Change Happens: Understanding Personalities & Learning Styles
Posted: September 1, 2011
A great philosopher Heraclitus said it best: “Nothing endures but change.”
Change happens. It is inevitable. It is how we deal with change that can make a difference.
This is the moral of the popular book by Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese (http://www.whomovedmycheese.com/?gclid=CL3L3seT-KoCFeZ05QodxnpROw). The fable centers around four characters; two mice named Sniff and Scurry, and two little people named Hem and Haw. The four live in a maze, which represents our physical environment. Their goal is to look for cheese, representing life’s happiness and success. Each of the four characters eventually finds the cheese in the maze. But when the cheese disappears, they each deal with the change differently.
Sniff identified change early. He kept things simple and didn’t overanalyze. He was not easily surprised and was mentally prepared for anything. Scurry was an eager and quick mouse. He was flexible, mentally aware and accepting of change. Hem, on the other hand, preferred to stay in his comfort zone, ignoring the reality of the situation. He felt entitled and just trusted his needs would be met if he took the easiest path. Haw dealt with change differently than the others. This man was comfortable with the past, willing to learn from mistakes, laughed at himself, was quick to let go of old behaviors and aimed to be and do better.
The moral? “Whatever parts of us we choose to use, we all share something in common: a need to find our way in (and through) the maze to succeed in changing times.”
Sure we all have a little of each of these characters in our own personalities. It is my belief that the better we know each other, the better we can face change, help each other and increase our chances of experiencing success.
A deeper look into personality types is not only a personal passion, but seemed an appropriate, timely and fun topic for a lunch and learn with my fellow VisionPointers , all of whom are facing change on the business front. In less than two weeks, the company brought on eight new team members. We are learning new technologies. We are pushing our comfort zones by exploring new ways to do things. We are growing the company and our client base. We are proactively striving to transition VisionPoint Marketing from a Good to Great (http://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/good-to-great.html)(the best-selling book by Jim Collins) company. It’s exciting and challenging.
So our team took a personality test I came across years ago that was perfect for my interest in personality types, my love for writing and my education in journalism. We determined if we were a headline (driven by the now), body copy (driven by the how), an illustration (more about me) or a logo (more about we).
For the skeptics on the team, we took another, much more popular personality test – the DISC Behavioral Style Assessment (http://www.discinsights.com/disc.asp). That helped us discover if we were Determined, an Influencer, Steady or Cautious/Compliance. But we didn’t stop there. In both cases, we looked at key characteristics and personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and even how we want to be approached as we do our daily work.
To wrap up the lunch and learn, we also learned about our preferred learning styles (http://www.businessballs.com). Were we visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners by nature?
While I believe the session was fun for most of my colleagues, I also believe it left us with many new insights about how we can continue to build good relationships (internally and externally), deepen our understanding about each other’s differences or idiosyncrasies, increase our self awareness about how we respond and cope with change and even remind us about how we may be perceived or influence those we work closely with.
At the very least it was an hour during which I was able t to share knowledge, learn more about my teammates as a newcomer and have fun contributing to our journey of transitioning from a good to great company.