Rainbow Thinking utilising DiSC®

Guest blog by Tim Hearn, Skylark Development and Amplifier

Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - D
Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - I
Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - S
Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - C
Click a letter above to jump straight to that style or click HERE for the wrap-up.

Diversity in Sales Leadership & Sales Teams

We understand the importance of diversity and inclusion from our corporate lives, and the effort organisations are putting into improving corporate culture around these issues but do we embrace Rainbow Thinking utilising DiSC®? Huge improvements have been made in the tech world, though we still have a way to go. Diversity usually centres around gender, race, colour, sexual orientation, but seldom centres around diversity of thinking. 

In fact, I would go so far as to say that in tech sales, the corporate drive has often been for people in the field to look different but think the same, operate in the same way, deliver a ‘cookie-cut’ approach, speak the same tech jargon. The way managers are expected to structure their sales teams can often be very directive and prescriptive. Product and solution sales are often packaged in Play Books, designed for field sales to sell in an identical way, and sales leaders are expected to drive conformity across their teams in using such collateral for customer engagement, pipeline creation and pipeline management.

Diversity of thought

However, with diversity of gender, race, colour, sexual orientation comes a whole spectrum of thinking styles which means that modern sales teams need to approach things differently, have different styles in how they operate and work with customers and partners, have different creative ways to add value. We need to encourage this diversity of thought or Rainbow Thinking, to ensure that all this diversity is included in how we plan, how we execute, how we deal with customers, partners and internal colleagues. Our teams need to represent a spectrum of diverse thinking and as leaders we need to know how to harness rainbow thinking to develop high performing teams.

DiSC® is a process to help expose the spectrum of thinking in a team, to express it in a way that helps individuals understand their own personal spectrum represented as a Style, to see the differing styles of people around them and recognise how their style plays a part in the rainbow thinking of the team.

I had to adapt to succeed

I’ve come to understand that the way I naturally approach things can be very different to others, my colleagues, my team members, my seniors, my customers and my partners. I’m a results and action oriented person and I’ve learnt through my own failure to build or sustain relationships that it can’t be my way or the highway. I have had to adapt; that if people don’t understand my approach that is not their failure for not keeping up – it is mine; that building a team in my own image may harness my strengths – but it will also exacerbate my weaknesses.  That disagreement within a team is not a cause for concern to be constrained – it is a strength that should be explored.

Understanding myself

DiSC® has helped me to understand myself, my natural way of doing things, my preferences, how I react in different circumstances and this has helped me be comfortable with who I am, to accept what I’m good at and what I struggle with.

Some of my DiSC® feedback has made me laugh in embarrassed recognition, received knowing raised eyebrows from my wife, but it has made me think and adapt. With improved self-awareness, DiSC® has then helped me understand the people around me much more clearly, the way they approach the same challenges but with a different mindset and values, and how I can adjust my style to be a better and more inclusive leader. DiSC® helps show how the rainbow thinking in the team can be celebrated, encouraged and harnessed to build trust, cohesion and, ultimately, high performance.

My Style is iD

My DiSC® profile is an iD style, which I’ll explain more in this series, but I span 2 of the 4 quartiles in DiSC® which are Influence (i) and Dominance (D). This means that I tend to prioritise Enthusiasm, Action and Results, and am naturally Active and Accepting.

I’ve always struggled to get on well with people in the other quartiles and the positive watch-words above can also be construed by other styles as pushy, authoritarian, not checking the detail, going ahead without thinking about the thoughts of others. I’ve been guilty of excluding the views of people who did not align with my own, a common issue with people with high D traits. DiSC® has helped me enormously in making me think much more about my personal style, how I deal with people and to be inclusive of people with different styles – I’ve broadened my spectrum of thinking beyond my default style.

We all span other styles

Everyone’s style spans all of the rainbow thinking in DiSC® in different amounts, so just because I have an iD style does not mean that I don’t possess the ability to handle fine detail like someone with a C style, or to be more empathetic like someone with a S Style – I just have to work harder at it. I’ve been able to consciously adapt my style in different situations to make the positive parts of my iD style stand out more but to also bring in more of my S and C characteristics to make me more rounded, effective and to connect to other people more easily.

