Dear all,

BLUF: How do I apply the principles of DISC to communicate effectively when reliant upon using email distributions lists to my peer group and their directs?

I am what can best be described as a project manager, responsible for the implementation of performance improvement initiatives across 10 to 12 sites throughout the UK. Having consistently achieved results in a previous industry, and while being located on one site only, I was able to apply a combination of relationship, expertise and role power as required. However, I am now reliant solely on (a small amount of) relationship power in a new industry only to find that results are not as forthcoming as I would like.
Due to location, much of my project communication is in the form of email and more so though distribution lists to ensure all receive the same "message" in the required project steps. I do engage in telephone conversation and I am able to visit contract sites as and when required.
Having had a taste of a Tony Alessandra audiobook over the weekend, and while waiting for "People Smart" to now be delivered, my realisation is that I am trying to communicate the same message to what are potentially up to four different types of listener.
My question is therefore - How do I apply the DISC model to address my email distribution list ineffectiveness?
Any thoughts, or experiences shared are greatly appreciated.
DISC: 7117  

mattpalmer's picture

The advice that got given at the ECC I attended a month or so ago was "don't worry about it" and just be yourself.  *Regardless* of what you do to tune your message to a particular profile, you're going to make it less palatable to others.  If it were me, I'd try and "tone down" any particularly strong tendencies you've got in any particular direction (keep your hands *off* the "Attach" button!), and try to "centralise" your message, but don't go all smileys and feelings, because (a) you won't do it well, and (b) the Ds and Cs in your audience will turn off.


manxomfoe's picture

Depending on how important a goal this is for you, one approach could be create a strategy that lets you meet each type with their own needs. Use the distro list to promote different programs for each preference, and cycle through promoting those offers with different tactics. E.g. High C's will respond to things that respect their time, and offer substantial data. Send one broadcast highlighting an available research source with extensive data, and track who is interested in data via response rate. Allow them to sign up and control their own messaging preferences. Then make sure you target that group next time you have lots of data. Also, exclude that group when you switch tactics to a networking social hour event that is targeting your high I's :)

KateM's picture
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I had a similar experience recently where an ad-hoc workgroup was formed with 15-20 individuals on an email list; only a few of them were known to me.   The workgroup contained 2 staffers from a physician member organization, 3 members of said organization (including me), and everyone else, who was a C-level or manager of some department at a large regional insurance company.  The workgroup was to address specific operations issues affecting physicians, which the insurance company was interested in improving. 

I was asked by the workgroup leader (the insurance company CEO) to comment to the group on specific issues, with supporting data, suggested solutions, etc.  I did so, and replied to the entire group of 20, since the leader's email asking me to provide the comments included all of the individuals. 

I've never met most of these people, let alone understand their DISC profiles, how they like to communicate, etc -- in fact, I don't even understand what their roles are in the insurance company organization -- so I didn't feel qualified to "tailor" my response to a particular individual.  I certainly wouldn't know how to subdivide the list of 20 into high Ds, high Is, etc., then send them 4 versions of my comments.  In fact, this would unnecessarily complicate the "paper trail" of negotiations, when it's particularly important that everyone see transparently that on date X, I gave such-and-such precise information to everyone.

The private feedback I got from the executive director of the professional organization was that my notes were, essentially, too high-D-high C.  She felt I did not express adequate gratitude to the CEO for agreeing to work on these issues with us, that I "came on too strong," etc., that she was sure the CEO would regret asking for feedback since I delineated 12 months of systems failures on their part.   (Our ED is a high I.)

My notes were DEFINITELY high D, high C.  I did not spend a lot of time on preliminary pleasantries - I certainly could have done more.  I provided the information I was asked for -- on systems failures, and suggestions for improvement. 


DISC 7-2-1-5