By Anne Quiello
Several years ago, my husband and I had the good fortune of sitting with former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter at a small gathering. We took this rare opportunity to ask the President how he was able to negotiate the famous peace agreement between Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel in 1978. He described a process of focusing these men on what they had in common rather than their differences. They recognized that they shared the same dreams for their children and grandchildren – growing up in a peaceful, safe, and secure land. And during the two weeks at Camp David where they hammered out the agreement, they got into each other’s worlds reaching deeper understanding of one another. Their differences were no longer barriers to building critically more effective relationships.
Studies have demonstrated that the most effective way to gain commitment and cooperation of others is to ‘get into their world,’ and to discover not only what they have in common but also to understand what could be differences in interpersonal styles that get in the way of alignment. Every hour in every day the intent and meaning of a communication exchange is missed, lost, or rejected based solely on another’s style that is different than our own.
Individuals, groups, and teams who find it difficult to align or overcome differences with others have found it very useful to explore the interpersonal communication styles of themselves and others using Everything DiSC®. Understanding people’s respective DiSC styles has proven effective in team building, gaining commitment and cooperation, resolving, and preventing conflict, and improving overall levels of personal engagement.
After one team discovered they had predominantly D’s in their group (which stands for Dominant, who are typically fast-paced, decisive, bottom line focused) they consciously reviewed their selection strategy. This was an organization that wanted to grow but they needed some I’s (Influencers who are also fast paced, and “idea factories” in generating innovative growth strategies). They also needed at least one C (Conscientious style that focuses on facts, data and accuracy) to ensure the business remained financially on course. And the S on the team (Steadiness style that typically is low key, slower paced, and relationship-oriented) discovered how her style was the opposite of her D cohorts and why she was struggling with being cut off during her presentations to the D’s. Each member of the team got “into the worlds” of the other styles, grew in understanding, and developed strategies on how to adapt their styles to gain meaningful alignment and commitment on critical areas of understanding.