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DISC – hasn’t it gone out of fashion?

January 21, 2020

Somebody always asks. First I was very surprised, now I am actually looking forward to this question. Moreover, I sometimes even provoke it when I feel like shaking things up a little.

DISC? Isn’t that more like a broken record? Like, gone out of fashion ages ago?
This is the most common question I get when I start talking about what our company does. (The second most common question is “And what exactly is this disc?”)

By now, I have collected a lovely bunch of replies:

1. DISC is not the goal of the training, it is a tool
Our trainings – and DISC-based trainings in general – are not l’art pour l’art about the DISC and Values Index, there is always a primary development objective that we have been asked to support. This can be the development of cooperation within a team, leadership development, sales or customer service training – that is, areas where the knowledge of human nature is profitable in a way that can be transformed into financial results. The DISC and Values Index is an extremely versatile tool that can reinforce hundreds of training goals.

2. You need a mirror
The above-mentioned trainings would not be successful in bringing about the desired changes if we did not know where we started from. There must always be a diagnosis of where we are. It is good to have a frame of reference for the other players too. Feedback is very much needed because, unfortunately, we usually get to little, too rarely. It is good to know where we are and what we can do to reach out goal. Sometimes we also need help to accept and love ourselves, in the present, just the way we are.

3. DISC is not just about ourselves
If someone masters the use of the DISC and the Values Index, it’s not only themselves they will learn a lot about. They will become more sensitive to individual differences. They will be able to understand and accept these, and as a result, connect with others in completely new ways. This knowledge is especially useful for managers as they will be able to exploit the power of diversity.

4. DISC is easy to learn and utilize
Fortunately, there are several diagnostic tools that can be used for training. The selection reaches from the quite pricey to free versions, from challengingly complicated to very simple, from lingo to vernacular. DISC with its 4 behavioral types and the Values Index with its 7 motivations are among the user-friendly ones. Our goal is for our participants to be able to utilize their newly acquired knowledge later on their own.

5. DISC is an enduring classic
Well, after all, it could have gone out of fashion between 130 A.D. and 2019… (130 A.D. is when Galen came up with one of the first behavioral theories, building on the work of Hippocrates). But if we were sensitive of age, we could jump forward in tome to 1956, when the very first DISC measuring instrument was created by Walter Clarke. MBTI’s history is quite similar, the foundations of the typology go all the way back to 4thcentury A.D. The first manual of the tool was published in 1944. The Big Five personality taxonomy was introduced to the public in the 1950s by Warren Norman. There are many more examples of the most commonly used tools today that have a long and happy life – because they are durable, tried and tested.

6. There will always be new trainees
Over the years, I have never met anyone who did not want to go to a DISC or other self-awareness focused training because they had already been there done that (In fact quite the opposite is true, they want to come again and act as supporters). I firmly believe that the most exciting thing for people is to learn about themselves, and the most useful tool you can give them is one that they can use to get in peace with themselves and with others. In addition, the youngest generation is already entering the job market, and they would also benefit from discovering their own talents and the strengths of others.

7. The big questions of life remain the same
Questions about ourselves and our fellow human beings have not changed: Who am I? What type of role would suit me best? What are my talents? How do I convince my boss? Why can others do better in this organizational culture? Why does [substitute name of any arbitrary member of the family] feel that they are always right and can always give me a piece of their mind? Why is this relationship so difficult? Why doesn’t [substitute name of any arbitrary member of the family] ever do anything? Why is my neighbour so stupid? The DISC and Values index can give an answer to these. (It’s not always 42 :))

Of course, selling it is not easy, because we always want excitement and novelty … We always come across newer and newer measurement tools, tests, profiles, and we rave about one or the other for a time with glittering eyes and almost religious devotion…

But the bottom line is – beyond all the points of my lengthy ‘defense speech’ – that at the end of the day, what will matter only is what we do with the test results.

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