From the archives: this post originally was published on March 24, 2011.
DISC is a behavioral model based on the work of Dr. William Moulton Marston (1893–1947) to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation.
I was introduced to this system recently. I haven’t studied it in great depth yet, but I plan to because I think it gives us as solopreneurs a framework for understanding ourselves, our clients, and our collaborators.
DISC also can help us:
• Identify our weaknesses
• Identify growth areas
• Identify our fears
• Explain our motivations
(I would love to know where successful solopreneurs tend to be on this matrix, or do solopreneurs defy behavioral generalizations?)
The DISC assessments classify four aspects of behavior by testing a person’s preferences in word associations. DISC is an acronym for:
Dominance—relating to control, power and assertiveness
Influence—relating to social situations and communication
Steadiness—relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
Conscientiousness—relating to structure and organizationThese four dimensions can be grouped in a grid with “D” and “I” in the top row and representing extroverted aspects of personality, and “C” and “S” below representing introverted aspects.
“D” and “C” share the left column and represent task-focused aspects, and “I” and “S” share the right column and represent social aspects.
In this matrix, the vertical dimension represents a factor of “Assertive” or “Passive”, while the horizontal dimension represents “Open” vs. “Guarded”.
Here are characteristics of the four DISC categories.
People who score high in the intensity of the D styles factor are very active in dealing with problems and challenges. High D people are described as: confident, goal-driven, determined, decisive, results-oriented, makes own rules, assertive, hard-working, focused, controlling, risk-taking, direct, adventuresome, self-assured, forceful. Example: airline pilots.
While analyzing information, a High D may: Ignore potential risks. Not weigh the pros and cons. Not consider others’ opinions. Offer innovative and progressive systems and ideas.
D’s possess these positive characteristics in teams: Great in crisis. Self-reliant. Innovative in getting results. Maintain focus on goals. Specific and direct. Overcome obstacles. Provide direction and leadership. Push group toward decisions. Willing to speak out. Generally optimistic. Welcome challenges without fear. Accept risks. See the big picture. Can handle multiple projects. Function well with heavy work loads.
People with high scores here influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as: cheerful, optimistic, talkative, inspiring, interactive, recognition-oriented, enthusiastic, “life of the party,” gregarious, sociable, persuasive, self-promoting.
While analyzing information, a High I may: Lose concentration. Miss important facts and details. Interrupt. Be creative in problem solving.
I’s possess these positive characteristics in teams: Instinctive communicators. Motivate the team. Spontaneous and agreeable. Respond well to the unexpected. Create an atmosphere of well being. Enthusiastic. Provide direction and leadership. Express ideas well. Work well with other people. Make good spokespersons. Will offer opinions. Persuasive. Have a positive attitude. Accomplish goals through people. Good sense of humor. Accepting of others. Strong in brainstorming sessions.
People with high S styles scores want a steady pace, security, and do not like sudden change. High S individuals are described as: quiet, easy-going, dependable, neat, efficient, supportive, submissive, shy, loyal, family oriented, stable, detail-oriented, patient, amiable, predictable, serene, team-player. Example: technical directors for stage productions.
While analyzing information, a High S may: Be openly agreeable but inwardly unyielding. Internalize their concerns and doubts. Hesitate to share feedback during presentation. Slow down the action. Provide valuable support for team goals.
S’s possess these positive characteristics in teams: Instinctive relaters. Participative managers – accomplish goals through personal relationships. Make others feel like they belong. Show sincerity. Can see an easier way of doing things. Focused and intuitive about people and relationships. Full of common sense. Buy into team goals. Dependable. Identify strongly with the team. Strive to build relationships. Provide stability. Consider elements of a total project. Realistic and practical. Even-tempered. Provide specialized skills. Show patience with others. Loyal.
People with high C styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High C individuals are described as: orderly, introverted, perfectionist, competent, concerned, careful, critical, analytical, contemplative, detail-oriented, slow to change, accurate, diplomatic, systematic.
While analyzing information, a High C may: Become overly cautious and conservative. Get too bogged down in details. Avoid or postpone decisions, especially if they perceive a risk. Be an effective trouble shooter.
C’s possess these positive characteristics in teams: Instinctive organizers. “Do it yourself” managers – create and maintain systems. Strive for a logical, consistent environment. Control the details. Conscientious. Evaluate the team’s progress. Ask important questions. Maintain focus on tasks. Offer conservative approaches. Emphasize quality. Think logically. Will share risks and responsibilities. Work systematically. Will strive for consensus. Diplomatic. Analyze obstacles.
Have You Used DISC?
What do you think of DISC? There are a lot of DISC resources on the market; are there any you recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.