By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
Most members of Killeen's City Council found out Friday that the seven-member group is full of driven, risk-taking, self-starters who sometimes leave others behind.
Before retreating into a closed-session meeting at Stagecoach Inn in Salado, six council members along with City Manager Connie Green, Mayor Tim Hancock and Deputy City Attorney Traci Briggs found themselves surrounded by Rubix cubes, Koosh balls and personality tests.
The goal was to lead the group "to understand our own team culture," said Michael Conduff of the Elim Group, a Denton-based consulting firm that has also worked with cities like Richardson and Lufkin to help develop unity and vision.
The tests revealed a council culture of quick decision making, direct answers and competitiveness.
Of the eight participants, 75 percent turned out to have type "D" personalities or similar characteristics on the DISC - Drive, Influence,
Steadiness, Compliance - profile system.
The system breaks down the types of personalities typically found in decision-making bodies. Council members Juan Rivera and JoAnn Purser checked out as "high D" personalities, making them theoretically the most eager to make decisions.
Results shared by Conduff showed that nearly everyone exhibited a driven attitude, but personality types were mixed with different traits.
Councilman Ernest Wilkerson tested as an I/C personality, which combines the desire to take time and be methodical while emphasizing relationships with people.
Councilman Larry Cole's test revealed his personality as one of steadiness, as did the city manager's, and Councilman Kenny Wells' results also mixed in the "D" personality type.
Mayor Tim Hancock and Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper both tested as "I" personalities, which tend to focus on how decisions make them and others feel.
Councilman Billy Workman did not attend the workshop or complete the personality test.
Despite the different personalities, Conduff noted that the 75 percent "D" personality trait factor lends itself to a "big imbalance here," but "there are lots of great cities that have 'D' cultures."
Such cultures tend to struggle with welcoming the opinions of "I" and "S" personalities who like to take their time and get feedback from those their decisions influence. He also said that "D" councils tend to "get too far in front of the staff" when making decisions.
Rivera said taking the test was difficult as he didn't like seeing any of the negative traits attached to certain personality types.
"I'll be honest with you. I wasn't going to take this test," he said before acknowledging the communicative and organizational benefits of the DISC system.
The goal for cultures like the Killeen council's, Conduff said, is to make meetings and the relationship between council and staff open and safe for suggestions.
"We need to start taking care of 'I's and 'S's," he said. "That way it becomes a conversational environment." The council is set to spend today participating in similar activities and evaluations of the mayor and individual council members.
Contact Hailey Persinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcity.