Skip to content

Understanding your Value with Maureen Ross Gemme

A conversation with Maureen Ross Gemme | Audio InterviewVideo Interview 

We have Maureen Ross Gem with us today. And we're going to be talking about understanding your value and the particular way that Maureen approaches this is through a number of personality assessments. The one she likes to use the most is the disk assessment and for anybody who's not familiar and Maureen, keep me honest because I might butcher one of the letters. But essentially what the disk assessment does is you assess your relative strength is the wrong word, but your relative tendency toward dominance influence conscientiousness. And I forgot what the S was. I think S was stability. Is that correct?

Steadiness. 

Okay. So it's dominance influence steadiness or conscientiousness. And I think the thing that's important to understand about this, as far as any other personality typing, is that one is not better or worse than the other. It's not like this is where you're strong. This is very weak. It says this is what your tendencies are. This tends to be how you approach problems, how you approach situations. Maureen, I saw this for that. I'm going to let you talk here in just a moment because I don't want to dominate the conversation. By the way, I tend to be a D I. So that's one of the things that I have to try to avoid. But I think that when you look at some of these personality typing, there's two things at least that I see that are really important. Number one is to really understand where is it that you're at. So you know, where you can bring value, but then also understand, okay, as you're putting a team together, you build a team around the areas that you one way to say it would be that you're weaker or that you naturally tend to not emphasize as much. And so, for example, I would need to build a team around SC. Just because that is not an area of emphasis, I can force myself to do it, but left in my own devices, I would generally leave those things undone. I tend to be the kind of person who opens a lot of loops and I would need to work with people who close them. Alright. So Maureen, promise kept please introduce yourself and don't let me talk too much. 

Thanks, Doug. Yeah, it is the first time we're meeting, so I was going to actually ask you the questions and see if I could type you. But you obviously know what you are and that's a really good thing because it is so important. So, yeah, I'm Maureen Ross Gemme and my company is called Emerge Leadership Academy and I've been training with leaders for years now. But I spent 27 years in corporate and now I travel around New England. Well, during the Pandemic, I just stayed at home and did it online. But really helping leaders and managers specifically understand who they are and what their natural tendencies are because even we have now also an understanding of emotional intelligence and what our natural inclination mindsets are and where we need to stretch to get out of our comfort zone, to sometimes see and behave in ways that are not so naturally for us, so that we can really feel connected to our staff, make sure that we give them assignments that are indicative to their nature and all of that stuff. So it really is good for relationship building and also how you even just work together. Right. Because as a DI, I'm sure you're the type of person that's. Well, maybe it depends, right? It certainly does depend. But a lot of times I tell my folks, when you have something you need to talk to Adi about, know exactly what it is and go on in there and ask them. Because they look up from their desk, the first thing on their mind is, what do you want? Don't waste my time. I don't want to talk about the game this weekend. What do you want? But maybe with the eye in there. Yes, you're approaching an influencer, then you would want to spend some time and talk about what did you do with fun over the weekend? And now let's get down to business because we are action oriented folks. So I'm a high eye. I'm a high eye on that scale. So if you want, I'm happy to explain the four different types so that your listeners can identify themselves.

Please. Yeah. And because there's one thing that I wanted to say before I forget about it, it's kind of being in that DI. A lot of times I end up with a bit of what I would call a conflicting duality situation. So like, for example, there's a case where there's a part of me that just wants to say, all right, let's just fix the topic. Let's move on. But then I feel guilty about that. So I keep listening. 

