I was a young church planter, probably about a year into the new church plant, when I bought a day of consulting. As a part of that process, consultant Dan Reeves gave me a personal profile system that is now called DiSC. (And yes, for reasons unknown, the i is lower case.) He had me take this inventory and when we debriefed the results, the first words out of his mouth were, “Bob, unless you change your behavior, you will kill this church.”
That got my attention. So I naturally asked, “What do you mean?” He then proceeded to describe my behavioral tendencies as a high D: that I was very driven, high-pressure, result-oriented, pushing people, treating everyone the same way (as if they were just like me). After a big undertaking in which my team struggled to help me take one hill, I’d say, “Okay, let’s take another hill!” with no time for rest or celebration. My task-orientation was going to drive people into the ground. I needed to learn how to adapt my style to work effectively with people who were different than me.
Over the next 18 to 24 months, I very painfully, step-by-step, learned how to flex my behavior to get results in a way that was appropriate for others as well. When I held team meetings, I would actually write down on my agenda, “Be relational.” I even put down a timeframe: 20 minutes. I didn’t show anyone else this agenda, of course. I’d also add notes: “Ask so-and-so about their brother,” or some other relational item unconnected to the task at hand. On my calendar, I’d write at random intervals, “Call so-and-so and encourage them.”
Sound artificial? Absolutely. I was forcing myself to learn a new set of behaviors that did not come at all naturally to me. Yet over time these behaviors became habits and I could do them without as much effort. But remember– it did take 18-24 months.
I highly recommend the DiSC profile because it saved my ministry. In the next few entries, I’d like to share some of the insights I’ve learned over the years, not only for me as a D, but for other behavioral styles as well. If you’re familiar with DiSC, bring it out and dust it off. If you’re not, I really recommend that you take the DiSC profile.