If you are looking to maintain a team of truly effective innovators, you need to consider each person’s personality and communication style—there is, after all, a right way and a wrong way to communicate with the members of your team. To communicate effectively with everyone on your team, you must learn their individual communication preferences.
TWO RESOURCES FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
At the Innovator’s Advantage, we use two powerful tools to communicate effectively across the Six Stages of Innovation.
The first is the Innovation Fitness™ Report, which will show you exactly how your skills, behavioral traits, and personalities align with the Six Stages of Innovation. This knowledge not only helps you to understand how you innovate best but how you prefer to get work done and how you usually communicate with others.
The second is TTI Success Insights’ DISC Model to showcase four main personality types and the behavioral traits unique to each team member. With this information, you can develop self-awareness, minimize conflict, increase engagement, and enhance communication.
Encouraging everyone on your team to use these tools will open a world of information on how best to communicate with each other.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OF THE SIX STAGES
There may be some overlap in how each of the innovation personalities prefers to communicate, and you might have team members with more than one dominant stage, but you can still use this guide to begin as you learn more about the traits of each stage of innovation. From there, the data from both the Innovation Fitness™ Report and the DISC Model will help you dive further into individual communication styles.
Using the Innovation Fitness™ Report and DISC together, we find that each of the Six Stages of Innovation correlates with a specific DISC behavioral style: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, or Compliance. The higher your behavioral style score, the higher your Innovation Fitness™ Score likely is for certain stages. For example, if you are a high D or Dominance, you likely have high scores in Stages 1, 3, or 6. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of these different communicators.
Stages 1 and 6, the Identifiers and Scalers, fall into the “I” of DISC—Influence. These personality types are usually full of stories. You might notice they are very animated when they speak in both gestures and facial expressions, and their tone varies often. These communicators are looking for interaction and thrive in environments with a high degree of contact.
If you want to engage this communication style, be sure to talk about people and their goals, dreams, and ambitions. Allow time for non-business interactions and give them space so that they don’t feel overly controlled. Disorganization and strict supervision will close these personalities off, so avoid those if possible. Stage 1 personalities are often called Persuader communicators, while those aligned with Stage 6 are the Promoters.
Stages 2 and 4 are the Definers and Deployers and match with the “C,” or Compliance, of DISC. These communicators come alive with details, critical thinking, and quiet time for analysis. If you’re looking to engage this personality, offer up as much detail in writing as possible—including timelines—and allow them plenty of space to think through the project or situation. These communicators don’t do well with sudden changes in plans.
Unlike Identifiers and Scalers, Compliant communicators have a more reserved body language with few gestures. They’ll avoid stories and stick to the point with facts and data. It makes sense then that those with high Stage 2 alignment are called Coordinators while Stage 4 team members are the Analyzer communicators.
Stages 3 and 5—the Developers and Verifiers of the Six Stages—align with “D” for Dominance. These communicators are usually direct and to the point as well but thrive in more challenging and fast-paced environments. Logic and efficiency are the best way to present information to this task-oriented problem solver. However, be sure to give them an opportunity to share their opinions and make their own decisions. They may show anger if they disagree with you but understand that it’s not personal.
Like Influencer communicators, they prefer freedom from supervision and too many details. They’re often always on the move, looking for the next challenge—Stage 3 communicators are often referred to as Conductors while Stage 5 personalities are the Implementers.
Though none of the Six Stages directly aligns with the “S” of DISC, Steadiness, you may still find communicators on your team with these traits. These personalities often prefer a slower-paced, more predictable environment where long-standing relationships can thrive. You might find these individuals are not very confrontational and are a little reserved. Listen closely and ask more “how” questions to learn more about them and to establish trust. When possible, introduce change gradually and allow them to complete projects at their own pace.
Learning how everyone on the team prefers to communicate opens possibilities for deeper relationships and more successful completion of projects. Your team will be more adept at communicating across departments and you will find it easier to assign the right people to the right tasks. Apply this knowledge and you’ll have a team of skilled innovators who know exactly how to communicate effectively with everyone on your team.
Learn more about the type of people who align with each stage of innovation and what happens in each stage on the 90 Seconds of Innovation Podcast. Take the Innovation Fitness™ Assessment or contact The Innovator’s Advantage about using their assessment with your whole team.
Header Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko.