Admit it, you’ve been there. You’re in the middle of the workday, crunching through tasks, and an email headline pops up: Extended DISC training. (Insert loud groan here.) Well Done Marketing recently participated in the Extended DISC assessment—and to our surprise, enjoyed the experience.
Diving in to DISC
The Extended DISC assessment is a tool that helps you understand your personality by grouping styles into four behavioral types: dominance (D), inducement (I), submission (S), and compliance (C). Coach Tim from Career Café explained there are 160 different personality combinations within DISC—and 15 different categories based on how your letters line up. The results transcend basic personality characteristics—like how quickly you start screaming when you’re mad—instead drawing conclusions about attributes, motivators, communication styles, and things you try to avoid.
Beyond those insights, the assessment graphs natural personality styles in comparison to a perceived need to adjust. That’s right: The results outline how personalities shift in response to things happening around you. Perhaps your team has recently added a new member, or you’ve just signed a new client that requires a bit more patience; whether immediately explicable or not, the data allows you to evaluate how your personality shifts in response to stimuli.
Knowing your personality is advantageous personally and professionally. Take our senior art director, Jenny Tod, for example. Through this assessment, Jenny learned she was a high “D,” which helped her understand why she gravitated toward her role with Well Done Marketing—she was drawn to the creative freedom. Our digital strategist, Christine Hudson, felt validated in her results. Before coming to Well Done Marketing, Christine was tasked with answering to multiple superiors. This would have worked for an “I” who sees people as sparkly, new objects, but for a “C” who values data, information, and analyses, it wasn’t an enjoyable way to spend 40+ hours per week.
Teambuilding comes in a variety of flavors—and spoiler alert—our agency knows how to have fun. We actually have an entire group dedicated to it. Our S.M.I.L.E.S. committee coordinates monthly lunches, Friday gatherings, and most recently a ride on the HandleBar Indy. And while those experiences encourage us to connect without computers, the Extended DISC enabled us to dive into synergies and pinch points within the office.
While each personality style brings a wealth of strengths, our coach reminded us repeatedly that “Our strengths are our weaknesses, and our weaknesses are our strengths.” Let’s take an “S” for example. Well Done Marketing has nine “S” personalities. These individuals are calm, patient, eager to help, and make excellent team players. But—there’s always a but—they can struggle with change, be indecisive, and are prone to avoid conflict.
Experiencing DISC as a Team
At Well Done Marketing, people aren’t just people, they’re our people. But in our office, rarely is their work actually just their work. Our team doesn’t just value collaboration, we implement it daily. Workflow shifts between account executives, designers, creatives, and our public relations team as projects move from kick-off through completion. And while we’d like to say this kind of collaboration is effortless, it requires work like any good relationship.
So, we rolled up our sleeves to dig further into our results—both the good and the challenging to hear. During our three-hour debrief, everyone shared their results. And we learned a few things. For one, 67% of the Well Done Marketing team exhibits a natural style of “C” or “S.” That leaves a mere 33% of the team as a results-oriented “D” style or a people-oriented “I” style. Regardless of the personality type we’re categorized by, there is no “right” or “wrong” personality. We all bring something great to the table, and going through the Extended DISC will help us work even more effectively together.
A Lesson from Tinkertoys
Extended DISC gave our team tools to essentially do just that. It’s like building with Tinkertoys. (Stay with me here…)
From a very young age, my son loved Tinkertoys. Loved them. He’d spend hours creating intricate displays on our marble table. Some with pulley systems. Some with spinning capabilities. You name it, he made it. And while I loved seeing what he brought to life, I could never understand how he inserted pieces here and there to create each structure. One day, as he was explaining how he created a double pulley system, I got frustrated and snapped: “Caiden, I don’t see what you see. If you want me to get that, you have to physically build it in front of me.”
So he did. He carefully took his creation apart, and meticulously started at the beginning piecing it back together—one connector, one rope, one stick at a time. I didn’t realize it until I went through the Extended DISC analysis, but he was teaching me how to learn and work with someone whose personality and approach are simply different than mine.
Whether you identify as a competitive “D,” sociable “I,” balanced “S,” or precise “C,” you’re uniquely you. And knowing who you are enables you to contribute to your team in meaningful and fulfilling ways. And that’s the goal, isn’t it? To work more effectively together, better understand our differences in communication styles, motivate each other, build trust, and respect each other’s styles in order to do great work for our clients.
As a gregarious “I,” I’m excited to work somewhere where employees feel more connected to one another. Everyone at Well Done wants to work with a team where we are inspired, excited, challenged, and proud of the work. And as we face challenging projects and differences of opinions—which we certainly will—we can lift each other up as a team. And that’s a valuable lesson for all of us.