Mike and Keerstyn talk DISC!

This week we have Mike Sudyk, Founder and CEO of Waypoint, on the podcast to talk about why DISC is so important to us and our organization! We have not only is DISC part of Waypoint, but use is consistently to make sure that we are playing in our strengths. One valuable piece of information that Mike shared was to have consistent conversations (one on one’s) with your team to continue to work on:

1. Adapting the way you communicate to help your employees better understand what is expected but also to feel empowered to go do their work!

2. Continue to learn how to work together on a deeper level (and be more productive in the process).

3. Consistently invest in relationships that are meaningful to you and your team (because your company cannot survive without a solid team behind you!).

Feel free to check out how Waypoint integrates DISC by clicking this link here!


Full transcription below (may contain typos...):

[00:00:00] Mike: [00:00:00] I was not operating in my true strengths with, the natural style versus the adaptive style. So in my case, I was. Natural style higher D but my adaptive style was lower D because I felt I w had to reserve myself and be like, not be as like driving forceful.

Like I was trying to like, Be more reserved because I didn't want to disrupt too much. Like I didn't want to, I didn't want to offend the people I was working with. And that kind of, I think came from, having bad experiences being too forceful or too Hey, we're going to drive, we're going to do this.

We're going to go in this direction. So you're trying to curb that. And so just the whole notion of a natural versus an adaptive style for me was a good dose of self-awareness to say, Okay. W why do I feel like I have to act that way? and sometimes it's appropriate, but the, what goes along with that is saying, okay, you can't operate in that [00:01:00] forever.

Keerstyn: [00:01:00] Let's speak on the podcast. We have Mike Sudek. He is not only the founder and CEO of Waypoint, but is also my boss and manager. I'm really excited to have him on today because he talks a bit more about disc. And why is a key aspect of Waypoint? he talks about how he. Make sure that, our employees, whether past or current.

employees have fallen into those strengths that, he does not have and the ways that he has really embraced, Embrace. The disc scores that he has and make sure that he is playing in his strengths. So we'll jump right

today in the podcast we have Mike student. He is not only our founder and CEO of Waypoint, which is a sponsor for this podcast, but is also the CEO of ECE group who has been, Creating great software teams for the past 20 years.

So thank you for joining us today, Mike.

Mike: [00:01:58] Kiersten. It's a pleasure to be [00:02:00] interviewed by you and it's great to be on the show.

Keerstyn: [00:02:04] Oh, I'm glad to hear that. so today we're basically going to be talking about disc and, disc profiling disc test, and why it's really important to have, your employees not only tested, but also yourself.

So you can learn a little bit more about yourself and the process, but also be able to, Make sure that your employees are working in their own strength. I've made a subset of questions that Mike hasn't seen yet, that we're going to run through

Mike: [00:02:31] here.

Keerstyn: [00:02:32] all So the first question I have for you, Mike, are what are your desk traits or your strengths rather?

Mike: [00:02:38] So I am, 80 out of a hundred on the D I am 99 out of a hundred on the I 39 S and 32. See, so I definitely skew D and I, I is obviously my strongest, so I'm a people person.

And, so it's interesting when you talk about, testing your team [00:03:00] and I feel You always think people are like you right now. You always think people are going to communicate the way you communicate. and my experience has been, as I've learned to manage people and manage more people and interacted with more people and worked with people that are, maybe my junior and then people that are my senior, you especially become more aware of strengths and, and how people communicate and their disc score.

And. For me, it seems like it's really like on learning. You're unlearning how you communicate because you gravitate towards your natural style and you naturally think that's going to be great for people. So you have to slow down and how you, like you communicate or interact and then say, okay, how is this person gonna hear this?

And me being very like, hi, I'm like quick to want it. I talk about different things. I want to just jump into ideas, move really fast. And for someone that's not like that, it can be very chaotic. And yeah, just like you said, like this question [00:04:00] was what's your disc score and for me.

it's high, but it's realizing that, just realizing that I'm that way is really eye-opening, the self-aware

Keerstyn: [00:04:09] absolutely. my next question rolls into that, but it's were there any surprises that you found while getting your disc score back and if so were, what were they.

Mike: [00:04:20] One of the things that they, they talk about, like an adaptive style, as opposed to a natural style.

And it, one of mine was, I was, I think, a higher, I was not operating in my true strengths with, the natural style versus the adaptive style. So in my case, I was. Natural style higher D but my adaptive style was lower D because I felt I w had to reserve myself and be like, not be as like driving forceful.

Like I was trying to like, Be more reserved because I didn't want to disrupt too much. Like I [00:05:00] didn't want to, I didn't want to offend the people I was working with. And that kind of, I think came from, having bad experiences being too forceful or too Hey, we're going to drive, we're going to do this.