Well, that's a good thing because we do need to listen, because that's sometimes just an intuitive nature. Right? Oh, Jeez. I realized I was a little bit short there. I back off, start listening. That's what I usually tell people, people who are D's and I's like, zip it more and listen. Open your ears more. And the S and the Cs, they need to open it. They need to speak up more, they need to share more. But in regards to your comment about, I need to surround myself with SCS because those qualities are in me. But the truth is, it depends, right? It depends. Who do you need and want on your team? But the Ds, it stands for dominance. Okay, so the dominance types are super results oriented. They're very fast paced. They want to achieve, they want to hit the goals, and they don't want to waste time doing it. Right. So this sometimes can come across as they don't care so much because they're super task focused. But they do care. In fact, they do care. I have a quiz on my website called What animal best represents your leadership style, and what animal do you think represents the D? 

Well, I think the half the answer would be to say a lion, but I'm sure there's something that's a little I'm sure there's like a lion or a Tiger kind of something stronger.

Lions actually sleep something like 20 hours a day. Okay, so it's not the lion. 

Yeah, well, I was going to say yes. And it's actually the female Lions who do the majority of the work. I'm not going to carry the metaphor any further than that.

No. The animal that I chose is the Wolf, because they're constantly going after what they want. They are lepers and chasers and they'll go after it. But it's all for the betterment of the pack. Right. They pull everybody in at the end and they like to celebrate and all of that thing. 

In full disclosure, I have to say at the moment you said that in the back of my mind, was Duran Duran Hungry Like the Wolf plane. Now, if anybody listen to this is too young to have actually experienced Duran Duran in the 1880s. Go to YouTube. Just search Hungry Like the Wolf and listen to it 30 times, because that's what I used to do.

The theme song of the day. I love it. That's good. Okay, so the next one is the I. The I stands for influencer. And the influencer also is very active and fast paced and action oriented. But they are more people focused as opposed to the deeds. And they love collaboration. They like to laugh. They're very lively, energetic, and enthusiasm is a keyword. Right. For the eyes. And so they are often very social and they like to have fun, which can feel chaotic in a work environment. Sometimes when you're trying to run through an agenda and somebody's cracking jokes or it's appropriate, we have to obviously use our skills in the appropriate times and places. But in the corporate environment, these are folks often that are super creative and their idea, they like to do good brainstorming and that sort of thing and very good at networking. Okay, then you have your s. Oh, let's talk about the animal. What animal do you think best represents.

The I can't even guess. I'm sure it'll seem obvious once you reveal the spirit animal. 

I had to take a little bit of time to think about each of these, but I chose the dolphin because it's very animated and super sort of family oriented and friendly and chatty and that's how you could describe the I’s. 

Yeah. And the family Orient speaks to me because I grew up watching reruns of Flippers. 

That's the theme song of the I’s. Okay, good. We got it. Now, darn it. I'm going to be singing that stupid song in my mind. Okay, so then you have your s. This stands for steadiness. And just like the title implies, these are your calm, cool, collected. They're very people, focused, still and warm and friendly. But they are more introverted and more cautious in nature. They are very kind and hearted people. These are the types that don't really say no when they should be saying no. They are resource people and people go to them and rely on them because they're loyal and they always want to make you happy and you cannot please all the people, all the time. But that's where they get in trouble.

I got it. And that completely makes sense of many of the. Yes, I know. I think that a lot of their frustration comes from a lot of their frustration comes because people come to rely on them. But of course, just the way that they are internally wired is that they don't like to say no. So their plate ends up getting stacked up. 

Yeah. And sometimes they're taking advantage of for that reason. And they can feel like doormats or whatever because people walk all over them. And these are the folks, I think about that duck that's gliding along the pond. And the feet are furiously paddling underneath which you don't see it looks like all calm and cool, but underneath their paddling, like Ray, this is how they are a lot of the time. But the duck is not the animal here. Any ideas of what animal comes to mind for the.

Okay, let's see. So the s. All right, so you're putting me on the spot here. Let's see. Not going to be dock Beaver. I'm going to think something like a Beaver because Beavers do a lot of work that people don't necessarily see. But there's probably something I'm missing. 

