3 Ways To Avoid DISC Team Fails

by | Jul 21, 2023 | Blog

Sales is fighting with Marketing… again. Think you’ve got the only company where that happens? Nope, it happens in every company that has dedicated sales professionals trying to communicate their needs to individuals assigned with marketing tasks.

There are similar challenges with Customer Support Teams as they try to communicate client needs with IT, and Quality Assurance can often be at odds with Production. And let’s not even think about how tough it can be for the C-Suite to communicate their needs with any team member operating in the trenches.

Why are these teams always at odds?

It has a lot to do with their DISC profile.

The people who are in these diverse positions excel at their roles because of their DISC profile preferences. The behavioral skills needed for a Sales team member to succeed differ greatly than those needed for an exceptional Marketer. If you try to approach all the people in these diverse roles in the same way, you are climbing an uphill battle.

So, how do you find common ground and open the door to solid communication strategies that appeal to everyone? A Team DISC could be the answer.

Using a DISC profile with your teams helps people understand their own and others’ behavioral styles. DISC can be used in teams to help members better understand each other and determine strategies so they can work together more effectively. However, if DISC is not used correctly, it can actually lead to team failure.

Here are 3 DISC team ‘fails’ and how to avoid them.

Team DISC Fail #1: Labeling

If DISC is used to slap a label on people it can result in misunderstanding and conflict. DISC is not intended to be used as a way to label anyone. None of us is ALWAYS Decisive, Interactive, Stabilizing, or Cautious. We humans are complex creatures and can exhibit many of the character traits associated with each DISC category multiple times throughout the day.

Do This Instead: Promote Understanding

When you instead use the DISC assessment as a tool to promote understanding, the narrative becomes more positive. You’re not out to change people’s behavioral preferences. It’s futile to try. Focus your DISC profile workshops on helping your teams celebrate the differences between style preferences. Without the research and direction provided by an effective group of Marketers, your Sales team could be out there in the wild distributing ineffective collateral that doesn’t speak to their audience. Double down on helping your teams understand and embrace the neurodiversity that DISC reports highlight.

Team DISC Fail #2: Excusing Poor Behavior

During your DISC assessment sessions, share the importance of team members not hiding behind their preferences. There are good and not-so-good qualities to each of the DISC styles. Let’s use Decisive Devon as an example. They could be sitting in the room after you’ve described the DISC’s D column thinking “Well, obviously the way we high D’s make decisions is the best since we’re driving and daring and make decisions fast. That’s just what this place needs. Everybody else just needs to move faster.” Nothing will kill your team’s morale faster than if you let thoughts like this guide team actions.

Do This Instead: Discover Behavioral Differences

Each DISC behavioral style comes with its own set of strengths and potential weaknesses. Take the time to explore both of these with your diverse teams. Ask your Marketing team to list the good qualities of the Sales team and vice versa. Have them report back to the other. Then do the same with the not-so-goods. Having each team aware of how they are viewed by the other is an illuminating exercise. After strengths and potential weaknesses are discussed have the teams work together on SOP’s for collateral creation or whatever key issue you are trying to solve.

Team DISC Fail #3: Expecting Major Behavioral Shifts

Go into your DISC team workshop with your expectations grounded in reality. Your goal should be to promote awareness, not to try to turn Salespeople into Marketers. If that were to happen, sales results would suffer. And the reverse is also true. If you were to try to turn Marketers into Salespeople, brand recognition and customer acquisition rates would suffer.

Do This Instead: Agree To Meet In The Middle

Your goal in your DISC team workshops should be to have the teams use open communication to collaborate on common ground. Neither team should draw a line in the sand saying: “You have to adjust your preferences to exactly match mine.” It’ll never happen. It’s unrealistic and too far of a stretch. Instead have a conversation with both teams in the same room on how the speed at which Sales believes marketing collateral should be created could be at odds with the dedicated research an excellent Marketer wants to take the time to do when creating content. This ensures a high quality piece of collateral that has a better chance of connecting with potential clients. Strive to have both sides adjust their requirements to allow them to meet somewhere in the middle. Yes, the communication preferences of the diverse teams in your company can be a challenge at times, but teach your teams to relish those differences. Your organization will be all the better for it.

DISC Starts The Conversation

Go into your DISC team sessions with an open mind and be prepared to let your teams take the conversation where they need it to go. DISC can be the vehicle that helps behaviorally diverse teams identify areas where they need to improve their communication, collaboration, and decision making. Once identified, they can then set goals, create SOP’s, and decide as a team how to meet in the middle.

From that middle, well imagine that… Sales and Marketing CAN actually get along.




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