There was once a time when a leaders’ style was the blueprint for every interaction. Subordinates were expected to modify their own behavior in order to work successfully with that leader. 

But in the 25 years since the publication of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, many businesses have recognized that a successful team dynamic necessitates first understanding one’s own motivations, behavior styles, and internal biases and then understanding the same for each other team member. Then modifying our behavior to achieve the teams’ goal with as little friction as possible.

Our guest this episode is Adrian Porter. Adrian is a Vice President at the Austin Alliance Group and will be discussing Navigating Team Dynamics using Emotional Intelligence at Fort Worth HR’s Strategic Mindset Conference on September 17th

During this thirty-minute episode, Mike and Adrian discuss emotional intelligence, measuring EQ, and adult’s core behaviors and whether they can be changed.

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Adrian Porter

Adrian Porter possesses a diverse business background that includes over 20 years in corporate administrative positions such as VP of Administration, Office Manager, Project Management Administrator, and Executive Assistant. 

She has a proven track record of guiding business owners and C-Suite executive leaders to shine. She is the implementer; she gets great joy out of helping others be successful. Around the office, she is often known as the “hot pink duct tape”. Her superpower is finding the right place for all of the pieces and creating a beautiful ensemble. 

With experience in a number of industries including Title Companies, Finance, Civil Engineering, and Human Resources Consulting, Adrian’s career is filled with success stories of helping executives build the business of the business while they concentrate on the development of their product or service.

Adrian joined the team at Austin Alliance Group in 2019 as VP of Administration & Client Experience. She enjoys all aspects of office administration, content development and facilitating client learning experiences.

Adrian holds an AAS in Business Administration and is a Certified Facilitator in the proven communication tool Everything DiSC®.


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Adrian Porter: Being aware of mental health, gosh, especially in light of what’s been happening in the last two years with the pandemic that’s where emotional agility comes into play in this whole DiSC conversation. Being able to learn how to stretch and to be mindful of and respectful of people who have other priorities in you, that’s huge. And it’s not a luxury. We used to four or five, six years ago, we used to be able to say, “Well, you know that person’s just having a bad day. They’ll get over it. Whatever.” Today it’s not a luxury to have emotional agility. It’s a necessity.

[intro music]

Mike Coffey: Good Morning, HR.

I’m Mike Coffey and this is the podcast where I talk to business leaders about bringing people together to create value for shareholders, customers, and the community. Please follow rate and review Good Morning, HR on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or at

There was once a time when a leader’s style was the blueprint for every interaction. Subordinates were just expected to modify their own behavior in order to work successfully with that leader.

But in the 25 years, since the publication of Daniel Goldman’s Emotional Intelligence, many businesses have recognized that a successful team dynamic necessitates first understanding our own motivations behaviors, styles, and internal biases, and then understanding the same for each other team member.

Then from there, we have to modify our behavior to achieve the team’s goal with as little friction as possible. My guest today is Adrian Porter. Adrian’s a vice president at the Austin Alliance Group and will be discussing navigating team dynamics using emotional intelligence at Fort Worth HR’s Strategic Mindset Conference on September 17th. Welcome to Good Morning, HR, Adrian.

Adrian Porter: Hey. Thank you for having me.

Mike Coffey: Thanks for being here. So I’ve been in situations where someone on a team that I’m on just doesn’t get it regardless of how competent they are. They’re what my grandmother calls a bull in a China shop. They step on other people’s toes. They’re not able to read the room. They just don’t receive feedback in a constructive way. So in those situations, am I the problem or is it the other person? Let’s place some blame here, Adrian.

Adrian Porter: Yeah, that’s a great example, Mike. It is very frustrating especially in the business world, we expect our coworkers and our subordinates to get it and they don’t. I think a big key to that is being able to identify our own styles. Do we work fast-paced? Are we outspoken or are we cautious and reflective? Or just on the other side of that, are we really questioning and skeptical or are we accepting and warm?

And until we can identify where we are personally, we can’t start to identify others around us and how we’re going to work together. So when we get to the point that we can people read and kind of see what stresses me out, what stresses you out, what feeds me and how I respond to communication. Taking the time to learn each other’s styles makes a world of difference and having patience with people who are not like you, and learning how to communicate so that other styles will hear what you want. And at the end of the day, I mean, we’re all working toward the same goal. We all want to work toward the success and the accomplishments of the corporation or the business.

