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Trevor E. S. Smith | How do you respond to change and the future?

Published:Sunday | October 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMTrevor E. S. Smith

While change is our constant companion, some people seem to adjust to it more readily than others. How do you match up with the approaches outlined below? Get a better appreciation of how you and others deal with change. Are you future-ready?

The DISC framework gives us greater clarity.

Change from the perspective of dominance (outgoing/task-oriented)


"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." - Wayne Gretzky, ice hockey icon.

That statement underlines how individuals with a preference for dominant behaviour views the future. They anticipate change and work to be a step ahead. In fact, D-Style users extend much thought and energy to actually bring about change.

There is a sense that progress can best be achieved by disrupting the present situation in positive ways. Apple disrupted how business was done in the telephone, camera and watch industries with the iPhone. That is celebrated D-style thinking.

Change from the perspective of inducement (outgoing/people-oriented)


The future is seen as an amazing adventure from the I-style perspective. It is one gigantic action movie being played out in 3-D and living colour. Individuals who crave new experiences and are excited by opportunities to create and innovate, embrace change. Like the D-style, they are motivated to inspire change and to rally others to come on board.

New events provide new experiences and opportunities to learn. Merely classifying them into good or bad misses the point. It is more useful to ensure that you take something beneficial from your experiences into the future. I-style users picture the brighter side.

I-style out-of-the-box thinking and relaxed approach might make you feel uncomfortable if you tend to be more reserved and formal.

Uncontrolled change might lead to chaos. However, could data from Extended DISC's global network shed light on the role of I-style philosophy in competitiveness? Notice how numbers two-, three- and four-ranked countries have much higher percentages of individuals with I-style preference in their workforce than Jamaica that is ranked 86th.

Change from the perspective of steadiness (reserved/people-oriented)


Individuals with a preference for moving forward at a measured pace, and along tried and proven paths, tend to view change with resignation.

They fully appreciate that change is inevitable. There is a tendency to accept life's ups and downs, and change is viewed in that light. The need for some change is questioned. There is also a desire to discuss proposed change and to arrive at consensus before rushing into action.

Many failures could have been avoided with more patient dialogue. Similarly, much pain and anguish could have been spared with more timely and comprehensive communication about impending change.

The S-style tends to internalise matters and consequently, disruptions tend to have more significant and lasting impact.

Change from the perspective of conscientiousness (reserved/task-oriented)


Planning, structure, guidelines and compliance are key characteristics of the C-style. Unplanned, play-it-by-ear change is really a no-no. The thinking is that so much more can be achieved with thoughtful planning, marshalling of resources and effective execution.

The indecent haste to tear down or to replace is wasteful and the cause of much conflict and unnecessary complications. On the other hand, the reliance on data-gathering and analysis slows response to change and can have negative impact.

Download our special report on Future-Ready Leadership at: https://tinyurl.com/oh-my456

- Trevor E. S. Smith is a director of the Success with People Academy, home of the SHRM-accredited certified behavioural coach award (now enrolling) and 3-D Team Leader Certification: Leading difficult, dominant and diverse personalities. The Success with People Academy applies DISCerning communication while improving recruitment & team performance. It prepares personal & team behavioural DNA analyses and 360 surveys on the revolutionary FinxS Platform from extended DISC.