What makes some people slow down on yellow while others speed up? So why is it that so many people wait until the last minute when they know the deadline won’t pass and the penalties are stiff for ignoring it? And why do some people try to beat the red light while others cautiously slow down?
One answer lies in DISC behavioral styles. A very popular profile test uses the letters D-I-S-C to describe four different styles, or individual preferences. The “C” represents one style and it describes the behavior of people who are energized with “complying” by rules set by other people vs those who prefer to write their own rules.
As individuals energized by Compliance tend to file taxes early and slow down on yellow, low C individuals tend to demonstrate their independence by challenging the deadline (and the light) and testing the rules. The low “C” may file a tax extension even if they are owed money while the high “C” may file early when they owe the government money. Regardless if an individual is high “C” or low “C,” the job may get done – each individual will just do it differently according to their preferred DISC style.
How does the high C/low C scenario play out at work?
Let’s say an office meeting is scheduled for 8:00 AM. High C people set their alarm a few minutes early on the day of the meeting – just in case the traffic is bad. In fact, they may set two alarms. You never know when you might sleep through the first one. They arrive in the office fifteen minutes early. They are usually the first to arrive. They make the coffee and clean up the counter, fill their coffee cups and are in their seats waiting for the others to arrive at least five minutes before the top of the hour.
Middle or situational Cs also may set their alarms early. But hitting the snooze button one time won’t hurt. In fact, they might have even set the clock a few minutes fast just to fake themselves out. They leave their home fifteen minutes before 8:00 AM. Of course it takes twelve minutes on a good day to get to work on time. On this day, they arrive just a minute or two early but stop off in the break room to re-fill their coffee cups before joining the meeting. They enter the meeting room “around 8” to the chagrin of the high Cs who were ready to begin promptly at eight.
The meeting begins. Noticeably missing are a few key employees. These empty seats of course belong to low Cs. These individuals had all intentions of leaving home early and being on time. Unfortunately, they woke up just a few minutes late after hitting the snooze one too many times. Then they forgot it was garbage day. The dog needed to be walked – and of course, Fido decided to take a long walk this day. And where oh where did those car keys go? Finally they arrive at the meeting at 8:23. Hey, what’s twenty minutes or so when the real discussion doesn’t ever start right away. “Sorry I’m late”, they say and then go on to describe why they are late this time. You can just picture the glares and disgust directed at them from the high Cs.
Each style can write its own workplace scenario. By understanding the DISC model employers and employees alike can understand how different approaches to solving problems, interacting with people, responding to the pace of the environment, and complying with procedures impact individual and team performance. CriteriaOne DISC is a simple tool that gets big results.
This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.