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The Benefits Of Measuring More Than DISC

While the DISC tool, which provides insight on a person’s behavioural preferences and orientation, is powerful on its own, it’s impacts can and will be enhanced with other assessment tools. People are unique and measuring only one part in the hope to understand the whole will be challenging and near impossible. People with the same behaviors might different drivers that must be met in order for them to feel fulfilled. DISC may tell part of the story, but alone it does not paint a complete picture.

When you go deeper than DISC, you can have a much clearer understanding of yourself and others. Looking at an individual from more than one perspective is vital. At On Purpose Leadership Inc., we use the DISC assessment as well as a variety of others. We believe that a combination of these assessments will assist individuals and teams to reach new levels of excellence and success.

Let us give you one example. In a recent workshop with a team, we provided each team member with a Behaviours and Emotional Quotient assessment. When looking at the team and addressing a high conflict situation, we really could not find a sound rationale for the conflict by looking exclusively at the Behaviours (DISC) assessment comparisons. In fact, it wasn’t until we looked at the team members Emotional Quotient scores that we were able to identify the source of the conflict. One member of the team had a Self-Regulation score that was very low and well below the Self-Regulation scores of the other team members. This led us to understand that it was emotional outbursts from the one team member, and the way in which those were received and managed by the other team members, that was the real source of the conflict. Had we looked only at the Behaviours, we definitely would not have identified accurately the source or the real issue.

 

Below are ten reasons to go deeper than DISC:

  1. Increasing self-awareness

There’s an old saying that goes “you can’t help others until you help yourself.” Understanding yourself first and foremost will help you maximize your potential, which you can then leverage to help others achieve theirs. Self-awareness is an important skill that’s not measured by DISC but important to be successful in most walks of life. When a person is self-aware, especially during times of stress, they can identify a potential problem, remind themselves to take a step back and diffuse a potential problematic situation. Those with high self-awareness tend to find greater success compared with those who do not possess this skill.

  1. Understanding the how and the why behind a person’s behavior

How does someone identify that they are in a situation that isn’t meant for them? Identifying what drives or motivates a person is key. An example would be if an individual is motivated by creative endeavors, they could pursue avenues that utilizes creativity. This could give an individual a reason to get out of bed every morning and be excited to go to work.

  1. Better understanding others

Going deeper than DISC can also help a person as it relates to their peers, team and their boss or customers and suppliers. Once you figure out what your strengths are and truly know what motivates you, only then can you find your rightful part within an organization where you can use your skills and motivators – what drives you – to excel.

  1. Uncovering information without making assumptions

In the job marketplace, everyone starts out as a faceless resume on a piece of paper or electronic document. So many companies rely on the interview process to uncover information about potential employees, but what can you honestly learn about someone during a 30-60 conversation about their job history? Utilizing multiple assessment solutions can uncover more about a person without making assumptions or having to rely on “gut” instincts. In a nutshell, going deeper than DISC helps companies to avoid judging a book by its cover.

  1. Identify the needs for a group of people

Using assessments, especially team reports, can help identify the needs of a team and the individuals that make up a team. While the individual reports will dive deep to unveil important information about the individual, the team reports can shed light on the team as a whole, and how all the people within the team fit together. This makes it easy to identify if someone is in a position not necessarily suited for them. This helps to build stronger, more cohesive teams because each person on the team is doing a job they enjoy and are qualified to do.

  1. Identify learned skills

Learned skills, or competencies, are not measured by DISC but are key in determining if someone is cut out for a certain role and accountabilities. Each person has a unique hierarchy of competencies and these include: leadership, interpersonal skills, goal orientation, understanding others, diplomacy, teamwork, problem solving, resiliency, flexibility and negotiation, just to name a few. Having competencies in many of these areas are keystones to certain jobs. Knowing, in advance, if a potential candidate is strong or weak in these areas can help a company hire the right person. And for the individual, they can identify any vulnerabilities, so they can set goals on specific areas to improve.

  1. Measuring emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence measures how someone operates under pressure and how well they deal with stress. An element again not measured by DISC, but an important one, especially for people that work in high-stress, fast-paced, competitive or otherwise demanding environments. When someone has a lower emotional intelligence, they are a candidate for the occasional emotional hijack (also known as an amygdala hijack). In this scenario, a person responds negatively to stress when put in stressful situations. While everyone has a bad day here and there, it’s good to identify if a person may be regularly susceptible to this sort of issue if their job is going to be continuously high-stress.