Mike Coffey: So like my team over the years has learned, do not send me an email with six paragraphs and 400 words. I need three or four bullets, get it straight and clear. Anything else, we got to have a conversation because if you want me to have this information I’m not going to read if it’s in a small book. And so those are the kinds of things you’re talking about?

Adrian Porter: Absolutely. Yeah. And we’re going to talk about practical skills like the example you just gave for. For the person that doesn’t need a book, they need a graphic. Well, how do we identify that without having conversation with them? And we’re going to teach several tools like that.

Mike Coffey: So give me an idea because I mean in the ideal team, everybody would be as perfect as I am. But since they’re not, what are some of those tools that we can use as a team to kind of understand each other’s styles and motivations or whatever else is would cause friction between different people?

Adrian Porter: Yeah, of course. I don’t know how many people, how many of your listeners have used the tool called Everything DiSC by Wiley. We’re going to spend a little bit of time learning what that is. It’s a communication tool basically. And it teaches us how to people read. The idea behind DiSC is that everyone has priorities. We all have tendencies that we lean to in how we respond to situations daily. So one of the tools is we’re going to learn a little bit about DiSC and people reading. We’re going to learn what agile EQ is.

Emotional intelligence is not the same as IQ. There’s a significant difference. And we’re going to teach how to better equip and learn new skills with our emotional intelligence. And then we’re going to put some of these tools into practice by practicing. We’re going to have a lot of interactive people reading in different scenarios in some small groups.

Mike Coffey: So that’s on September 17that the Fort Worth HR Strategic Mindset Conference, but to give somebody who may not be able to attend that conference some ideas. I think we’ve all seen DiSC and I’m on DiSC like the crazy hard D and a very high sociability, really low S and C. I will reinvent the wheel every time I touch it and work at a very fast pace, very impatient.

But talk a little bit. First, is there anything different than the traditional DiSC that we’ve all probably taken at some time and the DiSC, the Everything DiSC you’re talking about from, I think you said Wiley publishes that? Is there a difference between those tools?

Adrian Porter: Absolutely, yes. So traditional DiSC and a lot of people are familiar with are graphs. They’re the old school paper, fill in the blank, answer 25 questions. The big difference between that and what currently exists is it’s adaptive. It’s adaptive testing. It’s all done online. So as you answer a couple of questions, maybe your answers are all leaning towards, “Yeah, you’re definitely a D, Mike.” But if you answer a couple questions-

Mike Coffey: And I’m always worried what D stands for. When I’m misbehaving, my team may tell me what it stands for so.

Adrian Porter: That’s fair. That’s accurate. The adaptive testing takes into consideration maybe you answer one or two questions a little bit differently and you don’t really fall into that D category. Maybe you are more supportive in your responses. So the system, the test itself will give you a few additional questions to clarify were you just in a different mindset when you answered that question or does this really describe how you naturally respond to situations?

Another big pro is that Everything DiSC is now hosted on a new platform called Catalyst and it’s designed not as a one and done. It’s not you sit down and take an assessment and you’re done it. It’s a learning experience. It’s adaptable to an individual or a team of 100 people you can in real-time see how can I interact best with this? Mike’s a D. I’m an S. What does that look like? If I’m not getting the responses that I want out of Joe who’s an S, how can I change my behavior as a D to have better communication with him in the workplace?

Mike Coffey: So it sounds like the Everything DiSC is an iteration of the old DiSC, but it’s just got a lot more technology behind it so you can do these larger organization-wide data collection and and formatting to figure out how different people relate. So I’m a high D and let’s say I’m dealing with that high S who wants to send me a small encyclopedia every time and fills the need to over-explain every time. Whose job is it in that relationship to modify their behavior?

Adrian Porter: Great question. You know what the answer is? You’re not going to like this.

Mike Coffey: I know.

Adrian Porter: It’s both. It’s both of you. And having both parties be aware of how the other responds and reacts in their natural tendencies will help you both be able to respond better to each other.

Mike Coffey: And let’s take a quick break.

Good Morning, HR is brought to you by Imperative, premium background checks with fast and friendly service. If you’re an HRCI or SHRM certified professional, this episode of Good Morning, HR has been pre-approved for one half hour of recertification credit. To obtain the recertification information visit and click on recert credits. Then select the episode seven and enter the keyword Porter. That’s P-O-R-T-E-R.

