DISC – The Essential Tool For Business

  • by kaibizzen
  • Nov 25, 2020
  • Blog

How many of these situations have you experienced?

  1. Person A says to Person B “we’ve tried that and it didn’t work” and Person B has got upset/looked hurt
  2. Person A has walked past Person B’s office on Monday morning, said good morning and kept walking to their office
  3. Person A has given Person B a proposal to do some work. Person B has criticised Person A’s slow response in getting the proposal to them and then read the executive summary only before rejecting Person A’s proposal.
  4. Person A asks Person B to do a very simple task. Without warning Person B erupts in tirade of anger
  5. Person A goes into Person B’s office unprepared and disorganised and then proceeds to ramble on
  6. Person A takes a long time to answer Person B’s question
  7. Person A keeps interrupting Person B and/or finishes their sentences for them
  8. Person A doesn’t ask Person B for their opinion

In my nearly 30 years’ experience of working with people, the biggest reason these situations are so universally recognised is because Person A and Person B have two completely different ways that they prefer to communicate.

In each of these examples, neither Person A nor Person B has fully considered the other before interacting with each other.

In example 1 above, person B likes to discuss all the ideas she has about how to do something. Person A hasn’t considered Person B’s preference for discussion and has consequently stifled or muffled Person B’s suggestions

In example 2 above Person A hasn’t considered that Person B likes to build relationships and make small talk, because relationships and small talk are generally unimportant to Person A.

In example 3, Person A hasn’t considered that Person B doesn’t want a big long proposal and conversely Person B hasn’t given Person A a timeframe to get something completed and also hasn’t considered that criticising their work is pushing their greatest fear button.

In example 4, there may be many reasons why Person B spews forth. In many cases though Person A has forgotten that Person B is a people pleaser. He will always say yes to Person A’s request. However deep down Person B doesn’t want to do it (and Person A hasn’t checked) and his frustration grows and grows until at some point the most menial of tasks becomes the straw that brakes the camel’s back.

All the examples merely demonstrate that Person A and Person B have different preferences. Person A’s preferences aren’t better than Person B’s (or vice versa). In fact, both preferences are required for the full productivity and success of the team.

Since the dawn of time there has been misunderstanding between people. Our earliest civilisations recognised these communication and behavioural differences and over the centuries, thoughts and theories have abounded to firstly understand as to why we act and behave the way we do.

As far back as 600BC, Hippocrates developed some tools, which became the foundations for much of our understanding of human behaviour today.

As leaders, understanding human behaviour is really at the core of what we do. To be effective, we must recognise there are people in our team who are different to us, and thus, we have to treat everyone differently. However, very few of us have mastered that well.

That is why, it’s my perspective that one of the most powerful tools available to us as leaders in business is DISC.

What is DISC

Introduced nearly 100 years ago (in 1926) by Dr William Marsten, DISC’s foundation is based upon the work of Hippocrates and the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung. Marsten made it very clear that DISC is not about our personality. Rather it is indicator of you and your team’s preferred behavioural and communication style.

That’s why I love DISC, because its basis is peoples’ preferred behavioural styles. Marsten says that people are different, but predictably different. Hence, he developed this tool to help us in our quest to understand ourselves and others.

The purpose of DISC therefore is firstly for each one of us to understand our own behavioural preferences; then to understand others’ who’s preference is different to ours and lastly, if we want to get the best out of that relationship, what we have to do.

In other words, it is a framework to help us better do what we instinctively know we need to do.

Therefore, DISC provides a common language to help teams understand one another and work better together.

DISC teaches us, in all our relationships, that communication becomes more individual, empathic and therefore more successful. Through truly understanding and implementing DISC the performance of our team is more productive and teamwork improves markedly.

If I, as a leader knows more about each of my team members know about themselves, then I can inspire them to be more productive. If I can teach my team to know more about our clients than they know about themselves, the more our clients can be influenced to achieve more.

DISC’s relevance in the 21st century

In the last 100 years many things have changed. In general, though people haven’t. Certainly, with the advancement in many fields – including studies into human behaviour through subjects such as psychology and even neuroscience – today we have the privilege of greater awareness of the human psyche and what makes us tick.

This greater awareness though has both its blessings and its curses. We know, in order to achieve maximum influence, we need to communicate with others in the way they prefer. However, no matter how much we “know” this we still don’t do it.

In the modern economy the need is greater than ever for our teams to be productive. There is much greater awareness than ever before that the profit of business is the result of a productive, effective team. When our focus is on our people and getting them working together more effectively there is far greater chance of achieving increased profitability.

The more, I as the leader of my business understand a tool like DISC, the more chance I have of:

  • Understanding myself and why I do and say the things I do
  • Understanding my team and my clients and why they do and say the things they do
  • Understanding that I need to adapt my preferred style to their preferred style because I DO want to get the most out of my relationship with them
  • Treating my team and my clients as individuals. The result will be a more successful relationship
  • Improving the performance of my team
  • Markedly improving us all working together
  • Gaining greater productivity from my team

Thus, being rewarded with the profitability that I seek from business.

I’m making the assumption that you too, are looking for those things as well. If so, well done.

How do I work out my own and others’ DISC profile?

There are only 2 ways you can work out your own and others’ DISC profile.

The first way must be learned and practiced and practiced. It comes from observing someone’s behaviours from 2 perspectives. Firstly, it’s based upon the speed at which they do things and secondly what their first focus is.

At one end of the spectrum of speed (axis Y) are those who move, talk, think, speak etc very quickly and at the other end if those who move, talk, think, speak etc very slowly. Every human that we meet will fit somewhere on that spectrum. The art is are they on the MORE side or the less side. By the way no end of the spectrum is better than the other. They are both PURELY PREFERENCES.

At one of the spectrum of focus (axis X) are those who immediately think (or focus) on the job or task that needs to be done and at the other end is those who immediately think (or focus) on the people who need to do the job of task. Again, the art is plotting which side of they axis they are MORE.

Depending on where you plot yourselves in those 2 axes the quadrants of DISC can then be determined.

The best way, of course, is to have someone who is accredited to help you determine your DISC using a scientifically proven questionnaire. This methodology if done correctly can give you a 98% chance of finding this out.

On this point, please be aware there are many forms of doing this online. You will be provided with general feedback about your style. However, the danger, in my opinion, of doing this is that you may not be provided with specific feedback to you THE INDIVIDUAL.

My husband Rob and I have been accredited DISC facilitators for nearly 30 years. Our methodology, to this date, continues to blow my mind how we can find out things about the individuals from how they answer and what analysing their graphs tells us.

So, if you’d like to better understand yourself, and how you can influence those around you to get the best out of them, reach out. We’re here to help you achieve the business and lifestyle you deserve for you and your family.

02 Oct

Panel Discussion

Tuesday, 6:30pm Quest Cannon Hill

What does it take to actually remove yourself from the day-to-day grind of business? Learn from our panel of Business Owners who've Been There, Done That.



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