We're going to go in this direction. So you're trying to curb that. And so just the whole notion of a natural versus an adaptive style for me was a good dose of self-awareness to say, Okay. W why do I feel like I have to act that way? and sometimes it's appropriate, but the, what goes along with that is saying, okay, you can't operate in that forever.

there's a detriment to acting outside of your natural style that, you just need to be cognizant of, and to say, Hey, you're going to get burned out, or you're going to be dissatisfied or. Whatever, if you're operating too much out of your natural style.

Keerstyn: [00:05:50] Yeah, absolutely. So what were some of those things that got you back into your natural style in the workplace, or, just in general to get you back to where [00:06:00] your wheelhouse was?

Mike: [00:06:02] I think one of the biggest things is. And so one of the biggest things is surrounding yourself. People that compliment your styles. So you don't want to, I think it's natural to surround yourself with people that operate the same way you do, because there's a natural synergy. As much as I hate that word.

There's a natural synergy with people that, Just are, have the same disc profiles you right there. So you're going to gravitate towards them. You're going to tend to hire people like that. You're going to, you're going to hire, you're going to work with people like that. Your clients might start to look like that in some regard.

And but it's important to. surround yourself with people that have a compliments, a complimentary profile so that they can, interact and do the things that you can't naturally do. So as a leader, you're trying to do everything. You're trying to communicate with everyone and be the.

all things to all people you're going to fail because you're naturally wired a certain way and you're compensating is other ways. so instead [00:07:00] it's learning how to have those people that can bring those other skillsets to the table and that you have a good relationship with them and you can communicate well with them.

In our case, we, my number two, Laurel Verberg is she's much different wiring than me. she's much higher in the S in the C category. but our long term relationship has helped us to be able to communicate those things. So she can buffer that and bring those comments to the table.

And, That's really important and being able to see those. And, it's interesting because we had, someone that worked with us a while ago that, did a lot of media work and I felt like I was, so I was managing her directly and we just wouldn't, we wouldn't, we didn't gel. W we gel, but we didn't.

I felt like she was held back and it was because of like my management style and I didn't really understand why. And. I think it was Laurel, that kind of helped me understand how she, how this gal was wired. [00:08:00] And what I found was she's a highly creative person, but she also had a high level of ownership and she wanted to, own more of the process and kind of the project management and my high D would be driving towards ideas and I'd be bringing things to the table.

And so there would be a natural rub because I would always say, not necessarily go with the direction she had, I'd be like, Hey, I want to do this. I wanna do this. Or constantly throwing new things in the project. And I didn't give her that level of ownership. And. The interesting thing was when I did it went so much better and she did a much better job, obviously, because that was her skills, but she handled things.

And I just got things done at a much better rate than when I was involved, And it was like this blossoming of her and her role that I was not, I was getting in the way of, and it was eye opening to me to be like, wow, That was just [00:09:00] me and my misunderstanding of how she's wired, that was inhibiting her growth, which ultimately made my job easier because I didn't, I wasn't actively involved in a lot of things.

so that was just like hugely eye opening for me. And I think it was interesting because. I had made assumptions about her kind of ma like wiring and how she was communicating that. and then I operated on those assumptions to when. I should have not been doing that. maybe I'm just being confusing and how I'm saying this, but it was very eye opening because I was being introspective of how I was handling the situation.

and then when I changed my behavior, everything changed and I was like, Oh, That was all me getting in the way. Yeah, there you go. So yeah, it was a good learning experience.

Keerstyn: [00:09:50] Yeah. Sounds like it definitely. Absolutely. So you blew through all my questions or some of them,

[00:10:00] so basically some of them were like, what are your employees? Just strengths with that, which I think that you touched on with Laurel and then how do you work those together? how have you empowered there? The strengths in the workplace, which I think you could definitely touch on more of like, how do you empower Laurel to use her strengths in the work that she does and how do you collaborate in that regard?

And, what are some of those ways that you do that?

Mike: [00:10:25] Yeah, that's a good question. I would say the one way that I try to do that is not. Putting my them in a, her or them. And, being the greater number of people that I work with into situations where they're operating outside of their strengths, because that's gonna a, they're not going to be as effective B.

They're not going to be as fulfilled. See, they're just going to get disgruntled or resentful. But if someone is a, high S or, that has a lot of, loyalty would just go along with that. so there might be some underlying, they would [00:11:00] just get the job done because they're.

They're a stable person. they're very hardworking, there. And so you might not even realize, how you're making this person unhappy. And you can't really recover from that really easily. If they're, if it just they're already emotionally over a hump. And so then there that you can't really recover from that.

So I think knowing it on the front end and understanding, In the role that they're in, Hey, what, how are you liking this? where do you feel like your challenges are? What are you dissatisfied with? and having those conversations is really key because then you can have open communication to say, Hey, I don't want to do this.

