Glancing Backward, Planning Forward

Glancing Backward, Planning ForwardI often reference my DRIVEN behavioral style. I rarely go into much detail in this forum about how dominant this trait becomes when I’m under a great deal of stress. If you’ve ever taken any brand of DISC profile, you were likely given results that showed you two graphs. In the Personality Insights model that we’re licensed to use, one is call your Basic style and the other is your Environmental style. Your Basic style represents you when life is on cruise control. This is said to be the REAL you… The Environmental graph shows the behavioral style others see in you when you’re hitting speed bumps with the cruise control still on!

I have a very low level of the SUPPORTIVE style in both my Basic and Environmental styles, meaning I have to be VERY intentional to be that patient person who’s a good listener, and it’s no secret that I’ve never struggled with being shy… One big difference between my Basic and Environmental styles is how I deal with organization and details. When things around me are going smooth, my graph says that I tend to be a little bit better than average with attention to detail. When high levels of stress are put in the equation, ALL bets are off! The task will absolutely get done but there will be very little fun involved, I’m very likely to step on a few toes in the process, and it will take an act of God to maintain a high level of accuracy.

HOWEVER, that’s not always an acceptable outcome! All of us have to do things every day that are either uncomfortable for us or we just plain don’t like to do… Several years ago, a supervisor sat down with me to go through a performance evaluation. When he got to the part that covered attention to detail, he talked about how meticulous I was and how much I paid close attention to every detail. He said I was clearly a very detail-oriented person. It may not have been appropriate, but I literally laughed out loud. As you can likely imagine, he was more than a little surprised by that response to something he was very serious about. I went on to explain to him that what he had observed was one of several strategies I had put in place in my life to help compensate for things that I really struggled with but was still responsible for doing well. This is what John Maxwell describes in The Law of Design, chapter 7 of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.

About half way through this chapter, John says “Most accomplishments in life come more easily if you approach them strategically. Rarely does a haphazard approach to anything succeed. And even the few times a nonstrategic approach to achievement comes to fruition, it’s not repeatable.” If this is true even for the things we are more naturally equipped for (and it is), how much more important is it for us to be sure we have strategies in place for being effective in the areas we tend to have difficulty with? For me, that means taking a lot of notes, keeping To-Do lists, and maintaining a VERY organized calendar! On that note, I even have to schedule time for the REFLECTION I often speak to.

I don’t enjoy sitting still and have to force it – but that doesn’t mean it’s not critical! John often talks about the time he schedules between Christmas and New Year to REFLECT on his schedule from the previous year; to review what went well & what didn’t, what he should do more or less of, and where he gets the most results for his investment of time. He calls this “Glancing Backward, Planning Forward.” While we probably won’t need an entire week for it, this is something Cindy and I are blocking time to do for the very first time (intentionally) this year! Quite honestly, I would probably never do it at all without her pushing me to and without scheduling time on our calendars for it!

Regardless of the success you’ve had in any given area of your life or career, what could you do more effectively if you took the time to design a system for it? And what do you struggle with on a frequent basis that could benefit from a formal strategy for handling it?