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DiSC Q&A

Got a DiSC question? Why not drop us a line and we will post the response to your question on this page so we can share it with others.

Are all DiSC profiles the same?

Simply put, no. What is true is that they are all based on the same four dimensions or behavioural traits, namely Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance or Conscientiousness. However, most publishers of DiSC Model products have different questionnaires, even though some are very similar. They all originate from the same 24 item, four words per item, forced choice questionnaire that was developed by Geier and Hendrickson in the 1960's and revised in 1971.

Most versions have since had word changes, and some have been adapted into phrases. The challenge is to find a validated, reliable profile. To date, only one supplier has published results of extensive validation and reliability studies since 1971.

Is DiSC just a personality profile?

"Personality Type" is a term used to describe the results of a personality test or the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The DiSC Model does not measure personality type , but it does measure aspects of personality. To be more explicit, the words individuals respond to are attributes or qualities of the person.
What the DiSC profiles measure therefore is more stable than surface behavioural responses to external stimuli. They measure aspects of personality, but not personality type.

Should DiSC be used as a selection tool?

They are not actually designed to be used in selection. They were designed as self-assessment tools to give people an understanding of their behaviour so they could learn to increase their effectiveness. And yet many DiSC Model products are sold primarily, if not exclusively, to be used for selection. There are two significant dangers in using a DiSC profile as a selection tool.

The first is related to the fact that DiSC profiling does not measure a person's behavioural adaptability. Research has shown that the most effective people are those who can adapt to the environment and use the most appropriate behaviour in each situation. This ties in with research on emotional intelligence (EQ) that people with higher levels of EQ are more productive and effective in different situations, regardless of their personality or behavioural style.

When to use the Everything DiSC Management vs Work of Leaders Profile.

(Response by Founder, Keith Ayers)
As a user of multiple profiles in many organisations I have quite a bit of experience in dealing with this issue.

What I have found works best, if the initial goal is to establish a new language about behaviour, is to use the Everything DiSC Workplace Profile with everyone to start with. The focus of the Workplace Profile and facilitation kit is on building relationships, one relationship at a time. That is just as relevant in the C-Suite as it is at the frontline.

I do a lot of work with Senior Teams on increasing alignment and trust, and I always use the Workplace Profile in that situation, because I want them to focus on the relationships. Using Work of Leaders would not achieve that objective. The Priorities in the Workplace Profile are relevant to the issues involved in building relationships - what is each styles focus of attention, and how might conflicting priorities, e.g. Enthusiasm and Accuracy or Results and Support, get in the road of people working together effectively.

Then when the group is ready to move on to developing their management and leadership skills, I think it is important to look at the priorities in the context of the application of the profile.

The Everything DiSC Management Profile is focused on the one-on-one skills of directing and delegating, motivating and developing... the priorities reflect that focus. Likewise the leadership profiles (Work of Leaders and 363 for Leaders) are focused on leadership being a one-on-many relationship, hence the priorities are different.

If you would like to discuss more with me personally what profile suits your project best, feel free to contact me.

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