For Everything DiSC® Facilitators: If I Could Only Do One Activity It Would Be…

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disc trainingAs an Everything DiSC® facilitator are you being asked to accomplish more and more in shorter and shorter sessions? I know I am. And over the years I have found an activity that is similar to one in the Everything DiSC Workplace facilitators’ guide called “Day In the Life” to be one of the most effective for both helping participants understand their own style and the style of others. 

It leads to a robust debrief and often offers the opportunity to address the negative behaviors of labeling and pigeonholing. In addition, you can begin the discussion of the value that each style brings to the team.

This is an activity that I always do when I facilitate an Everything DiSC session (except in those instances where the group is very small and there are not enough participants to do it effectively).

Have participants get in groups by style and go to flip charts placed in each of the four corners of the room. Have the D style participants go to the front left corner (as you are facing the front of the room), the i style participants go to the front right corner. Those with an S style go to the back right hand corner (on the same side of the room as i style participants) and those with the C style go to the back left hand corner. This set-up mirrors the Everything DiSC model and helps participants remember and integrate the model.  

Give participants 10 to 12 minutes to answer a series of 3 or 5 questions. You can vary the questions based on the objectives of the training. Here are some possibilities:

  • What characteristics of your style helps you be a great leader? Manager? Teammate? Communicator? (whatever the purpose of the training is) 
  • What characteristics of your style get in the way of you being a great _______________? (same as above) 
  • How could you be a more effective ____________ (same as above) 
  • How do you approach/deal with conflict? 
  • How do you react under stress? 
  • How would you handle XYZ situation (i.e. give them a problem or situation and ask how they would approach it) 
  • How are you misunderstood? (during the debrief as them to share what is true)
  • Draw a picture, logo or sign that represents your style

The power of this activity is in the debrief. Ideally allow at least 20 minutes for the debrief – maybe even a little longer. Have everyone stay standing at their flip chart. Ask each style group to have a spokesperson share the groups answer to each question. I typically start with the D style then go so the S style, followed by the i style and then the C style. This allows participants to contrast the styles that are cattie corner to them on the model – those where there are likely to be the greatest differences. 

After a style shares their answers, I sometimes ask the rest of the group to share the value they see that style bringing to the team. I also ask the rest of the group if they have any questions or thoughts they would like to share before moving to the next style. Encourage dialogue between participants.

Because everyone is a mix of styles and because you will have people with two letters in their style (i.e. Di or SC, etc.) you may find that some of the responses to the questions tend to be more typical of one of the other styles, or that individuals within the style group disagree on the answers to some of the questions. This can lead to a robust discussion. Let participants raise questions rather than you, as the facilitator, “correcting” the responses. If a response is clearly more characteristic of another style, you might ask if everyone in the group agreed with that response as a way to stimulate conversation. You will however want to address misuses of DiSC like labeling and pigeonholing

Do you have enhancements that you have found effective when doing this exercise or another go-to activity you would be open to sharing? If so, I would love to hear from you.

POSTED ON: Dealing with Conflict, Disc
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