BLUF: Is it worthwhile to try and adjust your O3 "opening question" to the DISC profile of each direct?  If so, how would one do so?

An interesting thought that occured to me this morning was whether I should be trying to adjust my opening question to the DISC profile of each of my directs in their one-on-one.  It doesn't seem like a particularly hard thing to do -- make the question more task-oriented for the D/C, and more person-oriented for the I/S (or perhaps the other way around?  Hmm...).  You could even tune on the assertive/reserved axis, by making the question one that requires a more detailed answer from those who are naturally reserved (compare "How are things?" vs "What have you been up to this week?").

What are people's thoughts on this?  Is it worth doing?  What are good questions for each profile?  Here are my thoughts:

High D: You want a task-focused question, but not necessarily one that requires a long response because the D will probably be willing to dominate the discussion anyway.  "How are things?" should work.

High I: They want you to ask them about them!  But you don't need to worry about drawing info out of them, because you'll probably be looking for the mute button before they take a moment to draw breath.  "How are you?" should be more than sufficient to get the ball rolling.

High S: People-focused, not necessarily willing to spill their life story.  You might need a question that invites a more detailed response in order to avoid a quiet "I'm fine".  This is the one I'm struggling with the most to get an answer for (being a pure high D, myself), but perhaps something like "What's been going on?" might work?

High C: Task-oriented, more reserved.  "What have you been up to this week?" should get the ball rolling, once they get their notes in order...

Anyone want to suggest their own DISC-specific openers, or just tell me I'm waaaay overthinking this whole thing?

dmiddleb's picture
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I see no reason why having a different question based on profile would be a problem. If I remember correctly, the main justification for an opening question is to be able to detect changes in your direct's response. My only caution with your approach is that you are more likely to be inconsistent if you don't have one question for all. If you can manage that you should be fine. 

Dax Middlebrooks

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drenn18's picture
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 Maybe it's the C in me, but out of all the time wasted by managers, spending time thinking of ways to be more effective is not one of them. No way, think as much about how to be better as you possibly can (as long as you get the right things done).

The value of these concepts grows exponentially when used together. The purpose of the DISC model is to communicate better, and the O3 is totally communication! 

I'm learning how to incorporate DISC into my interview questions to probe for their DISC style. This will help me build a diverse team.

Dax is right though, you may need to just "read" your first question each time because you'll have trouble remembering at first but I don't think that will be very hard after a few times. Just write D I S or C next to the name on the O3 form.

Good luck and tell us how it goes!