In Part 1 of Twelve Things Every Manager Should Know about the DISC Profile Test, I highlighted when and how DISC got started and how it developed into one of the most popular assessments on the planet. In Part 2, you’ll learn more about how companies use DISC, the many variations of DISC, how it can be used, and when it should not.

7. Hundreds of variations of DISC exist.

Since the 1970s when John Geier created the Personal Profile System, based on the work of Cleaver and Clarke, many publishers and psychologists have updated, revised, and generated their own version of the DISC assessment.  This has created a lot of confusion among consumers, especially with the number of DISC-like instruments that have proliferated on the Internet.  This has created a sense of buyer beware- while it is easy to create an assessment, some DISC assessments have stronger and more reliable validity.

8. Not one DISC Profile Test is the “best” or “right” assessment.

Understanding the DISC model is extremely helpful for management and employees but it’s also not the holy grail of assessment. But that is true about every other instrument.  “Best” or “right” depends on how it is used and the expectations of the users and participants.  DISC should be included as part of any employee evaluation but not as the sole determinant for selection or performance.

9. No one company or person owns DISC.

To dispel another myth, there is no company that “owns” DISC (unlike the assessment Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is owned by the Myers & Briggs Foundation and published by CPP.) Many companies, however, “own” trademarks and copyrights on brand names such as DiSC. When a company selects one DISC assessment over another it is important to work with a certified and trained consultant who can support delivery and provide expertise. It is also important that the company they use to purchase and support DISC recognizes and advises users on the limitations of DISC.

10. DISC measures motivation!

Yes, that’s right – DISC measures motivation.  It seems every manager is seeking a tool to figure out what motivates employees and the tool – DISC- is sitting right under every manager’s nose.  Each style is really a measure of how energized or de-energized an individual is when faced with solving a problem, influencing other people, dealing with a change of pace, and complying with rules set by other people. The stronger a style, the more energized (and motivated) that individuals will be in dealing with that aspect of life and work. The weaker the style, the more de-energized he or she will be.

11.The DISC Profile is a versatile tool…but underutilized in most organizations.

The best use of DISC is increasing self-awareness. But it’s also a powerful tool to assess team fit, build high performing teams, evaluate company fit,  understand different leadership styles, improving customer service and sales presentations, mediating conflicts, and enhancing communication.

12. But DISC DOES NOT describe or assess skill, ability, or job fit.

Many consultants and managers attempt to squeeze too much out of DISC.  Just because someone is energized by solving problems or influencing other people doesn’t mean they are any good at it.  If that was the case every D-I or I-D would be a successful and effective salesperson or manager, every C-S would thrive in accounting and engineering, and every S-C would excel in customer service. We know those stereotypes are merely assumptions and an overextension about what DISC can really assess.  Yes, many people of a particular style have an affinity to do one type of job over another but an affinity does not guarantee or even predict skill, aptitude, or job fit.


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