If you’ve taken a DiSC Classic 2.0 or DiSC Classic paper version of the DiSC assessment, you may have had a style which doesn’t seem to appear in Everything DiSC reports. Why?
First let’s look at the circumplex model and the location of the dot. The dot’s location tells you two things. In the image at right, it shows that the person straddles the D and C styles. He or she is a DC or CD style. It’s placement towards the edge of the circle shows that this is a strong priority or preference. A dot positioned closer to the center of the circle would have indicated only a slight inclination towards the C and D styles.
Note the shading around the dot. This shows that this person has a bit of i and S as well. This person prioritizes challenge, results and accuracy much more than collaboration, for example. That does not mean the person isn’t good at collaborating, but rather that she or he isn’t likely to be motivated by opportunities to collaborate. The DiSC model doesn’t tell us if the person might enjoy or hate collaboration, or might be good or bad at it. It’s just not a priority.
It’s possible for someone to have four or even five priorities. Their circles look a little different. The person with the example at right might have been an iC in the older DiSC Classic. This example is an i style who prioritizes action,
enthusiasm, and collaboration, along with accuracy, which isn’t characteristic of most people with the i style. It will be much easier, or take less energy, for this person to focus on details or double-check work than it will be for others with the i style who might have to stretch more to reach the same level of precision.
We’re often asked which DiSC style makes the best leader or the best sales person. Recently a blog posted about which DiSC profiles should fill various positions in a real estate office. We know that a person of any style can be a great leader or effective in sales. But they need self-knowledge and the ability to read and respond to the priorities of others. Let’s look a bit deeper.
One DiSC style might match the stereotype or pre-conceived notions you have about a role. The best leaders are D styles. The best teachers are S styles. The best accountants are C styles and the best sales people are i styles. These are stereotypes and of limited use. In reality, the most successful person in any role is one that has a deep understanding of themselves and the ability to drawn on each style within them. Remember, the DiSC model is a circle. We all have a bit of other styles on which we can draw.
Good sales people need to draw on all the styles. Sometimes they need to generate excitement about a product to get it noticed (i style). Sometimes they need to show a frustrated customer that they are sincere in their desire to help (S style). Sometimes they need to pull out all the facts to make a convincing argument (C style). Sometimes they need to push a bit to close the sale (D style). I believe no sales person remains in one style during an entire sales cycle.
Everything DiSC Sales profile
Priorities and strengths
There are indeed different strengths and priorities individuals with various DiSC styles bring to their jobs. The first three pages of the profile report cover your sales priorities, your sales strengths and challenges. So one style might easily show dependability, sincerity, and build good relationships and need some training and support to be more focused on showing competency, getting results, and taking more direct action when needed. Rejection might be harder on this style, but nurturing long term relationships with customers might come more easily.
What about the style of the buyer or customer?
The style of the buyer, customer, or client is half the sales equation. If your sales staff can’t adapt to different buying styles, they aren’t going to be as successful as they could be. Can your sales staff quickly type a customer and then confirm their style through additional interactions? A C-style customer is likely to be overwhelmed by someone using an i style of selling. An S-style buyer might feel rushed and offended by a strong D-style of selling.
A full 15 pages of the Everything DiSC Sales profile are devoted to understanding your customers and adapting to their styles. This is reflective of the current needs of businesses that are being challenged to be more customer-centric rather than product-centric. With the rise in power of the consumer, today’s challenge is to show you understand their needs, their problems, their interests.
Instead of trying to hire for the perfect sales person by DiSC style, we recommend customizing your sales trainings to support the challenges each DiSC style faces. Increase their self-understanding and their ability to understand their customers. Provide flexibility in the support you give your sales staff. Use DiSC to help a sales team better communicate and understand each other. Sales managers can use their knowledge of styles to better motivate and manage their sales staff.
If you’re trying to build a sales team that functions as a team rather than as individual competitors, or you’re trying to work better as a team with your marketing team, we recommend using The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team. This will build upon and incorporate the work your team just completed with the DiSC Sales profile.
When people talk about the DISC profile or DISC assessment, it’s very likely that they are referring to DiSC Classic (the first assessment built on the DISC model) or Everything DiSC, both published by Inscape Publishing, a Wiley brand. It’s the most widely recognized DISC profile used around the world. However, others have also created assessments from the DISC model so let’s look at one of them: Discus, from Axiom Software.
The simplest way of comparing what you’re going to get from an assessment is to look at the resulting profile:
Everything DiSC presents a single circular image to give the reader an image to explain possible and self-reported personality traits and what the respondent’s style is. Discus uses a series of graphs to show an individual’s internal, external and summary profiles, as well as their shift pattern. Style cards are also used to expand one’s understanding of the respondent’s style.
Both profiles provide content to further present information about the respondent’s style. Everything DiSC uses a more narrative style directed to the person who took the assessment. Discus uses more of a bullet point presentation, using single paragraphs for various categories, and is directed to the person who administered the assessment. Discus has a page devoted to management and managing styles. Everything DiSC has a separate profile, Everything DiSC Management, to cover that topic in greater detail. Twelve pages of the Discus profile are devoted to a general glossary of terms. Everything DiSC provides an introduction to the DiSC model and overviews of the other DiSC styles.
Questions to ask
Which report do you think provides more self-understanding for the participant? Which report is easier to facilitate or use in a coaching or training environment? Which one explains the DISC model best? Does either report use language that might confuse your client or cause any resistance to accepting the report? Which report is the most memorable?
Validity and reliability
If you’re going to the trouble to purchase and use an assessment, you want to be sure it actually means something and isn’t a superficial report. Both publishers provide research about their profiles:
The Discus study was done on a much smaller sample in terms of numbers (N=90 versus N=2,270 for Everything DiSC Workplace) , geography, and other demographics. Everything DiSC has invested in computerized adapted testing, which make their results more accurate than their previous DiSC Classic product.
We’ve had a few customers ask us about the difference between our DiSC and other DISC products. It can be confusing, so let’s take a step back and look at the DISC model.
The DISC model
The DISC model is the foundation from which all DISC-related products are created. The DISC model was developed by William Moulton Marston but he never created an assessment from it. Nor did he copyright the concept. So several others have taken his model to create their profiles.
Marston theorized that the behavioral expression of emotions could be categorized into four primary types, stemming from the person’s perceptions of self in relationship to his or her environment. These four types were labeled by Marston as Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C).