As we explained in Part I, it is important to understand your own personal culture and motivators before you use a behaviour assessment tool to evaluate your interactions in the business or professional environment. However, once you have gained a deep understanding of yourself as a cultural being, using the Three Colours of Worldview and the 12 Dimensions of Culture, we recommend DiSC® as the perfect next step.
DiSC® is a behaviour assessment tool that centres on four core personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. By asking an intricately designed set of questions, DiSC® helps you to understand who you are and what your behavioural preferences are when you are working collaboratively with other people. When used in conjunction with the Three Colours and the 12 Dimensions, DiSC® provides a very rich insight into who you are and how you behave as part of a team. However, do note that if used as a standalone, DiSC® is an incomplete tool. The application of ICI is necessary, as is helps us explain why, for example, someone with a high D in Germany would behave differently to a high 'D' in Mexico and South Korea.
As discussed in the previous article, your Personal Brand is largely the ability to understand your personal culture and style – and then define and describe that in a positive and dynamic professional manner. A large part of your Personal Brand is connected to your strengths and weaknesses when working as part of a team. Following on from that, the development of your personal brand is about enhancing your strengths, perhaps by choosing the right training; while the presentation of your personal brand is about verbalising your strengths and explaining your weaknesses – so that you can be selected for the right job or project and then build the right team around you to complement your skill set.
The DiSC® assessment enables you to discover, describe and then develop your behavioural strengths. It also helps you to understand your weaknesses. Interestingly, using DiSC® and Inter-Cultural Intelligence, we discover that what we see as our weaknesses are, in actual fact, the results of overusing our strengths. For example someone with a high ‘S’ is very good at accomplishing tasks, they are calm, patient and consistent and often become specialists in specific areas. They tend to be loyal and are good at feeling the pulse of the people around them, preferring to create a harmonious and stable environment. Clearly these are excellent attributes to have as part of a team. However when S is overused it can lead to low risk orientation and indecisiveness. The tendency to seek harmony can also result in conflict being buried under the carpet and not properly dealt with.
What are the consequences?
Once you have completed these three assessment tools, what are the implications? How can all this new knowledge and the language to assess it help you in creating your own personal brand? How do we use it to maximise the resources we put into personal development and training?
1. Create adaptation strategies
If we know our strengths and our tendencies to overuse them, firstly we are able to recognise when we are tipping into weakness, and secondly we can develop mechanisms to adapt to environments that we are not best suited to. Recognising the warning signals or accurately analysing our surroundings will allow us to be better prepared.
2. Use the understanding to verbalise our strengths and needs to clients or bosses.
Often we know exactly why we are at risk of not succeeding in a project, but explaining that in a way that sounds positive can be difficult. The tools we have described enable us to outline our strengths and our needs to colleagues and bosses in a way that communicates as constructive and pro-active.
3. Know who to surround yourself with
Knowing ourselves well means that we can build a team around us in which we ensure that all the key elements needed to make a project successful are represented. Ultimately that means we will be viewed as successful people.
Set yourself free!
All of this information may sound overwhelming – but the truth is that knowing yourself is incredibly liberating! A complete understanding of your personal culture and brand enables you to celebrate you. You don’t have to be all things to all people – and you can be all right with that. It IS all right to be you.
Knowing yourself so well will also help you to focus on your personal and professional development, building a constructive and effective development plan. And ultimately, in the midst of our competitive, globalised world, knowing yourself will enable you to interact successfully with people from a variety of other cultures – making you flexible, valuable and an attractive asset to any team.