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Why I Don't Fit In & what to do about it!

by Bill Ziska

November 16, 2010

Last week, with the help of a human capital consultant, I along with our senior leadership team took a personality assessment test (DISC), which is similar to ??Myers-Briggs.  At first I thought this was the worst type of consulting.  I tell you about me and you return a finding back that tells me about me.  OMG, how did they ever figure out what I'm like, well of course, BECASE I TOLD THEM!  But after a half day session learning about the different between the four major characteristic, (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance), it was more the introspection it allowed and the insights I gained from a better understanding of management styles, so here's some of the insights I thought might be of interest:

  • A majority of our management team fall into the Dominance and Compliance (think Driving and Analytic), no big surprise working for a big 4 consulting firm.  Were brought in to put a plan in place, a system, a process, and drive it to results via a strong analytic focus.  The surprise is that while these characteristic are necessary to drive to solution, they are not the same characteristics needed throughout the full lifecycle of the project.  As teams determine who is doing what function or role, you need less of a driver and more of an orchestrator, someone who supports rather than drives.  The challenge is if your Dominant, how do you become influencing?  In my experience, you can't take out what God put in, but you can elevate people who are higher on the Influence scale to play a larger role and user their talents to support the team.

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  • Even through I've been in consulting for 30 years, (yes, I've never held a real job), I still tested strong on the Influencing and very low on the Dominance.  Now you may ask, "and your still a consultant?".  The study also indicated how you are naturally and how you work under stress, and I as many of us do, when stress kicks in, so does the dominance side of our personality.  When you start a new project, someone has to lead, figure out the role of the team, get a plan in place, and start to execute.  While the logical choice for leadership is a strong Dominance personality, I would argue, find an Influencer and put them under stress to kick off the project.  They can get done what you need, but when the team starts to click on all cylinders, the nature personality will actually drive a higher performing team. 

So maybe there is a place in this world for someone like me! What about you?


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