Like all these things, it’s a work in progress for me both professionally and personally, but DiSC® has been a tangible help to me in my professional life in being a more inclusive and adaptable leader, a better colleague, and to understand customers and partners better. In my personal life, I’ve been able to relate more to the different styles of my family and my friends, so things that I used to find frustrating, difficult to relate to or even tolerate are much easier to understand. In recognising the diversity of thinking around me, I’ve been able to be more inclusive of people, their views, ideas, talent and hence a become a better Rainbow Thinker.

Applying it in a Sales context

Over the next few articles, I’ll explore each of the DiSC® profiles with a sales context, and what it could mean in using better awareness of self and others to be a more effective sales leader or team member, and develop a rainbow thinking team.

Before we start, where would you place yourself on the DiSC® here? To help you consider this, which of the following relates more to your natural style, or are you a blend of two of them?

  1. I am – Active, fast paced, assertive, dynamic, bold?
  2. I am – Accepting, people focused, empathetic, receptive, agreeable?
  3. I am – Thoughtful, moderate paced, calm, methodical, careful?
  4. I am – Questioning, logic focused, objective, sceptical, challenging?

Possible responses:

If you chose just one – 1 = iD/Di, 2=iS/Si, 3=SC/CS, 4=CD/CD

If you chose a combination of two – 1+4=D, 1+2=I, 2+3=S, 3+4=C

For more background reading on DiSC® principles and how it works try here

Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - D

The D Style

In the last post, I introduced my thoughts around diversity of thought within a team and the concept of rainbow thinking. To achieve this, we need firstly to understand our own style and how we naturally think ourselves, then to understand the different styles of people around us – our leaders, our colleagues, our direct reports – so we can better understand why they do what they do. We then have the knowledge to adapt our style to be more effective as a leader or as a team member, to develop a sustainable trust culture and build the foundations for high performance.

In this post we start to look at each of the 4 styles defined within DiSC® and using it to help us understand and develop our rainbow thinking. Now we are going to look at the D style, and I’m sure many of you will recognise this style within a sales environment.

D stands for Dominance

Sales Leaders have always been defined by their ability to lead from the front, to have all the answers, make quick decisions, be personally accountable to deliver results and to be personally rewarded.  Most sales leaders have a strong element of the D Style in the DiSC® model in their character, hired through a job description that prioritises personal drive, results orientation, challenge and action.

D in DiSC® stands for Dominance and a strong D style person prioritises getting immediate results, taking decisive action and challenging themselves and others to get things done. Where a D goes, others are expected to follow, it’s ‘their way or the highway’, and they are fearless at doing what’s necessary to reach their objectives. A ‘D Leader’ will drive the team to make things happen, will make decisions quickly, will be fearless at challenging old ways to doing things and will overcome all obstacles to success, any residual issues can be resolved afterwards.

Organisations needs D Leaders to get things done especially where difficult and disruptive change is needed and where fast change is critical to the success of the business.

The archetypal sales leader

D is the archetypal sales leader style, often depicted as an alpha male, loud, brash, forceful, daring etc. I’ve worked for and alongside many sales leaders who were strong D in style but several of them were women and actually this style is not confined to one gender, culture, or colour.

Results but at a cost

A strong ‘D’ will get results, but at what cost? At worst, an autocratic D leader will make decisions quickly but won’t ensure they include all inputs from people around, so potentially

  • decisions could be a repeat of previous approaches because they have not brought in the creativity and collaborate nature of the ‘I’ style people in the team
  • decisions could ignore negative impacts on people, the feelings of the team, their buy-in, aspects which people with a more ‘S’ style would bring to the process. ‘S style people are usually very quiet and reflective and so a strong D risks overlooking or dismissing these important members of the team.
  • decisions could be made without enough due diligence and analysis, evaluating all possible options to find the best decision, which the ‘C’ style people within the team could bring the process to reduce the risk of failure
  • or the team has been built in their own image (all D Style) so there is no dissent

Note: at the time of writing this post, the UK was going through the turmoil of the Liz Truss era and I could not help but smile to recognise how a leader with the D style can get things badly wrong. Thankfully there are many examples of national leaders with the D style who are very successful – this is potentially a separate post in it’s own right!

