ShiftingGearsWhen I learned to drive, I did so on a car with a standard transmission.  Initially, I lacked the knowledge of how to use a clutch to change gears.  I was afraid, since I had no confidence in pushing the clutch and changing gears.  I wanted to stay in first gear, in my comfort zone. 

I was inflexible, so I could not get past 20 mph!  I knew I needed to change gears, but my car would stutter and eventually stop due to my inability to clutch and change gears efficiently.  If I wanted to succeed as a driver, I had to overcome my fears, leave my comfort zone and change gears.

People often lack the knowledge and ability to “shift gears” in how they react to others in order to be most effective with customers, colleagues, bosses and/or work demands.  If that sounds familiar to you, read on.  The DISC Profile can help become your “clutch” and keep you from stuttering and stopping due to your own inability to change gears.  The gift of the DISC Personal Profile System is having:

  1. Knowledge of all four gears:
    • Dominance – the gear asking the questions:  “Is it done?” and “Am I great?”

    • Interacting – the gear asking the questions:  “Is it fun?” and “Do you like me?”

    • Servicing/Steadiness/Security – the gear asking the questions: “Is it safe?” and “Will you support me?”

    • Compliant – the gear asking the question:  “Is it right?”

  2. Knowledge of who I am and my own comfort zone
  3. Knowledge who I am not and of zones outside my own comfort zone
  4. Understanding of when I need to kick in the clutch and change my gears in order to be effective.

Many people say; “I’ve done the DISC Personal Profile and I know who I am.”  This is great; they have half of the equation figured out!  The other half is; “Do you know who you are not?”  As a seasoned facilitator of team building based upon the DISC Profile, I work with groups more in the area of “who they are not” which helps us identifying some of the problems experienced when they are not changing gears efficiently.  In my experience, these problems tend to all fall in areas outside the comfort zones and might include:

  • Procrastination
  • Conflicts with colleagues/customers/manager
  • Errors in work
  • Negative feedback in similar areas of work
  • Avoidance with targeted personnel
  • Complaining

If you want to unleash the full power of your style, you must have full knowledge of who you are - and who you are not - so you can be comfortable and confident in shifting your gears.  Examples of not being flexible and shifting gears include:

  • Strong dominant leaders who fail to address details when finalizing a plan which impairs successful execution.
  • Influencing people, who are overwhelmingly strong in relating with people, but talk excessively in meetings and kill many deals.
  • Structured people, who are committed to following procedures, yet fail to adjust to changes in plans because they need to stick to the established routines.
  • Compliant people, who are great with details in meetings, but fail to be flexible and shift gears end up punishing their colleagues (or customers!) with excessive details that can be managed after the meetings.

Each of these are examples of people not kicking in the clutch to flex their style because they don’t fully understand their styles outside their comfort zones and therefore do not want to put in the clutch and change.  Understanding how to capitalize on your strengths AND where you are uncomfortable is the key to objectively knowing where damage might occur and preventing that damage by changing gears to the needed style.

Recently, I took my son for a drive with his standard transmission.  I showed him how to drive without touching the brakes by simply shifting the gears up and down!  I blew his mind with the power of changing gears!  When you change your gears and manage the demands of your job and team - you can blow the mind of others with the power of changing gears!  That is power you can bring with the DISC Personal Profile!

About the author:  Grace McLaren

Grace holds a M.ED. in counseling and personnel and is a passionate consultant who for over 25 years has helped clients learn how to “shift gears” and enjoy improved results.  She is committed to bringing about measured change that is sustainable by working with teams/individuals through training and coaching using the DISC Personal Profile as a foundation.  She is a guru in creating synergy within companies.  Call us at 901-850-8190 to learn how to bring Grace’s expertise to help your team learn how to “shift gears!”

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