What is DISC?
DISC is a needs-motivated, observable behavioral profiling system which measures the energy you are putting into dominating problems, influencing people, steadying the environment, and complying to rules and details.
What makes DISC so popular?
DISC is a short description of YOU, custom designed in 10-15 minutes. It helps you to recognize your own style, see what works about you, and control your own style. It tells others how to communicate with you, anticipates normal tensions in relationships, shows you how to read others and adapt your communication.
The DISC Model
Based on the work of psychologist William Moulton Marston in the 1920s, the DISC model is a simple, practical, and easy-to-remember model that focuses on individual patterns of external, observable behavior and emotions. It measures the underlying emotions, needs and fears (like an iceberg), the primary concerns that drive all behavior. Through self-selection, you choose the words that are most like you and the words that are least like you, and through those responses, the tool reveals your behavioral style. They are:
- Dominance (D)
- Influence (I)
- Steadiness (S)
- Conscientiousness (C)
We all have different biases, preferences, motivations/values, critical thinking skills, experience, education, and intelligence levels that influence our behavior. DISC is a combination of nature and nurture, so we all have had different things shape us. The same way that we all have different hair or prefer different flavors of ice cream, we all act and communicate in different ways. Plus, we need all four styles in the world to be as effective as possible.
Using the DISC model, you can identify your own blend of styles, recognize and adapt to the styles of others, and develop a better communication process that allows you to interact effectively with others to build mutually beneficial relationships. This is applicable in any setting, including working with teams, sales, leadership, or in other business and personal relationships.
Using DISC can provide insight into motivations, causes of stress, problem-solving processes, and ways to respond more effectively to conflict. When these items are identified, it leads to better working relationships both internally and externally.
Cornerstone Principles of a DISC Profile
- All DISC styles are equally valuable and everyone is a blend of all four styles.
- All DISC styles have unique strengths and challenges and no one style is better than another.
- Your work style is also influenced by other factors such as life experiences, education, Emotional Intelligence, and maturity.
- Understanding yourself better is the first step to becoming more effective when working with others.
- Learning about the DISC styles of other people can help you understand their priorities, needs and fears, and how they may differ from your own.
- You can improve the quality of your workplace interactions by using DISC to build more effective, mutually-beneficial relationships.
What is the DISC Behavioral Assessment used for?
DISC teaches users how to identify the predictable aspects of behavior and communication and to use that knowledge to their advantage. The ability to create a strong and immediate connection with others is a fundamental skill in sales, management, executive-level leadership, and everyday life.
The goal of DISC is to help users build and maximize productive relationships. Users don’t need to change their personality traits; they need to recognize what drives and motivates others and determine the best ways to effectively interact with them.
The comprehensive, yet simple, DISC reports teach users specific skills to improve their personal interactions that create immediate results.
DISC Behavioral Assessment applications include:
- Hiring & Selection using Benchmarking – Gives business owners, managers, and HR professionals the tools they need to compare applicants to desirable job-performance benchmarks
- Career – Gives business owners, managers and professionals tools to create, manage, develop, direct and gauge risks in their career decisions.
- Change Management – Teaches behaviors that transform resistance into receptivity
- Coaching – Empowers you to help others consistently achieve their potential
- Conflict Resolution – Brings clarity, rapport, and understanding to different behavioral styles
- Customer Service – Teaches administrative and customer support teams how to dependably provide world-class service and effective interaction regardless of behavioral style
- Leadership Programs – Teaches leaders how to get the most out of their teams in a way that really works
- Management Skills – Teaches methods to consistently and genuinely motivate, engage, and challenge their staff
- Mentoring – Reveals how to propel fast trackers and high-potentials to greater effectiveness
- Sales Training – Enhances revenue by teaching sales professionals the keys to harnessing identifiable behaviors in their prospects
- Team Building – Helps create teams based on compatible skills and traits as well as identifying where other support or resources may be needed to address performance gaps
- Productive Meetings – Assists in planning meetings that account for behavioral styles to ensure best outcomes and results
What does DISC stand for?
