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Engage Disc In Innovative New Ways
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Richard (High i), the IT Manager in a large professional services firm - has a conundrum. For many years his team has been harmonious and productive. Recently, due to a restructure, Richard’s team has merged with another division. Graham (High) has taken on the role of team leader. Graham is perceived by many of the old team members as “abrupt” and some are threatening to transfer out of the department, others are delighted to have this new approach introduced into the team. There are lots of conversations in the tea room. Sally (High C) is extremely conscientious, working at a measured pace and she is finding the new teams multiple requests and deadlines extremely stressful. Richard has just returned from a quarterly meeting. The recent employee survey shows that his team engagement is low and he has been instructed to boost team productivity and morale. Where does Richard start? What does he say? How does he get his team communicating and performing? This is a typical brief for a Forum Theater scenario to be created and played out by
Be experiential… Human behaviors are infinitely fascinating and complex. Diagnostics such as DISC help us to recognize, appreciate and utilize differences. As with any theory, unless DISC is transferred into behavioral change, it remains an intellectual concept. In order to facilitate change, learning should be experiential - not just interactive –but experiential. Our focus at Be Learning is on bringing theory to life. Forum Theater helps learners experience the diagnostic and how to use it.
What is Forum Theatre?
The purpose of Forum Theatre is to provoke thought and discussion, and inspire people to take action that will make a difference once they go back to work. It’s essentially a mini stage play researched and written specifically for a group. It reflects back to them their current reality: their unique language, culture, challenges, and habitual behavior. Our actors use DISC when developing characters, and defining their workplace behaviors. The group watches the scenes play out, and discuss the issues raised. Crucial in unlocking DISC is the next stage - participants have the opportunity to questions the characters directly. The actors stay in role, and answer honestly from that characters point of view. The power of questioning is that it encourages participants to understand each character’s point of view, to see things
through their eyes. It allows them to acknowledge their own judgment about a character based on behavior, and then move towards uncovering what is going on beneath the surface. What’s at stake for you here, Graham? Why are you so unhappy at work, Sally? What’s your perception of Sally, Richard? By uncovering what drives each character, they begin to experience the whole person. Forum Theatre encourages the practice of empathy, which is a powerful tool in understanding behaviors and their impact on others. Be practicing…
Rehearsal for Reality
If someone explained the game of hockey to you – gave you the rule book, diagrams, photos of the equipment, and a video of people playing - would you then be able to walk onto a field and play? Could you score a goal? Whenever our participants learn a new skill, model or diagnostic we give them the opportunity to put it into practice. Rehearsal for reality is a detailed case study, in which the participant works with a professional corporate actor (who is also an accredited facilitator) on a scenario they will encounter back in the workplace. So, our participant has the DISC tool kit – the diagrams, the charts, the details of how to influence each type. Put them face to face with a real person, with complexity of thought and fluctuating emotion it is in then that they can truly begin to develop their flexibility. As they practice new skills for dealing with different behaviors, they receive continual coaching to extend their range and ability to manage different types of people. Participants walk away with a memory, in their bodies and their minds, of what it felt like to do something new. It is in the doing that the most powerful learning occurs.
The strength of using actors in bringing DISC to life is in the lasting impression it leaves with people. We have gone back into organisations months or even years after delivering programs and people are still talking about characters from Forum Theatre scenes. They don’t necessarily talk about the fact that the character was “displaying high I behavior”, or recall that “awkward moment between an S and a D”. What
they remember is the emotional response they had to a character. They remember the impact a character’s behavior had on another and how they managed it.
People remember characters and emotion. They remember how someone made them feel during a rehearsal for reality and what they did to influence that person. They recall the sense of achievement they felt when they finally had a break through with someone challenging. These “Aha!” moments are what people remember and, because of this experience, they are compelled to continue the practice in the field.
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