We failed to adapt

A while back I was part of a leadership team which went through a DiSC® style assessment and the result was that everyone in the team was heavily ‘D’ weighted. All extroverted, go-getter and results oriented individuals, we all got on very well, we worked hard and played hard, we were a mix of men and women. We worked in a challenger vendor so we were the underdogs in a very competitive marketplace.

We were very successful, but we made mistakes which can be attributed to lack of rainbow thinking. Decisions were made fast but without all the facts, so we missed things which we should have captured which subsequently slowed us down.  We all felt the same about things so we missed alternative ideas and creativity which could have improved our Unique Selling Points and better anticipated our competition.  Decisions were made which upset people and did not get buy-in from everyone in the organisation, so we had to go back and repair relationships which took time and effort. We were a high performance team and we were great – but success did not last when markets and customer buying habits changed and we failed to adapt.

Involve other styles

A sales leader with a D style, can be a brilliant leader and make great decisions provided there is diversity of thinking in the team and the team are allowed to contribute. D style Leaders therefore needs to temper their desire to steamroller over all questioning and dissent to get to a fast decision and take a breath to include the views of those around who have a stake in the outcome. For example, recognise that i’s can have some great creative ideas but will frustrate with lack of structure and be more emotional in approach, S’s will really think about wellbeing and people’s feelings but may not speak up so may seem too soft and easy to ignore, that C’s will analyse all the detail and think about all the implications so may seem too pedantic and negative.

Identifying a D Style

D Style salespeople are the direct forceful and competitive sellers in a team, they thrive in a direct sales motion powering through challenges and objectives and winning through their determination and talent. They are most successful in a team when the product or solution they are selling is superior to the competition so can afford to go head-to-head with the competition, and they excel in an organisation where the salesperson is king/queen.

D’s tend to try and avoid sales admin as they would prefer to be out with customers and partners so timely forecasting can sometimes be challenging, and there can be a tendency for deals to slip due to unrealistic expectations on their own ability to close. They tend to be highly motivated by financial renumeration so comp plans that rewards over achievement with no earnings ceiling fit this style perfectly.

Not all D’s are equal

Not all people with a D style think the same either, there is a spectrum of thinking within this quartile dependent on how influential the other styles are to a person’s makeup.

DC Style

A person who has a strong D style but has strong influence of the C style (DC) is a driven individual but is more detailed oriented, more questioning, will move quickly and decisively based on accurate data not instinct, and is a person where trust is earnt, not given or assumed. Leaders with a DC style are typically very successful in established and operationally driven organisations. Salespeople who are DC will tend to be accurate forecasters.

Di Style

A person who has a strong D style but has strong influence of the I style (Di) is a driven individual but will be motivated by new challenges and less structured than a DC, will be impatient and keen to move to action with less data to get things done, and make decisions with a higher degree of gut instinct. Leaders with a Di style are well suited to start-ups or higher risk situations, where ‘fail fast, learn and adjust’ is a favourable environment to flourish. Salespeople with a Di style ‘think on their feet’ and can find creative solutions to make things happen quickly.

Can you relate?

D Style sales leaders and salespeople are forceful and motivated go-getters who will drive to achieve results. By understanding their own style, but also the styles of the rest of the team, they can adapt to harness the overall spectrum of thinking and styles of the people around them to achieve the winning results that so motivates them, and contribute to a high performance, rainbow thinking team.

Does the D, DC or Di style ring any bells with you? Who do you know with this style and how well do you relate to them?

In the next post, we discuss sales leaders and salespeople with the I Style in relation to rainbow thinking.

Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - I

The i Style

In the first post of this series, I introduced my thoughts around diversity of thought within a team and the concept of rainbow thinking. To achieve this, we need firstly to understand our own style and how we think ourselves, then to understand the different styles around us – our leaders, our colleagues, our direct reports so we can better understand why they do what they do; then to be able to adapt our style to be more effective as a leader or as a team member, to develop a sustainable trust culture and build the foundations for high performance. In the last post we focused on the first of the 4 DiSC® styles – the D style, and I’m sure many of you recognised this style within a sales environment. Now we are going to look at the 2nd of the 4 styles – the i Style … read on

The ‘fun’ style

Leaders with strong i style are typically fun, creative, inspiring, collaborative, and extroverted. They are great at setting vision and infecting others with their enthusiasm, gaining support with their personality. Expect to go on adventures with an i style leader who will love offsite meetings including adventure sports and fun activities. Often prioritising instinct over data when making decisions, they are risk-takers and they thrive on change and new challenges. They get bored and frustrated quite easily, needing regular stimulation and so have the potential to move onto new projects before the current ones are completed.

