Transcript: How can we work together better? (EP3)
Brendan Rogers: Hello and welcome to The Culture of Things podcast. This is episode two so we’re still very, very new and thank you to our listeners for listening to our first episode. It’s much appreciated. We received great feedback. Today, I’m here with a good friend of mine, someone I’ve known for some time. Laura Prael. Laura, how are you?
Laura Prael: I’m good, thanks Brendan.
Brendan Rogers: Thank you for joining us.
Laura Prael: Thanks for having me.
Brendan Rogers: Absolute pleasure. Laura is the owner and director of LEP Digital, which is a leading content marketing agency on the Central Coast, Has customers broad and wide across Australia and some international and has worked with companies like Google, Westpac, Kellogg’s, New South Wales Government and TourismNT. Just to name a few. So I’m really, really privileged to have Laura on our show today and what we’re going to be talking about is how people interact better in teams based on personality profile and using a tool like a personality profile. So, but before we get into that detail, I would like to ask Laura to tell us a little bit about her journey and the company, LEP Digital. Over to you, Laura.
Laura Prael: Thanks Brendan. So LEP Digital. LEP’s my name. It’s an acronym, Laura Elizabeth Prael. Not a very creative name, but it’s something that I kind of, I would say fell into about five years ago. So it was 2015. I was working in a full time job in the city at the time for a large global company and I really saw this need. I’d worked in the digital communications industry for about 12 years. I’d worked on lots of different accounts for large businesses and I saw this real need of small businesses really, really need content marketing. They don’t do it well, they don’t have the resources necessarily. And so I started helping small businesses outside of this job and word quickly spread. And all of a sudden I was working really long hours, I had to quit my job because I had too many clients and too much to do. And suddenly I had an agency and suddenly had staff. So, over the last five years, we’re now going into our sixth year in 2020, I’ve built a content marketing agency from the ground up from no money at all to an agency that now has a steady list of clients, as you mentioned, nationally, internationally. So it’s been an exciting but difficult journey.
Brendan Rogers: Well done on what you guys have achieved as well.
Laura Prael: Thanks you
Brendan Rogers: Fantastic. You’re a very humble person. I know that I’ve known you for a period of time. I think it would be remiss of me not to prompt you to tell us a little bit about some of the awards that you’ve won and LEP digital’s won in your space. Tell us a bit about that.
Laura Prael: Yeah, that’s right. So in 2018 we decided to put our hat in the ring for a few awards programs and the first program went in was the New South Wales Business Chamber Business Excellence Awards. And that’s a pretty well known award program. We went in at the Central Coast level. Well, first at the Gosford level, then the Central Coast level as you progress. And I was really lucky to have picked up the winner of the outstanding young entrepreneur of the year in the Central Coast region. And I actually represented our state at their level along with a lot of other entrepreneurs out there. So, that was a completely unexpected and a huge, huge privilege to be part of, you know, such an excellent, I guess, degree of people. And then last year, 2019, we actually picked up in the same awards program, micro-business of the year also at this, at the regional level. So we went off to the state awards, to show off what we knew and how far we’d come. So yeah, it was really, really, really exciting.
Brendan Rogers: Well done. And a great opportunity to network with lots of different people and learn from other leaders around the place that are doing some fantastic things.
Laura Prael: Oh, absolutely. We just sort of felt like imposters, you know, we can’t believe we were here, you know, in this big room of all these fantastic companies and who are household names, you know, and here we are, little LEP Digital from the Central Coast. But, I think it was really exciting for my team as well, to see what’s possible, you know, to see where we could really go in the future.
Brendan Rogers: So let’s get into our content that we want to talk about today, about how we can work together better. You and I, we had a conversation several months ago and you felt something was missing in your team or you felt that you could take another level. And so tell us a little bit about your thinking as to why you wanted to, and you made a strategic decision to focus on teamwork specifically.
