We love to learn how people are using DiSC as part of their business, in their workplace, church or home. I recently spoke with an Authorized Everything DiSC Partner from across the pond. Her name is Virginia Banga and she is the lead consultant at Spurgo in Leicester, Great Britain (that’s northeast of Birmingham).
My introduction to Virginia was through another Authorized Partner in England and through her Twitter feed. (I used one of her tweets in a previous post on social media.) She’s a DiSC Di style and our conversation via Skype was animated and rich.
Virginia has a background in learning and organizational development as well as in mental health nursing and started her own consultancy in just the past few years. That background might explain how she begins her interactions with potential clients: she listens. She asks about their pain points and their problems. She doesn’t sell a product or her services directly, rather she sells her ability to help others find solutions to the problems they face. “I’ve found that no matter the industry, there are similar problems with behavior — people problems. But the people aren’t the real problem. The problem is how to use what you’ve got (your talent) to get what you want (business results) and to give others what they want (staff engagement). It boils down to communication,” said Virginia.
Unsurprisingly, she is comfortable in the role of coach and sees herself as more of a facilitator than a trainer. She teaches people about the DiSC or Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team models, but the real service she provides is in helping clients identify their problems, consider their past attempts to solve or ignore it, and reframe the problem in a more solution-based light. She focuses on where people want to go and their goals in working with her.
How Virginia works
Unlike some trainers I’ve spoken with, Virginia acts more like a management consultant, talking with all individuals involved in a problem before she delivers a DiSC program. She makes sure she understands the goals of management before she gives people an Everything DiSC assessment and then debriefs them on it. All the while she’s listening for issues regarding a team or a relationship to surface. She’s very transparent about keeping these sessions private, but also about how she’ll present pressing issues to the group. ‘My aim is to revolutionize the way learning and training resources are delivered’
She spoke to me about working with a team going through a tremendous amount of change, including being placed in the same compensation band as the team that managed their work. There were a lot of political, trust and teamwork issues, including a very tight budget. She said, “In the back of my head I always have the Lencioni model for teams. Is this truly a team?”
Having determined that it was a good candidate for The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, she nevertheless began with Everything DiSC Workplace. She explained, “For me, the first thing to do is to get the communication right. For purposes of that, I used Workplace. Everyone had a profile and personal debrief on their issues, not the team issues. It helped them feel they were getting some appreciation and attention. This was reinforced when the live twitter feed for their session returned with a comment from their senior leader of how precious the group was and he hoped I was looking after them well.”
Her time spent with them as individuals and as a team helped her get “the impact I wanted in a very short time.” This is the main purpose of DiSC, to shorten the lifespan of relationship building by using a neutral genuine non-judgmental code to understand each other.
DiSC email exercise
She used an exercise with this group that I had not heard of. It gets to the need we have to flex across our styles to get the responses we want from others. She split the room into their styles, letting people see that they did have something in common with others. “Even though they were quite different as people they share similar DiSC styles,” she explained.
She then asked them to work as a group per style to write sample emails about an upcoming office move. She had the i and C groups write to each other and the D and S groups do the same. “The chances are that there will be more conflict between these groups. The S group produced lengthy explanatory emails seeking to soothe and reassure the D’s they could take all their stuff with them and the D’s were like ‘that’s enough, you had us when you told us the date of the move!’ The D’s recognized their brief succinct to the point email was rather too clinical for the S’s” she said. “They still talk about it today. One D participant has started to add, ‘I hope you are well as part of her email salutation.’ Progress I say.”
She added, “I’m very cautious that when you introduce people to models they want to pigeon hole. It’s just natural. But I remind everyone that you’ve got that behavioral tendency yourself; it’s just not a dominant preference. The one-on-ones help to highlight that a common feedback is ‘sometimes I behave like this, it depends on the occasion,’ and I remind them of this as a perfect example of how they can flex their style into another less dominant preference.”
She’s been successful with this group. She was happy to share, “I’m no longer doing the selling. They are selling it within their organization. They are advocating for the operational leads to take the same profile so they can start working better together in that direction in the organization.”
Isn’t that the purpose of Everything DiSC? To assist organizations increase their health and communication through developing their employees?