Leaders with the i style don’t enjoy deep dive activities that analyse all the detail preferring to keep things at high or conceptual level. ‘I’ style leaders operate most effectively in start-up situations, where there is little structure and where there is maximum freedom to exercise creativity. They are often great evangelists and orators so expect leaders with the i Style to enjoy opportunities for public speaking and presenting at corporate events.

A creative leader

I worked for a VP who was a very strong i style leader and she ran a start-up team within an established organisation. She was the most creative, most energising, rule braking, fun person I’ve ever worked for, the ideal person for a new team who was tasked at breaking the mould of current thinking – it makes me smile just remembering those times now. Her infectious enthusiasm encouraged us to stretch ourselves, to challenge the status quo, and do our best work. I loved working for her and, as I have an iD Style, I was quite naturally aligned with the way she thought. She made an impact and made people think. Her strong i style brought her into conflict with the established structured organisation and frustrated her direct reports including me – why?

But she lacked detail

Firstly, we were in an established organisation that was very operational in culture, it was a DC Style corporate culture. Our VP was full of optimism, had the gut instinct that we were doing the right thing, did not bother too much about the detail, assumed trust and had plenty of ideas. The company, and its senior execs expected pragmatic change, based on hard data, minimum risk, and trust was only given on results. There was a culture clash and neither side gave much ground to compromise.

Possibly with better understanding, the VP could have invested in creating better data, and the senior leadership could have been more open to a radical change-agent.

Although we loved our boss and she had our support, she could be frustrating when we needed her to focus on detail. It was often difficult to gain enough of her attention for long enough to cover important topics that needed a deeper dive and her approval. This VP like many with the i Style was most impactful and happiest in a start-up type environment, moving fast and thriving in change.

Creative Sales People

Salespeople with the i style are the creative salespeople in the team, they come up with great ideas to work around obstacles, are very good at handling objections and thinking on their feet, and will be competitively creative to outwit the opposition. These people are great at setting out a vision for the future and capturing the imagination of the customer. They are important people to have within the team especially if the sales motion disrupts existing ways of doing things or complex.

Don’t expect salespeople with the i style to be great at forecasting or planning, both require a level of detail and attention span which will be challenging for them. An i style salesperson may be vague with close dates, and lack clear steps to close a deal, and their plans will be high level in nature, so this is an area where someone with an i style needs to work harder than most, especially if their boss is a D or C style.

Teams that are more i centric are impactful when they are responsible for introducing new leading/bleeding edge solutions where change and evangelising new ideas are key to success.

Not all i’s are equal

Not all people with a ‘i’ profile think the same, there is a spectrum of colour within this quartile dependent on how influential the other styles are to a person’s makeup.

iD Style

People who have an i style but with a strong influence of the D style (iD) is more driven and results orientated than a typical i, and so has a blend of creativity and enthusiasm with a stronger drive to take action and get things done. A leader with an iD Style will bring new ideas and take risks based on gut instinct taking on ground-breaking sales approaches and deals. Therefore an iD will bring additional creativity and ideas to a D centric team, or additional drive to achieve results in a more i centric team.

iS Style

A person who has an I style but has strong influence of the S style (iS) is more driven to consider people and the team and will be highly collaborative. An iS will be an inspirational but considerate leader, looking to bring in many points of view and seek consensus within the team and across stakeholders, and will avoid conflict wherever possible.

A leader with an iS style will be good at managing a team through turbulent times or through long sales cycles where patience and team cohesion will be crucial. Sales Leaders and salespeople with an iS style can be very successful where a lot of customer hand-holding and coordination is required such as ‘customer success’ environments, where salespeople will be closely working with customers through a long period where continuity is important.

Can you relate?

Does the i, iD or iS style ring any bells with you? Who do you know with this style and how well do you relate to them?

In the next post I’ll focus on the S style so sales leaders and salespeople who are strongly people and team oriented, focused on collaboration, support, consensus, and stability.

Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - S

The S Style

In the first post of this series, I introduced my thoughts around diversity of thought within a team and the concept of rainbow thinking. To achieve this, we need firstly to understand our own style and how we think ourselves, then to understand the different styles around us – our leaders, our colleagues, our direct reports, our customers so we can better understand why they do what they do; then to be able to adapt our style to be more effective as a leader or as a team member, to develop a sustainable trust culture and build the foundations for high performance. In the last post we focused on the second of the 4 DiSC® styles – the i style, and I’m sure many of you recognised this style within a sales environment. Now we are going to look at the third of the 4 styles – the S Style.

S style leaders are becoming more common

Leaders with the S style are really people and team oriented, focused on collaboration, support, consensus, and stability.

People with the S Style are poorly represented within most sales environments and, through the recruitment process, their emphasis on cohesion, continuity, harmony is often considered a weakness so candidates with stronger traits for action, results, drive, and change are preferred, particularly amongst men. However, with more emphasis on wellbeing and with more women coming into sales leadership roles, we are seeing more people with the S Style in sales leadership roles and being successful, and male S style leaders have become more accepted and understood. The market move to cloud and subscription based business models also allows salespeople and sales leaders with the S style to stand out.

A more consultative approach

Leaders with the S Style are particularly strong in sales environments requiring a more consultative approach and where the development of close relationships with customers and partners is required. Several of the more successful sales leaders that I know in Amazon Web Services are S’s – supporting their teams to work very closely with customers to really understand their longer-term journey, build trust and then work hand in hand with them through change projects. During the pandemic, leaders with strong S traits would have been the most concerned with people’s wellbeing and probably instigated more team and collaborative activities than most.

Leadership through consensus

The S style can demonstrate strong leadership where diplomacy, persuasion and good collaboration within an organisation is needed, they can be very good at bringing disparate characters together having strong diplomatic skills, and so can be valuable in negotiation situations. A person with the S style is very dependable and loyal in challenging times so is very good at building trust around them. Leaders with an S Style will often be much quieter and restrained than a typical sales leader and so can risk getting drowned out by more extroverted D and I style colleagues in senior leadership meetings, but do not confuse this with weakness, they can be quietly very firm, very tenacious and deliver great results.

Collaborative and empathetic

A S style salesperson is likely to build very strong relationships with customers that creates long term loyalty and trust, which is often sustained beyond their current role. They can be particularly effective in Public Sector sales where civil servants have an ingrained resistance to more overt and direct sales approaches which a D style salesperson might employ. An S salesperson can more easily build empathy and trust with civil servants and government customers, showing collaborative and empathetic traits that aligns to public service and supporting public policy.

Not all S’s are equal

Not all people with a S profile think the same, there is a spectrum of thinking within this quartile dependent on how influential the other styles are to a person’s makeup.

Si Style

A person who has a S style but has strong influence of the i style (Si) is more extroverted and active than a typical S who will be more reserved, and so has a blend of creativity and enthusiasm with a drive to ensure team cohesion and inclusion. A person with influence from the ‘I Style’ will be more comfortable with risk than a typical S and bring creativity and exuberance to a collaborative group environment.

SC Style

A person who has an S style but has strong influence of the C style (SC) is more analytical and data driven than a typical S who will be more reliant on feelings and emotion. A leader with the SC Style will have strength at managing stability and continuity, and will have a quiet, and measured approach. Decisions may take a little longer with a SC, they may be more resistant to change and avoid risk but they will include both data and people’s feelings into everything they do and take a very considered approach.

Better retention within teams

Leaders with the S Style are very important in a modern senior management team because they bring naturally strong wellbeing, mentoring and personnel management traits to the job. Leaders with strong S Style traits will likely have better retention within their teams than others.

Can you relate?

Does the S, Si or SC style ring any bells with you? Who do you know with this style and how well do you relate to them?

Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC - C

The C Style

Leaders and salespeople with strong C style are strongly data and factually driven, focused on accuracy and getting things right first time, maintaining stability, linearity and predictability, and they challenge strongly when they disagree or have concerns.

Sales leaders with C Style are primarily driven by the science of sales, using analytics and statistics to support their approach and decisions. Here we find the leaders who are heavily focused on leveraging forecasting applications like Salesforce, SAP, Oracle.