On Thursday, September 9th, I’ll be hosting a webinar entitled Using Organizational Values as a Planning and Accountability Tool. This webinar’s approved for one professional development credit for SHRM certified professionals and one hour of business recertification credit for HRCI certified professionals. You can register for this free webinar at

And if you’re listening to this program after September 9th, you can still watch the recorded webinar on our website for credit. And now back to my conversation with Adrian Porter.

So when do you introduce a tool like this in a process? Is it when we’re selecting an employee? Is it when we’re onboarding somebody or starting a new team initiative? When do we do that?

Adrian Porter: Great question. Thank you. So this is not an onboarding tool. However, after you’ve made the decision that this person is a good fit for your organization, I highly recommend you incorporate DiSC into your groups, into your teams. At Austin Alliance Group we always say the leader has to go first. So for an organization that’s never experienced DiSC, we highly recommend that you roll this out with your leadership team. Leadership has to be on board and leadership has to model what you want everybody else in the organization to model.

Mike Coffey: All right. Yeah. All right. And I’ve seen a lot of organizations and I talk about that in my values defining your organizational values, thoughts and things like that. There are a lot of organizations where the leadership roles and these values out or this is a culture change we’re going to achieve. They create all the posters, put them up all on the walls, and then nothing ever happens because they don’t change.

But how do you affect that kind of change in leadership? I mean, we’re adults, our behavior patterns were set when we were 13, 14, 15. It’s really hard to change that even when we want to. What does that process look like? I mean, it’s very possible I could as that leader walk away just feeling like, “Yeah, I’m kind of an a-hole, but that’s who I am and it’s gotten me this far.” How do you affect that kind of change in an adult?

Adrian Porter: You know, you can’t want change for someone more than they want it.

Mike Coffey: Okay. That’s true. Okay.

Adrian Porter: So very simply by helping leaders see what the results can be by walking through a demo of Everything DiSC on Catalyst. 15 minutes, just log in, look at my screen, let’s talk through this. Let me show you how this can benefit you and your teams. Most of the time leaders are like, “Yeah, I would love to have that result for my teams. I want everybody to get along and to be able to communicate healthily.” But at the end of the day, the leader has to go first. And if they don’t buy it, if they don’t buy into the idea of some change has to start with me, then we’re wasting everybody’s time, right?

Mike Coffey: Right. And then with team members. Okay, so let’s say our leaders bought in and now we’re rolling this out to a team. When I’ve taken a DiSC or the Predictive Index or any of those things over the years, it’s certainly been illuminating because it’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s true. That’s who I am. That’s how I do stuff. And oh yeah, that’s where I’m weakest.” Those are the areas that if you want me to be really what I call tedious, other people would call detail-oriented, want me to do those kinds of things.

Execution and detail and finishing, going that last mile in a project is not where I need to be. And I’ve learned over 20-plus years of running this company, that my best plan is to staff people who can do that. But what if I’m not in that role where I can staff people? So I’m on a team and I’m finding that there’s these conflicts here and maybe I’ve got a tool to use like Everything DiSC. Or maybe I just see that, “Hey, this person is on the other side of the world from me as far as how they work and what motivates them and how they behave.” How do I address that as just a team member?

Adrian Porter: First of all, that’s extremely frustrating when you feel like you don’t have the power to put change into place, but one of the beauties and I don’t mean to keep harping on DiSC. But one of the beauties is Catalyst, Everything DiSC on Catalyst has hundreds of built-in tools to show you how to do exactly what you just described. And I’m going to give you a quick example. So I’m a CD. There are outlines and scripts of exactly how I can communicate with somebody that is say an I. My boss, for example, is an ID, a high ID.

Mike Coffey: I can see that.

Adrian Porter: Yep. Spot on, Ms. Blanton.

Mike Coffey: I know Lisa.

Adrian Porter: Yes. So when I’m having struggles with her or we’re not seeing eye to eye on something and I’m not the boss so I don’t get to make the decisions at the end of the day and I need to influence her, Everything DiSC on Catalyst has key scripts. And I’m bringing one up to share with you as an example. Not only does it show all of our similarities, differences, where we may have tension together, how we can connect and collaborate together.

Adrian Porter: When I need buy-in, one of the tips says ask her to return a favor. So if I give a suggestion that she’s not 100% on board with, I know that she likes collaboration and enthusiasm. So if I can get her excited about what I’m asking and then say, “Oh, hey, by the way, maybe next week I can fill in on a facilitation for you. How would you feel about that?” Just being aware that collaboration is important to her, and enthusiasm is important to her, that’s one way that we can get buy-in. That’s one way that I can get buy-in from her on something that we may not be seeing eye to eye on.

