Communication and Collaboration through Self-DISCovery

"Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools", thus begins the Agile Manifesto. This shows that the authors of the Agile Manifesto considered "Individual and Interactions" of  foremost importance. Ironically even after a decade and half since Agile Manifesto’s release, Agile initiatives in several organizations value “Processes and Tools” more  than  “Individuals and Interactions”.

One of the biggest challenges which teams (especially the newly formed ones) encounter in Agile development scenario  is related to “Individuals and Interactions”. This means dealing with complex issues like individual behavior, communication between the team members, conflicts within the team that prevent effective collaboration etc. These issues lead to team dysfunctions and adversely impact the team morale and the quality and timeliness of the deliverables.

The need of the hour is high performing teams that delivers value with agility, passion and joy in an environment of openness and trust.

If individuals in a team develop a better awareness and understanding of their respective behavioral patterns and also that of the other members of the team.they can adapt their communication and working style while interacting with others.

DISC is a behavior assessment framework based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, which centers on four different behavioral traits, which are called: dominance, influence, support, and conscientiousness.

This workshop will introduce DISC framework to the participants . Through various activities like - quizzes, exercises and  role playing,  participants will learn how to communicate , collaborate and take decisions in an effective manner in their workplace using DISC framework. This will be a major step towards  high performing teams.

This workshop  based on the book - Individuals and Interactions: An Agile Guide by Ken Howard and Barry Rogers was facilitated by me several times during one of my coaching engagements. It got good responses and feedback from the participants.

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Outline/structure of the Session

  • Context Setting (5 min)
  • What's your Behavioral Profile - A Short Self-assessment Quiz (10 min)
  • DISC Behavioral Profiles - An Introduction (15 min)
  • Mapping DISC Profiles - An Exercise (10 min)
  • Face-to-Face and Collaborative Conversations (15 min)
  • DISC based Communication and Conversations (15 min)
  • DISC based Collaboration and Decision Making (15 min)
  • Summary (5 min)

[The above outline is for a 90 min. workshop. I am also open to present this session as a 45 min. Talk format by cutting down on exercises and activities if there is a constraint in allotting a 90 min. slot]


Learning Outcome

At the end of this workshop the participants will be in a position to

  • Understand their own and their co-worker's behavioral profile
  • Learn about the effective ways to improve communication, interaction and teamwork with people with different behavioral profiles
  • Get to know how behavioral profiles impact collaboration and decision making

Target Audience

Team members, Managers, Coaches, Consultants and anyone who has to often interact with people

schedule Submitted 10 months ago

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  • Tushar Somaiya
    By Tushar Somaiya  ~  8 months ago
    reply Reply

    Dear Gopinath,

    Thanks for submitting the proposal. Topic is good. Liked that it is workshop than talk. Main point you are driving is DISC profiles and interactions based on profiling. I was wondering what might be some pitfalls of profiling? What happens when team or person is not ready for profiling? Can the knowledge of DISC profiles still help? How? I am sure you would drive the point that people change and none of the profiles are good or bad, but make sure it is called out bold and beautiful. 

    • Gopinath Ramakrishnan
      By Gopinath Ramakrishnan  ~  8 months ago
      reply Reply

      Dear Tushar,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Here are my responses to your questions.

       Q. I was wondering what might be some pitfalls of profiling?

      A. One of the main pitfalls in DISC profiling is mistaking DISC profiles for Personality profiles. DISC profiles characterize a person's observable behavior. They are not a measure of a person's hidden values, beliefs or viewpoints.

      Another misuse of DISC profiles is trying to predict the results a person will deliver based on the profiles. For e.g. assuming that an extrovert sales persons will get more deals as compared to introverts.

      DISC profiles are best used as an "Inspect and Adapt" tool in line with Agile philosophy. You take a hard look and your own behavior and the behavior of your team members, and then try to change your behavior as appropriate so that you can effectively communicate and collaborate with them.

      Q. What happens when team or person is not ready for profiling? Can the knowledge of DISC profiles still help? How?

       Ans. A person or team not willing to be profiled could be mainly because they may not be comfortable in sharing the outcomes of the profiling exercise.
      So in such cases we should not insist on disclosing the profiles.
      But the knowledge of DISC profiles will still help because it is all about observable behaviors.
      Train everyone in the team to identify and classify behavioral traits.
      This will enable individuals to make fairly accurate guesses about their co-workers profiles and adapt their own behavior accordingly.

      Comment -  I am sure you would drive the point that people change and none of the profiles are good or bad, but make sure it is called out bold and beautiful.

      Ans. Yes. I will be stressing these two very important points.

      I usually explain the DISC concept only after they complete the self-assessment test so that people are unbiased while taking the test.
      Also there is a slide in my presentation which pictorially shows how each and every profile contributes towards an effective team.

      I will also reiterate the objective of the DISC profile is about bringing about a change in behavior. Therefore the people's profiles are subjected to change if they change their behavior.

      • Tushar Somaiya
        By Tushar Somaiya  ~  8 months ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks for your patience and answering my questions. We are aligned. Thanks. Looking forward to attend your session and get myself profiled :)

  • Balaji.M
    By Balaji.M  ~  9 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Gopinath,

    Thanks for Submitting the proposal and understand how the tool can be used, it would helpful for the audience if you can cover what steps can be taken after the findings, what's the frequency we need to run this tool. Also would be helpful, if you can put a slide on behavioral change which you had observed during your coaching assignment and how long it took to bring the change.



    • Gopinath Ramakrishnan
      By Gopinath Ramakrishnan  ~  9 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Balaji,

      Thanks for the feedback. I will add a couple of slides to address the suggestions you have made.