C style are risk averse

Sales Leaders with the C Style are most effective in organisations which are data driven, value accuracy and predictability, and so are more operationally driven. Leaders with the C Style are more risk averse than D or i style leaders and prefer ‘no surprises’ and so will make good decisions with all the facts to hand and all the options explored. Decision making may take longer than with D or i style leaders, who may go on gut instinct, but there will have been more rigour in the process and so potentially less risk of the decision being incorrect. ‘Fail fast, Fix Fast’ sales motions are typically uncomfortable for C style leaders.

I thought it was a no-brainer!

I was part of a leadership team where the senior exec in the region was a C style leader and I was trying to get a decision made for an investment in a new cloud data centre in a new country.

Being an iD style myself, I set out all the visionary reasons why it was a great idea, what the country environment would look like in 3 years, all the demand generation we could do and exciting events we could run, and I was very excited about the prospect – for me this decision was a no brainer. However, when I previewed my business case with my VP in preparation for the business case review (his style was DC), he told me I would have no chance of gaining the exec’s approval without significantly more work on the data to back up the proposal. I thought I had included enough to justify the decision, but my ‘i Style ‘ did not take into consideration the way that the C style exec would think – I needed to put myself in his shoes.

3 weeks later I went to the business case review armed to the teeth with analysis and statistics to support my case. The meeting went well, the exec had a lot of questions and challenged many of the responses, but we managed to gain his confidence that we had covered everything and had mitigated the risk – he approved the investment. 2 years later the exec, who had been promoted, still reminded me of the statistics, commitments, and predictions I had presented – C style people have long memories!

A methodical planner

A salesperson with the C style is methodical in their sales engagement, and will carry out lots of planning before they engage with customers. They will work the numbers so they will be focused on looking at pipeline, pipeline to sales conversion rates, and detailed management of the pipeline. They will be very good at looking at why a deal might not close as predicted and anticipate the possible issues. A C style salesperson is usually very predictable with their sales performance as they will be pragmatic or cautious with their forecasting and work to a pre-defined plan, but may get caught out by creative competitive salesplays. Deals which are detailed and complex with lots of moving parts, or sales cycles that are very structured like a public procurement will suit a C salesperson’s style very well.

Not all C’s are the same

Not all people with a C profile think the same, there is a spectrum of thinking within this quartile dependent on how influential the other styles are to a person’s makeup.

CD Style

A sales leader or salesperson who has a C style but has strong influence of the D style (CD) is more results driven than the average C and more acceptant of risk, less rooted in stability. A CD is typically the most argumentative of the styles but with the intent to drive results from the accuracy of their activity and to challenge any misgivings vigorously. A CD leader will be most successful in an established business where there are defined processes and hierarchy. Expect a CD leader to really drive sales success through accurate forecasting, predictability, and a well-defined sales methodology.

CS Style

A sales leader who has a C style but has strong influence of the S style (CS) is more aligned to stability, support and continuity than the average C and is probably the least typical style for a new sales leader and salesperson, as results and action are the weakest of their watch words. A CS leader will typically want to manage the status quo, support the organisation in a background mode and ensure that everything is risk free, calculating every move. A CS sales leader is probably most successful where overt or direct sales is not the prime route to market for the organisation but provides a supporting role to its main purpose. Sectors like the voluntary/charity sector or other services or public sector aligned organisations are areas where a sales leader with the CS Style might be most effective.

Can you relate?

Does the C, CS or CD style ring any bells with you? Who do you know with this style and how well do you relate to them?

Pulling it all together

Rainbow Thinking is the outcome of a diverse spectrum of individual styles who come together as an inclusive team, each being able to work in an authentic and open way based on the merits of their own style. It recognises that people, irrespective of their gender, colour, culture, or identity can think very differently about things, approach challenges differently, react to situations differently, interact with people differently, and prioritise and value different things. It makes working with other people so infinitely interesting and helps teams to achieve amazing things if nurtured, encouraged and developed.

Encourage different styles

Modern sales leaders and salespeople should have different styles, each style has strengths and weaknesses, but they collectively enhance the capabilities of the sales engine – it’s a healthy diverse environment that should be encouraged. With growing diversity across organisations, the increase in hired expertise from the industry, and improvements in the gender balance, the style of sales leaders and salespeople is broadening, and the definition of a good sales leader or salesperson is changing.

