“I’m just not a productive person,” is not a revelation that we accept at McGhee Productivity Solutions (MPS). No one is inherently unproductive, nor are they inherently disorganized or chronically late! Anyone can be productive, organized or on time. Then why, you may ask, is it so much harder for you to be productive, organized or on time than it is for your co-worker?
Productivity, like many things in life, is not “one size fits all”. We suggest an analogy that people are similar to houseplants. That’s right—house plants! For instance, some plants thrive in shady corners of your house and others you can forget to water for months and they continue to grow beautifully. Some plants need full sun and wilt quickly if you forget to water them for even a day. Soil and water quality matter substantially to certain plants and some simply bloom wherever they take root.
Humans are not so different. Your co-worker may thrive in high-stress environments and you may need a little more time to process information. Your boss may hit the ground running at 8 am while you’re barely functional. It’s important to recognize that we each have our own individual personality style which affects our productivity. It doesn’t make us more or less productive, but it does make us more or less effective or efficient under certain circumstances. Knowing and understanding your own personality style, and those of your colleagues, and how it impacts our day-to-day activities, allows you to better plan your day, manage your work load and communicate with peers.
There are a variety of different behavioral style assessments out there, but MPS advocates use of the DiSC assessment to help individuals better understand how to be their most productive. Within the DISC model, there are four behavioral styles:
D – Dominance with traits that may include: assertive, challenge driven, sometimes direct communicators
I – Influence with traits that may include: enthusiastic, optimistic, “people” persons
S – Steadiness with typical characteristics including: calm, steady and dependable
C – Conscientiousness which often include traits such as: independent, analytical and detail-oriented.
Every individual has some of each of the four styles that makes up their individual personality, but their dominant style(s) and undominant style(s) can point to challenges and strengths when it comes to productivity.
To help clarify our point, let’s use an example of leading an important meeting. If you’re a high D, you may excel at the “leading” aspect and will want to get to the point quickly during a meeting. However, you may neglect to listen to others’ opinions or slow down to secure team alignment in your rush to get forward momentum. You may leave the meeting feeing like the goals were accomplished, but others may feel unheard, confused or railroaded, which can lead to having to repeat meetings, mend injured feelings and course correct down the road. This could have been avoided by understanding and recognizing that other team member process information and view productivity differently.
If you’re a dominant I, your charisma will likely keep everyone in the meeting engaged, but it may also lead you to focus too much time on certain topics or get side-tracked into personal matters, rather than business. You may find yourself with just minutes to go in the meeting without having addressed the priority topic or solidifying a team decision.
If you’re profile is more dominant as an S, running a meeting in general may be out of your comfort zone. You’ll be sure to hit the main points, but you may feel like you need to give the group all the possible information and examine every angle. More dominant personalities may jump to conclusions or offer ideas or suggestions before you’ve made your point. Recognize that you may require extra time in meetings and provide advance information to meeting participants to help ensure all the points you feel are valuable are addressed.
Finally, if you’re a dominant C, the facts will be the most important part of the meeting. Those who need more time to digest your information or those who need to talk in depth about the information may frustrate you. Avoid multiple meetings on one day if possible, so you can focus your energy on the meeting you’ll need to facilitate. Make sure that anyone attending the meeting knows what contributions you expect them to provide beforehand and make sure you take the time to share a broad background and not just the facts, to ensure you cater to different personality styles/needs.
Meetings are just one example of how you can increase productivity by being conscientious and aware of multiple personality types and their needs. Remember, you aren’t inherently unproductive. You just haven’t consciously identified your style or familiarized yourself with the styles of your colleagues.
Want to do a deeper dive on this topic? Contact us to learn more about our customized personality & productivity coaching options!