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Trevor E. S. Smith | Getting my arms around Cee – figuratively

Published:Sunday | March 17, 2019 | 12:00 AMTrevor E. S. Smith - Contributor

Cee is a mystery. Cee treats life like a game of poker, where you give away as little information as possible.

While colleagues may be open and even make themselves vulnerable, Cee builds a wall around things personal. Cee is respectful and professional, but it is difficult to miss the ‘No Entry’ sign protecting Cee from intrusions.


Cee represents individuals who have a preference for the C-style in our DISCerning Communication framework. Reserved/task-oriented, conscientious.

The C-style funecdotes below will help you to better appreciate Cee.

- Careful/cautious: Cee responds cautiously to tasks. Volunteering spontaneously without due process is not wise. Cee only ventures when the risks are clearly identified and adequate protection is in place.

- Curious: Cee has an inquisitive mind that places a high value on information. As a child, Cee caught centipedes and checked to see if there were 100 legs.

Cee tends to observe others without interrupting. “You learn a lot more with your mouth shut than with it open.”

- Compliance wanting: Cee fusses that people make rules and fail to enforce them. Cee is engaged as a gatekeeper at a large event and told to accept only green tickets. One of the organisers wants to access the area controlled by Cee. He shows various forms of identification, to no avail, as Cee insists that as an organiser, getting a green ticket should be easy.

- Criticisms: Cee is accused of being constantly negative. Cee responds by asking if it would be better to warn someone that they are about to fall in a pit or to compliment them on their tie. Cee provides healthy feedback – no sugar added!

- Correct: Cee abhors mistakes and may reject a written request on the basis of typos. It is rumoured that Cee proofreads photocopies. Gary was stunned that Cee rejected his report because he did not format it ‘the right way.’

Colleagues realise that Cee will only give approval when they have reviewed all possible options and compared their relative value.

- Camouflage: Cee appreciates the value of masks in preserving privacy and may use a hand over the mouth to hide emotions.

- Conformist: Cee likes rules and is able to quote from the policy manual.

- Consistent: Cee is lost without a logical game plan that is followed consistently.

The young man was surprised at Cee’s reaction to his being late-pointing out that he was usually early. That prompted a stern lecture from Cee on responsibility and the fact that we are required to do what is required ALL the time and not most of the time.

- Cool: “I am not here to win friends.”

- Cost-conscious: Cee picks up paper clips off the floor. “Being frugal in small things produces readiness for big things.”

Cee only buys after making an extensive search for the best available option.

- Colour blind?: Cee is reputed to have no knowledge of the colour grey (ambiguity). Things are either black or white.

- Citing evidence: As the religious debate raged on, it was noticeable that while others gave personal opinions and spoke in general terms, Cee consistently presented precise quotations of the scriptures with the supporting book, chapter and verse references.

- Count the cost: Cee is unable to understand the tolerance for underperformance. People need to be held accountable for their failings. Indeed, “heads must roll!”

- Commentary: Cee dislikes blurting and wonders why there needs to be play-by-play commentary on each day’s activities. A close-of-play summary will suffice.

Cee sees no value in small talk and thinks that if there is nothing to be said, then that is precisely what should be said.

- Courtroom: Cee takes nothing for granted and assumes nothing. A question is never long in coming and one rarely comes alone. Cee understands the value of knowledge and information and pays careful, if not critical attention to what is being said.


Request a copy of our treasured slide presentation ‘Keys to Relating to C-Style Behaviour.’

Trevor E. S. Smith/Success with People Academy solutions align, drive and track performance. Our SPIKE performance management, governance and compliance e-platform supports compliance, tracks performance and guides learning and development. We certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop engaged, high performing teams. Avoid bad hires with FinxS screening solutions. Ask about how to create your own turnkey coaching business.Email: