This is the final installment of a seven-week series on the different ways that the DiSC® model can be measured and represented. We’re placing a particular emphasis on contrasting the new Everything DiSC® circular model with the DiSC Classic graph model, and examining the benefits of this new approach. This week’s focus is on the difference in the assessment measurement and participant experience when taking the two assessments.
Although the Everything DiSC profiles do not technically refer to a Classical Pattern, (like in DiSC Classic profiles) Everything DiSC profiles allow facilitators to glean the same information from a quick glance at the Everything DiSC circle.
Because each of these patterns represent two opposite sides of the map, it is clearly difficult to represent them on the DiSC circle. Naturally, facilitators want to know what kind of feedback these participants will get if they use the Everything DiSC profile, and they also want some assurance that this feedback will be just as rich and accurate.
First, keep in mind that the Achiever and Appraiser patterns are two of the most infrequent patterns. As predicted by the DiSC model, few people will be high on two styles that negatively correlate with each other in such a strong manner. One must also keep in mind that among those who receive these patterns, some will receive them as a result of measurement error.
There are people, however, who have taken the DiSC Classic assessment multiple times throughout the years and repeatedly receive one of these opposite-style Classical Patterns. When these people are plotted in the DiSC circle, they usually have a dot that is quite close to the center of the circle (below right). In fact, of all of the Classical Patterns, people with an Achiever or Appraiser pattern have, by far, the shortest average vector length, or distance from the center of the circle.
By investigating the data, we uncovered one of the main reasons why people score high on two DiSC styles that are theoretically opposite. Experienced DiSC practitioners may recognize that each of the four DiSC styles contain smaller facets within them. For instance, on the C scale, there are items that measure facets such as introversion, precision, or a systematic nature. Although these constructs correlate with each other, they also have some independence. That is, although most people who score high on the C scale embody all of these facets, some have only one or two.
The research suggests that people who are high in both the i and C scales (Appraiser Pattern), for example, score high on select facets from the i and C scales that are not, in fact, strongly opposite each other. For instance, a person who is high on both the i and C scales is not both extroverted (as measured by the i scale) and introverted (as measured by the C scale). On average, most of these people, although not all, respond to the profile as extroverts, not introverts. So why are they also high on the C scale? For many people it is because they care about precision and accuracy. The research suggested that people with the Appraiser pattern were actually less likely than the average person to endorse words like private, soft-spoken, cautious, introverted, or reserved (all of which are C words).
The C words that they did endorse, however, were words like logical, precise, thorough, tactful, well-disciplined. In this case, we end up with a person who is extroverted (like a high i) and cares about precision (like a high C). And so, in the i/C pattern we don’t necessarily have opposites, but probably have a mix of i facets and C facets that are fairly independent of each other.
We have a similar finding with people who score as Achiever patterns in DiSC Classic. From the data, we can see that these people (on average) did not score high on D facets that include forcefulness (as measured by words like forceful, dominant, outspoken, demanding) but did have the D facets that include persistence (as measured by such words as insistent, strong-willed, stubborn, persistent, independent). Consequently, the average person with the Achiever pattern might have the confidence and independence of a high D without the forcefulness or adventurousness. And at the same time, this person might have the agreeableness of an S without the timidity. When participants taking DiSC Classic receive an Achiever or Appraiser pattern, the facilitator may want to take extra time to explore which aspects of D, i, S, or C are most relevant to them.
Similarly, when participants have taken the Everything DiSC profile and receive a score very close to the center, the facilitator has the opportunity to explore how natural each of the four styles is for them. How well does the D style describe them? How about the i, S, or C styles? In most cases, the participant will simply be someone who contains each of the four styles in roughly equal amounts and will find it equally easy to shift into each of the four styles. There may be instances, however, where two or three of the styles are a better fit than others.