Identifying Motivational Issues in a DISC Profile


Jack (not his real name) seemed to be a contented manager who did not stand out as a “mover and shaker” but nevertheless went about his duties carefully enough to get by. 

The company’s management initially had identified Jack as a future leader and were somewhat disappointed that he was not performing to the level expected. He was carrying out his duties in accordance with his job description well enough, but wasn’t the standout performer the Managing Director had expected.

Jack was recommended to the firm by their recruitment company as his qualifications and background seemed to fit the role required but no behavioural assessment was used in the selection process. The use of this methodology would not have changed the decision to employ Jack. Had a Behavioural Assessment been obtained, the Managing Director would have known from the get go what motivated Jack, what he would try avoid and what his development areas were. Without this information, the managing director relied solely on his experience in working closely with Jack to help him achieve his objectives.

As part of the annual performance review, the Managing Director decided to engage a Human Resource consultant who recommended the use of Extended DISC® in the process, not just for Jack, but for the entire staff of 300 plus people. This provided a reference point for future Human Resource management. Jack’s

Extended DISC® Behavioural Assessment revealed a problem, his Profiles are shown opposite. Not only did the DISC behavioural profile indicate an uncertainty of role but it was obvious that he felt insecure and possibly frustrated in his current position. The Managing Director had not recognised these traits although he had often wondered why Jack seemed to operate (in the Managing Director’s words) “on automatic”!

Jack’s Behavioural Assessment revealed reasons for his apparent lack of motivation and the Managing Director, with the assistance of the Human Resource consultant, revised Jack’s job description to refocus his responsibilities in accordance with the “Motivators” section of his report. He began to understand that Jack’s environment was not changing at the speed he desired. He needed more independence and to be involved in planning future activities, in organising and developing strategies and policy, and analysing results rather than simply reporting to the Managing Director.

The report also pointed out that his current job description which forced Jack, to adhere to strict rules and his restricted control over his division simply reduced his motivation. The Managing Director mistakenly had thought that by supporting him through constant intervention he was helping Jack develop and didn’t understand that he needed more independence.

A change in focus and approach worked effectively and a subsequent report six months’ revealed the Profiles shown opposite.

By refocusing Jack responsibilities to take into account his strengths there was a rapid change in Jack attitude and performance. The “development areas” in his report were also noted and this is where the Managing Director provided the support necessary.

The outcome was a promotion for Jack and he is now General Manager of the firm working closely with the Managing Director at a level that suits his qualifications, experience and most importantly, his behavioural style. Finally he is realising his true potential!