About DISC

DISC - Model of Human Behaviour

What DISC is...

Research from the history of DISC substantiates that behavioural traits or characteristics can be grouped into four quadrants, or types. Each individual has a unique blend of all four types, which makes up his or her personality style. People with similar personality styles will exhibit similar behaviour under similar circumstances.

What DISC is not...

DISC measures behaviour in words. It is objective and descriptive, rather than subjective and judgmental.

DISC - Certification

What benefits will you receive by completing the Basic Studies Course?

Information Covered in Certification Training:

(These are just a few of the issues and insights that we provide in 3 days.)

The goal of training is to enable you to apply the incredible wealth of information available about personality styles and to equip you to teach others about personality types.


1. I feel like I have some of each style. Is that possible?

Yes! This is one of the best things about the DISC system. No one is purely a "D," "I," "S," or "C." Rather, each of us is a blend of these four traits, to a greater or lesser degree. Your primary trait is the one we identify with one of these four letters, but you may have above average amounts of some of the others, as well. There is an entire chapter on blends in our book, Who Do You Think You Are . . .  Anyway?

2. What research shows that the DISC system is valid?

Many university's behavioral sciences and psychology departments have conducted research into the validity of the four type Model of Human Behavior. In 1921, Carl Jung published Psychological Types in Germany, identifying and describing four "types." William Moulton Marston earned his doctorate from Harvard in 1921, and was professor at both Harvard and Columbia Universities. In 1928, he published The Emotions of Normal People, advancing his DISC theory. In the 1950's, Walter Clark developed an assessment tool based on Marston's work, the "Activity Vector Analysis." Today, more than 50 companies use the Marston DISC Theory as the basis for examining patterns of behavior.  Experts in psychometrics evaluate the validity of the assessment tool,  comparing it (among others) to:  Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Cattell 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Strong Interest Inventory, and the Performax Personal Profile. Marston styled assessment tools have been administered to over 30,000,000 people worldwide and they enjoy respect in the business and education communities.

More than 81% of the participant's colleagues see it as a very accurate picture of his or her habitual behavior patterns. Among those who are primarily "D" in their style, accuracy is rated at 91%; for "I" types, it is  94%. Primarily "S" type individuals perceive an 85% accuracy,  while for "C" types, it is 82%. This gives us an 88.49% perceived accuracy, with a standard deviation of 6.43%. In other words,  the report generated by this process is perceived as highly accurate, in most situations, by most participants.

3. Are there "blends" or "combinations" of styles?

Blends are the unique strengths of "D," "I," "S," and "C"  traits in your personality style. So, a blend is an individual thing.  A combination refers to our own blend plus the blends of others as we act, react and interact together. It is within combinations that we experience the stresses and conflicts that cause us to adapt and adjust our own blend to work more successfully with others. Our book, Who Do You Think You Are... Anyway, has a very complete chapter that explains combinations.

4. Can you learn to "read" people and their styles when you first meet them?

Yes, you can learn to "read" people, but it is more of an "art" than a "science." In our Model of Human Behavior, we present certain characteristic traits that help us identify  styles. As you meet and observe people, you can decide for yourself if they are more "go" (a "D" or "I") or more "slow" (an "S" or "C")?  Does their "compass" point them more toward tasks ("D" or "C") or more toward people ("I" or "S")?

A "D" is both fast-paced and task-oriented.
An "I" is both fast-paced and people-oriented.
An "S" is both slow-paced and people-oriented.
A "C" is both slow-paced and task-oriented.

This information allows you to relate better to others' frames of reference by knowing how they will tend to think and respond. Unless you know an individual very well, you will need to reevaluate your thinking about their personality style as you see new traits displayed. There is a very helpful and informative chapter on developing this skill in our book, Who Do You Think You Are... Anyway?

5. Is there a "best" or preferred personality style?

No, there is no best style, although for environment reasons, you might prefer another style. Each style has some wonderful strengths, but with every set of strengths there is a companion set of struggles.

As a quick example, I have a daughter who is quiet and reserved, and once she was baby-sitting for some very active children. When she told them it was  time to go get ready for bed, they told her, "We're not going and  you can't make us." She told me, "Dad, I think they knew I was an 'S.' (Kids have a way of bringing out the real you!) She then said, "So, I lowered my 'S' and  I raised my 'D,' and I told those kids, 'Your parents left me in charge and if you don't do what I say right now, I'm telling them and you'll be in big trouble!' And they said to me, 'Okay, we'll go to bed!' Then, with a big smile, she told me, "Dad, this stuff really works!"

As we study the styles, we understand why certain people's traits help them to excel in certain areas. We can learn to imitate those traits for greater success in our own areas of weakness. The good news is that we can grow, change, and mature to demonstrate those traits we admire in other styles.

6. What motivates people in each of the styles?

"D" motivators tend to be bottom-line, profit and achievement
"I" motivators tend to be fun, travel and position.
"S" motivators tend to be helping people, building friendships and appreciation.
"C" motivators tend to be value, excellence and consistency.

7. How does each type approach tasks?

"D" = Do it now, do it quickly
"I" = Put it off until later, make it fun
"S" = Get help from others, use traditional methods
"C" = Do it yourself, do it properly

8. What are each types greatest needs?

"D" needs challenge and dominance.
"I" needs recognition and interaction.
"S" needs appreciation and service.
"C" needs quality answers and correctness.

9. How should I expect each of these styles to respond to a conflict situation?

"D" demands its own way.
"I" attacks personally if it cannot make peace.
"S" complies with expectations.
"C" avoids confrontation whenever possible.

10. Do personality styles affect the way people handle their finances?

Certainly, because finances involve attention to detail. Here is how the four styles look at a budget:

"D" will go over it briefly but tends not to be detail-oriented. A budget is thought of as a rough estimate that must yield to goals and plans.
"I" has difficulty making sense of it because it seems too theoretical, rather than being something can be experienced by the senses or valued emotionally.
"S" will stay under the budget for safety's sake and will have great stress in weighing people issues against financial constraints when those difficult decisions must be made.
"C" will stay within the budget, but a savings in one area will be applied to upgrading another area in terms of quality. Goals and plans must yield to the precision of budgeting.

11. Is personality style related to gender?

Again, there is no correlation between gender and the traits of "D," "I," "S," or "C".  I have known some incredibly strong male "D's," but I have also known some incredibly strong female "D's." The same is true among "I," "S"  and "C" traits, as well. In many cultures, females are subservient to males and assume an "S" type posture in their presence. However, when they are among only other females, their "DISC" personality traits are very marked. Studies have shown this to be true among African,  South American, American Indian, Asian Indian, Oriental and Pacific cultures. Observe the way little girls and boys play with their toys and you will see that Basic Styles are not gender-based.

12. Does your personality style change over time?

Research shows us that however you are wired in your Basic Style is who you are for life. But yes, you should mature in your traits as you work on balancing your personality. We define "maturity" as being able to know and understand the appropriate thing at the appropriate time. A major trauma in your life may temper your display of this style, but your Basic style refers to your core self, not how you have adapted it. In Get Real!, our style assessment for teens, we discuss a "High D" teenager going into the Marine Corps. While he is there, his "D" is under the control of others, and he learns it is not appropriate to act as independently as he might prefer. But, he will still be more comfortable exercising "D" type traits. When he gets out of the service, we will see his "D" traits exercise themselves in decisive ways.