You know the type. Driven, demanding, forceful. Perhaps these types of people are easy for your to work with…maybe you are one yourself. Or maybe you find these types of people to be among the most difficult to work with. No matter; here’s a method for successfully dealing with driven bosses, peers, and staff in your work world. It’s called the “D Package” and takes its name from the behavioral style know as “D” or “Dominance” in the DISC style language. The “D Package” is a way of delivering your message so that this driven, demanding, forceful type person will hear and respond to you productively.
Let’s start with an example situation to illustrate the “D Package”. Your company needs to hire a new VP of Sales and the driven, demanding, forceful (a.k.a. “high D”) CEO has found a stellar candidate. As VP of Operations, you see trouble. This candidate is an experienced heavy-hitter who would be perfect…if only the company itself was ready. The company is poised for new growth and needs to make some difficult decisions about target markets, product design, and the supply chain. Without making these decisions, hiring this candidate would likely be a disaster. The company would have to make some big promises to attract this person and tough changes to keep her. You also have the impression that the CEO is frustrated with the company’s progress and position and looks to the new Sales VP to spark the changes needed.
As VP of Operations, you find certain encounters with the high-D CEO to be uncomfortable, to say the least. They can seem like conflicts, not discussions. You and others walk away from some of these encounters feeling personally attacked though “attacked” might be too strong a word. So how do you proceed? If you do nothing, your company will likely experience real damage. If you’re tempted to raise and discuss your concerns with the CEO, you’ll likely not succeed because a high-D CEO may subconsciously misread your intent and interpret your overture as a waste of time, complaint, or even insubordination.
Here’s how to proceed: use the “D Package”. The “D Package” is a way to prepare and format all oral and written communication to high-D people like your fictional CEO. Below are are the components of the “D Package”. Pay attention the tone of the example statements (your intent is to help the CEO and company with a very real problem and you’re saying “I’m here to fix it”) and note what’s NOT said (not a lot of justification, explanation, process, or method). Your job here is to be brief, be bold, and then be gone (off implementing the decisions made).
COMPONENTS OF THE “D PACKAGE”
- Issue: Create a one sentence description of the situation/problem. e.g. “We’re not ready to hire June.”
- Impact: Create a one or two sentence description of the impact to the high-D person, in their language, of the issue. e.g. “If we bring her in before we’re ready, it’ll cost dearly in lost revenues and declining client- and associate satisfaction from the resulting turmoil.”
- Options: Present a set of options from which the high-D person can choose to start resolving the issue. e.g. “Here are the options: 1) We can hire June right away, using her energy and experience as a catalyst to get ourselves where we need to be. 2) We can prepare ourselves before we hire June so that when she arrives, the company is poised to take advantage of her strenghts and she can hit the ground running. 3) We can do nothing.”
- Recommendation: State which of the options you recommend and a brief description why. For example, “I recommend the second option because we, the executive team, can have an agreed upon plan in short order. The risk is we might lose June to another company so we can continue the hiring process while we develop the plan. Worse case: if we do lode June, we’ll have a solid plan and a clear idea of the kind of VP of Sales we need to attract. I don’t recommend the first option could deliver an unnecessary body-blow to the staff and clients who may jump ship. The third option is, I think you’ll agree, obviously inadequate.”
- Decision?: Make a request that the high-D person chooses from the options.
Prepare yourself, before you deliver this “D Package”, for a detailed discussion/argument. I call this “pulling on the Teflon(r) suit and picking up the virtual 2-by-4 (for figuratively whacking the high-D between the eyes).” If you’re not a high-D person yourself, you’ll probably find this way of engaging very uncomfortable, at first. The high-D person will likely come back at you with counter arguments (because you’ve engaged him/her how s/he likes to be engaged: in a battle of ideas–not personalities–over a challenge or obstacle he/she faces), detailed questioning (because s/he want to make sure you’ve thought it through and aren’t dumping the problem in his or her lap), and even a show of angry emotion (sterness, abruptness, louder voice, etc).
In your preparation, anticipate questions (“What kind of resulting turmoil would we see if we hire June right away?”) and prepare responses . This is where you make the arguments and feed the data that you might have done in an email or memo or presentation prior to learning about the “D Pacakage.”
The first key point to remember: this assertive approach is how high-Ds like to interact with the world. Do this and they’ll respond productively.
The second key point to remember: this approach will backfire unless your intent is clearly to help the person who is high D to win. Anything else is just arguing. So get your intent straight before engaging.
Want to learn more or see how to present your material in a “D Package”? Contact me.
What have been your experiences using the “D Package”? Leave your comments here!