The DISC of staffing: Find the right shoe, first, then find the right foot for it.

If the new guy is a clown – so is the guy who hired him. Doing better – much better – is not just doable but simple.Photo by: Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau

Here’s a sphincter-clencher for anyone who manages people:

How can you get your own mission-critical work done when you’re constantly mediating conflicts?

A better question: How can you hire and deploy so that your people love the way they work together, rather than constantly getting in each other’s way – and hence in yours?

This is the DISC of staffing, and, as always, it’s all about accepting that people are going to be who they are.

The bad news: They ain’t you or some imagined ideal you cooked up in your verbose “help wanted” ad.

The good news: Who they are is wonderful – and hugely profitable, properly deployed.

This question came by way of Facebook Messenger from a young real estate broker I know in Texas. I know him only net-wise, and we’ve never been close. But I have admired him from afar for years, because he embodies so much of what I celebrate in human virtues: He is a Driven entrepreneur at work and a doting Sociable husband and father at home.

This is how our conversation started:

I’ve been reading your recent posts about DISC. We’ve learned the importance of DISC the hard way (through a couple of bad hires). We’re back at it again trying to hire for a listing and transaction coordinator. Organized, high attention to detail, ability to manage details well, execute quickly.

What kind of DISC profile should we look for in your opinion?

My answer:

Cs. High-C Cautious for the strict attention to fussy details, low-s Sociable because you need to be able to trust a lot of your business to this person, so you need for there to be a feeling of family loyalty between you.

[Added for clarity: When I use that style of notation – Cs – what I mean is a person who is temperamentally Cautious as the dominant characteristic, Sociable as the sub-dominant trait, with Driven and Incandescent displays being much less frequent. The (more…)

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The book that matters most to me is the one I’m writing with my life. Everything else is just maps…

The book that matters most to me is the one I’m writing with my life. Everything else is just maps…

I feel I am approaching a state of sonic perfection, a place where, out of Earth’s seven billion, zero people are hearing me. I despair me nothing – I’ve known forever that I am writing for my own ears – but it’s hard to learn anything listening to your own echoes.

Which is why I’m grateful to know a few folks, at least, who whisper to me in private from time to time. They ask nagging questions, and I get to see what the other guy is not seeing in what I’m saying. With luck, he learns something – but I always do.

Likewise for contact-form email, except that I almost never get any of that. I’m proud to say that yesterday I did, and I’m even prouder to declaim that I can’t answer it.

Dessert first, which is sweet:

> Just wanted to say I’m loving your writing, and am in the process of reading a lot of your old stuff.

Bless you. Thank you. The way to a writer’s heart is through his vanity.

But then: The meat:

> Question – are there any books you recommend that have influenced your thought, or that you have read and can just generally suggest?


There’s so much in that answer that’s funny to me, but the funniest part of all is this: There is a good chance that I will end up writing a curriculum before I die – but books should never have been all of education in the first place.

First, I would much rather write than read, if I have that kind of time.

Second, I read all the time, but since I learned to write C, I tend to read programmer style (index to the gist), which is now internet style (Google to the page, search to the gist). I reread “Stranger in a Strange Land” for fun a couple of years ago. I can’t remember the last whole book I read before that.

Third, I don’t have any use for anyone, so far as (more…)

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Righting Ayn Rand’s wrongs: Family endures. Everything else is temporary.

You say you want a better world? I want for your grandchildren to sail through the air on a tire swing hung from a tree you planted.Photo by: Jim Pennucci

Ayn Rand only got three things seriously wrong. I know that’s a controversial statement – especially for anyone who abhors apologists for government. But as with all her many egregious definition-swaps and proofs-by-outrage, The Big O’s little errors are overwhelmed by her bigger ones.

Why does this matter? Objectivism’s errors are libertarianism’s errors, and taken together, they explain entirely why big-O or little, little-l or big, there is nothing left of either an Objectivist or libertarian movement.

These are the errors of enduring consequence in Ayn Rand’s philosophical praxis:

1. She made the wrong sales pitch

(since no one was ever scolded or scorned into better choices)

2. to the wrong people

(adults, especially Ci/INTJ proto-adults, few of whom even exist, with few of those few willing to change their deeply-ingrained habits-of-mind)

3. while having the actual decision-makers – the offspring of the converted – exterminated.

We can’t fault Rand (or Rothbard) for not knowing what it’s taken me most of my own life to work out, but it is nevertheless obvious that movements grow by childbirth and, accordingly, anti-family movements cannot endure.

Did Ayn Rand miss that obvious fact, or are Objectivism and libertarianism self-extinguishing by design?

The answer ain’t pretty, either way, but my vote’s on incompetence, rather than malice. Regardless, the poor dumb saps at the Ayn Rand Institute are by now left to sputter, “But we were promised that well-prepared undergraduates would grow on trees forever!”


But: What’s done is done. What should you do now? Seed, breed, feed and creed your own. Childless people have a diminishing stake in the future and its portents, where a Hoplite father’s investments grow as they mature. And, regardless of that, the future will belong solely to the people who show up for it.

You say you want a better world? I want for your grandchildren to sail through the air on a tire swing hung from a tree you planted. Study me and you’ll learn how to win (more…)

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Building the perfect Greek: Since DISC is cultivated, we can raise ever-better kids.

The persuasive miracle you seek is not just possible – it’s simple! You’re just talking to the wrong people.

Photo by: gemteck1

I know how to build Hoplite Greeks – Testudo fathers and mothers – self-responsible parents raising self-responsible parents, generation after generation. I know how to make ’em from scratch.

