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4 Costly Mistakes: How You Can Be Betrayed By Your Own Strengths - 2018-09-08

4 Costly Mistakes: How You Can Be Betrayed By Your Own Strengths

Pulling to the right

Years ago, I came across a story of a man who had to row a boat from his house across a lake to catch a train. My recollection is that one morning he left out late and had to row faster to make up the time. He could row a lost faster with the right oar than with the left. So, he doubled up on the use of the right oar. He ended up off course and missed the train.

The moral of the story is that if we overuse our strengths we can end up failing to meet our objectives. Our go-to strategy can betray us if we overuse it.

Taken to the logical conclusion, if the man only used the right oar, he would simply go in circles.

Balance is an essential component of forward movement.

Dangerous reliance

The challenge is that under pressure and in a crisis, we tend to go for our most trusted response. Sometimes, it betrays us.

Our DISCerning Communication Model of Communication and Leadership offers us four insightful examples of the dangers of overusing our strengths.

I > Denise (D-Style preference) built a successful career based on her decisiveness. She thinks fast on her feet and backs herself to make the right decisions.

Faced with an unfolding crisis, Denise went to her strength. She quickly summed up the situation and took decisive action. This time she overlooked some critical information and found herself in a box of bricks.

Denise was betrayed by an overuse of a characteristic of her D-Style preference which has served her well. Denise would have been better served by incorporating more facts and evidence (C-Style). She could also have benefited from getting input from others in search of consensus (S- Style). Balance!

II > Ivan (I-Style preference) is an off-the-chart success story when it comes to team building and encouraging employee engagement. He buys in early and encourages his colleagues to get involved. Ivan loves the idea of volunteering and getting to meet new people.

The adrenaline rush and the joy of adding value in other areas drives Ivan to step up his level of volunteering. However, this is now starting to impact Ivan’s performance in his principal role. Also, he is missing some deadlines for deliverables in some of his volunteering projects.

Ivan is being betrayed by one of the strengths that make him tick. He can benefit from some C-Style scheduling and increased caution when making commitments.

III > Stanley (S-Style preference) is the best friend or colleague that one could ever have. Stanley stands in your shoes and empathizes with your challenges even when he is adversely affected. He sacrifices himself to make you comfortable and understands your missteps.

Stanley recognizes that this attitude reflects spiritual maturity. Self-denial and compassion are virtues to be embraced.

June recognizes this feature of Stanley’s behaviour and decides to exploit it. She plays Stanley like a fiddle. There is a recurring cycle of abuse, understanding and self-sacrifice.

Stanley is being betrayed by a strength that is closely aligned to his faith.

Stanley would benefit from a dose of C-Style scepticism and objectivity. He could also use a touch of D-Style what-is-in-it-for-me pragmatism when dealing with June.

IV > Carol (C-Style preference) does not miss anything. Her capacity to notice, record and recall facts is the envy of many who have been found stuttering as Carol recalls what actually happened.

Attention to detail and a devotion to gathering information has served Carol well. As a committed disciple of evidence-based philosophy, her arguments are always well-grounded.

Carol takes that mind-set over into work on the development of a new service. She keeps seeking more data, more testing, more feedback from prospective clients. She wants to ensure a successful launch. However, a competitor fast-tracks their development and launches their service before Carol. They gain the critical first-mover advantage.

Carol is now in a predicament because she was betrayed by overuse of her strengths. She would have benefited by injecting an element of D-Style risk-taking and greater confidence in her problem-solving abilities.


Learn more about our DISCerning Model of Communication & Leadership. Request a free copy of our publication: DISCerning Communication – Comprehensive Guide to Interpersonal Relations, Leadership and Coaching at info@successwithpeople.org

Download the Special Report: New Plan Prepares Volunteer Coaches To Drive Engagement And Retention at https://preview.tinyurl.com/winwinengagement

Learn more about the turn-key Coach-Mentor Certification program here:


Complete your enrolment for the Certified Behavioural Coach program: http://www.successwithpeople.org/cbcprogram.

Trevor E S Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify Leadership Professionals and Coach/Mentors and develop Engaged, High Performing Teams. Hire Smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling coaches in the ICF/SHRM-Accredited Certified Behavioural Coach program.  E-mail: info@successwithpeople.org

What Am I Best Suited To Do? - 2018-01-11

What Am I Best Suited To Do?

          This question is asked at various stages of our lives.

          The importance of this Big Question shows up in later life as there is a tendency for people to question their purpose in life and to seek new meaning that is aligned to their interests.

          Career Guide Online Answers The Big Question

          Career Guide Online Is An Interest Inventory

          Career Guide Online is carefully crafted to provide you with a reliable assessment of how your interests relate to careers in the modern work environment.

          This inventory will help to point you towards the careers that best fit your interests. 

Are You In The Wrong Job? - 2018-01-11

Are You In The Wrong Job?

Not much has changed since the shocking Deloitte study indicated that 2 out of every 3 members of the US workforce were not engaged. I don’t know what the situation is within your organization or even if you happen to be one of the two who are not engaged at work.

The commercial in which a General has to reveal a password to a wider audience and it spells out iHATEmyJob1 is very much to the point. You will be surprised at levels of the organization to which low engagement goes. I was surprised when someone who aspired to the leadership of a creative and high profile department indicated that they did not feel inspired or motivated.

Another high ranking professional indicated that they got by on the basis of sheer professionalism and discipline.

The reasons for low engagement in the workforce are many and varied. They also change over time even with the same individual and/or organization.

