Friday, August 6, 2010

"Commo Check" - Part II

Hi Everyone,

As I sit and write this I remember clearly, six years ago yesterday, the events of August 5, 2004 when a platoon under my command was ambushed in the city of Najaf, Iraq. SPC Raymond Faulstich was killed in action (KIA) and had many others wounded (WIA) as the convoy sustained heavy gunfire, rocket propelled grenades (RPG’s) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). As this day always weighs heavy on my heart I can’t help but think back to the exact moments of the experience and note the importance of the communication process and flow. Through the chaos of battle, communication between the command post and the convoy, between drivers of the trucks, and between security forces is critical to maintaining command and control and getting everyone to safety as quickly as possible. Stress and uncertainty is added when the distance between forces is hundreds of miles and when the loss of trucks guarantees the loss of primary communications devices. The chaos of this day can’t be described in this short blog but we can learn and compare to many trying times that happen regularly in our lives.

When a breakdown in communication occurs on the battlefield, in business, or in life, the sooner it is dealt with and repaired the quicker the road to success. Tragic and unexpected events happen all the time. The better we understand ourselves and those around us, the better equipped we are to communicate with purpose, effectiveness and clarity. Two weeks ago I asked you to do a “commo check” in your own life and your own relationships and I did the same. It was quite fun, wasn’t it? To make this quick and easy let’s just relate back to the DiSC. There are four primary behavior styles. When we understand our own behavior we can then “FLEX” our behavior to get better, more effective results from others. Here are the DiSC styles again and tips on how to “FLEX” when dealing with each style.

The “D” Dimension


Direct and Decisive: D’s are strong willed, strong-minded people who like accepting challenges, being in charge, taking action, and getting immediate results.

Be prepared for: blunt, demanding approaches, lack of empathy and sensitivity, little social interaction.

FLEX: Be brief and to the point, let them initiate, stick to the point eliminate time wasters.

The “i” Dimension


Optimistic and Outgoing: i’s are “people people” who like participating on teams, sharing ideas, and energizing and entertaining others.

Be prepared for: A need for the limelight, overselling ideas, vulnerability to perceived rejection, a lot of talking and social interaction.

FLEX: Approach them informally, be relaxed and sociable, use humor, let them verbalize thoughts and feelings.

The “S” Dimension


Sympathetic and Cooperative: S’s are helpful people who like working behind the scenes, performing in consistent and predictable ways, and being good listeners.

Be prepared for: Friendliness to colleagues and supervisors, resistance to change, difficulty identifying priorities, difficulty with deadlines.

FLEX: Be systematic in your approach, use sincere appreciation, let them know how things will be done, show their importance to the organization.

The “C” Dimension


Concerned and Correct: C’s are sticklers for quality and like planning ahead, employing systematic approaches, and checking and re-checking for accuracy.

Be prepared for: Resistance to vague or general information, desire to double check, little need for affiliation with others, need for excessive details, trouble making decisions because they hate to be wrong.

FLEX: Provide clear expectations and deadlines, show dependability, demonstrate loyalty, be tactful and emotionally reserved, be precise and focused, value high standards.

Happy Flexing and remember part one: Slow down: LISTEN first, think, and respond later.

Back to the battlefield!