DISCover How To Get People to Listen To You

DISC Personality ModelWhen people communicate face to face, they deliver messages on three channels. You need to listen to all 3 channels if you want to hear what the other person is saying. Likewise, if you want to gain the attention of others, you must be able to identify and tune into the right channel of your audience.

What are these three channels?

Verbal – words. Most people believe it is the words you use that differentiate good from bad communication. While important, the words used are only one channel. In fact, some research says that less than 10 percent of effective communication is driven by the words you use. A majority of people tune you out and never hear your words when you don’t first broadcast your message on the right channel.

Visual – body language. This is the most popular channel, especially in face-to-face communication. Body language is reported to determine nearly 60 percent of effective communication. Your posture, your facial expressions, your eye contact all determine how quickly another person will turn you off or engage with you. Body language also impacts non-face-to-face communication too. Just because your target can’t see you doesn’t mean he or she can’t “hear” the effect of your posture and facial expressions.

Vocal – how you say it. This is the second most popular channel, especially with so many people communicating long distance and telecommuting these days. Loud and soft, fast and slow speech all impact the impression you make on others and how likely they will want to listen to what you have to say. The vocal channel determines approximately one-third of effective communication.

Which channel is most important? That’s a great question and the answer depends on the channel that the customer uses. How can you determine quickly the preferred channel of your listeners?

If effective communication is broadcast on three channels of Visual, Vocal, and Verbal, then CriteriaOne DISC is the TV Guide. Each behavioral style has its communication preferences. By understanding the DISC model, presenters can quickly assess their audience and tune into the appropriate visual, vocal, and verbal channels so the intended listener tunes in and stays tuned.

For an example of how all this DISC stuff works, follow this link. Dr. Tony Alessandra does a great job of demonstrating how Visual, Vocal, and Verbal channels can change the meaning of even the simple word “oh.”

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.


9 of the Best Workforce Predictions for 2012

Workforce Predictions for 20121. Skills Gap -We not only face a quantitative shortage of skilled workers but an imbalance between needed and available skills is making hiring difficult. A study by SHRM and others in late 2010 showed that only 32 percent of U.S. college graduates have “excellent” skills as they enter the working world and only 16 percent of high-school graduates have such skills. Young people are less prepared than ever, forcing employers to adopt new online recruiting strategies, new employee screening processes, new hire training including basic reading and math literacy, improved apprenticeships and mentoring programs, and other on-the-job training and development programs to build skills.

2. Résumé Overload (the Resu-mess) – The number of job seekers applying for jobs is greater than ever. Bersin’s Talent Acquisition Factbook® shows that recruiters seeking hourly workers receive an average of 144 résumés per position, and recruiters seeking white-collar workers collect more than 90 résumés per position. It is harder than ever to sort out the best candidates – hence an explosion of interest in assessment tools and prehire simulations. (According to Bersin & Associates, the assessment industry is on fire, growing rapidly as companies realize that they can better screen and preassess people using games, tests and simulations online. If you are not using online pre employment assessments online pre employment assessments and online applicant processing now, you should in 2012.)

3. Employee Retention. Retention issues will increase dramatically. Almost every survey shows that more than a majority of employees are willing to quit their current job as soon as a better opportunity comes along. Dr. John Sullivan predicts that turnover rates in high-demand occupations will increase by 25% during the next year and because most corporate retention programs have been so severely degraded, retention could turn out to be the highest-economic-impact area in all of talent management. Another startling set of statistics was just released by Mercer. In late 2011, its global research (more than 10,000 employees responding) found that 32 percent of employees are “planning on leaving” their employers, versus only 19 percent two years ago. Low engagement and employee performance is now the second most common business challenge cited in Bersin’s TalentWatch® research.

4. Social Media. For the last few years, most firms jumped on the social media bandwagon, but unfortunately the trial-and-error approach used by most has produced only mediocre results. In 2012 social media will increase its impact by becoming more data-driven.Talent leaders will increasingly see the value of a combination of internal and external social media approaches for managing and developing talent. Thanks to tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Glassdoor and many others, your employment brand is now “out there” whether you like it or not and whether you put it out there or not. To attract the best candidates from the large pool of workers you need to create a magnet – a clear articulation of your company’s strategy, a clear definition of the types of people you are hiring and lots of good will coming from employees in the marketplace.

5. Telework. Telecommuting and virtual work changes everything in talent management. The continued growth of technology, social media, and easy communications now makes it possible for most knowledge work and team activities to occur remotely. Allowing top talent to work “wherever they want to work” improves retention and makes recruiting dramatically easier. as aging baby boomers stay in the workforce longer than planned, but demand more flexibility in where, when and how they work. Telework and telecommuting also continues to destroy the concept of permanent, full-time employment. (Keep reading!)

6. Contingency/Part-time Workforce. It is easier than ever to pick up your newly found skills and take them elsewhere. Upward of 40 percent of the U.S. workforce now works parttime or on a contract basis. Data from the last quarter of 2010 showed that contingent workers accounted for nearly 68 percent of new private sector jobs. Young people (particularly the under-30 age group) have rewritten the definition of work. That’s bad news for organizations that still hang on to work as a place you go to for 30 or 40 years. It turns out that the workforce is becoming much younger very quickly. By 2013, 47 percent of all employees will be those born after 1977. So, in 2012 and going forward, organizations must focus heavily on building programs to drive engagement among workers under the age of 30. (Re-read trend on Retention.)

7. Recruitment. 2012 will see a dramatic increase in workforce “poaching.” Yes, poaching employees is a rather harsh term for such an honorable profession as human resources. But let’s be honest, many of the employees a business wants to hire are already working. And many companies (although I don’t agree with this tactic, advertise “only employed workers need apply.”) Well, thanks to social media and a war for talent, many of the most desirable skilled workers can easily find job opportunities with competitors without working through head-hunters. For companies trying to ramp up production quickly or find highly skilled talent, the only way to get the talent they need quickly will be to “poach” or steal them from away from competitors. As the speed of change in business continues to increase, talent managers will also need to rethink the “develop internally first” approach. In many cases, recruiting becomes a more viable option because there simply isn’t time for current employees to develop completely new skills. As a result, the trend will be to continually shift the balance toward recruiting for immediate needs and the use of contingent labor for short-duration opportunities and problems. (For more on the likelihood of poaching employees happening, read about retention trends in 2012.)

8. Employer branding. Years of layoffs, cuts in compensation, and generally bad press for business in general will force firms to invest in branding themselves as a good, if not best place to work. The increased use of social media and frequent visits to employee criticism sites (like, make not managing employer brand perception a risky proposition. While corporations will never control their employer brand, they can monitor and influence in a direction that isn’t catastrophic to recruiting and retention. Some of the best organizations spend little on marketing, yet put time, energy and resources into making sure they have a sustainable culture. When a company is perceived to be one that really cares about its employees, it can prove to be a great PR or branding opportunity. Customers patronize businesses that care about their employees, and will even pay more if they believe their values are shared by the company.

9. E-Learning. Training and development is being transformed. Time is valuable and every minute away from a job means a loss in productivity especially when organizations are running so lean. But it’s also quite obvious that employees need to keep developing and learning new job skills. Thanks to tools like YouTube, Google and Facebook, we have all become accustomed to “instant gratification” – so online courseware that takes 30 minutes to complete is out. New video based online training now takes no longer than 10 minutes at a time and has been proven to more effective than longer videos and workshops. Short e-earning videos engaging workers better, especially using mobile devices, will proliferate.

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.


3 Reasons Companies Must Engage Workers

The need to engage workers, not just pay them, is a popular topic. Just type “employee engagement” into Google and you’ll quickly come up with nearly 6 million results. Type in “how to engage workers” and you’ll get over 73 million responses. It’s obvious a lot of people are seeking answers and even more offering help. But somewhere there is a disconnect between knowing what a company must do and what they do in practice.

Why the gap? Engaging employees, especially top performers, is hard work. It requires managers to show sincere appreciation and continuous feedback to their workers. Management must create a culture of trust and hope. It’s not easy in today’s world of global competition and economic instability. But those companies that do, the rewards are high.

Employee engagement assessment test


A recent Gallup survey revealed that in the first half of 2011, 30% of U.S. workers employed full or part time are engaged in their work and workplace; approximately half of U.S. workers are not engaged, and nearly one in five are actively disengaged. This is consistent with the Blessing White Employee Engagement Report (2011) that reported fewer than 1 in 3 employees worldwide (31%) are engaged and 17 percent are actively disengaged.

These recent surveys combined with new research confirm 3 reasons why each and every company must engage workers if that business is to remain viable.

1. Job Creation

Employees who are in engaged in their work and workplace are twice as likely to report their organization is hiring new workers as those who are actively disengaged. Workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace are far more likely to report their organization is letting people go than those who are engaged. Currently, the American workforce has 1.5 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee. But averages don’t tell the whole story. Gallup management research has found the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees varies greatly across different organizations, from more than 8 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee in the most highly motivated organizations to fewer than one engaged employee for every actively disengaged employee in the least motivated workforces. Job creation may partially be a result of the general economic climate, but it is also likely a function of the businesses’ own success, driven by their workplace environment, performance, and strong leadership.

 2. Profitability

Recent research, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, found that employee engagement predicts financial performance more strongly than financial performance predicts employee engagement. Leaders can use high employee engagement to improve employee retention, customer perceptions of service, and other outcomes that will then lead to better financial performance.

 3. Productivity

Gallup research has found that how managers manage employees can significantly influence engagement and disengagement in the workplace. Their analysis suggests the most progressive organizations are those that are engaging their employees, thereby producing more and higher quality work. Workplaces that disengage employees have lower productivity and are less likely hiring and more likely laying off workers. Every manager can play a role in engaging workers by clarifying expectations, getting employees what they need to do their work, giving workers recognition when they do good work, encouraging employee development, helping workers connect to the broader purpose of the organization, and frequently measuring and discussing progress.

Do you agree? Disagree? Share your comments below.

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.

Why DISC Dosen’t Work for Employee Screening.

First of all, DISC has been around a long, long time. While the acronym DISC was adopted sometime in the mid-twentieth century, the four-style behavioral model was first described by Hippocrates somewhere around 400 B.C. If longevity has anything to do with credibility, the DISC assessment certainly has time on its side and centuries of endorsement.

Another reason is that DISC is also one of the most user-friendly assessments available. Most DISC assessments require only 10 to 15 minutes to complete, the questions are very easy to understand, and face validity (which means the participant agrees with the results of the assessment) is extremely high. And while fees vary widely, the cost is generally below $100, often times significantly less. 

By now, it should be fairly obvious why DISC is so popular – user-friendly, high credibility, low-cost. All those reasons sound pretty good, don’t they? Then why am I saying that DISC doesn’t work for screening employees?

There are many reasons. Let me start with three.

1.Validation. This reason is a big one- one that concerns HR and employment law attorneys. While the DISC assessment itself is valid (it accurately measures what it says it measures), DISC is not a valid tool for job success. If that was the case, every assertive, outgoing individual would be a successful salesperson and every steady, compliant person would turn out to be a very successful accountant. But we know for sure that’s not the case. DISC merely assesses HOW energetically an individual will respond toward problems, people, pace, and procedures. It was not constructed to predict how proficient that same person might be at solving problems, interacting with people, working at a fast pace, or complying with rules and procedures.

2.Observation. DISC is an “observable language.” Each style (D-I-S-C) is easily observed by others when the other person(s) know what to look for. Ds and Is tend to be very animated; Ss and Cs more reserved. Is and Ss are more people-oriented; Ds and Cs are task focused. Is and Ss should be “good with people.” But we know that isn’t always so. People make assumptions about performance based on behavioral style. But as the research about hiring success shows, the behavior you see might not be a predictor of the results you get. Five-factor personality tests and cognitive ability tests are much better predictors of future job fit and skill potential than behavior style assessments like DISC and temperament assessments like MBTI. And that’s not only my opinion but the caveat offered by many of the DISC and MBTI publishers.

