There are hundreds of options out there for assessment-based learning experiences. To make the best selection, you should clarify your desired result. Is self-insight the main goal, or do you also want to help people work better together? Are you looking for an assessment to help with hiring? Leadership development? Conflict resolution? Knowing what you want yourself or your learners to get out of the experience will determine which assessment you choose.
Many assessments use the general DISC model (see “Which DISC is DiSC®?”). In this article, we are focusing on the rigorously tested Everything DiSC®.
Comparing DiSC® to MBTI®
Speaking broadly, here are some differences between the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) and Everything DiSC®:
- The purpose of MBTI is self-insight, while the purpose of Everything DiSC is relationship/culture building.
- MBTI as a tool has medium-high complexity, while Everything DiSC is designed to be simple.
- MBTI is information focused, describing the learner’s tendencies, while Everything DiSC is development focused, guiding the learner through the process of developing stronger relationships.
Because of these differences, people prefer DiSC when:
- Their goal is to get people to work more effectively together.
- Training time is limited.
- They want follow-up to ensure the training gets used.
For a deep-dive comparison of leading assessments, see DiSC vs. MBTI, CliftonStrengths, Predictive Index, and Insight Discovery.
When you want to get people to work more effectively together
Everything DiSC Workplace gives your team, group, or organization a framework to help them build more effective working relationships. The individual and group reports are easily understood and memorable. Visualizing where individuals or the entire team might struggle or be most productive is simple. DiSC also measures the traits of dominance and submissiveness—common issues in relationships—which the MBTI does not.
In the DiSC Practitioners and Fans Facebook group, people have shared that they prefer DiSC in workplace settings, even if they find both DiSC and MBTI helpful in personal settings. While MBTI is internally focused, DiSC looks at how personality translates to external behavior. Everything DiSC reports are written in a language meant for work settings—suitable for discussions with coworkers, including those you report to and those you manage. DiSC discusses how all styles are valuable, and how people of all styles can work well together. A core goal of the program is to create a common language among team members that can be used to have safe, empathetic conversations around interpersonal differences.
“Because MBTI is so deeply personal and is based on a large amount of revealing data from the extensive MBTI questionnaire, people who take the MBTI may often feel uncomfortable sharing their results with others. This could make MBTI unsuitable or difficult to use in a public environment such as a business, organization, or corporation where team building exercises, corporate retreats, staff training, and sales meetings take place.”
“DiSC is simple—it’s incredibly relevant—but it’s also relatively easy to grasp where MBTI—I think—is incredibly complicated to grasp.”
What DiSC users say
A few years ago, we interviewed several people who had used Everything DiSC. The way they described their experience highlights how DiSC operates beyond self-insight, as a way to build connections across personality types:
- “A common language.”
- “A simple model to use and spread.”
- “Opened my eyes to others as they wish to be seen.”
- “Helped us adapt to one another’s needs.”
- “Removed emotion and judgment from differences.”
- “Showed how to build rapport and make a connection with the other person.”
- “Helped us figure out how to act as a team.”
When time is tight
DiSC is an intuitive and applicable model that people can get their heads around quickly. When a learner sees their dot on the DiSC circumplex, as well as the dot locations of coworkers, it’s easy for them to visualize both the model and where they fit within it.
Facilitation kits are available that provide video, slides, handouts, and other material so the trainer’s time can be spent elsewhere. Though many facilitators choose to go through Everything DiSC Certification, you do not have to be certified to administer DiSC assessments and training. MBTI does require that you complete MBTI certification before using the instrument with others.
In addition, the Everything DiSC on Catalyst learning platform is built for modular trainings, making it easy to fit a 30-40 minute session into a regular workday, rather than having to block off a whole day or two.
“We have used both tests and we have found DiSC to be far simpler to interpret and put into action. In our world where we are all under pressure to get more done so quickly, a simpler and Effective Tool is great to have in your toolkit.”
“With DISC you can delve deeply into the theory and its application, yet at its core is a four quadrant model that most people can quickly grasp the basics in only a few minutes.”
When you want ongoing learning
When an organization invests in a training program, they want to make sure that people use what they learn. Everything DiSC is designed for ongoing learning, rather than a one-and-done training session. There are many ways workplaces can build a culture of DiSC. Because the tool is developmental rather than solely descriptive, it provides individuals with personalized action plans and gives groups a common language and framework for working together.
Tools for ongoing learning with DiSC include:
- Comparison reports
- Group reports
- The Catalyst platform, an on-demand access point for learners to call on throughout their DiSC journey
- Downloadable resources such as posters, worksheets, and virtual backgrounds
- Activities, follow-up ideas, and suggestions for Keeping DiSC in learners’ minds during everyday activities like meetings and emails
“The Everything DiSC Comparison Report makes it much easier to keep conversations going after the initial training. It’s a real breakthrough, particularly for working with teams.”
Dig into the research
You can read about the science of DiSC here. If you’d like something more in-depth, check out the Everything DiSC Manual. In addition to providing a detailed overview of the DiSC model and the various applications associated with DiSC, the Everything DiSC Manual provides coverage on the following key topics:
- Research supporting the validity and reliability of the DiSC styles
- An overview of DiSC as it intersects with current psychological theory
- Case studies modeling the proper interpretation of the tool
- DiSC as it applies to gender, ethnicity, and education
Here is an excerpt from the manual that discusses MBTI: DiSC Overview and Theory: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (PDF). Because the MBTI and DiSC measure different elements of personality, there’s no one-to-one comparison between MBTI and DiSC styles. In other words, you can’t deduce your DiSC style from your MBTI, or vice versa.
Also see the Research section of the article DiSC vs. MBTI, CliftonStrengths, Predictive Index, and Insight Discovery.
So … should I choose DiSC or MBTI or something else?
We’ve discussed some situations in which people prefer to use DiSC. Many people value the deep understanding of self they get from MBTI but feel more comfortable using Everything DiSC in professional environments. The right choice for you depends on what you hope to discover and how you plan to use the information.
Whichever assessment model you select, you’ll also need to decide which specific product best meets your needs. For example, do you want Everything DiSC Workplace® or Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict? MBTI® Step III™ or MBTI® Step I™ Form M? Consider the change you want to see in your learners. Which assessment and training are more likely to get them there?
Remember that neither the MBTI nor DiSC is designed to be an instrument predictive of future behavior. So neither should be used as prehire assessments. Instead, look into assessments optimized for hiring, such as PXT Select™.
Once you’ve made your decision, be sure you’re purchasing the assessments from a trustworthy source. There are some websites that have created their own tests and claim that the results are based on the MBTI or DiSC, when the connection is tenuous at best. There are sites that offer free tests that are really just methods to capture your contact information. Be sure to purchase from an Authorized Everything DiSC Partner or a bona fide provider of the MBTI instrument.