A long time ago, I realized I can teach virtually anyone to accomplish tasks, but getting an excellent cultural fit takes much more effort. I’d love to say, “people get hired for skill and fired for behavior.” Now, I hire for behavior, then teach the skills each person needs to have.
One of the crucial aspects of our hiring process is using the DiSC assessment. Other personality tests offer a lot of depth but can get clunky. Myers-Briggs, for example, has 16 different components and is difficult to understand fully, let alone leverage in a business environment.
DiSC, on the other hand, was designed as “a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork, leadership, sales and communication,” making DiSC perfect for our purposes.
DiSC is more than 99 percent accurate. And the main reason is respondents don’t know what the “right” answer is. So they’re not trying to figure out how they should answer. The test asks about personal preferences in work, reward and communication preferences, and this is precisely what we need. We want to find out how someone’s personality will fit into our team.
Using DiSC in a “whole team” concept
We don’t just use DiSC as a hiring tool, we embrace DiSC at every level of our organization. At a recent staff retreat, we had everyone retake the test, then brought in a specialist to discuss the results and walk everyone through best practices in working with each other.
Several times a year we’ll evaluate our organizational makeup by reviewing everyone’s DiSC profiles. If we notice a deficiency (for example, we might have a plethora of D’s, I’s and S’s, but very few C’s), we’ll pull out our organizational chart and profitable progression plan to see where we can place more C’s in the next round of hiring.
Sometimes we find a stellar candidate who has all the skills and experience in the world but doesn’t fit the job’s personality model. Occasionally we’ve made the mistake of going against the DiSC assessment, thinking, “it’ll be fine this time.”
Without exception, every single person we’ve hired outside the DiSC assessment has left the company within a few months. I can’t underscore the importance of building your company based on team dynamics. It makes all the difference in the world.
So let’s talk about the various personality types and how they work within an organization.
The “D” style: Decisive and tough
D’s tend to be strong-willed, independent and very direct. If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, they’re all about finding the line. They focus on the big picture and the end result.
D personalities are very solution-oriented. They don’t want to sit around and chit-chat or listen to your feelings. D’s are more than happy to help you find an answer to your problem, but their dispositions can seem like the primary reason they engage in interpersonal contact is to either give orders or solve issues.
Despite their numerous strengths, D’s can come across as self-centered and calloused. These are the people who are number one on your list for getting things done, but they might be near the bottom in popularity contests.
D’s fit best in task-oriented roles where they have a lot of autonomy. They’re excellent leaders, but often need quite a bit of mentoring to soften their people skills.
The “I” style: The social butterfly
The I personality type tends to be talkative, open and often very extroverted. I’s have a unique ability to connect with an audience and typically have an excellent stage presence. If your business relies on having someone make a sales pitch to a large group of people, I personalities are where you want to look first.
Since I’s are so concerned with others, however, they tend to be insecure and are usually uncomfortable with confrontations. Their greatest fear is social rejection. While they can have a Pied Piper effect on a large audience, they’re much less effective in an individual sales setting.
When someone says no, the I personality tends to agree with them and move on. They also tend to be very disorganized, so avoid placing them in roles where you consistently need precise, accurate results.
The “S” style: The anchor
S personalities are calm, steady and secure. They tend to be careful, patient and are often very family-oriented. Employees with an S personality tend to thrive in customer service situations. They’re also extremely trustworthy, so if you have a position requiring a high level of confidentiality, keep the S style at the forefront of your mind when structuring your org chart.
The selfless nature of an S can sometimes work to their personal detriment and your organization’s benefit if you don’t know how to manage them. For example, because S’s are so focused on meeting the needs of others, they tend to neglect themselves.
Make sure they’re taking paid time off and not always volunteering to cover someone else’s shift. Their generosity can also make them prone to giving away too much, so if you put an S in a customer service role make sure they have clear guidelines on what they can and can’t do.
The “C” style: Precise and exacting
People with a C personality are very detail-oriented. They want to know all of the rules, policies and procedures. They can be trusted to follow those guidelines to a T. C personalities are logical, careful and disciplined. They thrive in areas where you need specific results, such as accounting. When C’s enter a role they enjoy, they’re often satisfied to remain in the same role for far longer than other employees would be.
Of all the personality types, C’s tend to be the most rigid and inflexible, causing them to come across as hypercritical. They’re arguably the best personality at knocking out tasks. But they’re some of the worst managers, because they sometimes treat people like machines.
Every organization needs each of the personality types. As you build your org chart, think through the kind of person you need filling a particular role.
Customer service, accounting, sales, leadership and team-building all have personality types which are ideal fits. Focus on identifying and hiring someone made for each role, then your entire organization will run like a well-oiled machine.