  1. Identifying stress levels

Stress assessments can measure how stressed a person is in a snapshot of time. While some people use stress as fuel or energy, others allow stress to eat them alive and obliterate their ability to be productive. Finding a person’s typical stress level will help to figure out what jobs or fields may be best suited for this person to consider for employment.

  1. Understanding a person’s acumen

Above we talked about identifying learned skills but understanding how these skills manifest for an individual are key to figuring out what is really inside someone. Research has shown that the most effective people are those who understand both their strengths and vulnerabilities, so they can develop strategies to meet the demands of their environment. Assessments that uncover insights about acumen can help predict the likelihood of a person succeeding or failing in certain situations.

  1. Solve for a problem through people

Every business exists because there is a perceived need. Whether it’s a basic need such as food or water, or a perceived need such as a new Porsche, if there is a need, there will be a product or person to fill that need. Filling certain roles within a company qualifies as a need, or “pain point.” So, if a company is looking to hire a person that needs to have very specific skills, how can an employer identify those characteristics within the framework of an interview? By assessing a person’s drivers, acumen, behaviors, stressors and emotional intelligence, a thorough, complete picture can be created that gives true insight into an individual and whether they are the person they are searching for to fill that very important position.

 

Conclusion

Understanding a person’s behavioural preferences and orientation through tools such as DISC is a great start to learning about an individual and how they might fit in with a team or an organization. But there is so much more information that can be learned and it’s important to go as deep as possible to uncover everything you can on the front end. DISC is just the tip of the iceberg. Knowing what’s underneath the iceberg is crucial in ensuring that you have all the information that’s needed to make the right decision in an important situation. Many of the points listed above have a coinciding assessment. For further information on the variety of the assessments we do at On Purpose Leadership Inc., click here

 

On Purpose Leadership Note: The above is adapted from an Article by, and we give our thanks to, Dave Clark. On Purpose Leadership is an Approved Provider partner of TTI Success Insights.

DISC Assessment Key to Unveil Leader’s Achilles Heel

Behavioural assessments help uncover interesting insights about a person’s behaviour. Our suite of assessment tools includes one such assessment DISC which when combined with our Motivators or Driving Forces Assessment provides tremendously valuable insights. The information gained from an assessment such as DISC can be used to improve performance or help a person find a job that may be a better fit for their natural abilities.

Understanding the Model

You can get more info on the DISC Assessment here. However, let’s explore the graph here to give you a better understanding of the highs and the lows (see DISC graphic). There is a midline (also known as the energy line) at 50 and any factor above is considered “high” and any factor below is considered “low.” High is not good and low is not bad – this is just a continuum. If you fall in the “extreme” range (0-10 or 90-100), these factors are much easier to observe but more difficult to adapt. If you fall in the “tends to be” range (40-50) these factors are harder to observe but much easier to adapt up and down depending on the situation.

D assesses how you approach PROBLEMS and CHALLENGES: If you are above the midline, you are more FORCEFUL (jump in and address issues immediately). If you are below the midline, you are more ACCOMMODATING (think it through, ask questions, make sure everyone agrees).

I assesses how you influence PEOPLE to your point of view: If you are above the midline, you are more OPTIMISTIC (excited, persuasive, and convincing). If you are below the midline, you are more LOGICAL (factual, sceptical, more of a realist).

S assesses how you respond to change and PACE: If you are above the midline, you are more STEADY (thoughtful, methodical, don’t enjoy quick change). If you are below the midline, you are more DRIVING (multitasker, very flexible, open to change).

C assesses how you respond to rules and PROCEDURES set by others: If you are above the midline, you are more COMPLIANT (follow rules, detail-oriented, perfectionist). If you are below the midline, you are more INDEPENDENT (an out-of-the-box thinker who may ignore “unnecessary” rules).

Your Strengths can become a Vulnerability

So often, what endears a leader to others can become their very undoing. Someone with urgency and precision can be a master at completing tasks but may find themselves lacking when it comes to the human element. Someone else who is supportive and caring may have a hard time having difficult conversations when these conversations need to be had. While others who are great with details and processes may tend to be methodical micromanagers. For every yin, there is a yang and uncovering those vulnerabilities can help shore up a leader’s ability to rally his or her team to become engaged and highly productive.