Well, you actually really just blew the punchline for the sea because the C, the conscientious style, is the Beaver leader. Okay. All right. But we'll talk about that in a minute. But this one, I chose the St. Bernard specifically the Saint Bernard dog, because they come to the rescue. They are super loyal. They won't leave your side. And they really do stay and make sure that you are rescued before that help comes.

I was going to say because in the old Looney Tunes cartoons of Saint Bernard would have a little dog collar that had a Martini glass in it.

 Yeah. Or the brandy.

Of course, you couldn't get away with that kind of stuff now.

Yeah. But in my world and you don't know this about me, but in my world, see, I'm a recovering drug addict and an alcoholic. So I've got like 37 years clean it's over. So in my world, they're carrying green tea in their little brandy holders because it's more healing. Yeah. Right. All right. So the next one is to see this is the conscientiousness leader. And these are your folks at work that are like the project manager types or they're in finance. They love things in linear fashion. They're great with the systems and processes, and there could be engineers. They like solution, put things together, but they need all the requirements. They need all the data. They're researchers, and they have sometimes a tough time making decisions because they're very logical thinkers, analytical. And I would also say a top notch quality. They want to make sure it's done right and it's done well. So sometimes it's done a little bit slower because things are double and triple checked. Right. So, yes, your quality assurance managers a lot of times. I see. When I read your profile, Doug, I actually thought you were going to be a C said a C with a podcast. 

That's interesting. So, yes, I'm glad to hear that. That's kind of the thing. My background, I worked in tech, so most of my career in finance also It program management, but in the It program management, I owned the budget for It, so I was still doing finance over there. And I've always kind of been a little bit of a duck out of water just because a lot of my friends always told me, you have way too much personality for finance. 

It's true, because a lot of times the fees are very closed and they don't show a lot of emotion. They're not. In fact, in my classes, a lot of times I will see a bunch of people nodding. You can tell who the I's and the S’s are. They have eye contact. They're smiling. They know. They nod when I'm in the audience, if I'm a speaker or anything. And the D’s and the D’s are looking skeptical and the C’s have no you can't read their faces. They don't have any expression. But, you know, they're paying attention because they're not falling asleep or they're taking notes or whatever. But it is pretty interesting how they really don't show a lot of emotion. So once you identify which style that you are for your listeners here, then it's really important to understand how can you figure out what other people are? Because then if you're an eye, you're not going to walk into your C boss office and start chatting about some drama in your life. Right. You're going to go in with all of your I's dotted and your t's crossed and your research and your data so that if they ask questions, you have what they need. And the same thing holds true for, like the D’s and the S’s, you're going to approach each one of them in a different way to get what it is that you need at work. Do you want to hear the two questions or do you know them already? 

Go for it. All right. 

So the two questions that they can write down are, first, have a person in mind, is it your significant other, your boss or somebody that works for you and ask, are they more fast paced and outgoing or cautious and reflective. Now most of the time, more than 50% of the time. And they might be right on the line. Right. They could easily be between two styles, but for the most part, they're going to either be on one side or the other fast paced. Now going or cautious and reflective. Once you have that answer, then you ask the second question, which is, are they more warm and friendly or questioning and skeptical? And most people will be able to answer right away, oh, they're questioning and skeptical or they're very warm and accepting. Once you have that answer, then you can figure out pretty easily enough that if they're a D, they're fast paced and outgoing and questioning and skeptical. And the I's are fast paced and outgoing and warm and accepting. The S’s are warm and accepting and cautious and reflective. And then the C’s are cautious and reflective and questioning is skeptical

Yeah, got it. It makes complete sense because I think what that does is that kind of gives you a quick evaluation gauge. Right. Because I think ordinarily your disk battery is what, about 50, 60 questions or something like that.

But once you even get even, just an inkling of the style that they are, it is a lot easier to then figure out what it is that they need from you so that you can blend your style in. Or you might be able to understand what their mindset or what their needs might be because you just can't take things personally when the D’s storm into your office and wants you to drop everything and help them with their deadline. You just ruined my day. No, it's just about they really want to get things done and they came to you and that's a good thing because they see you as an expert in whatever it is that they need. Right. So that's the kind of 

It's easier to just not take things so personally when you understand someone's personality. 