I am of the view that some of the challenges that individuals have with their jobs arise from the fact that it is not a good fit for them or they are not a good match for it.

Why do people end up in the wrong job? What produces rounds pegs in square holes?

I.                    Default

Many people end up in jobs by default. Some get hired because a ‘connection’ sets them up. Others send random applications out and one of them bears fruit. Another group joins the family business as they are expected to do. Some of those end up in roles for which they are not suited and for which they have very little enthusiasm. But guilt, loyalty and tradition keeps them stuck there.

II.                  Necessity

Financial needs push us to accept the idea that a job is a job. Get one and put food on the table. This lack of discrimination among jobs and neglect of the importance of role fit is a major source of round pegs in squares holes. This interest-role misfit has the potential to continue for extended periods as the need for money drives a level of performance that is sufficient to stave off dismissal. But there is a daily struggle and job satisfaction is a distant thought.

III.                Poor Recruitment and Selection

Round peg, square hole misfits are not solely the fault of job seekers. Many organizations are guilty of poor recruitment and selection practices. Recruitment is not structured and selection does not incorporate objective assessment.

The situation is compounded by weak onboarding and orientation methods. So, even if by chance the right candidate is selected they are thrown off track by ineffectual induction into the organization.

IV.                Ineffective Career & Succession Planning

Circumstances change and when organizations fail to plan and prepare for evolving developments, they end up with staff that is not able to effectively deal with the new situation and are misfits for their jobs.


1.       Career guidance

Job seekers and their support group must take greater care in identifying their interests and skills and work to match those to potential opportunities. Support assessment tools are available to guide the process.

2.       Structured screening

Organizations need to reflect on the cost of bad hires. There are substantial financial and other major costs to both the organization and the applicant. They can be avoided by thoughtful and structured action. Approach each new hire with the rigour that would be applied to purchasing a new Accounting system.

3.       Vision and Training Needs Analysis

Second-generation misfits can be kept to a minimum by careful forecasting of the talent needs of the entity going forward. Examining future skill needs allows the organization to prepare appropriate learning and development plans and equip or hire staff to address the requirements.


Appreciate the pain of someone who grinds daily through a job they hate! Choose wisely using objective assessments and career planning.

More information: E-mail: info@swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy home of the revolutionary FinxS Platform from Extended DISC. Hire Smart with FinxS Behavioural Assessments. Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys, 360 Performance Evaluations and Team Reports using logistics-friendly technology.



Stay Put or Jump Ship? - 2017-04-04

 Stay Put or Jump Ship?


Deciding whether to continue in their present job or actively seek alternative employment is a recurring question for mid-career employees.  The challenge is increased for those who are successful in their present job and have an apparently secure future. Deciding really gets difficult for people who joined the organization at an early stage in their careers and feel a sense of belonging and even obligation for the growth that they have experienced.

Answers as to whether to stay or leave the job are as varied as the persons involved. Nevertheless, I share some guidelines that may facilitate the decision making process.

Market Value

One important consideration would be to establish how marketable you are and the value that is placed on you. You may think that you have suitable options, but it is better to get assurance from being better informed.

Evaluating your value:

·         Keep abreast of job postings from multiple sources. Take care to look at the qualifications and competences that are in demand.

·         Register with a trusted head hunter or recruitment agency who will first of all review what you bring to the table and share what you might expect from the job market. They could also alert you to new opportunities that appear to be a fit for you and check if you are interested.

·         Apply for suitable jobs without having made a mental commitment to leave. You go into the interviews more with a view to learning about the grass on the other side than out of a decision to cross the fence. Be very discrete and careful!

Switching Costs

One reason why individuals who have climbed up the corporate ladder stay put in their organization is that there are costs appended to moving.

Having to earn your stripes all over again is a major deterrent. You are now well respected and trusted. Going to a new environment means going through hoops once again.

Another issue is that you may have to acquire new skills or navigate new learning curves. With that comes a degree of stress and a touch of self-doubt.

Rewards for switching

Anecdotally, individuals who make strategic changes in employment end up with higher emoluments than those who stick to one employer. The logic behind that is that you are likely to move for more than you are currently earning (including your next salary increase). Consequently, it is hard for the individual who depends solely in pay increments to keep pace.

Switching can also accelerate career advancement. You move to accept positions that are on a higher rung than you currently occupy. This might get you to higher levels faster than awaiting promotions.

The flip side of the career development issue is where you are being fast-tracked in your current job. In that case, you might not be interested in leaving.

Internal Shift

One option for addressing the itch for a change is to examine options for a significant shift in roles and responsibilities within the current organization. I am aware of an actual case where the Head of HR followed his technology passion and skills to transition to CIO.

More interestingly, I personally researched and did the groundwork to successfully make the case for my employers to set up a subsidiary which I then managed. This resulted in a dramatic upward career trajectory.

Using your creativity in your present job can produce great results for you and your organization.


You may find it useful to adopt these principles:

·         Pay close attention to your career and ongoing personal development.

·         Hone skills that are relevant in the current environment and in keeping with emerging trends.

·         Seek out cross-training and volunteering opportunities to expand your skills and your network.

·         Constantly update your resume.

·         Join groups or associations that allow for networking and keeping your pulse on industry trends.

·         Find a balance between risk and security that fits your risk profile and financial situation.

Advance your career with SHRM-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award and 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People programmes. Earn PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications.

Send your issues to: E-mail: info@infoservonline.com.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy™.




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