Or someone doesn't wanna do this, or this isn't fulfilling me. Or, And then you can say, okay, let's get that off your plate. Let's have someone else do it. That's just naturally suited towards that. And, a good example of that specifically with Laurel was like, she doesn't like to do sales, she's I don't want to do outside sales and that wasn't her responsibility, but, and that's not in her skillset, but even if there was a [00:12:00] sales scenario, she was like, I'm happy to come in after we're already talking about a project and to talk to new customers, but I don't want to be that, First interaction, the cold call, that sort of a thing to wear an eye.

That's naturally something that energizes me and fulfills me. And I can know that she's not wired that way, but she might go. So along with that and say, yeah, if we need to do that and I need to step in, she would go along with it. And because she's knows that maybe that's what's needed time, but no, I have to know that's going to be detrimental long-term and so that's really important.


Keerstyn: [00:12:34] Yeah, absolutely. What has been the most difficult thing when it comes to the disc profiles in our organization? yeah. What has been like the biggest hurdle or problem to overcome?

Mike: [00:12:48] That's a good question. Kirson I think at first glance, it doesn't seem like there's a bigger hurdle, right?

Like when you first think about it, you're like, there's not like a big hurdle. It's just doing it or acting in a certain way. I would [00:13:00] say changing bad habits. you might go through a phase where everyone takes a desk profile. If you haven't and you talk about it and maybe you read a book or you, have some initial conversations, but just doing the regular.

Discussions about it and actually doing it and acting on it, day in and day out is different is like the hardest thing to change your natural bent because it's easy. Like it's easy for me to act in the way that I normally act. It's hard for me to pause and say, okay, if someone says something to me that doesn't really, that I don't understand, or it seems off putting or something.

As a leader, you have to say, okay, why is this person saying this? and are they reacting to something? I said, that was not communicating in the style that they communicate in. So that constant analysis of that communication is a hard part. just doing the work and. It's really changing bad habits, I think.

Keerstyn: [00:13:59] Yeah, [00:14:00] absolutely. What are some of those tools to help you get out of the bad habits and start actually implementing and having conversations. And

Mike: [00:14:07] I feel like I have to plug way point here. that, I think the tool is to have regular one-on-ones and meetings with them that are not just project status updates.

A way to do that effectively is Waypoint, which is a tool that we built, for that very reason. And I wish it was more magical than that, but that's pretty much what it is. we, we just started using EOS and that's been a pretty. Great tool in terms of ensuring communications flowing regularly, having a level of accountability, which for a high I person that wants to go in a bunch of different directions, that level of accountability is really key.

it's going to be much more the S's and the C's are going to gravitate towards something like EOS because it's more process-driven knowledge. so I think just, Those systems and habits and are [00:15:00] really the best tools, that's the backbone of good communication, good leadership, that sort of thing.


Keerstyn: [00:15:04] yeah, absolutely. If you had one takeaway for disc or even a strengths finder and other personality system, what would it be and what would be the big highlight you would get

Mike: [00:15:18] that. Disc is great, but it's, there's a bunch of different flavors, there's a bunch of different personality profiles.

And I would say the big takeaway or the big thing for leaders is just to be, self-aware be self-aware of your profile, of how you communicate, how others communicate. because communication is now what you say. It's what the other person hears. and. Self-awareness is not a one and done thing. It's not like you just take the disc profile and you're like, Oh, I'm self-aware, that's great.

Check that box. Let's move on. it's it's understanding day in and day out what you're saying, how you're acting, and what the consequences are. And I'm not [00:16:00] saying that you have to become the other person. it's being aware to say. Okay. I'm Heidi and I'm going to push the organization certain ways, and I'm going to push them to adopt new practices towards someone that's extremely high.

C would never step outside of the comfort zone. maybe they will, but they're going to naturally be risk averse. So you can't be all a bunch of CS, that's going to happen. nothing new that happened. Yeah. But you also can't be a bull in a China shop. you can't be going around and just throwing out processes and say, no, we're gonna go this other way.

So you have to be self-aware enough as a leader to say, I'm willing, I'm going to adapt these practices that are going to help the organization as a whole, but I'm going to appropriately. Leverage my, D or I, or whatever, for the benefit of the organization and as a member of this team.

And so that self-awareness is really key because you can really piss off a lot of people really fast. it doesn't take very much to do that. and then where are you? you [00:17:00] took up your whole team. It's you're nothing without your team.

Keerstyn: [00:17:01] Nope. You're not wrong about that. Cool.

thanks Mike, for having us on, do you have any other last thoughts about disc or strengths or tools or leadership advice for anyone?

Mike: [00:17:15] talk to your team early and often and regular, and to ensure that they share with you your blind spots, because everyone has blind spots. Thanks for your son. it was nice to.

To be interviewed by you on the podcast. So this is the first, yeah,

Keerstyn: [00:17:31] this is a first. Thanks for being a guest on the podcast and sharing insights. I appreciate it, Mike.

Mike: [00:17:40] Boom. Awesome. .

Teams also need to get away and have time to think together and reflect together. Be able to spend just an hour to be curious about each other. -Denise Van Eck, Owner of Thought Design

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