Yeah. Now I was just kind of tongue cheekily thinking. Okay. So now in the disk framework, where does the people who never get tired of hearing themselves talk, where does that where do those people fit?

They're totally I’s and they don't. What do they do? They run podcasts. Yeah, exactly. They have guests that they can talk to or they do their own montage or they become speakers or trainers. Because that's what I do. But with maturity, like anything else, you learn to zip it and listen and also blend. Because like you said earlier on, this is not meant to pigeonhole anybody, nor is it meant to give anyone excuses. Just because I'm an eye doesn't mean that I don't have to do spreadsheets and have systems and processes in place or do quality. Right. We all have to do the things that might not come so naturally to us. So how did you end up in that whole field, Doug, with your DI personality.

A lot of it is quantitative skill set. Math is always something that I had an aptitude for. Business is something I was interested in. And that's finance is fundamentally business mathematics. At least the way that I think about it is that because accounting and finance is the language of business. And so if you have a strong working knowledge there, it will make many other facets of business much easier. Now, with that said, finance alone, unless you're laundering money or cooking the books for somebody else, is not a business. Right. 

Finance alone cannot make any business successful. In order for a business to be successful, you need to have some sort of product or service, which is actually the easy part, and then you need to sell that product or service, which is actually the really hard part.

And I think this is kind of a part of my own as my own life entrepreneurial business journey has evolved. This is an area that I've developed a much greater appreciation for just how important it is and how difficult it is. 

Yeah, no kidding. Finances has not been my strong suit, although I was pretty good with numbers in the beginning. There was a stint in my career. I worked as a bookkeeper in accounting for assigned risk auto policies or whatever it was, and I was very good at it, but I did not like it. And I was a bookkeeper also for a contractor, and I did payroll for another company. Actually, it was a fast food organization, and I just didn't like it. I didn't like it. So I finally then got into HR, and I was like, I found my home and training that really suited my personality so much more than looking at spreadsheets. I just want to fall asleep. And so now as an entrepreneur, what's been the biggest challenge for me? All the books dealing with the government, paying all the taxes, doing the payroll, I mean, it's just been like, I hate that part of my job, but I can do it. And you have to know because like you said, it isn't the basis of your business. But if you don't do it right, it'll fail your business. 

Yes, exactly. It's a foundational principle of what you got to have. Yes, it's a foundational piece of what you need. But having absolutely perfect finance systems and nothing else in your business will result in a rapidly failed business. 

Right? That's true. Unless you're a bookkeeper and that's what you sell. 

Yeah, that's true. But the thing is, even if you're a bookkeeper, you still have to set yourself to market and sell your bookkeeping service. Yes. Some of the absolute best accountants and bookkeepers I know, hardly anyone knows about them. You still have to sell it.. All right. Give us a couple of other last Nuggets of wisdom to take home, and then let everybody know where they can learn a little more either? Your site. I don't know your website, your list just let people know where they can learn more about Maureen. 

Thank you. Yeah. So I would say that what I would really like to leave you with is

The most important thing if you're in management or any kind of leadership position is to really know yourself and the more you know yourself, then the more you can help others to know themselves and to be better workers and do whatever business it is that you're doing because that inner leadership leads to better outer leadership.

 And with the great resignation happening in the world today, it's really important to try to retain and keep your people that you really like. So that's the whole basis of my platform and you can find out more about me at emergeleadershipacademy.com. That is my website. I do leadership training and development with disk and also you can take the quiz there and find out what animal best represents your leadership style. 

Outstanding. Outstanding. Well, Maureen and I really appreciate your time today and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day and rest of your week. 

Thanks, Doug. I appreciate you, too.

All right. 

Leave a Comment