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Team development strategies using DiSC behavioural profiling

Background

A large, regional veterinary practice had recently experienced substantial growth. In order to resource this growth, there had been a significant increase in the number of staff to support both the small and large animal veterinary needs of a large and diverse geographical area.

The Problem

Due to this fairly recent and significant increase in the number of staff, most staff were not properly aligned to the goals of the practice and nor did they have the skills to work effectively as a team. This was demonstrated by regular disagreements and arguments; poor team cohesion and the creation of ‘silos’ within the various functional areas of the practice. The Practice Owner really needed to investigate the application of an employee analysis or behavioural profiling tool as a resource to encourage better communication and team cohesion. Their research led them to Wentworth Advantage.

The Solution

It was recommended that a Staff Development Day be organized, with the key theme of the day being a DiSC Behavioural Workshop.

What is DiSC?

DISC is a four quadrant behavioral model based on the work of William Moulton Marston PhD (1893–1947) to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation (otherwise known as environment). It therefore focuses on the styles and preferences of such behaviour.

Marston realised that it was possible, with a high degree of accuracy, to determine and predict the long term behavior of an individual based upon a set of questions. He was able to name four vectors of behavior, namely Assertiveness, Sociability, Tranquility, and Dependence, and the means to identify the relative propensity of individuals to behave according to these predictive scales.

This system of dimensions of observable behavior has become known as the universal language of behavior. Research has found that characteristics of behavior can be grouped into these four major "personality styles" and they tend to exhibit specific characteristics common to that particular style. All individuals possess all four, but what differs from one to another is the extent of each.

For most, these types are seen in shades of grey rather than black or white, and within that, there is an interplay of behaviors, otherwise known as blends. The denotation of such blends starts with the primary (or stronger) type, followed by the secondary (or lesser) type, although all contribute more than just purely the strength of that signal.

The DiSC Behavioural profiling tool assists in the understanding of the differences between these blends and thus makes it possible to integrate individual team members with differing behavioural profiles. In a typical team, there are varying degrees of compatibility, not just toward tasks but interpersonal relationships as well. However, when they are identified, energy can be spent on refining the results.

Each of these types has its own unique value to the team, ideal environment, general characteristics, what the individual is motivated by, and value to team.

The Outcome

As a result of the DiSC Behavioural Workshop, the veterinary practice has identified the following positive outcomes:

  • DiSC has helped each staff member understand themselves and others within the work environment.
  • Through using the DiSC profile, each staff member now understands their own behaviour and tempereament and can identify the communication strategies most conducive for personal and organisational success.
  • At the same time, they also learnt about the ways others in the team differ, and the different environments people need for maximum productivity and teamwork within the practice.
  • It is now a healthier, more tolerant and inclusive work environment where individual team members take personal accountability for improving workplace working relationships.

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