Our customer environment has changed. Cloud and subscription business models are replacing products and solutions, and so a more services and ‘customer success’ style sales approach is expected to build customer trust. This changes the role and style of the salesperson away from ‘deals’ to continuous customer contact and collaboration over an extended period, and results are measured through continuous assessment and successes.

Use the skills and styles around you

The need to improve salesperson retention due to skills shortages, the increasing costs of recruitment and training, and the impact that disruption has to high growth, are also changing the emphasis of sales leadership to be more inclusive, demonstrate better wellbeing skills and to develop the best from all the varied skills and styles available to them.

Previously, sales management and salespeople styles have been dominated by the D style for hard hitting, fast moving, high growth, results orientated teams. Leaders or salespeople with a D style remain important but they need to flex into the other aspects of their character to adapt their hard-hitting Driver approach to become more rounded. Working with the team around them they can encourage new creative ideas by collaborating with people with the I style, they can be more considerate to people’s concerns and wellbeing by including people with the S style, and they can better analyse the available information through involving people with the C style.

Adapt your style

These changes to sales culture requires the spectrum of thinking from all 4 DiSC® styles, be driven to gain results, be creative and collaborative, be a team player and support each other, while being across the data and detail. Each person needs to adapt their style, and sales teams need to be hired and developed with diversity of thinking in mind so we encourage rainbow thinking. With an enhanced awareness of our style, our ability to adapt, and a deeper understanding of our sales colleagues and staff styles, we can harness all the rainbow thinking available to us and be the most effective leader or sales professional in a diverse, inclusive, and colourful sales organisation.

Be a high performing sales team

High performance sales teams are built on 5 fundamentals, starting with a foundation of Trust onto which Openness, Commitment, Accountability and Results can be built. Without Trust, a sales leader is lost, a sales team is just a bunch of individuals all trying to make target in their own way, both disconnected from the rest of the business. Building trust requires a greater understanding of yourself and to share that openly with others, then an understanding of your team members and a recognition across the team of the diversity of thinking, approaches, capabilities, and experiences which makes us all unique individuals but equally valuable team players.

How can DiSC® be used in your team?

DiSC® is an effective, quick and cost-effective tool to build trust and understanding in a team through better self-awareness, learning about the people around us, how they think, their style of working and how they deal with challenges – what makes them tick.

Post pandemic, many people have moved jobs and tech firms are right sizing for the post Covid world. Therefore, we are in a period of team creation, renewal, and rebuilding. DiSC® can be used very effectively to build trust and understanding within a sales team as a strong foundation for rainbow thinking, gaining early alignment and team bonding on which to build.

How we can help

DiSC® is not a panacea, but it is a well thought-out and practical process which works. I’ve used DiSC® for over 10 years to help build and develop my sales teams, and to help other sales leaders create a trusted foundation for their sales teams growth (direct, partner and specialist sales). I’ve also used DiSC® as a mentoring tool to help individuals understand themselves better and to help steer their development.

A typical DiSC® engagement through Skylark Development consists of individual and team sessions including an Everything DiSC® Workplace Profile for each member of the team, a detailed feedback session for each person, an interactive workshop for the whole team, a team review session afterwards, and an online portal for access to reports, tools, profiles and research.

A DiSC® profile for an individual can be completed and feedback session delivered within a few days, this can often be funded as a low cost, expensed item. The workshop needs planning but is usually delivered in a single day over a 4-6 hour session dependent on the size of the team.

DiSC® can also be used as a component of a broader development program such as the Amplified Group‘s ‘Operating System for Teams‘ which melds DiSC®, Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviors® model and other tools in an overall framework for team effectiveness.

In closing, I hope these sessions have been useful in helping you think about your own style, the style of the people around you and how you can adapt to become a better Rainbow Thinker and a more effective and inclusive sales leader or salesperson.

To learn more about DiSC® and how it can be applied to you, your team or your organisation, please contact me at tim@amplifiedgroup.co.uk

Rainbow Thinking Utilising DiSC Team Image

Contact us to book your DiSC® personality profile.