Getting to Great, To Thine Own Self Be True

By Wes Berry

Perhaps the best business advice ever can be found in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ”This above all: to thine own self be true.” You’ve probably familiar with Good to Great by Jim Collins and his analogy of getting the right people in the right seats on the bus. However, it’s even more personal than that. You need to get yourself in the right seat first. It’s been my experience that very few people know their strengths. And after all, if you expect to succeed, playing to your strengths is an excellent idea.

So, the key is finding an objective and useful way to determine both your strengths and those whom you are choosing to work. That’s where personality assessments come into play. I like Briggs Meyers and Marston’s DISC, both of which are available through a variety of sources, many of which are free of charge. I’ve used both of these assessments and found DISC is easier to use and equally effective.

Self-awareness is essential to success. To be the best you can be, you must understand what motivates you. I often speak and write about “discovering your why” and how important it is to know why your goals matter to you, that is, what drives you, and how you react in certain situations.

That’s why I put so much value in the DISC personality assessment.

The DISC theory, consisting of these four essential personality traits of human behavior, Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C), was established by Harvard psychologist William Moulton Marston and has been an essential tool to understanding human behavior both at home and in the workplace for over 30 years.

Do you ever wonder why it’s easier for you to work with some people than others? Have you ever had trouble understanding what exactly it is that your boss is asking from you?

Everyone is a blend of these four styles, but sometimes one or two—or even three—stand out. This short, 7-minute assessment can quickly tell you which you are. There is no “perfect” style, no specific way you need or should be. This assessment identifies and honors the unique individual you are, and helps you see what makes your co-workers tick. This understanding leads to a much better overall workplace experience for everybody.

There are several key benefits of taking a personality style assessment in the workplace:

1. Better Relationships: Discovering the different styles people use to communicate builds stronger bonds, creates a safe work environment, and aids in conflict resolution. Better communication leads to shorter meetings and more cooperation between individuals and departments.
2. Increased Productivity: Answering the question “why” gives people a stronger reason to pursue goals and increases their drive. As people start to understand why they do what they do, performance improves, and productivity rises.
3. Self-Growth: By understanding ourselves better, we open doors to creativity, empowerment, and originality. We then bring these traits into our work, which can lead to unimaginable growth across all areas and the formation of leaders.
4. Improved Customer Service: Understanding human behavior and how you react to certain people allows you to identify and respond to each customer independently. This builds stronger customer relations and hones your sales skills.

DISC is successfully used by business organizations, educational institutions, government agencies and non-profits who regularly see benefits in many areas, from improved communication to improved financial performance. DISC is not only valuable in helping individuals to identify their own self-awareness, but is a must-have tool in HR Training, Coaching, Customer Service Training, and Team Development, among so many other areas.

So who is Marston and why do I want DISC Assessment, you may ask. Marston received his PhD from Harvard. He theorized that normal human emotions lead to behavioral difference among groups. Because he was interested in using practical explanations to help people understand and manage their experiences and relationships, his work has been very useful and embraced in many areas of business and life. It’s quick and easy to use and won’t eat up valuable production hours.

With increased self-awareness, you can more easily recognize opportunities that are geared to your strengths. Know yourself to grow yourself.

Become the person you were meant to be.


Wes Berry is a keynote speaker and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the book Big Things Have Small Beginnings. His business career took him from a $60-thousand-dollar-a-year failing family flower shop in Detroit, from which he built a $60-million-dollar international company with more than $750 million dollars in sales. Wes can be contacted at wes@wesberrygroup.com or you can learn more at his website www.wesberrygroup.com.

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