One day while in line at Staples…

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Choosing lines is always difficult for me. I always choose the slowest one despite the strategies and tools I’ve developed over the years to accomplish this task.

First, assess how long each customer takes on average. Next, multiply the amount of customers in line by the time each one takes. One minute each times five people means you have a five minute wait.

But then there are the difficult intangibles to consider. These include people paying with change that must be counted out of a wallet or the bottom of a purse, paying with coupons, having a price dispute and so on.

The cashier/teller must be carefully evaluated as well. Obviously the 16-year-old trainee ranks well behind the 45-year-old mom. This alone may add three minutes wait on to the five minute line. And so on. Somehow despite my best efforts I always seem to get it wrong.

So I’m in line at Staples last week, and I’m in a hurry. I perform my calculations and make my line choice. I’m sure I’ve got it right this time. The lady in front of me is literally buying a single pen! A win! The teller is above 40 and below 80. This is a 30 second transaction!

Then the unforeseen happens. The cashier asks the lady about her day, and she’s keen to talk. They exchange pleasantries which as a decent human being I know I should be happy about. I want to want to be happy for them. The conversations proceeds. They find things in common. Now they’re getting in to it.

Just as my torture is about to end, the cashier says, “By the way, you’re not a teacher or government worker are you? Because if you are, you can fill out a form and get a discount on the pen.”

A DISCOUNT ON A $2.00 pen. My mind rages. I now hate them all with the power of a million suns as I wait for said form to be completed.

If you’ve ever felt this way, you may have some DISC Dominant to your personality profile.

The Dominant values action and speed highly. They want things to move along, and under stress, this impulse only gets more insistent.

Dominants view themselves as:











In charge



Do you identify with any of these strengths?

Sometimes, they may be too blunt, appear insensitive to others, and unknowingly harm relationships.

To be effective with them:

Don’t waste their time, show support for their goals, and bring them rational reasons for change.

A Dominant business leader I work with says, “Be bold, be brief, and be gone.”

Learn how to be effective with others. Write your free DISC assessment here if you haven’t done so already:


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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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