Have you ever felt like you and a co-worker just do not see eye to eye? They want things done one way and you want to achieve the same goal differently. Spending so much time with someone you don’t get along with can drain your energy and make work unenjoyable.
Imagine you can learn about yourself and your co-workers to ultimately strengthen your relationships and greatly improve happiness and productivity on your team. While it can be difficult to identify the reasons you work well with some individuals and struggle with others, taking a closer look at yourself and your teammates can lead to a more understanding and collaborative work environment.
One suite of tools that can make a difference in your organization’s culture is Everything DiSC®. In this article, we look at how the Everything DiSC Workplace Learning Experience can be utilized in retail operations of all sizes and why investing in your team in this way can lead to improved job satisfaction, a more positive work climate and even better employee retention. On the following pages, learn how two retailers have utilized this assessment in unique ways.
The team at Northwest Hardware LLC, a chain of five independent hardware stores in Montana, has been using their Everything DiSC results for a year to continue learning and growing by referencing the team’s results.
Paint Fair, a paint and decorating business based in Freeport, Grand Bahama, is brand new to Everything DiSC. In this feature, company vice president Lesley Davies-Baptista will share what it’s like getting started and how her team plans to use the results.
Why DiSC Is Relevant
Everything DiSC is a personal development learning experience that measures an individual’s preferences and tendencies based on the DiSC model.
In an assessment program offered by the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) and administered by NHPA retail consultant Kim Peffley, retailers and their employees take an individual assessment. Each individual receives personalized insights meant to deepen their understanding of themselves and others by recognizing how each person functions and communicates.
To gain even more insights and grow as a team, Peffley meets with the team to further explain Everything DiSC, review results and help facilitate conversations.
“Each person who takes the DiSC assessment has a unique behavioral profile with different styles and priorities,” Peffley says. “It’s important to understand that no one style is better or worse than the next. In fact, these differences in style can be extremely valuable. Once you assess these differences and harness their value, better workplace communication and healthier organizations become possible.”
When it comes to strengthening his business, TJ Comstock, owner of Northwest Hardware, is willing to try new programs and invest in his employees. Comstock introduced Everything DiSC in his organization over a year ago. While he entered into it a bit skeptical because he wasn’t sure how it would help, he was hopeful for positive results.
“Talking to other retailers who had found success implenting Everything DiSC in their organizations helped me decide to go for it and try it out with our management teams,” Comstock says.
Comstock has added new team members and managers in the past few years, so having his management team take the assessment and see where they all fell on the Everything DiSC circle helped establish stronger lines of communication.
“What has impressed me the most about Everything DiSC is how accurate it is in describing how people function in the workplace,” he says. “I think every conversation we have now in our manager meetings or phone calls involves us reminding one another of our styles and adjusting how we address each other.”
Comstock himself was surprised at how much he learned about his own personality and how he could better communicate with his employees who have different communication styles.
The assessment also provided a big breakthrough moment for two Northwest Hardware employees.
“We had two managers based out of the same store who had been butting heads for a while,” Comstock says. “When we sat down to go over our results, they sat far apart and avoided each other. After their assessments, they understood why they rubbed each other the wrong way and adjusted how they communicated with each other. Now they’re pretty good friends.”
The managers who had struggled with communicating with each other are a dominant-conscientiousness (DC) personality, which prioritizes accuracy and is more forceful, and an influence (i) type, which tends to be more in tune to emotions and more sensitive to criticism. These styles are considered opposites on the DiSC spectrum, so the manager who is a DC wanted to be direct and abrupt in conversations and the other was more social and concerned for everyone else’s needs and feelings. Their light bulb moment came in understanding that the other person isn’t wrong, but they each have strengths where the other is lacking, which makes them stronger together.
To build on the Everything DiSC Workplace Learning Experience, the Northwest Hardware team has also taken additional assessments that are designed to help participants better understand themselves and other people in various realms and expand their capabilities, like developing emotional intelligence and creating impactful leaders through the process of vision, alignment and execution.
“I think incorporating the additional applications have really built the solid foundation of Everything DiSC for us,” Comstock says. “They have helped refine and add another layer of understanding to what we initially learned. It didn’t change the language we had developed, but it deepened our understanding of one another.”
For the managers at all five stores, Everything DiSC has become part of the language they use daily to communicate and understand each other better, Comstock says. Learning a common vocabulary for explaining what they need in terms of clear instructions, affirmation of their work efforts and personal growth has been valuable for the team.
“For all you get out of taking Everything DiSC and exploring it deeper with an expert like Kim, it’s worth the time and investment,” he says. “I’d recommend Everything DiSC to any owner or manager looking to implement it in their own business.”
New to Everything DiSC
When Lesley Davies-Baptista, the vice president of Paint Fair in Freeport, Grand Bahama, learned about the Everything DiSC Workplace Learning Experience, she was eager to try it with her team.
“I’ve been in management a long time, and I’ve done a lot of training and professional and personal development over the years,” Davies-Baptista says. “The DiSC assessment was unique to me in the sense that it has helped me reflect on the strengths and weaknesses in my personality and showed me different ways to interact with my team for better results. It’s relevant for our staff now and anyone we bring in down the line, which is pretty unique from a training perspective.”
Davies-Baptista and her team of 12 employees all took the assessment and then joined a virtual meeting session with NHPA’s Peffley to go over the results.
“When you get a 20-page report, it can feel a little overwhelming,” Davies-Baptista says. “The meeting was helpful because Kim was able to break it down in a way we could all understand together. There were so many light bulbs going off during the discussion, and it was amazing how spot on the results were.”
Overall, the team was made up of a mixture of styles across the circle, with lots of i, S and C types and only a few Ds. With the help of Peffley, the employees immediately saw how people with opposite personality styles would not always see eye to eye and started to find new ways to address problems.
“I think we always took personalities into consideration, but never at this level,” Davies-Baptista says. “This doesn’t just affect how we communicate with each other, but also our customers and business associates. If you look at the different styles for how people receive information, you can take some of the things that derail conversations out of the equation.”
In the days after the meeting with Peffley, she says there was a renewed energy among the members of the team, who regularly bring up Everything DiSC styles. Additionally, Davies-Baptista was happy the entire staff was able to be involved, have their voices heard and see their styles be recognized as important.
“Participating in Everything DiSC was a great way to allow the staff to be seen individually, which means so much when you’re trying to manage employees,” Davies-Baptista says. “It has given me a clearer and simplified way of looking at how we communicate with each other.”
Moving forward, the team at Paint Fair will continue to use the language learned in their Everything DiSC discussion. Davies-Baptista also plans to offer the tool to new hires so the team can use the information when working with new employees from the beginning.
“I think Everything DiSC would be a great ice breaker for new employees, and it’s something we will provide and continue to use moving forward,” she says. “I think this has been a valuable investment for what it has provided so far and what I think it will continue to provide.”
Any tool that allows you to focus on improving communication within your team is invaluable, Davies-Baptista says.
“If we in business really evaluated the pain points we face, especially retailers, it would be the challenges that come from communication and how we interact with one another,” she says. “Everything DiSC has already been a valuable investment and it wasn’t something we couldn’t manage financially or from a time perspective. It’s worth trying.”