Laura Prael: So the company’s grown fairly quickly, I’d say over, especially over the last two years. So I got to a point where I was rapidly hiring people and as I was hiring people, I realised all of a sudden, hang on, I’m a manager now. You know, I’m not just someone that’s a doer or a specialist in my area, I am now a manager of a team and I’ve got responsibilities here. I’ve got to really understand how I can get the most out of my people and how the team can really function cohesively and work well with each other. So I knew of what you did. I knew that personality profiling was something that I was really interested in and something I’d certainly never done. So that’s how it all kind of came about.
Brendan Rogers: And we decided to use DiSC as a personality tool. There’s lots of personality tools out there. I personally think DiSC is a fantastic tool because it’s simple. And to me that’s the most important thing. So what did you know about DiSC personality profiling before we went on this journey?
Laura Prael: I knew nothing about it. This is completely new to me. Despite having worked in a lot of large businesses and even in communication roles and internal communications. I had never ever done a personality profile. So I wasn’t really aware of what was out there. But I’m fascinated by humans. I’m fascinated by what makes us tick, what makes us different. It was interesting to me because this is brand new uncharted territory. So I was kind of, you know, open to being led and finding out more about that.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s jump forward a little bit. Given what you now know and we’ll delve into that in a minute. What do you think, why do organisations not take this on? And are they really missing something about getting the best out of their people and understanding their people in not doing something like this.
Laura Prael: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that the thing to remember is you don’t have to wait till there’s a crisis in your business to learn more about yourself and your team. This is something you can do at any time along the journey. It can be at the start, it can be in the middle, it can be when you’re quite mature in the business. But the point is, you need to understand how your team works, what motivates them. You know, people work in very different ways. And we see that every day. We see that in our family. You know, I’m very different to my sister. I’m very different to my mum. And I think it’s really important that businesses take this seriously. If they want to succeed, if they want to have a high performing team, if they want to get more done, be more productive, sell more. They need to understand how to empower their people to do that. So I think why businesses don’t do it. I think fear, I think people resistant to change. They think, Oh, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know what’s wrong. I just want to keep doing what I’ve always done. So I think the people that really take the leap are people that are, have that growth mindset. They’re open to learning. That’s my take on it.
Brendan Rogers: And were there, in your business and making the decision to focus on teamwork and to, at least start understanding your other team members and yourself. Was there any particular situation or event or events that happened in your business that really made you think, Hey, we need to do something else in our business to take us to this next level?
Laura Prael: Yeah, I think as new people were joining the team, people of different ages, different backgrounds, I think I noticed, and certainly some of my team members approached me that there were frustrations with how things were getting done. You know, some people have one way of doing it, another person has another way of doing it, and that can lead to tension, frustration in the workplace because it’s like, well, hang on, I think it should be done this way. Why won’t everyone else do it the way I want to do it? And that can be quite a sense of irritation. You know, you feel like maybe you’re not achieving as much as you could achieve. So I was sensing that happening in the team, even though we all got along really, really well. Everyone in the team is very friendly. I could sense there was probably some frustrations bubbling on the surface. And I really want to, you know, I didn’t want anyone to leave. I didn’t want anyone to be unhappy in their jobs. So I thought, hang on, let’s turn this into an opportunity, let’s learn more about each other.
Brendan Rogers: And that’s a really good point. I mean, you say that it’s not that people weren’t getting on, but there were some frustrations about maybe the way people worked and, that came through in projects and stuff. And that’s, to me, that’s really one of the learnings in something like this is, you know, using some of these tools that are out there to help understand people better so that you can interact better and hopefully get better results based on that.
Laura Prael: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, we want to talk to people in the language that they’re comfortable with. You know, it’s the same thing in what I do. You know, I’m a copywriter. I work with content marketing. I would never write in the same language in the same way for a different audience member or a different business. You know, if I was writing in the same tone of voice, you know, it just wouldn’t work. So we need to be able to adjust ourselves, our behaviours and our actions to get the most out of people and to get people to ride that path with us.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s go into the profiling tool, DiSC. What is your style?
Laura Prael: My style was Si.
Brendan Rogers: And what does that mean?