Example #1 – High Directive with Low People Skills (High D/C and low I/S)

Phil is a young professional with high potential who works in the operations department of a mid-sized company. Phil’s boss thinks he is fantastic because he gets everything done quickly and with great precision, which makes the boss look good. Although Phil is already in a management role, his boss would like to see him promoted to a higher leadership position.

All is not perfect though. One of Phil’s direct reports recently left the company and there are complaints from others about his management style. The claim is he has unrealistic expectations, is overly critical, condescending and does not care about them personally. I have been asked by Phil’s boss to assess and possibly provide coaching to him on his “people skills”.

As I began to work with Phil, it was evident his “get it done now (D) and get it done right (C)” style has its benefits, but also some vulnerabilities. When working with someone who has a very intense dominance and compliance personality, it’s all about completing the task quickly and to perfection. A person with this type of behavioural combination can set expectations so high, they may never be met. Before long, the staff become disengaged because they feel they are fighting an uphill battle they can never win.

Phil and I worked on his demands of his staff and his ability to use a more consultative and collaborative style with them. We explored ways in which he could become a little more invested in them and include them in the setting of standards and ways to achieve goals and desired outcomes. He is slowly becoming more connected with his staff.

Phil has begun to delegate more and to take a personal interest in those for whom he has responsibility. And that little shift in thinking from his “Direct Reports” to “Those for whom he has responsibility”, made the world of difference in Phil’s outlook, expectations and communication and management style and practices.

Building connections with his staff went a long way towards Phil’s success although it was challenging at first – he said he felt disingenuous, because he just wasn’t the kind of person interested in small talk, however, once he took the time to find common interests (i.e. kids playing sports) it no longer felt like he was forcing small talk and instead has begun looking forward to the conversations.

Example #2 – Supportive and caring, but averse to confrontation (High I/S and low D/C)

Jenny is a new manager in a fast-paced work environment. She was promoted because of her customer service skills and how willing she is to always help others when needed. Everyone loves working for her, especially since the former manager was known to be a bit forceful and direct.

While Jenny is well-liked and respected, her team was not meeting the metrics needed to be successful and were starting to get customer complaints. Her boss suspected that Jenny was not holding her staff accountable and not having the needed performance conversations. Complicating matters was the fact that staff for whom she now has responsibility were her peers just a couple of months ago and going from peer to leader has been somewhat of a challenge for Jenny.

During a recent team dynamics session, the team was asked to share what they appreciate most about Jenny. It’s evident how much her friendship and support is of value to them.

The next phase of the team dynamics session had the group engage in an exercise which required each person to share with Jenny exactly what they need from her to be successful in their role. Majority of the group commented that issues were not being confronted directly and tough decisions required were not being made fast enough. These were creating delays and negatively impacting working with their clients. There was also a common undertone that Jenny was not addressing some team issues which is creating some teamwork issues.

Jenny through hard work and candid conversations has come to recognize and acknowledge that her positive and connective (I), as well as her caring and supportive (S) style that has gained her admiration of her staff and colleagues, are the very same attributes that are keeping her from helping her team produce the results for which they are accountable. Jenny has come to understand that people want and need feedback and performance conversations (even the negative ones) to grow in their roles and performance. She realizes having these conversations increases her credibility with the very people that adore her and helps her become more ineffective as a leader.

Conclusion

Both the examples above feature people who were doing well before using DISC and coaching, however, high performing leaders are always looking to improve. Although it’s often easier to observe how a leader’s strengths contribute to results, it’s more difficult for them to accept and take action to change those behaviours that limit their success.

Increasing your awareness of these vulnerabilities may be the most important part of the process as these vulnerabilities can be the Achilles Heel to the leader. Understanding behaviour styles help a leader choose behaviours that contribute more to their effectiveness and success, especially when they are willing and able to adapt their behaviours to fit the needs of those for whom they have responsibility.

Nowshad (Shad) Ali, CPBA, CPVA, TriMetrixHD, CEQA, CFRE

President, On Purpose Leadership

Highly rated coach, facilitator, trainer and speaker.

Expert in organization growth, individual and team excellence and hiring and retaining top talent.