August 2021 | Keith Ayers

My reason for writing this blog is that it is time the truth was revealed that all DISC profiles are not the same – there is a massive difference between Everything DiSC and the rest. All DISC profiles are not measuring the same thing – it does matter which one you use.

There are many significant differences between the Everything DiSC® assessment and other DISC tools available in the marketplace, including our use of the little ‘i’ to differentiate our bestselling assessment from all the rest.

But what sets Everything DiSC apart as the most valid and reliable tool on the market?

The Assessment Questionnaire

The first DISC profile was a 24-item questionnaire developed by John Cleaver in the 1950s, and most of the other DISC profiles available today still use a version of that original 24-item forced-choice questionnaire.

The Everything DiSC questionnaire uses a five-point Likert scale which is more accurate and provides a broader range of answer options than the forced-choice questionnaire. In 2012 Wiley added computerised adaptive testing (CAT) to the Everything DiSC assessment. This means that when the respondent answers inconsistently on any one of the eight scales – that is they agree with some items and disagree with other items measuring the same thing – the program adapts on the fly and asks additional questions to get a more accurate plot of their position on that scale.

This methodology increases the accuracy of the Everything DiSC assessment significantly over the 24-item version – independently assessed to be 32% more accurate. This technology behind the Everything DiSC profile is light years ahead of the technology behind other DISC profiles.

Eight Scales versus Four

Everything DiSC is the only DISC profile that measures more than the basic four scales of D, I, S, and C. What our research has found is that the combination scales, Di, iS, SC, and CD are not an addition of the two styles they represent – they are an integration of the two dimensions. For example, the Di style has strengths that are unique to the combination that are not shared by the D or i styles independently.

Wiley developed items that measure these four combination scales in 2007 when the first Everything DiSC profiles were released. The addition of adaptive testing technology in 2012 then allowed for more accurate measurement of all eight scales and took our DiSC profile to another level.

Can a DISC Profile Measure Both Adaptive and Natural Behaviour?

The short answer is no! Most other DISC providers use two graphs to illustrate DISC Style, claiming that these separate graphs measure two different DISC Styles – that of a participant’s adaptive and natural behaviour. This is a myth. The British Psychological Society, in the early 90s, performed its own validation study on the 24-item DISC questionnaire and concluded that graphs one and two were measuring nothing more than different views of self-perception. Current DISC providers continuing to make this assertion are working with outdated and unsupported facts.

Adaptive behaviour is situational behaviour – you adapt your behaviour many times a day to deal with different situations and different people. To claim that you have one adaptive style does not make any sense. The original DISC assessment was never designed to measure situational behaviour.

This is why Everything DiSC plots a participants DiSC style within a circle to visually illustrate how people are a blend of styles and can exhibit a range of DiSC style characteristics at times. This circumplex model is more easily understood and more memorable than a graph and removes any confusion around the outdated and incorrect teachings around natural vs adaptive behaviours.

Adjusting Results for Social Bias

It is standard practice in the world of psychometric testing to recognise that when a person is assessing themselves, they have a tendency towards social bias – to choose items that are more socially desirable as being like them, such as “friendly”, and to not choose socially undesirable attributes such as “aggressive”.

The original 24-item questionnaire developed in the 1950s by John Cleaver offered attributes that describe the different behaviours that DISC measures and asked which of these attributes are most like you and which are least like you. Then the least scores were subtracted from the most scores because the difference score had been shown to remove the social bias.

This showed up in the psychometric analysis where the difference scores which were plotted on Graph 3, were always more internally reliable than the most and least scores shown on Graphs 1 and 2.

For some reason, many providers of DISC profiles do not provide a Graph 3 based on the difference scores – the only graph that can show the person’s overall self-perception with the removal of the social bias.

Research and Quality Standards

Everything DiSC is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a 214-year-old multinational research and publishing company with a strong reputation in the academic and professional world. You most likely had several Wiley published textbooks during your university days.

Wiley does not publish anything that has not met the most rigorous standards of validity and reliability. So, when you take the Everything DiSC profile published by Wiley, you know you are getting the most accurate, valid, and reliable assessment available.

The complete Everything DiSC Research Report is available from our website to anyone who wants it.

Return and Learn

One of the most common things I’ve heard people say over the years is “I have done DISC.” My response to that is always “that’s great – how are you using it?” DiSC it is a very powerful, practical tool that can help individuals improve their relationships and their productivity and can help organisations create healthier cultures.

It should not be used as a “once and done” exercise. With Everything DiSC on Catalyst and the application suite of profiles, you can create a learning journey for everyone in your organisation to continue to develop their personal and professional skills.

The Everything DiSC Application Suite

Rather than attempt to cram too much information into a DiSC report, Wiley decided to create a suite of application-specific profiles, encompassing profiles and facilitation kits for Workplace, Management, Leadership, Sales, Productive Conflict, and Agile EQ. The beauty of this approach is that the information in the DiSC profile is directly relevant to what the participant is learning – they are not being distracted by other information in their profile report that is not relevant to their current session.

Wiley is committed to ongoing research and product development of the Everything DiSC range of products. Just in the last two years, we have launched the Everything DiSC Agile EQ Profile and the Catalyst platform. More new developments are coming out every year. No other DISC profile provider has anywhere close to this level of ongoing research and commitment to their product.

Supplementary Report

One of the most valuable and unique features of Everything DiSC is the Supplement for Facilitator Report, which is essential to give to each participant. This report provides very personalised information that helps participants better understand their profile and their uniqueness.

The first part of this report is the Umbrella Graph which shows the participant’s raw scores on each of the eight scales. These points are joined together, forming an umbrella-shaped graph that helps the participant see why their dot or psychological home is placed where it is.

The second part of this report is the most valuable – it shows items from the assessment that the participant has answered in a way that is unexpected for their style. For example, as a Si style, I have very little C or conscientiousness in my profile, and one of my unexpected items is “Accuracy is a priority for me” to which I strongly agreed. I know it is important to me, however, it doesn’t show up in my profile. So having this Supplementary report gives the participant a more personalised and complete picture of themselves.

The third section looks at priority subscales, highlighting areas that will naturally appeal more to each participant and drive their behaviour.  This section is also what determines if participants receive additional priorities or not, acknowledging that they may possess priorities not typically associated with their style and once again recognising every person’s uniqueness.

What Happens After the Training?

In most cases, people get their DISC profile during a training program, and they learn how to use it in a variety of applications. Then it is up to them as to whether they do anything with it after the program – they have a printout or PDF file of their profile.

Not with Everything DiSC on Catalyst!

As soon as the participant has completed the assessment, they can access their profile on the Catalyst platform.  Catalyst is a dynamic, interactive and personalised platform with several short educational videos, further learnings on DiSC, and a podcast of an in-depth interpretation of the individual’s style.

Free Comparison Reports

Your Colleagues is the most powerful application in Catalyst where everyone in a selected group – organisation, department, branch, or team – can immediately see a comparison between themselves and anyone else in that same group who has given permission for their comparisons to be viewed. People who don’t want their comparisons to be viewed by work colleagues can opt-out using a privacy feature.

It is this Your Colleagues feature that is a catalyst for culture change – a place where employees can take ownership of improving their relationships with each other.

We can confidently say that Everything DiSC is the most thoroughly researched, valid, and reliable DiSC profile on the market.

Everything DiSC® is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keith Ayers


Intégro Learning Company Pty Ltd