04 Apr DISC: A Powerful Business Tool for Leadership and Team Development
DISC is a highly accredited behavior assessment tool that has acted as an integral part of my coaching practice for many years. I use it with all new clients so I know how to better communicate and deliver information to them. I also use it with their teams to help drive higher levels of trust and performance. The DISC assessment tool, if used properly, can have a major impact on improving all levels of team performance.
Based on the research of a physiological psychologist, Dr. William Marston, DISC is a simple yet elegant model that assesses normal human behavior, and since behavior can be coached, it is an excellent learning tool for all business owners and leaders. There are no good or bad test results. The user is simply asked a series of questions that will produce a report related to their behavior, personality, and preferences. The reports that DISC produces can help business owners and team members better understand their behavioral tendencies so they can improve their leadership and communication skills and better appreciate team members’ unique contribution. It essentially helps build a strong foundation for real communication and collaboration in the workplace.
What does DISC assess?
The DISC profile concentrates on assessing the natural tendencies that influence your behavior. More importantly, however, the DISC report that is generated will not make judgments about the quality of your behavioral tendencies nor will it place value upon it. It does assess your strengths, what you tend to be motivated by, what environments you tend to be most successful in, and how you may appear under stress and when faced with conflict. It will also provide input on areas for improvement.
Based on the results, the DISC report can be used to:
- Capitalize on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses
- Gain self-understanding of your behavior style
- Help you understand the behavioral patterns of team members, peers, and customers
- Better understand how to adapt your behavior and become more interpersonally effective
- Improve your overall communication and leadership skills
Many aspects of business can be positively affected using the DISC profile. If used effectively, as outlined above, the following benefits can be realized:
- Build productive and high performing teams
- Maximize organization’s talent by assisting in hiring, recruiting, placement, promotion, and outsourcing
- Develop effective managers, supervisors, and leaders
- Train a powerful sales force and improve customer service
- Constructively deal with change and conflict management
As with most assessment tools there can be some shortcomings with the DISC profile and I would be remiss to not mention some of them:
- The DISC has become overused so it makes it easy to “cheat.” This is especially true when it is used in the hiring process. In fact, it is so overused in the recruitment arena, that many candidates actually get coached on what is the preferred answers so they look like a perfect candidate. As far as I know, the DISC has never been vetted or validated as a hiring tool and should only be used as one consideration in the process.
- The tool should never be used in anyway that implies a person’s results are not good. There are no right or wrong answers so no one should ever be made to feel that their results are “bad.” In fact, it should be used to help celebrate each individual’s uniqueness and what they bring to the team. It is a tool that helps individuals better understand themselves and their communication style and more importantly how they can adapt to different behaviors.
- The complexity of some of the test results require special training to interpret correctly.
- Some question the technical aspects of the assessment, specifically the interdependence of the scales and the forced-choice questioning technique which makes the test a non-normative assessment. Personally, I think that is an advantage since I am only interested in an individual’s results, not how they compare to others. That is not what the DISC is about.
If the DISC is administered properly and the person taking the assessment is given an explanation of what to expect and understands how the results will be used, the results should be accurate and provide good input for developing the individual and/or the collective team. Based on my experience in administering hundreds of assessments, less then 5% of my audience have felt the DISC was not at least 85% accurate in describing them from a behavioral perspective and most felt it was 90 to 95% correct. I strongly believe that the DISC assessment is a great addition to any leadership or team development curriculum!
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas regarding the DISC or other assessment tools you use.