I recently took a Lean Agile course in which the instructor had us do something called DiSC Classic. DiSC is a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. It measures four dimensions:
- Dominance. Emphasis on shaping the environment by overcoming opposition to accomplish results.
- Influence. Emphasis on shaping the environment by influencing or persuading others.
- Steadiness. Emphasis on cooperating with others within existing circumstances to carry out the task.
- Conscientiousness. Emphasis on working conscientiously within existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy.
Your scores in each dimension, when graphed, create a pattern that translates to a personality profile. I came out with a Creative Pattern. In DiSC, “creative” is used in the context of decision-making rather than artistic talent (of which I have very little).
Persons with a Creative Pattern display opposing forces in their behavior. Their desire for tangible results is counterbalanced by an equally strong drive for perfection, and their aggressiveness is tempered by sensitivity. Although they think and react quickly, they are restrained by the wish to explore all possible solutions before making a decision.
Creative persons exhibit foresight when focusing on projects, and they bring about change. Since individuals with a Creative Pattern have a drive for perfection and demonstrate considerable planning abilities, the changes they make are likely to be sound, but the method they choose may lack attention to interpersonal relationships.
Creative persons want freedom to explore, and they want the authority to examine and retest findings. They can make daily decisions quickly, but may be extremely cautious when making bigger decisions. In their drive for results and perfection, Creative persons may not be concerned about social poise. As a result, they may be cool, aloof, or blunt.
In addition, the profile includes several indicators that are insightful and help you easily identify the patterns of others:
- Emotions: accepts aggression; restrains expression (love this, want it on my tombstone!)
- Goal: dominance; unique accomplishments
- Judges others by: personal standards; progressive ideas for accomplishing tasks
- Influences others by: ability to pace development of systems and innovative approaches
- Value to the organization: initiates or designs changes
- Overuses: bluntness; critical or condescending attitude
- Under pressure: becomes bored with routine work; sulks when restrained; acts independently
- Fears: lack of influence; failure to meet their standards
- Would increase effectiveness through: warmth; tactful communication; effective team cooperation; recognition of existing sanctions
Long time readers of this blog may recall my endorsement of the StrengthsFinder tool. I’m not sure DiSC is better, but I see two immediate advantages. One, DiSC provides constructive feedback when most other tools focus on the positive. The indicators help me recognize my faults and limitations. I got clear direction on how to increase my effectiveness.
Two, DiSC makes it easier than most other tools to apply to others. In addition to the indicators above, the profile provides descriptive words to reflect the intensity of your tendencies in each dimension. This Dimensional Intensity Index gave me terms like demanding, risk-taker, perfectionist and fact-finder, to name a few. So while I may not be able to identify the full DiSC patterns of my co-workers, I can see tendencies that allow me to make quick, educated guesses.
Like most personality tools, the primary value of DiSC is in its ability to help you understand yourself and others. I see direct application to my current role with the State, where a staff reorg presents a formidable change management challenge. I’m reminded that warmth and tactful communication can increase my effectiveness, and see opportunities to change my behavior almost immediately!