Here’s an interesting little story from Campaign Doctor Newsletter:
The famous New York diamond dealer Harry Winston heard about a wealthy Dutch merchant who was looking for a certain kind of diamond to add to his collection. Winston called the merchant, told him that he thought he had the perfect stone, and invited the collector to come to New York and examine it.
The collector flew to New York and Winston assigned a salesman to meet him and show the diamond. When the salesman presented the diamond to the merchant he described the expensive stone by pointing out all its fine technical features. The merchant listened and praised the stone but turned away and said, “It’s a wonderful stone but not exactly what I wanted.”
Winston, who had been watching the presentation from a distance stopped the merchant and asked, “Do you mind if I show you that diamond once again?” The merchant agreed and Winston presented the same stone. But instead of talking about the technical features of the stone, Winston spoke spontaneously about his own genuine admiration of the diamond and what a rare thing of beauty it was. Abruptly, the customer changed his mind and bought the diamond.
While he was waiting for the diamond to be packaged and brought to him, the merchant turned to Winston and asked, “Why did I buy it from you when I had no difficulty saying no to your salesman?”
Winston replied, “The salesman is one of the best men in the business and he knows more about diamonds than I do. I pay him a good salary for what he knows. But I would gladly pay him twice as much if I could put into him something that I have and he lacks. You see, he knows diamonds, but I love them.”
Few people are moved by mere recitations of technical facts. On the DiSC Personality Model, High Cs can be, but most others are left cold by that. (Recall that in DiSC, D = Dominance, I = Influence, S = Steadiness, and C = Conscientiousness. If that doesn’t ring a loud bell for you, review this post or this podcast interview before reading further.)
However, that doesn’t imply that the other DiSC types — meaning, the High Ds, Is, and Ss of the world — are indifferent to facts or blindly driven by their emotions. Rather, I suspect that for them (or rather, us), motivation involves stronger emotions, different emotions, and perhaps more emotional expression.
All motivation requires emotion, I think. (That’s major part of Aristotle “action theory”, and I agree with it.) For C’s, the requisite emotional motivation seems to be tightly bound to the facts: they want to be right, most of all. (Hence, if you’re in a conflict with a High C over who is right… watch out! I’ve seen some scary-strong emotions from High Cs when challenged.)
Ds can seem unemotional — particularly unconcerned with the emotions of other people. In fact, they’re highly motivated by feelings of power and capacity associated with achievement. It’s their (er, my) drug.
Among the two people-oriented types, Is and Ss, the motivating emotions will be quite different. For High Is the emotions of excitement associated with new ideas, people, experiences, and challenges will have the most motivational force. High Ss find that daunting, but they’ll be motivated by feelings of sympathy and care.
Importantly, such personality differences never override a person’s free will choice to think or not. Whatever the strength, content, and source of a person’s motivating emotions, he can choose to recognize the facts for what they are and think them through rationally. If he wants to be happy and successful, he’d better do that!
As for practical advice, I’d like to limit myself to two quick points:
First, just because someone seems less emotional than you doesn’t mean that they’re indifferent, that they don’t care, or that they’re some kind of robot in human form.
Second, just because someone seems more emotional than you doesn’t mean that they’re unthinking, that they’re indifferent to facts, or that they’re some kind of wild-eyed emotionalist.
Other people’s personalities differ in a million ways from yours. Some of those differences are ginormous, while others are minor. If you attempt to read everyone through the lens of your own personality, the only result is that you’ll find most people quite baffling, if not seriously frustrating. This issue of emotion in motivation in just one example.
That’s why the DiSC Personality Model is so helpful, I think. It focuses on two major axes of difference — assertive versus reserved and thing-oriented versus people-oriented. Those axes are of particular importance for communication and collaboration with other people. By learning DiSC, you can understand yourself better, including your strengths and weaknesses. You can understand and appreciate the ways in which others differ from you too. It’s a gold mine!
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