Let me just start by saying, people are fascinating!
I’ll use one of my coworkers for an example. You can basically ask her to do anything on Excel and she can do it...in about 10 minutes. If you were like, “Can you upload the whole manuscript of War and Peace into columns filtered by the third letter of each word, and then remove every 7th and...?” She’d be all, “No problem.” Ten minutes later, it’s in your inbox. Amazing!
And don’t even get me started on those people that can take one number, and then take another number and place any sign in-between. You know, like add, multiply, divide, etc... and then they can come up with yet another number that is accurately based on the equation! Without a calculator! Those people are magical wizards, and you can’t convince me otherwise.
What you may have noticed is that I am pretty impressed by people when they have a skill that I don’t have. I think most of us are.
What confuses me is why that impressed feeling seems to not translate to behaviors that are different than ours? Instead of appreciating a more aggressive problem solver, we talk about how they’re difficult or mean. Rather than being impressed by a person who takes the time to really think through a process, we tend to criticize them for being slow. When speaking about DISC, we talk a lot about styles that are different than our own and discuss how this potentially causes conflict between individuals. And though we do discuss appreciating each style for what it brings to the table, it isn’t always the easiest idea to put into practice.
Instructional Design Secrets Revealed
One of the favorite parts of my job is getting to create learning activities. It’s a way to bring theory and different concepts to life. A couple of months ago, I met with my training team, and we were working to create a new activity that could really highlight this concept of appreciation. After reviewing the exercises we were currently offering and combining in some outside ideas, we landed on Muchas Gracias. Muchas Gracias is our version of a verbal thank you note (with a Sonoran flair).
Let me digress a bit and tell you that as an instructional designer, you don’t always know how your training concepts will land. You do what you can to beta test, but when short on time you often just have to jump in with both feet… and hope for the best. In this case, jumping in was implementing Muchas Gracias into our TTI SI August Boot Camp (an in-person training that covers DISC and Driving Forces concepts for those in our network).
Another thing you should know about instructional designers is that we’ve chosen our career path purposefully. We create the content behind the scenes, but then someone else has to stand-up and deliver. If you are one of the meaner ones, you pass lessons off to your trainer with a snarky “good luck”, and walk away. If you are one of the nicer ones, you set them up with everything you can think of for success and then you stand in the back of the room, holding your breath and mouthing the instructions along with them. It’s what those crazy millenials call Ride or Die. I’ll let you make your own assumptions on what type I am.
So anyway, as I am sitting at my computer, watching the live feed of Boot Camp, holding my breath and mouthing the instructions along with my trainer (who was killing it, by the way), I couldn’t believe what was unfolding in the Muchas Gracias exercise.
Thank you for providing me with great ideas that I can implement.
Thank you for carrying the conversation when I just couldn’t and for always being optimistic.
Thank you for keeping me on task and making sure everything is completed correctly.
Thank you for just showing up… you always just show up, it’s amazing.
Not to get all mushy, but I’ll admit that even I was getting a little choked-up listening to these declarations of thanks and watching the smiles on the receiving end of the appreciation. These were a group of people who had just met, segregated into groups by their core behavioral style and applying their knowledge of DISC in order to generate happiness in others. They were not only giving thanks, but they were being extremely humble in admitting they were impressed by what the others could accomplish that they could not. It was, hands-down, one of my proudest moments as a designer.
You might be saying to yourself, “Hey Suz (That’s what my friends call me, so we’re friends now) that sounds great, but I can’t make it to TTI SI’s Boot Camp and experience Muchas Gracias in person”. (Note here: if you are reading this, and you are a TTI SI Value Added Associate, you should come because it’s awesome and you can meet me).
You can Muchas Gracias too!
So how can you have this enriching experience if you are not eligible to attend a Boot Camp? You can live Muchas Gracias everyday. It’s super simple. First, acknowledge your weaknesses or something you find too difficult to accomplish, and then you thank someone who helps to fill those gaps. It could be a coworker, or your significant other or good friend. It could be someone you aren’t even super close to, but you know they are picking up the slack in one way or another. One rule, be specific in your thank you so it comes across as genuine.
What it boils down to is this: it’s one thing to identify behavioral differences, it is quite another to celebrate them. So make a little effort to live in celebration of others. Live Muchas Gracias!