The incomparable value of personal self-awareness
In Part I, we discussed how it is vitally important to understand yourself — your own cultural background and personal motivators, before you use an assessment tool to evaluate your behavioral interactions in professional environments, and before you finalize your own personal brand for public sharing.
Your personal brand will coalesce as you come to understand your personal culture and style and cultivate the ability to define and describe that "you" 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.
Note this distinction: Development of your personal brand is about enhancing your strengths and improving weak areas that need attention—perhaps by pursuing optimal training. On the other hand, the presentation of your personal brand is about verbalizing your strengths and explaining your weaknesses—so that you can earn an opportunity. You may desire to be selected for a particular job or to lead a specific project, at which point you would be free to build the right team around you, people whose own strengths and weaknesses complement and offset your own.
Once you have gained a deep understanding of yourself as a cultural being (preferably via the Three Colors of Worldview and the 12 Dimensions of Culture tools), we recommend Everything DiSC® as the perfect next step.
Everything DiSC® is a behavior assessment tool that centers on four core personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. By asking an intricately designed set of questions, Everything DiSC® helps you to understand who you are and what your behavioral preferences are when you are working collaboratively with other people.
When used in conjunction with the Three Colors and the 12 Dimensions, Everything 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. Intentional application of ICI is still absolutely necessary, as it helps us explain why, for example, someone with a high 'D' in Germany might behave differently than a high 'D' in Mexico or South Korea.
The DiSC® assessment enables you to discover, describe, and then develop your behavioral strengths. It also helps you to understand your weaknesses. Interestingly, when utilizing Everything DiSC® and Inter-Cultural Intelligence, we discover that what we once perceived 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; he/she is calm, patient, and consistent. Many 'S' people will often become specialists in particular fields. They tend to be loyal, and are good at gauging the feelings of the people around them, preferring to create a harmonious and stable environment whenever possible. All of these would be excellent assets to bring to a team—and would help to make the team more cohesive! However, when 'S' is overused, it can lead to low risk orientation and indecisiveness. The tendency to seek harmony can also result in conflicts getting buried under the carpet and not properly dealt with.
Bringing it all together beneficially
Once you have completed these three assessment tools, what are the implications and ramifications? How can all this new knowledge and the language to assess it help you in creating your own personal brand? How do we use our results to maximize 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 recognize when we are tipping into weakness; secondly, we can develop mechanisms to adapt to environments to which we are not ideally suited. Recognizing the warning signals and accurately analyzing our surroundings will allow us to be better prepared.
2. Use results to verbalize your strengths and needs to clients or bosses.
Often we know exactly why we risk not succeeding in a project, but explaining that why in a way that sounds positive can be difficult. The tools described above enable us to communicate our strengths and our needs to colleagues and bosses in a way that comes off as both constructive and proactive.
3. Decide what kind of people you want surrounding you
Knowing ourselves well means that we can build a team around us—an optimal team of unique contributors who, when teamed up, bring together all the key elements needed to make a given project successful. Success as part of a high-performing team will cause each contributor to be viewed as successful, as well.
Set yourself free!
All of this information may sound overwhelming—but the truth is, knowing yourself is incredibly liberating! A comprehensive 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 context of such a competitive, increasingly globalized 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.
To learn more about ways Everything DiSC® and Inter-Cultural Intelligence (ICI) can help you exponentially in creating a winning personal brand (and eventually building a cohesive team with whom you can pursue professional success), join one of our upcoming certification workshops. For more information, please contact us.
Adapted from article first published Jan 30, 2014.
Quickly becoming the global preferred choice for Inter-Cultural Intelligence development, KnowledgeWorkx promotes mutual understanding of other cultures and perspectives in the workplace, and helps teams to develop the intercultural capacity necessary to thrive in a globalized world.