Mike Coffey: Okay, great. I think we’ve because we’re both familiar with them have jumped ahead a little bit with everybody. Will you walk through what the D, I, S and C actually mean? I think we get locked in jargon sometimes and assume everybody’s talking from the same playbook.

Adrian Porter: Yeah. Absolutely. Again, I mentioned it a little bit at the very beginning, the key to DiSC is there’s four components. You’re either fast-paced and outspoken, cautious, and reflective. You decide are you fast or slow? And then on the opposite ends of the spectrum, are you questioning and skeptical, or are you assuming and warm? And when you put those components together you come up with four quadrants, it’s D which represents dominant, fast-paced and outspoken, questioning and skeptical.

I mean you’re influential or influence, fast-paced and outspoken accepting and warm. S is for steadiness and the people that are steady are cautious and reflective, accepting, and warm. They’re usually a little slower paced in their speaking in their decision-making.

Mike Coffey: And they drive me crazy.

Adrian Porter: Uh-huh because they’re the exact opposite of you. And then C is for conscientious. And the C folks are cautious and reflective, questioning and skeptical. Also, I want to clarify, Mike, though regardless of which quadrant individuals fall in, they can definitely have tendencies and priorities in some of the other quadrants as well.

Mike Coffey: And none of us are strictly defined by those behaviors, right? I mean, we’ve got a ton in one day to the next. We’ve got a ton of influences that are affecting our behavior on one day and things that are eating up our emotional and attention bandwidth. And so we can, I think change from day-to day just based on that. I like to describe Imperative as a graceful organization. They’re days where people just have life and executing Imperative’s mission may not be the biggest priority today. We just have to recognize that. We are very liberal with mental health days or treating one another with compassion or respect and recognizing that.

Adrian Porter: Yeah, and I’m that you just made that point about being aware of mental health, gosh, especially in light of what’s been happening in the last two years with the pandemic. That’s where emotional agility comes into play in this whole DiSC conversation. Being able to learn how to stretch and to be mindful of and respectful of people who have other priorities in you, that’s huge. And it’s not a luxury. We used to four or five, six years ago, we used to be able to say, “Well, that person’s just having a bad day. They’ll get over it, whatever.” Today it’s not a luxury to have emotional agility. It’s a necessity.

I mean, we have to learn, “Man, are you doing okay?” And not just look the other way. “Hey, you seem a little off. Is everything okay? Can I do something to help?” We have to learn how to empathy to be able to succeed and to, gosh, not even to succeed, just to be able to survive in today’s environment. I mean, we’ve got technological advances, we’ve got just competition. There are so many natural forces that are happening in the workplace. If we don’t learn how to be emotionally agile, we’re behind the ball.

Mike Coffey: And I think those organizations in the last 18 to 24 months who aren’t that way have really felt the impact in turnover. I know organizations that are screaming right now about turnover and having a hard time filling positions. And then I know organizations that have had no turnover and who have places where people fill. We had Julie Develin on a few episodes ago talking about psychological safety and who felt this place that I work cares about me, what I do is meaningful here. And there’s that kind of grace and compassion when there when people have life.

And right now it’s a little extraordinary in the amount of grace and compassion we need sometimes with the Delta variant and kids going back to school and the craziness that’s happening-

Adrian Porter: Or not. Being sent home.

Mike Coffey: Yeah, yeah, being sent home or being all of those things. So yeah, I think those would be tools that organizations can really benefit from. The problem is I think like you said earlier, often it’s leaders. As soon as I hear a leader blaming their people for not accomplishing certain things, I know the problem is not with the people, right?

Adrian Porter: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Mike Coffey: Well, that is all the time we have for this conversation. But again, Julie will be at the Fort Worth HR Strategic Mindset Conference on September 17th. And you can register for that event at I’ll be speaking as well. And so if nothing else, you’ll get a good nap after lunch. But I hope to see you all there. And thank you, Julie. Julie. Adrian for joining us today on Good Morning, HR.

Adrian Porter: Thanks, Mike.

Mike Coffey: And thank you for listening.

You can find previous episodes, show notes and contact info for our guests, including Adrian Porter at or on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. And don’t forget to follow us wherever you get your podcasts.

Rob Upchurch is our technical producer and Imperative’s marketing coordinator. Katy Bautista keeps the trains running on time. And I’m Mike Coffey. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of any help to you personally or professionally. And I’ll see you next week. Until then, do well, be well and keep your chin up