What Is DISC?


DISC is an easy-to-use, inexpensive, and easily understood model for explaining behavior, motivation, and communication styles.   DISC has been around since the 1970’s and is both highly validated but also subject to updates based on the changes in language and the way we view the world.

DISC is based on a 2-axis, four-dimensional model that does not try to incorporate everything about a person but focuses on the concept that while all people are different, they are, in some key ways, predictably different.  And that certain key, underlying factors can be used to identify many aspects of their behavior.

DISC begins with 4 basic behavioral styles (D – I – S – C) based on the 4 quadrants but readily recognizes that all people have some level of all 4 styles within them.   But even though an individual is a combination of all 4 styles one or two styles will likely be most prominent in any individual.

The DISC profile is an accurate behavioral analysis that can be used to predict or explain the behavior of individuals in specific situations.  It can also show where certain individuals are most comfortable, allowing them to identify both the type of work they will thrive in, as well as the best working environment.

On a personal level, it can help open up the lines of communication between people by helping them understand their own communication tendencies, including strengths and weaknesses.

In studying DISC what we will discover is that each of the 4 styles has natural strengths that serve the individual well.   In the case of the Brilliant Jerk it is often that natural strength that has been taken to an extreme and caused the “jerkiness”.

In other words, any natural strength taken to an extreme will become a weakness.

Below is a brief description of the DISC Model.  For more information please visit www.CoachDaveMeyer.com and you will find more information about the power and use of DISC.


The 4 Quadrant Model Explained

As noted earlier, DISC is based on a 2-axis, four-dimensional model.  This model was represented as a 4-quadrant figure with a vertical axis that represented one’s usual level of energy (see Diagram 1 below).

For instance, people were described as being either Active, Fast-Paced, and Assertive or more Reserved, Moderate-Paced, and Thoughtful.


                 Diagram 1



 The 4-quadrant figure also included a horizontal axis that represented one’s general mindset (see Diagram 2 below).

For example, the left-hand side of the axis represented people who were more Task-Oriented, Questioning, and Skeptical; while the right-hand side signified those who were more People-Oriented, Accepting, and Agreeable.

                               Diagram 2

Early representations of DISC combined these two axes to create the 4-quadrant model shown in Diagram 3 below.

                          Diagram 3

As you can see, those who were Active, Fast-Paced, and Assertive, as well as Task-Oriented, Questioning, and Skeptical, were represented by the upper left-hand quadrant of the model and described as “High D” or “Driver”.   The High D tends to be goal and task oriented and is driven to results.   Because of this focus they may sometimes appear abrupt or rude to others.

Similarly, people who were Active, Fast-Paced, and Assertive, but were more People-Oriented, Accepting, and Agreeable were identified with the upper right-hand quadrant and referred to as “High I” or “Influencing”.   The High I tends to be outgoing and gregarious, making friends easily.   But their natural optimism combined with tendency to talk too much may make them appear superficial and uncaring.

Individuals who were Reserved, Moderate-Paced, and Thoughtful, along with being People-Oriented, Accepting, and Agreeable were associated with the lower right-hand quadrant and were referred to as “High S” or “Steady”.   The High S is a natural team player very content to follow their leader and be a part of something bigger than themselves.   Their moderate pace and lack of task orientation may make them appear to lack drive and may even appear to be lazy.

And finally, those who were Reserved, Moderate-Paced, and Thoughtful, but were more inclined to be Task-Oriented, Questioning, and Skeptical were described as “High C” or “Conscientious” and were positioned in the lower left-hand quadrant.  The High C values accuracy and completeness.   At times this need for accuracy can lead to “analysis paralysis” making the High C reluctant to make decisions without just a little more information.

So there you have it.  A brief introduction to the concept of DISC.    Keep in mind that while we talk about the 4 primary style types, all people are a combination of all 4 styles with one or two being dominant in any one person.   The power of DISC starts with its simplicity in the 4 quadrant model but is only truly unleashed when one understands the combinations of styles that exist and how they influence each other.

If you wish to have your own personal DISC assessment, please contact me at Dave@CoachDaveMeyer.com and I will arrange for you to take the assessment.  The assessment plus a 30 minute debrief is available for $125.