Laura Prael: Well, to me it means that I’m on one side of me is a people person, someone that wants to be a bit of a peacemaker, have everyone come together, really thinks about the team first as opposed to the individual first. And then the i part of me is the, you know, I think the visionary, the ideas person, the energetic person, the extroverted person, the person that wants to get out there and you know, bring people together and I don’t know, change things. So that’s how I came out.
Brendan Rogers: And so for the listeners, so the S type is the Steadiness type and the i type is Influence. So you’re Si, and as you explained, all of those things packaged up into a great bundle. I have to reinforce, no style is better than any other style. It’s really important to remember for everyone and, I know you learnt that. And our listeners, it’s not about wanting or needing to change styles. Yes, you need to adapt, but it’s not saying one style is any better than the other. And that’s something you guys learnt and we talked about in the session. Expand on that a little bit more. What were some of your learnings, your key takeaways once this DiSC tool become part of your life and part of LEP Digital’s life.
Laura Prael: I don’t think anyone was truly surprised by their outcomes. I think the gut feeling of everyone was like, yeah, look, that’s pretty spot on. Some people were like that’s scarily true. That’s accurate. You know these are examples of how I live my life every day. But you know, it can be also confronting because of course in any strengths, there’s also a, I wouldn’t say weaknesses, but opportunities. So, you know, there’s always something that you can learn or you can do better. And I think for some of my team that was hard, you know, I certainly, there were some people that said, Oh, you know, I don’t, I don’t love the style that I got, particularly the D style. You know, (laughing) one of my team members said, Oh, it sounds like if you’re a D you’re like Hitler or something. I thought, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. No, it’s not that. It’s not that.
Brendan Rogers: Great, we know that’s not the case.
Laura Prael: Yeah. And I actually think, you know, if I was to wish that I was a certain style, I’d say Di because that’s where I thought, okay, that’s someone that gets things done. You know, they’re not scared. They’re assertive, they stand up what they believe in, but they’re also imaginative and creative. So, yeah, it’s interesting, I think, I think we can, we all need each four styles and a bit in between them. So as you say, there’s absolutely no wrong or right or better or worse style.
Brendan Rogers: And that’s a good point. This podcast is not about analysing all the different styles, but we certainly want to talk about how we’ve utilised these styles to help better your team and what you believe has bettered your team. So how about we, we talked a lot around strengths, struggles and relationship keys. Tell us a few of your strengths in your style. The Si style.
Laura Prael: So a few of the strengths that I listed down in the exercise that we did was, I felt like I was quite a good communicator. So I’m very open. I’m very honest. I like communicating with people. I’m good at bringing people together. I think I’m good at solving problems and challenges along the way. I think that I’m very generous with my time. I think that I’m patient not all the time. I have my moments, but generally I like to think, look, I’m pretty patient. I like teaching and motivating people. So that’s what I put down as my strengths.
Brendan Rogers: And like anything, there’s two sides to the coin, right? So we’ve flipped to the strengths. Let’s have a look at our struggles. So what was some of the struggles that you found or that you knew and maybe, were reinforced through your profile?
Laura Prael: Yeah, so some of the struggles or weaknesses I put down for myself was I tend to take too much on at times and feel quite overwhelmed. So I’m the type of person that I take on other people’s problems a lot and I live and breathe them and then I start to, you know, feel stressed because I’m taking on too much and feeling quite overwhelmed with it all. I probably don’t, I’m quite hard on myself. I probably don’t give myself enough time. I’ve got quite high standards for myself, so I’m always going, Oh, you know you can do more, you can do better. So that can make me quite tired. So I find that I get fatigued from that as well. My other weaknesses that I’m not big on conflict, so I don’t like fighting. Sometimes I’ll avoid saying something because I don’t want to upset someone because, you know, back to my strengths, I like to bring people together. I like to make people happy. And that’s my favourite thing when everyone’s getting along. And so, that’s something that I think is definitely something that I can be working on as a leader because we all know, conflict happens. It’s part of life. And as you said, when we chatted, conflict is good. Conflict is good in a workplace. You want conflict because conflict allows you to actually solve things and have the real truth come up and have an opportunity to address it.
Brendan Rogers: For me, and I might be a little bit biased, I’ve been using this tool a lot, but it’s, there’s, to me, there’s a real comfort in, like you said, about your team and we did that guessing approach, you know, what, what do you think other people in the team are? And that was pretty spot on for your team from memory. So we sort of got an idea, but it creates a common language amongst the group. And if anything, it creates some, some steadiness, some, a standard, a certainty around, and a comfort of this is who I am. I embrace that. I use the strengths. I bring in the right people to help me with my struggles and I make it work.
Laura Prael: Yeah. I think for us it brought us closer together as a team. The fact that we all knew each other better than we thought. So even though this isn’t something you discuss, you know, you don’t walk into a workplace on a Monday morning and say, Hey, I really like how you open up and you show you where your heart on your sleeve. We just don’t speak like that. So this was enabled us to have really honest conversations about who we all are. And it was, for me anyway, it was comforting to know that my team knew exactly who I was. You know, they said straight away, we think Laura is in S, you know, and I didn’t think I was, I thought I was probably more of an i or maybe even a slight bit of the D. So that to me was really nice. I thought, wow, that, you know, these guys know me, they know me, they worked with me every day and vice versa. And there was comfort in just having it all out of the table and having people put up their hand and go, you know what? Yep, I am that and I’m happy that way.
Brendan Rogers: And look, have comfort because as you know, we all have a little bit of all of the styles amongst us. It’s just that we always have a dominant style. So you do have a little bit of D in you Laura. It’s okay.
Laura Prael: (laughing) Thanks Brendan.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s talk about how a tool like this, because a tool is a tool, there’s so many tools out there in the leadership space, whether it be profiling, team assessments or anything like that. But frankly, they absolutely mean nothing if we don’t make them live in our organisation. So for you as a leader, going through a process like this and understanding your style a little bit more and, and relating that to you and how you lead a team, how has that impacted you? And what sort of changes have you made?
Laura Prael: Well, firstly changes in myself. I know that I have to address things as soon as they come up. So there’s no point, you know, beating around the bush and going, I don’t want to hurt people, don’t want to offend people. I just come in now and I have a really honest, open conversation and try to give constructive feedback and it’s relieved a lot of stress for me, you know, instead of building things up and going, Oh I don’t want to talk about it. Actually addressing it up front is so much better. So I think that’s helped me a lot for my own self and reflecting. And also it’s helped me to mentor and lead my team. So knowing what they each need, you know, what do they need for me to be successful and to, you know, to be productive and to do their best in their roles. So, that was an eye opener for me. You know, some people needed a really clear brief, for example. Some people didn’t want a clear brief, they wanted to be more creative and more imaginative, and they wanted me to just have trust in them to go off and do it. So it was really interesting to see that each, what each person needed was completely different to someone else. So that’s good for me to keep going back and reflecting. So when we have our one-on-one catch-ups or even when I’m delegating work, I can have in mind what each person needs to feel successful in what they’re doing.
Brendan Rogers: So flowing on from that, it’s a great segue. So how has this process impacted on your team and actually again, you know, teams are ultimately about getting results. So understanding this, understanding the profiles within your team and your team understanding themselves better and also how other people interact within the team. How has this helped you and your organisation?
Laura Prael: I think everyone, firstly, everyone loved the day, everyone loved finding out about themselves and finding out about each other. So much so that it’s kind of been a daily, almost a daily discussion in the office oh, you know, that’s my C coming out or you know, I’m an S so I need these sort of things. And a couple of my team members have also looked at little funny, you know, quizzes online to find out what animal are you. So, it means that it’s really piqued their interest. It’s something that they want to continue to explore. I think it’s brought us closer together. I think it’s relieved frustrations, certainly there’s less frustrations internally. There’s always going to be frustrations in a job. I mean, let’s face it, things happen during the day, during the week. But I think as a team we’ve all been able to bond a lot more, you know, on a more deeper level and understand each other’s, you know, for me, I can be a lot more patient because I understand, look that someone’s style, that’s the way they are. It’s innately part of them. So I need to be able to not tell them to change, but be able to work with them to get the best out of them.
