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How the DiSC For Leaders Assessment Is Changing How One Organization Communicates

For the past couple of years, Jennifer Werneke, SPHR, would regularly make presentations to the CEO and COO of her company on potential training programs that the company’s leadership team could participate in. Just as regularly, the CEO and COO said thanks, but no thanks.

The problem says Werneke, who is Vice President of Human Resources for Cotter Consulting in Darien, Illinois, was that her CEO and COO were cool to most training programs because they appeared to be too generic. “My leadership just wasn’t excited about sending our leadership team to an off-the-shelf program. They wanted something that would force us to practice what we learned.”

Werneke said she had almost given up on the idea of having the 10-person leadership team participate in training when she reached out to TrainSmart about conducting a program specifically for the leadership team. All of the 90 employees at Cotter Consulting had already taken the DiSC assessment, and the leadership team saw significant benefits in using this behavioral tool to help the organization to increase engagement and productivity.

The 10-person management team went through Building Leaders a workshop that is built around the results of the DiSC for leaders profile. In addition to helping the team understand the importance of setting a vision, getting alignment and executing their vision, TrainSmart provided the management team with a cultural view of the entire organization.

“This enabled an engaging conversation of leadership as a relationship to one too many and an analysis of how the leader’s DiSC behavioral tendencies may play out within the organization,” says Leslie Ciborowski, CEO, and founder of TrainSmart.

Werneke says working with the vision, alignment and execution methodology is extremely valuable to the team because it allows them to focus on a concrete way to communicate and challenge each other.

“This methodology makes us accountable to each other. In the past, I may have thought that we were charging forward on a project, but I didn’t have the framework to express why I was uncomfortable.” Now, says Werneke, “I can say, have you checked in with the rest of the management team to make sure we have alignment?

In addition to the day and a half training, everyone on the management team read “ The Eight Dimensions of Leadership,” a book published by Inscape Publishing and based on the third generation DiSC assessment. Werneke says, “ Reading the book really brought a whole new perspective on leadership. I was able to read about myself. It really opened up my eyes on how might naturally do things.”

Werneke adds, “ My takeaway is that maybe I need to learn the lessons from other styles and be more aware of how to adopt different behaviors in different circumstances.”

Over the next year, the team will continue to meet to make sure they are applying what they’ve learned. And, in about 18 months, the entire management team will retake a Work For Leaders profile to determine individual and team growth.

What Leadership Assessments has your organization used to improve alignment on initiatives?

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Dave Finley

Dave is a highly competent communicator, consultant, trainer, and leader with extensive skills and knowledge related to improving people and organizational performance. He focuses on establishing and sustaining effective and enduring client and team relationships.