Finding the “hidden genius” in your people

“Your people are your greatest asset” is a phrase commonly tossed around in business and human resource circles. We are led to believe that simply having “people” increases our likelihood of success. However, as Dave Anderson has written, “only the right people are your greatest asset; the wrong people are your greatest catastrophe.”

“So, how do I know when I’m making the right hire? Do I hire for skillset? Experience? Education? Business leaders often ask me these questions, and the short answer is “all of the above”. However, the hiring process should consider the changes in team dynamics as much as, if not more than, the potential employee’s skill set. With that in mind, let’s focus on one area of hiring that is often overlooked: behavioral style.

Ninety percent of businesses have less than 20 employees. When a small business decides to hire a new employee, it has a dramatic impact on their overall productivity, team dynamics, and culture. Each hire can dramatically change the trajectory of a business. Let’s take a deeper dive into team dynamics. According to the DISC behavioral styles, people fall primarily into one of four styles: D-Dominant, I-Influence, S-Steady, and C-Conscientious. At Velocity Advisory Group, we refer to the four styles as Eagles, Parrots, Doves, and Owls.

I won’t go into the details of each style here (for free resources and your own personal DISC assessment, visit www.OrderDISC.com), but I would like to briefly discuss the relationship between personal connection and professional balance. In a tightknit work environment, it’s very easy to gravitate towards people who see the world the same way you do—ergo, people of the same DISC style. After all, real life eagles don’t instinctively fly with doves, and neither do Eagles and Doves in the workplace. This isn’t a sign of closed-mindedness or lack of maturity; it’s just social science.

However, strong leaders understand that each style has a hidden genius that is pivotal to the success of any organization. Parrots, for example, often have large social networks that fuel their creativity for problem solving. Owls are less likely to reach out to others, but have a gift for analyzing complexity, testing solutions, and identifying the best course of action.  Each style has inherent strengths and weaknesses that, once properly understood, can be leveraged for the greater good.  Appreciating this multiplicity of talents prevents the ‘birds of a feather flock together’ syndrome that leads to team blind spots and skill redundancies.

While fully cultivating this type of diversity of thought can create real challenges for leaders, the rewards, as measured by both productivity and morale, are well worth the effort.

If you own a small business and would like to receive more training in topics like this one, check out www.scaleupnorthflorida.com to learn more about how to apply!

Ben Bowman is Director of Client Services for Velocity Advisory Group. Ben focuses on strategic planning, training, consulting, and working with clients through execution and implementation. He also develops much of Velocity’s product and training curriculum. Ben presents the training on strategic planning and leadership for ScaleUp North Florida.