Momentary Mastery: Adapting Your DISC Profile for Success

How to make beneficial adaptations to your behaviour to achieve better success working with others.
Learn how momentary adjustments to your natural style can enhance performance without draining your energy.

Using Team8’s DISC Profiles, a ‘natural profile’ or ‘natural style’ describes the way you prefer to approach tasks, communicate with others, achieve outcomes, build relationships, receive information, and more. Your natural style is like writing with your dominant hand, it is what is most comfortable and comes unforced. 

We all have a way of doing things that just feels right, and often what we find is when someone operates in alignment with their natural style, avoiding significant or sustained adaptations, they ultimately perform at their best. This is because they’re not expending additional energy on behaviours that don’t come naturally to them. However, acting in our natural style isn’t always appropriate for every situation or environment, and sometimes we need to adapt our behaviour in order to get a better outcome, avoid conflict, or meet the demands of a role. So how can we learn to adapt effectively? 

When referring to making adaptations, there are two primary categories we consider: momentary adaptations and sustained adaptations. Momentary Adaptations are the small, less significant, but often frequent changes we make in our behaviour, something we might do subconsciously too. Examples of this kind of adaptation could be see when collaborating with a colleague of a different DISC Profile, adjusting the way you deliver a message to suit the way you’ve noticed they like to receive information. Or, it could be altering your approach to complete a specific task at a faster rate than you normally would, to meet a deadline or support your team in achieving what they need to. These kinds adaptions are essential for personal and team benefit, and when practiced effectively, result in achieving optimal results across a variety of situations.

In contrast, sustained adaptations are those changes in behaviour that persist over an extended period, which can be detrimental to performance. Bo Hanson, Director and Lead Performance Consultant at Team8 explains why,

“Extensive, sustained adaptations can induce stress due to the energy required to maintain adapted behaviour. Additionally, sustained adaptations may lead to a sense of operating outside one’s comfort zone, potentially causing fatigue. Instances include working in an unfamiliar role, being required to employ skills one considers limitations, or being in a role incongruent with ones preferred behaviours.” 

Identifying a sustained adaptation is essential for an individual’s well-being and mental health. Bo highlights that the most straightforward way to identify it is by noting the emotional experience during adaption and the fatigue felt afterward. The Team8 DISC Profile serves as a valuable tool, pinpointing our preferred behaviours and the areas where adaption might be necessary. According to Bo, 

“As leaders, awareness is key. We should support our colleagues in making momentary adaptations that align with the environment, steering clear of demands for sustained adaptions that could lead to heightened stress.”

Considering the adverse impacts of sustained adaptations, it’s crucial for professionals to cultivate the skill of making momentary adaptations. Inevitably, a situation will arise where  altering actions or approaches to tasks differently is necessary to achieve optimal outcomes for both an individual and their team.

In the following situations we assume that people have a foundational understanding of their own traits and preferred behaviours. If you have not yet completed a Team8 DISC Profile, we strongly encourage you to do so. Self-awareness is a cornerstone of success, facilitating smoother communication, and the establishment of momentary adaptations. Here are a few instances where the ability to make momentary adaptations proves to be advantageous.

Considering the adverse impacts of sustained adaptations, it’s crucial for professionals to cultivate the skill of making momentary adaptations. Inevitably, a situation will arise where  altering actions or approaches to tasks differently is necessary to achieve optimal outcomes for both an individual and their team.

In the following situations we assume that people have a foundational understanding of their own traits and preferred behaviours. 

If you have not yet completed a Team8 DISC Profile, we strongly encourage you to do so. Self-awareness is a cornerstone of success, facilitating smoother communication, and the establishment of momentary adaptations. Here are a few instances where the ability to make momentary adaptations proves to be advantageous.

Scenario #1: Collaborating With a Different DISC Style

You find yourself in a project collaboration where your partner is assigned, and you’re expected to deliver a successful outcome. The project is an annual event involving close cooperation with safety and medical experts.

Remember: Regardless of professional expertise, understanding ourselves and our partners enables necessary adaptations for effectively and efficient collaboration.

In this scenario, you possess a ‘C/S Profile’ in the DISC Model characterised by structure, focus, and a reluctance to venture into unfamiliar territory. Your partner boasts an ‘I/D Profile,’ embodying spontaneity, creativity, and direct communication. You both have the option to temporarily adjust your behaviour for optimal collaboration, or remain in your preferred comfort zones, risking potential conflict, and tension.

Scenario #2: Adapting Your Approach for a Specialised Role

You are part of a telecommunications provider, regularly engaging with on-sellers, service providers, and clients. Your inclination, characterised by an organisational and process-oriented ‘High C’ Profile in the DISC Model, contrasts with that of a marketing team representative who possesses an ‘I’ Profile – marked by spontaneity, lack of structure, and excellence in relationship development. For a particular client project, you are partnered with this representative, and efficient completion of scheduled tasks is crucial.

Remember: Adaption doesn’t mean becoming someone else; it’s about making behavioural choices aligned with the situation.

As a team, you’ve decided on a format to ensure both the structured ‘C’ Profile and the relationship centric ‘I’ Profile can contribute effectively. In this scenario, the marketing representative may temporarily adopt ‘C’ style behaviours to meet the client’s expectations reliant on adhering to the schedule. Remember it’s about making strategic choices within the situation, not asking someone to fundamentally change who they are.

Scenario #3: Embracing a New Role

You are a vital part of a team providing health services to an isolated community. Your role, primarily in nursing, is attributed to your empathetic, patient, and understanding nature. However, to sustain operations, management occasionally require qualified staff to take on liaison roles, demanding a level of structure and process beyond your usual experience.

Many successful people credit their success to versatility and adaptability. When the opportunity arose, they were able to draw on a skill that best suited the situation and make the most of an opportunity.

In this example, you, a people-orientated ‘High S’ Profile, are tasked with utilising your interpersonal skills in a liaison capacity, which also requires task-orientation typical of the ‘High C’ Profile. While these skills may not be your usual forte, making momentary adaptions proves beneficial. By contributing to the team’s needs, you not only assist in the immediate task but also broaden your professional skill set for future opportunities.

Where to from here?

In our experience collaborating with successful leaders and organisations, we’ve observed that an individual tends to perform better when they can operate in alignment with their natural style, avoiding continual making significant adaptations. The foundational step toward making advantageous adjustments is developing a robust sense of self-awareness, a journey facilitated by Team8’s suite of DISC Profiles.

We are dedicated to delivering exceptional service to support you in performing at your best. If what you have read has piqued your interest, or if there’s anything we can do to assist you, please feel free to reach out and contact us. We’re here to help!

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