3.Norming. DISC assessments are considered ipsative tests. The preferred type of test for hiring is a normed test. Like hundreds of other assessments based on the four style behavioral model, DISC reports the relative strengths of the person being tested. If a DISC assessment reports the individual is 75% “high D”, this merely means this individual is energized by asserting him/herself in dealing with problems. What it does not predict is how two people with similar DISC patterns will perform a job or interact with others. In plain English, two people who both “score” 70% in the D Style might appear to approach the same problem in a similar way but get two entirely different outcomes. Using normative tests, an individual’s “score” measures a specific characteristic against confirmed patterns of normality, usually represented as a bell curve. In business, normative testing allows individuals to be compared to other employees who have met with success or failure in a job.

Normative tests (like PeopleClues, Prevue, and Assess) are therefore best suited as a recruitment and selection instrument. They can be also useful in developmental, coaching and training. By using normative tests when screening employees, managers can select candidates who will have the best chances of success if hired or promoted and avoid placing the wrong employee in the wrong position.

Note: I do recommend on occasion using DISC for employee screening and selection. While I mentioned DISC is not a good predictor job skills, it is a powerful assessment for predicting HOW a candidate will interact with other people and approach a project. By using DISC in conjunction wth five factor personality tests, managers can predict both job fit and team (people) fit with accuracy. When selecting the right pre-employment test for your organization, the best choice is not a case of either-or. If DISC is used for hiring employees, use it in conjunction with other hiring tools…or not at all.

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.


The Loss of jobs vs. The Loss of Jobs

Depending on your frame of reference, asking the question “can the U.S. survive without Jobs?” will elicit a variety of responses. Responses will inevitably be influenced by political affiliation but my question is much broader than that. Because jobs refer to both sluggish job creation and the tragic loss of Steve Jobs.

Both circumstances pose an ominous threat to our role as leader of the free world. Solutions to replace the innovative genius of Jobs and jump start sustainable job creation will remain elusive for some time to come.

Let me start with Steve Jobs. Jobs changed our lives forever, much like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Walt Disney. Jobs didn’t invent the personal computer, the mouse, or the graphical user interface (GUI). What he did brilliantly, according to a column in the Washington Times, was to bring the inventions of others together in beautifully designed packages, then to show us that we’d wanted them desperately all along.

While Jobs like Edison, Ford, or Disney can’t claim to be the father or the originator of the industry they are in, they have a claim on how they changed their respective industries forever.

America is now desperately seeking the next American visionary. By definition, it’s someone on the cusp of an entirely new industry with an as-yet unrealized potential to change the culture. Like Jobs, the next innovative genius will have a “disruptive” quality, believing that constant change is the only way to stay out in front. Like Jobs and his predecessors, the next visionary will create a new market, lead the market, and let companies follow behind. Who is out there among us that we currently see as the idealist or crackpot who will ultimately breakthrough and radically change the way people live.

Regrettably the landscape in which Edison, Ford, Disney, and Jobs turned their vision into reality has turned sour. All these men started small working against all odds, often alone. Entrepreneurship and small business in their day was not only supported but encouraged. Government – local, state, and federal – provided incentives to start up a business, not a bureaucratic labyrinth that was all but impossible to navigate. And if a small business entrepreneur was successful, taxes and other regulations didn’t bleed the entrepreneurial spirit dry. Not only is the U.S.climate not conducive to starting a business and taking risk, we now have competition from rising entrepreneurial juggernauts China and India.

Jobs will be remembered both for the life-changing products he created and for the fact that he was able to sit down, think clearly, and execute his ideas. Given the current political climate and global economic challenge, we are desperately in need of jobs and Jobs. Unfortunately, you just can’t create a committee and select his replacement and the U.S. landscape is becoming repressive and oppressive for small business, entrepreneurshp and innovation. People like Jobs aren’t looking for a job. They are not even pursuing a career. What they seek is a world different than nearly all of us can even imagine. And they will go to places where they are free to innovate and transform ideas into reality.

Right now the loss of Jobs and the loss of jobs go hand in hand. Without innovation that sparks new business and entrepreneurship that creates jobs, unemployment will remain high, GDP will languish, and our economy will be sluggish.

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.