Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt, INFJ

Ritchey, Tom, with Alan Axelrod, Iím Stuck, Youíre Stuck: Breakthrough to Better Work Relationships and Results by Discovering your DiSC® Behavioral Style, San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.,

2002, ISBN 1-57675-133-3, 203 pp. Includes personal profile.

I took the Self-Discovery Process® training last year with Linda Berens which includes the Interaction Styles portion that connects temperament to the 16 personality types. Linda had said the interaction styles were similar to the DiSC® system, so I was curious about it. A one-day workshop on it was available through continuing learning of the local high school so I attended to see what I could learn. I felt the workshop was worthwhile and it helped me have a clearer idea of interaction styles that I was presenting to my Appreciating Differences group.
Berens In-Charge Get-Things-Going Behind-the-Scenes Chart-the-Course
DiSC® Dominance Influence Supportiveness Conscientiousness

Iím Stuck, Youíre Stuck was recommended for further study by the DiSC® facilitator. Other than a very silly title, the book is worthwhile and very helpful. The main difference between Berensís interaction styles and the DiSC® system is how they are used. Berens wants people to determine their dominant interaction style, similar to determining their dominant temperament. She creates a matrix that places the four interaction styles into each of the four temperaments (described in a previous review) giving sixteen possibilities or the sixteen personality types. This becomes an additional check to help the person get a best-fit personality type. Berens does not use an indicator to help you determine your interaction style but you choose your style from the descriptions presented. The theory is that your interaction style is innate although of course it does not limit your ways of interacting with others.

The DiSC® system is not concerned with innate ways of interacting but rather how you tend to interact with specific people or specific groups. The book contains a personal profile in which you rate 12 statements for each style. They are not rank ordered as with True Colors®. One woman in our group answered the profile the way she interacted with her husband. She made a guess as to how her husband would have answered it. The leader offered to help anyone to look at their situation. This woman volunteered to look at her relationship. Other than knowing the different styles of the couple she didnít give any personal information. The group with guidance from the leader then suggested areas of possible misunderstanding and conflict. The volunteer found these suggestions quite helpful.

If you think of a Venn diagram in which a circle representing the personality overlapping with a circle representing the environment, the common overlapping area represents the DiSC®. The four dimensions (styles) are created by the answer to two questions: Is this situation favourable or unfavourable to me? and Do I have power or control in this situation?
DiSC® Unfavourable Favourable
You lack power or control C - Conscientiousness S - Supportiveness
You have power or control D - Dominance I - Influence

A similar matrix for Berens Interaction Styles is:
Directing Informing
Responding Chart-the-Course Behind-the-Scenes
Initiating In-Charge Get-Things-Going

Each dimension is described in terms of the values to the group and areas of misunderstanding. It suggests information to share, what to look for and how to get unstuck. There are numerous anecdotal examples that make the book quite interesting.

When answering the profile, any score over 44 is considered a strength. It is possible to have none, one, two, three or four dimensions all over the score of 44. These blended or combination dimensions are given full descriptions as well as the individual dimensions.

I think both Berens interaction styles or the DiSC® dimensions would be very helpful to team building. Each of these styles or dimensions is necessary and valid in any team. Conflict often occurs because people donít understand these roles or they are not using the appropriate role at the right time.

I think the DiSC® system has a lot to offer. Another book in the series is the 4-Dimensional Manager: DiSC® Strategies for Managing Different People in the Best Ways by Julie Straw. The content is almost identical except this one is more for managers. So pick the one that suits your situation. It is not worth buying both.

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