Brendan Rogers: And how have you made profiling and DiSC and understanding each other and in how to work better. Have you, what steps have you taken to make that live in your organisation? You know, really make it live.
Laura Prael: Yeah. I think, it comes out in one-to-one work especially. So if I’m working with one of my team members on a project, or even if we’re just having a one on one catch up and we’re talking about obstacles, so we might be talking about a client project, a brief or something that’s come up. So, and we talk about it and an obstacle and what I try to do is remind them of their strengths. You know, this is something you do really well. How can we, how can we use this to overcome this problem, but to also give them ideas about other ways to look at things. You know, look, you know, that might be a frustration, but remember from their point of view, they might see it in different light or perhaps that’s why they’re doing it. So it’s kind of like removing that emotion. Trying not to see something as, you know, something that someone’s done deliberately or you know, in a mean way. But it’s just, that’s the, that’s the person that they are. So helping people see things from different perspectives. And I think that’s been able to give us a lot more clarity as a team and really move forward and you know, solve hurdles, if that makes any sense at all.
Brendan Rogers: It makes perfect sense and it’s great to hear. In regards to your leadership and leadership style and that Si type now, again, keeping on that practical nature and utilising this stuff in the workplace, can you think of a situation maybe that has happened previously before understanding anything about profiling and DiSC and personality styles where you may have approached that situation differently with knowing what you know know from a personality perspective? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Laura Prael: I think for me in the past I’d probably just, I’d do a lot of things myself, right? So I’d go, Oh, that person’s busy or whatever. I’ll just take it on myself, you know, I’ll just, I’ll just do it. You know, I want to be a team player. I want to get in there and be really helpful. And what I’ve learnt since doing this is that’s not particularly helpful for me. You know? And it’s a quick way to be burnt out. And I felt burnt out before in previous roles and it’s probably because I was displaying these behaviours, you know, taking on too much, trying to try to solve the world’s problems in a day. And now I’ve learned it’s okay, I can trust other people, I can delegate and people actually want to do more. You know, this is a way that people can progress in their careers by doing more, by stepping up and taking on higher responsibilities. So I’ve really made a concerted effort since after we’ve done this, this DiSC profiling to let go a little bit. That doesn’t mean that I’m not, you know, focused on high standards and quality work and managing, but it just means that I’m allowing other people to help me. You know, I’m asking for help and going, hey guys, I really need help with this project. Do you think you’d be able to help me with this? I know that you’re really good at doing XYZ and that’s helped the team. I think a lot of people are going, yeah, I’m really pleased that Laura has trusted me to go off and do this, this incredibly important, you know, project or task. So that’s how I’ve reflected on it and changed.
Brendan Rogers: Yeah, that’s fantastic. And just going that next step on that, it sounds like that you’ve acknowledged that and yourself and the, you know, the steady S type people will take more on themselves at risk of maybe their own health and their own sort of goals that they need to achieve. How has, if anything, that profiling and understanding different personalities in your team come into decision making about who you might approach to do a certain task?
Laura Prael: Yeah. That’s another one is, you know, and I know we spoke about this on the day that depending on your personality type, it depends on what tasks you can give them. So, you know, if you need something that’s done really, you know, detailed a lot of analysis that you know, you’ve got a lot of time to do it, it needs to be done really thoroughly. You might give it to a C type for example, because you know that they’re really detailed analysis. They like, you know, studying everything, getting things right. It might be really a data analysis job. But if I need something to be done really quickly and I just need a really quick result, maybe that’s someone more for a D personality, you know, I know that I can trust them to just go get the job done. They don’t need a whole lot of information or brief, they can do it fairly fearlessly. So that’s helped me allocate tasks and allocate tasks that people are not going to be stressed out by receiving (laughing), and be happy with because at the end of the day, I want my team to be happy. That’s what I care most about. Of course, I want the business to grow and our clients to be happy and for us to do really good work. But I really believe that, that starts in employees being happy and feeling fulfilled at work because the rest just flows from there.
