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DISC 101: An Introduction to Our Favorite Assessment

DISC is a behavioral assessment tool we use here at A&H. While there are many personality measurement tools, DISC is different—it measures a person’s behavior and outcomes, not a person’s values, intelligence, or aptitudes. The DISC assessment examines over 300 different behavior styles and breaks them down into quadrants of D (Dominance), I (Influencer), S (Steadiness), and C (Compliance).

So why do we use the DISC assessment?

We believe that it raises self-awareness and lends to better understanding of every person on our team. With a deeper consideration of a person’s behaviors, along with open discussion and acceptance in our work environment, DISC helps us communicate with each other in a positive way and allows us to understand the reasons behind each person’s actions. 

When we define our DISC behaviors, we can easily validate a person’s actions without demonizing the motivations. We have found that it breeds love for one another and celebrates our unique abilities. It helps us help team members do their jobs to the best of their ability by communicating in a way that is most effective. We also use it as part of our hiring process, so that we can get a better idea of how our applicants work before we ever meet. Beyond our internal culture, it also helps us identify key behavior types within our clients, and better communicate with them, based on their preferred style.


What does DISC say about each style of behavior?

Each person is a blend of all four styles, but understanding their dominant traits lend to understanding their priorities, expectations, and the best way to communicate with them. Overall, each DISC style is equally valuable, and plays an important role in our company. 

D Style

Word: Dominance

Emphasis: Accomplishing bottom-line results

A high-D gets things done. If you give them a project, you can have full confidence they will complete it to the best of their ability. More than likely, this person is already in charge of things, or is not afraid to ask to be in control. They are natural-born leaders, regardless of what their specialties or interests are.

High-Ds are:

  • Driven
  • Direct
  • Decisive
  • Strong-willed
  • Daring
  • Determined
  • Fast-paced

D Styles & Priorities:

D/C Style

  • Challenge
  • Results
  • Accuracy

D Style

  • Results
  • Action
  • Challenge

D/I Style

  • Action
  • Results
  • Enthusiasm

Communicating with D Styles:

  • Be prepared, organized, and avoid generalizations. 
  • Focus on solutions rather than problems, and come equipped with choices for their decision. 
  • Be brief, speak up, and be specific.
  • Focus your discussion narrowly and don’t chitchat.
  • Give them the bottom line—don’t ramble or waste their time. 
  • Refrain from repeating yourself.
I Style

Word: Influence

Emphasis: Relationships and influencing or persuading others

Get ready to party. If you’ve ever had a fun, themed gathering at the office or a coordinated long lunch on a Friday, chances are the high I in the group had the idea. This person on your team cracks the jokes, dreams big, and collaborates with as many people as possible. They are definitely the office cheerleaders, and they bring energy and excitement to every situation. 

High Is are:

  • Charming
  • Collaborative
  • Energizing
  • Trusting
  • Enthusiastic
  • Impulsive
  • Optimistic 

I Styles & Priorities:

I/D Style

  • Action
  • Enthusiasm
  • Results

I Style

  • Enthusiasm
  • Action
  • Collaboration

I/S Style

  • Collaboration
  • Enthusiasm
  • Support

Communicating with I Styles:

  • Allow them time to talk, and ask about their ideas.
  • Plan time for interaction—share your experiences and allow them to share theirs.
  • Avoid overloading them with details and don’t get to the facts too quickly. 
  • Help them with organization—it’s helpful for them to put details in writing. 
  • Focus on the positives.
  • Provide ideas for them to execute action. 
  • Show respect for their spontaneity, high energy, and optimism.
  • Give them space to take risks.
S Style

Word: Steadiness

Emphasis: Cooperation and sincerity

Slow and steady may win the race—but an S would rather not be in a race at all, because in a race someone has to win, and that runs the risk of someone feeling less than happy. They are your team member who supports everyone, never says anything negative, always gets their work done, and lends a hand whenever needed. 

High Ss are:

  • Calm
  • Patient
  • Predictable
  • Deliberate
  • Warm 
  • Stable
  • Loyal

S Styles & Priorities:

S/I Style

  • Collaboration
  • Support
  • Enthusiasm

S Style

  • Support
  • Stability
  • Collaboration

S/C Style

  • Stability
  • Support
  • Accuracy

Communicating with S Styles:

  • Don’t rush them into action—take time to provide clarification. 
  • Be personal, amiable, polite, and break the ice with personal comments. 
  • Express your interest in them, and draw out their personal goals and objectives. 
  • Let them know what you expect of them.
  • Don’t force them to make quick responses. 
  • Don’t interrupt as they speak—listen carefully. 
  • Avoid being confrontational or too aggressive, and look for hurt feelings if the situation personally affects them. 
C Style

Word: Conscientious

Emphasis: Quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency

You can be guaranteed that whatever this team member gives you, it is going to be as correct as possible. They are detail-oriented and highly analytical, and they thrive on clarity. To a high C, the most important things are quality and precision, and they always want ALL of the details because that’s how they ensure total accuracy. 

High Cs are:

  • Cautious
  • Systematic
  • Private
  • Objective
  • Analytical
  • Diplomatic
  • Reserved

C Styles & Priorities:

C/S Style

  • Stability
  • Accuracy
  • Support

C Style

  • Accuracy
  • Stability
  • Challenge

C/D Style

  • Challenge
  • Accuracy
  • Results

Communicating with C Styles:

  • Focus on facts and details and approach them in a straightforward, direct way. 
  • Minimize “pep talk” or emotional language.
  • Acknowledge that they may be uncomfortable speaking to large groups. 
  • Be patient, persistent, diplomatic, and ask if their perspective differs from yours. 
  • Respect their preference to work independently.
  • Don’t be put off by their more detached approach.
  • Allow time to get to know each other to better to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Provide them with all of the details, plus time to make a decision. 
  • If you disagree, prove it with data and facts.