By the Book or What Book?


In an earlier post, we talked about the impact of having high Drive or D style and how it can manifest. As a reminder these four categories are part of a DISC assessment based on the work of William Marston. Today we will look at another style, one that measures how we view and comply with rules around us: the C style.

The C in DISC measures a person’s compliance or how they view the rules around them. A higher compliance person is “by the book” and a lower compliance person often asks, “what book?” 

One of the easiest way to determine where you fall on this scale is to think about how you cook. Do you follow the recipe or do you just wing it? Do you look up how to measure a dash, or do you just put it in? The higher compliance people follow the recipe, and lower grab a few ingredients and hope it turns out well.

We recently had a friend over the house to show them how to cook a turkey. (I have a theory that our parents and sitcoms made such a big deal about cooking a turkey that we have somehow determined that they are hard to cook.) Prior to their arrival, I tried to explain how easy it is to cook these birds. You just unwrap it, take out the bag of nasty stuff from inside, rub it with oil and some spices, and sit around for 3 hours while it cooks.

Convinced that this was harder than described, we walked them through the procedure while they took copious notes. The preparation took less than 5 minutes. We joked about their style, and how their high compliance at times looks for rules and procedures, and without a clear plan or recipe, this person can feel a little lost.

On the flip side, this high compliance is an amazing trait. This person is thorough, detail oriented, and keeps an eye on quality. They bring an amazing ability to make sure project are done well and on-time. After we laughed about the note taking, we realized that we had the next 3 hours to connect.  Not a bad recipe for relationships, especially when there was wine.

Are you by the book? Do you follow the recipe, or do you just grab whatever is on the shelf? Do you look at rules and assume they were meant for other people? Next time you are cooking or around someone who is, take a moment and watch.

If you are interested in obtaining your own DISC assessment to see where your compliance ranks, contact me for more details.

But I am not that way with YOU!

What we say matters.  How we interact with others matters.  Lately there has been a pattern in many conversations that almost went unnoticed until someone close to me pointed it out.  I call this pattern the unintentional high standard.

A quick definition is in order.  The unintentional high standard is when someone describes their expectation of something or someone else then proceeds to discuss how that other person or thing is not meeting that standard.  This can be in the form of a rant, complaint, or sometimes a tirade.

“I cannot believe that [insert name here] has not called me more often.  I feel like this relationship is one-sided.”

“Did you see the dish they brought to the party, did they even try?”

“I cannot believe [insert spouse or significant other here] wasn’t more [pick one: caring, compassionate, understanding, loving, excited, interested, engaged] about [insert topic here].”

At some point in one of these interactions while you are simply the bystander or listener, you begin to wonder how often this person says the same things about you to others.  If they are holding up this standard for others, even if unintentional, they must be holding this standard against you too.  Maybe you even dare to ask.

“So, is this the way you feel about me?  When I don’t call as often, or brought that crappy side dish to the party?”

“No, I am just ranting, but I am not that way with You!”

Really?  Are you the one exception to this high standard?  Do you get a pass that the rest of the universe doesn’t receive?  And how does it feel to be around someone who is always pointing out where others are not meeting the mark?

For the next week or so, spend a little time listening and see how often we all create these unintentional high standards.  Maybe we should do a little less ranting and a little less complaining.  I pointed this out to someone recently, and the saddest part was they didn’t even realize they were doing it.