The DISC model uses four behavioral reference points. A formal assessment goes much deeper, but an overview of the four styles are:
How DISC Behavior Assessments Work
The good news about DISC assessments is that there are no right or wrong answers. They’re also simple to take online, with some assessments taking as little as 10 minutes to complete.
Taking a DISC assessment involves answering a questionnaire about your own behavior by choosing descriptors most like you and least like you. From your selections, an algorithm returns your personal behavioral blend and your scores produce a profile report. You’ll be able to read about your unique behavioral style, your tendencies, needs, preferred environment for greatest opportunities to be effective, and strategies for adapting behavior appropriately with others. You will also learn more about your strengths and potential challenges.
Reports also include insights about other DISC styles so you can learn more about how others act and what their strengths and weaknesses are as well. When you do this in a work team setting, you will end up with a greater understanding of your workplace colleagues to help you with effective communication strategies going forward.
Some people are concerned that DISC profiles can place unfair labels on people. For example, you might have heard someone dismiss someone’s action or comments with a remark like “She’s a D, what do you expect?” Assigning labels and rationalizing poor behavior are not what DISC profiles are about. Not all D styles behave or respond in the same way, especially when we consider the style blend. A DC will behave differently than a DI, even though their primary style is the same. DISC simply helps people better understand behavioral and communication preferences and priorities.
What Does DISC Measure
DISC measures observable behavior and emotions. It does not measure intelligence, education, experience, aptitude, mental health, or values.
You may gain greater insight into how you respond to challenges, how you influence and interact with others, how you operate at your preferred pace, and how well you follow directions and function with structure in place, as well as many other tendencies.
When you are aware of these dimensions and know how to apply them effectively, you can use your style strengths or modify your style weaknesses to meet your needs and the needs of others.
A DISC report has three parts:
- Part I helps you understand each DISC style and identifies characteristics, including the tendencies of each behavioral style. The overview of the model is provided to help you with a strong foundation of understanding in directness, openness, pace, priority, and the emotions of each style.
- Part II focuses on understanding yourself and will reveal information about the tendencies that make you unique. You’ll receive narratives and visuals that support your understanding of your style as well as bullet-point lists including Communication Do’s and Don’ts, Your Workplace Tendencies, Potential Areas of Improvement, How You Respond in Stress, and your 12 Behavioral Tendencies at Work. This section is all about you, and there are several pages devoted to helping you achieve a deeper understanding of your style blend.
- Part III explores adaptability and offers actionable recommendations for you and others who interact with you. This section is designed as a resource to assist you in communicating more effectively with others and includes multiple tools to help you practice your new DISC knowledge and guide your continued development and implementation in your everyday environments.
How accurate are the DISC assessment results?
DISC has high statistical accuracy, validity, reliability through studies over many years. The best measure of validity is YOU – does it represent how others see you behaving at least 80+% of the time? If there is inaccuracy, it is typically caused by human errors– time, focus, objectivity. If you think too much, take too long, focus on more than one area or try to trick the instrument, the results could be inaccurate. It’s best to do it quickly, without too much analyzing, and go with your natural response or gut feeling.
What happens if someone tried to outsmart or trick the instrument? Is it easy?
The DISC assessment can be tricked, but it’s not that easy! It is not always obvious what the answer “should” be (most and least is the basis, not a scale, and the algorithm is based on both). There are also some answers that are specifically validity answers to ensure integrity.
If you take the DISC Assessment in different periods of your life will the results be the same?
Do you have the same attitudes, beliefs and values? Are you living the same life? DISC is a snapshot of how you see yourself in the activity, focus, and environment which you are answering. As you think, so you are. Behavior is always affected by the decisions you are making or may not make, and you can choose to change. However, your natural tendencies may be more consistent.