Every so often we run across online discussions about DISC and it’s easy to tell that the referenced assessment is not the one published by Wiley. Many publishers of personality tests can be easily found online, and since the DISC model was not trademarked, anyone can write a test and call it DISC. Does the publisher really matter? What makes DiSC® special? Why look for the lowercase i and the registered trademark?
Why is the assessment publisher important?
As long as the assessment is easy to administer and the participants seem to like it, nothing else really matters, right? Not if you are concerned with your own credibility and professionalism. Not if you want your participants to recall something from their profiles and know how to use these insights in their relationships with colleagues and friends.
Validation and reliability
These aren’t issues just for the psychometricians. End users and test facilitators need to care. You don’t want a participant to declare that they took the assessment a year ago and got entirely different results. You don’t want participants who have taken a different assessment to declare that that one captured their personality so much better than the one you gave them. You also want to be able to justify the cost of the assessment to your client or boss. Validation and reliability studies give you confidence in an assessment’s ability to do what it claims.
Wiley publishes their research reports. They are easy to find and complete. There’s an entire book detailing their research, titled The Everything DiSC® Manual. Can other DISC assessments match this level of research? Have other DISC assessments included so many people in their studies? Look for yourself.
Stability and longevity
Assessments can be a long-term investment. Many companies begin by offering them to a small group—like their leadership group—and then expand to the entire company. New hires learn and share their profile results. They become part of the company culture.
You don’t want to give an assessment that you can’t repeat with newcomers or with a new training focus four years down the road. Faculty teaching human resource development classes don’t want to introduce their students to a product that won’t be available when their students are in the workplace. With Everything DiSC, you can have confidence that the products will still be in use and may even be enhanced.
Inscape Publishing to Wiley
Inscape Publishing began creating assessments for the workplace over 50 years ago. They created DiSC Classic® in 1994, using their research to improve the original assessment based on the DISC model. They’ve continued to research personality and make advancements in both assessments and delivery. After being acquired by John Wiley & Sons, they continue to come out with new products such as Everything DiSC Work of Leaders (2010), Everything DiSC Productive Conflict (2017), and Everything DiSC Agile EQ (2020).
Never willing to rest on their laurels, Inscape introduced computerized adaptive testing (CAT) to the DiSC assessments. While your employees or clients might not even notice, this responsive testing technique means greater accuracy and an even more personalized profile. For example, if your answers regarding a preference for accuracy aren’t as consistent, you might be asked to answer more questions to discover nuances for that aspect of your personality.
Wiley has continued this traditional of refinement and revolution. A new online delivery platform called Catalyst was released in 2020. It was designed to make it easier for organizations to integrate Everything DiSC into their work on an ongoing basis. It connects independent learning and facilitated sessions in a single, personalized space.
Understanding their audiences
Wiley seeks to understand their end users. You may have noticed that occasionally someone taking an Everything DiSC assessment online will be asked if they are willing to answer a few additional questions. These answers are used for continued research. Insights from this research are often shared on the Everything DiSC blog, Insights to Action.
If you read any Everything DiSC profile you can see the care they give to language. Participants get more than a set of numbers and graphs. They get personalized narratives they can relate to and images that are memorable. The assessment itself is written at a 5th-grade level so you can give it to almost anyone in your workplace without any special adaption or modification. To make the profile more memorable and insightful, an additional measurement for priorities was added to the DiSC model and you’ll see those represented in many DiSC images.
An active network of independent distributors (of which we are a part) provides Everything DiSC solutions around the world. Wiley has a strong department devoted to consumer insights provided by these distributors and by profile recipients.
Look for these logos.
The DISC model is freely available and easily adapted into an overly-simplistic test. Don’t settle for something that hasn’t been tested or short-changes your customers and employees. Everything DiSC is simple without being simplistic. If you see these logos, you can buy with confidence.
Editor’s note: Inscape Publishing was acquired by John Wiley & Sons in 2012. Wiley publishes such best-selling business-related authors as James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner, Patrick Lencioni, Jon Gordon, Phillip Van Hooser, Ruth Clark, and Elaine Biech. This post has been updated to reflect advancements made since the Wiley purchase.
by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team
Updated August 2019, May 2022