It’s important to know which assessment is actually under discussion. Not all disc assessments are the same. When you see claims that millions of people have used disc, don’t assume that millions have used the version you might be discussing or considering buying.
DISC assessment: the flavours
The disc model is not protected by copyright. The disc model of behaviour was first proposed by William Mouton Marston, a Ph.D. psychologist from Harvard. He did not create an assessment tool himself, but others have used his model. Several academics and companies have used his work to create their own psychological inventories.
Depending on the assessment author, disc can be an acronym for:
- Dominance or Drive
- Influence or Inspire
- Steadiness, Stability or Submission
- Conscientiousness, Compliance, Correctness or Caution
Various colours are also used to differentiate each personality type. These colours vary, depending on who wrote the assessment, or which attributes are measured. Sometimes you can have two different models, measuring different attributes, but using the same colours in a 4 dimensional model: that’s confusing, because they do not tell the same story.
How to choose among the DISC assessments
Questions should be easily and accurately answered. They also should have been validated thorough and ongoing research. It’s never easy easy to find examples of assesment questions. Most publishers are reluctant to see their questionnaires downloaded and shared.
Here’s an example of a questionaire item from a free DISC questionnaire:
For each group of four descriptions you should have one most like you and only one least like you.
○ My behavior is well disciplined
○ People see me as being generous
○ I am always on the move
○ I persevere until I get what I want
This is experienced by some as being hard to answer.DiSC Classic and many disc questionnaires use this type of forced choice questions.
Another type of questionnaire will use a Likert scale where you rank each item on a five-point scale from “never” to “always” – describes me. They are sometimes experienced as being easier to answer. Everything DiSC profiles use this type of scale until recently.
Look at the number of questions being asked. A 70-item questionnaire is more reliable than a 20-item questionnaire. An adaptive testing tool, as is currently used by Everything DiSC profiles is more accurate and even easier to answer.
You can’t do much with a report that gives you only a page or two about your results. The real power of DiSC is in both what it teaches you about yourself and what it teaches you about interacting with others who have styles unlike your own.
Reports should be easily read, memorable and accurate. They should take care with language, presenting all personalities in a balanced manner. Reports full of charts and graphs can be interesting, but they also need to be memorable and easy to interpret.
Wiley (former Inscape Publishing), the publisher of all of Everything DiSC assessments, is committed to maintaining the highest standards of instrument development and application through a careful research and development process. Wiley ensures all of the instruments offer valid scores and accurate feedback to the respondent. Each instrument is designed to provide reasonably accurate interpretations or feedback based on your scores.
The following research reports provide more information on the reliability and validity of the DiSC assessments:
- Everything DiSC® Research Report (pdf)
- Research Report for Adaptive Testing (pdf)
- How My Graph Became a Dot (pdf)
How will you use a behavioural assessment ? With Everything DiSC you have more focused options than you would have had with DiSC classic. Many people use DISC profiles in their company or organisation.
Others use it for sales training or leadership development. Some use if for conflict resolution, couples’ counseling or job coaching. Everything DiSC offers the following profiles:
- Everything DiSC Workplace Profile
- Everything DiSC Management Profile
- Everything DiSC Sales Profile
- Everything DiSC Work of Leaders
The best versions of DISC will have support for people delivering the profiles. Not each variety of DISC has training materials available. Some want you to use a consultant to deliver and interpret results.
Yes, you can get a DISC profile for free from organisations like disc personality testing, 123test, or even Tonyrobbins.com. But you probably get what you pay for. Many free profiles rely on possibly outdated questionaires, which are not necessarily based on recent research.
Hidden costs can include up-selling. In other words, some companies will use your contact information to try to sell you additional services or coaching you might not want.
Look for this image when shopping for the most reliable, memorable and well-researched DiSC profiles. Wiley is the world’s leading provider of DiSC-based learning solutions.