If I am not crazy, I pray my work does not die with me, because I think I have it all: How we all get broken, how we can be healed, and how our children can grow up ever more whole – from the spark of each child’s conception and before.

Me on Facebook, as notes to myself:

As always, DISC my way is an empathy-emergent self-abstracted survival strategy. It originates in an individual child’s own estimation of his optimal reward-seeking or punishment-avoidance strategy at the time he is graduating from a still-largely-mammalian toddler to a fully-conceptually-concious child.

The second sentence is what’s new: DISC is learned.

More precisely: Each individual’s DISC profile is cultivated in that child by the people he is growing up around. I’ll document this more, shortly, but it’s literally filigree – the underlying why of the observed phenomena.

The more important implication is that parents can raise the kinds of fathers and mothers I talk about by actively cultivating Ds/Sd displays, behaviors and habits in their children, consistently, from birth. This is what Testudo parents are already doing – each father to his own saints. I know how and why what they are doing works, and how to do it better.

The big news: The persuasive miracle you seek is not just possible – it’s simple! You’re just talking to the wrong people.

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The DISC of birth order: Each new child fills what is then the biggest hole in your family.

That’s right. I am just who you were expecting!Photo by: Jay

There’s an article on leadership and birth order at the Atlantic this morning, but I haven’t read it. It’s behind a paywall, and paying for Marxism is not just double-suicide, not simply geometric or logarithmic suicide, it is infinitely recursive suicide, a self-induced infinite brain-slaughter. Plus which, the article undoubtedly concerns the exhaustive tabulation of precise measurements of the inessential, so I expect I’m not missing anything, anyway.

Birth order is easy: Each new kid fills the most propitious available niche – that is to say, DISC quadrant – in the family. It is normal to speak of normal families, where cultivation is expectation, and, accordingly, a child in a normal family will habituate the displays that most reliably yield positive responses from other family members at the time the child is growing into his humanity. He will fill the biggest available hole in your family. In dysfunctional families, the polarity of the responses and the direction of expectations will be reversed, but it’s still the most propitious available niche that will be filled by that child.

First-born children are often Cautious or Driven, because their parents and grandparents will hugely reward displays of either studiousness or industry, depending on which they prize more. Since there is only one child, so far, all of that kid’s grown-ups will give him a lot of time, both because they have it and because the interaction is reciprocally rewarding to them.

Children are naturally Sociable, obviously, and Sociable parents can snuggle up a SnugBug as their first-born, but, if they do, the second-born child will be a lot less Sociable. Why? Because he can’t compete with the older child at Sociable displays. Children born very close together or three or more years apart can occupy the same DISC quadrant, but normally-competitive siblings typically cannot – precisely because their habituated displays – their DISC profiles – are how they compete for attention and approval.

In a dysfunctional family, it will be the survival niches – not the ornamental ones – that are available to be (more…)

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You could win the first-ever Ayn Rand Mother’s Day Essay Contest!

Nattering pointlessly at Robert Tracinski, I hammered on this notion:

Meanwhile, self-responsible fatherhood is the sole source of human civilization, and on that score Rand = Rowling = Marx. To the extent that children are reading anything, they’re reading roadmaps to humanity’s auto-annihilation.

The gist of that is news to no one here, but it might-could incite the ire of Ayn Rand’s many devoted hagiographers.

So: Let’s put on a show! It would be even more fun to do this for Father’s Day, but Mother’s Day is here upon us, so let’s have at it:

Write an essay of any length on this theme:

The Ayn Rand character who best exemplifies self-responsible motherhood is ____________.

Stone cold nobody, no?

Do it for the fathers, too. Human civilization does not exist without self-responsible fatherhood, and to that objective fact Ayn Rand is indifferent where she is not contemptuous.

Yo, @Tracinski: #BrotherYouAskedForIt!

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Flowerboxing: Ending the willfully negligent destruction of 98% of all human capital.

Two of my favorite people, my wife, Cathleen Collins, and my nephew, Sebastian Brannum.

On the day my nephew, Sebastian, was born, we played a game together. Not much of a game, obviously: I would stick out my tongue, and then Sebastian would stick out his tongue. And then I would stick out my tongue again, and he his – and so on like that for about five minutes. Eighteen hours after he had scrambled his way out of my niece, Maddie, he intentionally played a game of voluntary muscle control – for fun!

I knew this was possible. I’ve taught very young children lingual fun – like ‘raspberries’ – for decades. I was lucky to get to meet Sebastian on the day he was born, and I was lucky to get to hold him when he was awake, fed, clean, dry and bored – psyched for some of that hurly-burly extra-uterine action. But any normal infant should be ready and eager to learn how to have fun from Day One.

If you’re looking for human equality, go to the nursery. Infants have got reptile brain stuff going on, lots of it, as do all owners of a reptile brain. And they are as much mammals as any clowder of suckling kittens. But that thinking brain up front is empty at first, and everything that ends up in there requires exposure, experience and effort.

Do you see? If tabula rasa implies that you taught yourself how to sweat, then it’s a joke – and claims about further fruits of the autonomous nervous system have been used to undermine the thinking brain for centuries. But if the blank slatists are willing to concede that all higher organisms are born with amazing abilities that are not derived from that individual animal’s own exposure, experience and effort, it’s easy enough to make a strong case for tabula rasa in the thinking brain.

That matters to me, because the implication is that the success or failure at ratiocination, for a particular human being, is the result of cultivation and effort, not talent or superior mental prowess. (more…)

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