Brendan Rogers: You told me the other day around some of the great stuff you’re doing with meetings. Again, this podcast today is not to delve too far into that, but one of the things that we found through this process was that you had a great mix of personality types in your team. I guess we can say that wasn’t necessarily deliberate because you know, we weren’t using a tool around when you are looking at people to come into your business. But how do you think that has helped get better meetings, get better conversation within your meetings? Because that’s what you explained to me a while ago, so tell us a little bit about that.
Laura Prael: Yeah. So as part of my sort of self realisation of taking on everything, or taking on too much myself I should say, I thought, okay, well every Monday my team meets together and we have a 90 minute meeting. And that consisted mostly of me running through tasks, running through projects, giving them an update. You know, this is what’s happening, this is what’s happening. And every now and again, you know, they’d get to have a little bit of an input or tell me what’s happening. And after a while I thought, you know, this is really dull, this is really boring. My team probably don’t really enjoy this, you know, probably people are half asleep. It’s first thing on a Monday morning, what can we do to shake things up? How can we make it that it’s not just me sitting and prattling on for 90 minutes at people. So I thought, okay, we’re going to take turns to host. So every week we go and, we have a roster, different people host, but I wanted to take it further than that. I said, okay, everyone has to come to the meeting and they need to have something to share with the team. They need an activity, we need something that’s completely separate from work, an activity to get our brains thinking. And so I didn’t say anything more than that. I left it to my team to come up with it. So we’ve had lots of things. We’ve had speed Scrabble, we’ve had trivia sessions. One of my staff members even created an escape room for us in the office. So, we showed up one more Monday morning, we all got locked out of the office so she could set up and then we came in and there was locked boxes. There was a countdown timer and one of the computers and we were given a set of instructions and we had to work as a team to unlock a box. So that was, that was pretty cool. I don’t know if we can top that one.
Brendan Rogers: I think there’s probably a few listeners out there that might take some of that advice and throw it into their meetings. Maybe there’s a lot of people out there, they’re having pretty boring and unconstructive meetings. So, maybe starting with an escape room type style will get people a bit more engaged.
Laura Prael: (laughing) That’s right.
Brendan Rogers: Now let’s get personal, Laura. How has a profiling tool helped you in your personal life? Because you’re recently engaged.
Laura Prael: (laughing) I am. I am, yes. I put, the engagement was definitely down to disk. It’s really changed my life. I think he proposed because we did the DiSC profile (laughing). No. So after we did this, this profiling tool, I came home, told my partner and I was raving about it and I was reading out my, you know, my results. And he was like, Oh wow, that’s just like you. And then I was like, but who are you actually, what would you be on the DiSC profile? I’m really curious now to know what you are. And he does do some work with us in the team. So he did the profile. No word of a lie, we got almost the exact same score. He was an Si as well. And our little dot on that quadrant was millimetres away, which is a bit freaky to me because I thought, wow, I’ve, I’m just dating myself obviously (laughing). I’m just attracted to someone like me. So, and I think he was surprised as well.
Brendan Rogers: You also, we won’t need to go in all the gory detail, but you’ve shared where you’ve had to play different styles at home, both yourself and Pete. So, maybe just give, again, it’s about practical application of this stuff, so maybe give a, you know, an example where at home you may have to play a different style or Pete’s played a different style, which has really helped your home team get a good result.
Laura Prael: Yeah. So it’s, funny. When I was doing my quiz, I was, and I know you’re not allowed to do this by cheating a little bit, and I asked Pete what he thought I should answer. And (laughing) it turns out that he thinks I’m more of a D. So he was thinking that I was a lot more like, hard nosed about things. And that’s because we do play different roles in different parts of our lives. And I think, you know, at home I’m obviously very comfortable with him. I like to be involved in decision making a lot. I’ve got strong, quite strong opinions about how things should happen and so does he. So, yeah, it’s been interesting, but, I think it’s also interesting to know that he’s just as sensitive as I am (laughing). So, even though he’s a guy and he’s very logical, deep down he’s an S type, so he’s still a people person. And so, I think I’ve adjusted my behaviours to realise, okay, he’s sensitive like me. You know, he takes on other people’s problems as well. You know, how can we help each other? So yeah, it’s been interesting.
Brendan Rogers: Let’s bring it back into the workplace. So, you mentioned just in that scenario you playing different styles. You as a leader of people, leader of your organisation, where do you see the power in this, in you as a leader and how you need to adjust your approach at different times because people expect a lot from leaders, right? It’s a tough job and they expect that you’re a leader and you know these things. How has that worked for you in just understanding the different styles and how you need to be a chameleon for want of a better word, in just adjusting yourself.
Laura Prael: Look, it’s ongoing. I’m still learning a lot. You know, every day I come into the workplace and there’s some new challenge and there’s something that I’ve got to learn about. Not just about managing, but the human experience, you know, things go wrong. So I think for me it’s just going to be a constant journey of learning. It’s going to be the more people that are hire, the more different personality types that I work work with. It’s going to be about, okay, how can I learn from my mistakes because we all make mistakes. You know, how could I have approached something differently? And I think it’s, again going back to everything that we get out of that DiSC and really reading it, and not just reading it for reading sake, but understanding it, taking it in, thinking about how we can apply it in our day to day lives. Because I think if you don’t do that, you just default back into your normal behaviours, right? You know, cause it’s easy not to change. It’s easy to just, as I said earlier, just keep doing what you doing default back to that behaviour. So I think I need to wake up everyday and come to work and go, okay, I’m ready to challenge myself. I’m ready to do things differently. I’m ready to tap into some of those other sides of the circle that I might not naturally feel inclined to do because it’s important, you know, there’s going to be times in work that I need to play the D role, you know, I need to be assertive, I need to protect my team, I need to protect the business. Even though I don’t feel comfortable doing it, I have to. So I think for me it’ll be constant learning and adopting.
Brendan Rogers: And that’s a fantastic mindset for a leader to take, isn’t it? Learning constantly?
Laura Prael: I think so. It’s actually one of our company values is always learn because things change all the time and I think that’s where you become stagnant in a business when you just do things the same way. So, education’s really important to me. So that’s something that, I deliberately put in our values because I don’t want anyone to become complacent, you know, we need to keep growing.
Brendan Rogers: So you’re a head of a digital marketing agency. So I’m going to put you on the spot here. Like I had been all episode putting you on the spot. How would you market DiSC to another leader and around the benefits, and how it’s helped your group.
Laura Prael: Oh, this is putting me in. This wasn’t part of the show notes Brendan.
Brendan Rogers: My apologies. I’m very interested in your take.
Laura Prael: Look. The best type of marketing is marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing at all. You know, it’s not sales driven, it’s about honest communications. It’s about looking at what leaders are challenged with every day and what they need to be better. So I think it really, it markets itself in having these conversations with leaders in and their employees and figuring out what matters. Figuring out what the challenge ii our workplace are. And they’re not so uncommon. You know, we share, we’re all humans, we’re all going through life and we share a lot of these same concerns and fears. A lot of issues we have in the workplace has to do with fear. Fear holds us back a lot. So I think, you know, DiSC is really the answer to all of these things. You know, there’s a lot of challenges out there and DiSC disc is, or I should say, one of the answers to helping. You can’t just do the DiSC profile and hope that it’s magically going solve everything. You got to put in the work as well. So yeah, I think communication is the tool really to market, DiSC.
Brendan Rogers: Well said. If you were to give other leaders out there and other people in teams, you know, given what you’ve learned in this journey you’ve been on for a number of months now, what would be the key takeaway for you and that key bit of advice you’d like to share with other leaders and people in teams around DiSC and personality profiles and actually working together better?
