We’re all wired differently. That’s a good thing in our richly diverse world. If we were all the same, the world would be a very dull place.
People’s individual traits show up as strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, it’s not easy to recognise attributes either in ourselves or others. That’s where D.I.S.C. profiling helps, indicating where your strengths lie and helping you achieve your goals, your big picture visions. It helps you discover where to focus your energies and where you may need some assistance.
Pulling the Plan Together
Since starting my first coaching business 2009, I had a revelation. I discovered that I am an unusual combination of big picture thinking and understanding the detailed steps needed to get there. I have a knack for simplifying visions into workable plans. I love playing with the jigsaw pieces but I need to know what the overall picture is on the lid of the box to see how they all go together.
Seeing both the big picture and the details needed to achieve the goal was a huge benefit when I was an FD, as it is now in my coaching and mentoring work. I can talk about the vision and mission, and then I can strategically plan, putting the pieces together, making the whole thing work.
My clients find this skill really valuable, too. Because, as they talk, I make sense of everything they’re saying, putting those layers together.
Coaching is normally about exploring what your big picture is for you to then work on the details to make it happen. However, for my big picture clients who can’t always see the details, I help them put the strategies in place to make their vision a reality.
Making the Plan Work
Big picture thinker or not, most people have an idea of what they want to achieve. You’ll be driven in some way towards an ultimate goal. So, we formulate your plan around this process:
- We find the big picture of what you want to achieve
- We break it down into goals to help you deliver your vision
- We look at the steps within each goal
- Then we draw up a daily to-do list
These four aspects have to work in harmony. Because if you only have the big picture without a clear idea of how to implement it, it remains a wish and never turns into a reality. Or if you only have the to-do list, it’s too easy to wander off on a tangent and end up in the wrong direction.
Previously, I’ve covered G is for Goals – How Are You at Setting and Achieving Goals? and V is for Vision – Looking Ahead with Clarity. Today, we’re focusing on the details – an essential aspect of making the plan work and achieving your goals.
This is where reaching a balance is needed. You need the right amount of detail to progress, but not so much that you’re too immersed in them. Spending too long double, triple or quadruple checking wastes time and means you’ll never make progress.
The Paralysis of Analysis
When you realise that you’re over analysing things, it’s time to stop. You could keep researching and become very well informed, but you won’t progress. There comes a point of diminishing returns where the next piece of information adds no extra value.
When you realise that you’ve been caught in the detail trap, chunking can help. Look at the situation and group information into “chunks” for less detail.
Chunking means either dividing a topic down into smaller, manageable categories or grouping up to summarise a group of categories.
A good example is modes of transport. Chunk that down into types of transport, such as commercial and passenger transport. Then chunk down to modes of passenger transport, such as planes, trains, cars, bicycles. We could then chunk cars down into types, such as SUVs, family cars, sports cars. Then sports cars down to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin. You get the idea!
There will be times when it’s appropriate to move up or down the levels. If you’ve been drawn down too many layers of detail then chunk back up to the level that fits the context.
One powerful message that’s important to remember is: ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’. A book of this title, written by Richard Carlson, is really insightful. The second chapter heading is ‘Make peace with imperfection’ – as a recovering perfectionist myself, I know that imperfect action beats perfect inaction every day, helping me to finish tasks that are ‘good enough’, but not perfect.
To reiterate, don’t get bogged down in the detail! And yet…
The Devil is in the Detail
This little idiom means that if you haven’t thought through the details, there’s a risk that you could get caught out. Big picture thinkers often trip up because of some detail that was overlooked.
An earlier idiom – “God is in the details” – referred to the notion that to do something well, the success of the task is in the details. Having the vision is great but successful implementation means getting the details right.
I like the balance between those two phrases.
So, although we need the details, watch out for pitfalls. That’s where good planning and recognising the challenges are important, and where my clients find my assistance particularly valuable.
Details also help you to measure your progress and success. How do you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Sometimes there’s an emotional response, other times a more practical one, such as seeing financial results improve. So working out what detail needs tackling helps to measure your achievements too.
Details are the specificity of what you want to accomplish. They sit usefully alongside the context, the big picture and the vision.
D is also for D.I.S.C.
Discover what your D.I.S.C. preferences may be by watching my video: DISCover D.I.S.C – introduction to DISC characteristics.
Each of us has all four of the D.I.S.C. ingredients and they come together in our own unique recipe of the attributes. One, or maybe two, are usually more prominent. The characteristics are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. Each characteristic has its own skills. For instance, you may be a solution focused leader or maybe you’re someone who enjoys making connections with others. Perhaps you are someone who is loyal, predictable, and an excellent collaborator or maybe you’re a rule follower who loves procedures.
Understanding not only your own characteristics but also those of your colleagues, team members or contacts means that you can plan to work to your strengths. Doing that helps you become a highly successful group, achieving far more than ever before. Knowing your attributes helps you both as an individual and as a team for the growth and success of your organisation.
Whether it’s for the workplace, a hobby or for your own awareness at home, a D.I.S.C. profile gives insight into the behaviour and communication preferences that drive how each of us operates day to day.