Emphasize the recognition that successful change can bring to them.
Steadiness or S Style:
Those with the S style place a high value on stability and harmony. They tend to be more risk averse than the D and i styles. Their preference is to work at a moderate pace and to avoid rapid change. Because of these values and preferences, they are often slower to both initiate and accept change, especially if the change is likely to cause discord among those they interact with.
Their hesitancy to initiate change can be frustrating to others, However, because people with the S style value collaboration and like to get input from others regarding any changes they may be considering, one of their strengths in the change process is getting team members onboard with the change early on.
If you need to get someone with the S style on board with change:
- Emphasize what is staying the same.
- Give them time to process and get used to the idea of change.
- Provide them with a step my step process for implementing the change.
Conscientiousness or C Style:
People with the C style focus on accuracy and getting thigs right. Similar to individuals with the S style they value stability and tend to take a calculated approach to risk. They are skilled at analyzing options objectively and have a propensity for uncovering potential problems. They are skeptical of and often question the viability of proposed change. This can lead others to judge them as resistant. In truth they are simply trying to understand the details of the planned change and identify flaws that might impact the viability of the change.
Their cautious approach to change can at times slow things down. On the other hand, their need for detailed analysis and the ability of those with the C style identify potential flaws early in the process bring significant value to the team and organization.
If you need to get someone with the C style on board with change:
- Provide them with as many specifics as possible.
- Give them time to analyze the change and its potential implications.
- Provide them an opportunity to ask questions and be open to hearing their concerns.
With the way each of the styles approaches change, let’s revisit the opening story where a reorganization led to a significant and negative reaction from a senior operations leader. While I do not know the DiSC style of the individuals involved, my assessment is that the senior operations leader’s style was an SC while those initiating the reorganization were likely in the D and C quadrants.
From a DiSC perspective the individuals initiating the change were quick to make changes, were not naturally inclined to spend the time necessary to bring others along and were more focused on tasks and results than people and feelings. To be comfortable with the change the senior operations leader needed his feelings to be acknowledged as well as time to process the change and understand the implications.
Much of the anxiety and ensuing drama that surrounding these changes could have been avoided with a simple conversation that allowed for two-way dialogue in advance of the announcement of the change.
If you would like to explore how your organization can use Everything DiSC to implement change more effectively, please reach out.