Personality and Focus

I’ve been learning more about personality profiling, in particular the DiSC profile.  It’s derived from the work of Dr. Marsten in 1928 on the emotions of normal people.  The interesting thing about it is that it gives insight into your personal style, how you engage in things and what you focus on.   This is reflected in your approach to work and your daily tasks.  DiSC model


First are you active or thoughtful?  Do you take charge of situations or do you sit back and reflect on the best approach before getting started?  Are you direct or indirect in your communications?  All of these things fall along the vertical axis of the model.  If you are active and take charge you have a more dominant or influencing personality.  If you think first then act you are more steady or conscientious.  The people who are active tend to be more easily distracted and the ones who are more thoughtful can be perfectionists or slow to get started.

If you fall in the active range it’s important to remember to set deadlines and hold yourself accountable for meeting them.  This will keep you focused through to the end of a task.  It’s critical to be aware of what gets you off track and have plans in place to manage these things.  Remember to finish first then move to the next item.

If you are in the thoughtful end of the spectrum remember to get started and to finish a task on time.  You may need to set up check points that cause you to think through where you are on the task and get a clear understanding of what needs to be done.  Focus on the true requirements not your standards, which may be higher than needed.  Analysis paralysis and perfectionism can be just as counter-productive as moving on too soon.


Are you task oriented or people oriented?  Do you question everything and everyone or do you accept the world around you easily?  This represents the horizontal axis of the DiSC model.  The task focus leads to decisiveness and controlled personalities.  The people focus tends towards interactive and stable types.

The task orientation causes people to look at what needs to be done and by when.  They are very detailed and understand all the steps to be taken to get things done.  This can lead to very comprehensive plans with well thought out risk analysis, etc.  It can also lead to jumping in and figuring it out as we go.  The biggest issue with this focus is that the impact on people and their emotions is often overlooked and can lead to conflict within teams and organizations.  Getting things done without attention to the people doing the work is not sustainable in the long haul.

The people orientation are the folks that are concerned about how this impacts the team, will everyone get on board with the project, etc.  These can be the peace makers and the cheerleaders within an organization.  They are much more focused on the human side of the task than on the details of what and when.  This leads to over committing and under delivering or extensive planning to ensure nothing rocks the boat.

If you are on the task end of the spectrum make sure you stop and consider the impact on the people around you to limit conflict as you proceed.  If you are on the people end of the spectrum stop and focus on the end results required to make sure you keep the goal in sight.


It doesn’t really matter where in this model you are located.  The key is to understand the traits you have, playing to your strengths and being aware of your pitfalls.  With awareness comes greater adaptability and increased productivity.  If you know you are weak on the details and ensuring things are correct, enlist the help of someone who has that strength to help you out.  This may be a proof reader, a sounding boarder or an accountability partner.  If you are steady and concerned about keeping things calm you may need to enlist the help of someone who is willing to dive right in to help you get going.

In the end it really isn’t critical to take a personality assessment as much as it is critical to understand what makes you tick.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is far more important than the tool you use to gain that understanding.  This just happens to be the one I am currently studying.

If you want to learn more about DiSC profiles check out:


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