Laura Prael: I’d say you can’t afford to run a business and not look at how your team are working together. You just can’t afford it. You know, this is invaluable for anyone running a business. And if you’re not interested in your people and you’re not interested in improving, then don’t run a business with people, you know, work by yourself. You know, there’s other business models out there where you don’t have to do this. But, this, I would also say that DiSC isn’t just for workplaces. You know, as you say, this is a personality tool. It’s something that you can use in your everyday life to work better with people in your life. Get the most out of people, get the most out of your relationship, have a happier relationship at home, have a better relationship with your kids. So yeah, look, it’s invaluable.
Brendan Rogers: It’s a great point, Laura, I’m just thinking back to a conversation I had only today with a couple of leaders, and their comment to me was, do you also do marriage counselling?
Laura Prael: (laughing) You should.
Brendan Rogers: After our profiling session, and you know, some of the outcomes over the last couple of weeks and how it’s helped them. So to me, really, really powerful. I now I’m a little bit biased around this stuff, but, that’s why I asked to have you on the show, you are living and breathing and giving real life examples of what, you know, some of these tools that are out there and how they can really be impactful and help your team. So, I really appreciate your comments, I know our listeners will appreciate your comments and input into what you’ve achieved. Tell our listeners how they can get hold of you if anybody wants to make contact.
Laura Prael: Yeah, of course. So, of course you can find me online, connect with me on LinkedIn, and you can visit us www.lep.digital or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Brendan Rogers: Thank you very much for being one of our guests on The Culture of Things podcast. It’s a pleasure having you and appreciate you taking the time.
Laura Prael: Thanks so much Brendan. It’s been a lot of fun.
Brendan Rogers: Laura is a leader who’s embraced the use of personality profiling like DiSC to help improve the performance of her team. I’ve seen this firsthand in their organisation. The improvement in the interaction of her team, and the impact that that’s having on her organisation and improving the outcomes for her clients.
My three key takeaways from my conversation with Laura were, firstly, don’t wait for a crisis to start focusing on teamwork. It’s so relevant in society today, given we’re currently dealing with the COVID-19 virus. I had a call from a leader just a couple of days ago. He said, this crisis is really bringing my team together. Don’t wait for a crisis to start focusing on teamwork. You need to understand how your team works today, because when you do that and you can use a personality profiling tool like DiSC to do that, it sets you up to deal with a crisis much better than what you otherwise would be. Preventative maintenance is far better than dealing with something when it’s broken. And when things are broken in teams, it comes across as personality conflicts or artificial harmony in teams. People not saying what they really want to say. They’re not feeling safe and they’re not feeling supported.
My second takeaway was how personality profiling really started to enable honest and personalised conversations in amongst the team. It really provides a standard base for conversation. It can be used in the workplace at home or amongst your friends. Laura used an analogy around copywriting and that they would never use the same tone of voice or language for every client. They need to adjust how they say things for the specific audience and the client. And that’s what personality profiling does for teams. You get to learn about each and every individual and it helps you learn to communicate with each and every individual in a way that works for them.
My third and final takeaway was to embrace your style and use it as a superpower for you and for your team. Profiling helps us understand ourselves and our team mates much better and it can help us adjust how we communicate and interact with each other and helps the team become stronger. Laura used the example where she’s allowed her team to really showcase their personalities through meetings and each one of them in the team has a chance to lead the meeting and to start the meeting in a different way to really get their head in the game. She also mentioned how understanding everyone’s personality type, it’s enabled her to coach and mentor her team far better. She can understand their strengths and weaknesses and really understand how she can help them. She started to think and started to ask that question, what do I need to do to help them be successful? Interaction and communication is the real key to helping people work together better, and a tool like DiSC, a personality profiling tool, will help with this.
I’d like to leave you with one final thought. Can you afford to run a business and not look at how your team is working together? It’s really invaluable for running a business and a team and frankly, if you’re not interested in your people and improving them, then I suggest you don’t lead people, work by yourself.
If you have any questions about this episode of The Culture of Things podcast, any feedback you’d like to give me about how we can improve the show or what you’d like to hear in the future, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time.
Outtro (with music): Thank you for listening to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit brendanrogers.com.au to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.