Using the DISC Model: Four Steps to Success with Others

The video pretty much says it all for this post. It quickly gives you four steps for applying the DISC model for success with others.

In a nutshell, the four steps are…

  1. Understand the DISC model
  2. Understand your style (where you fit in the model).
  3. Understand the other person’s style (where they fit in the model).
  4. Adjust your words, behaviors, and tone to best fit how they receive information.

The video is about 7 minutes long.

If you would like insights for how to apply these four steps better, you can check out my Connecting With People and DISC Model FAQ’s post series. For even deeper insights, check out my products. If you really want to master these four steps, take a look at The Ultimate Communicator Workshop.

A DISC Model Question You Should Ask of Yourself

A Question to Ask of Yourself:
How do I better control myself?

I often hear people ask questions about the DISC model that indicate a desire to use the model to somehow change others.

Rather than using the model to label, categorize, or stereotype people, I suggest a different approach: use the DISC model to find ways to connect with other people in better, more effective ways.

Towards that end, one question that I suggest you ask yourself is this:

How can I use the DISC model to better understand other people and change my behaviors so that I communicate more clearly?

My message is pretty simple: get over yourself.

Learn to adjust and modify your words and actions so that they are heard and understood more quickly and more clearly by other people.

This is what I strive to do every day. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The more I work at it though, the better I get. And you can do it, too.

Do this, and you will significantly improve your effectiveness as a leader, team member, or parent.

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DISC FAQ’s: Can I Change My Personality Style On Purpose?

Guy Answers the Question:
Can I Change My Personality Style on Purpose?

People often tell me that they believe that they have changed their personality style, and then they ask me if I think this is possible.

My general answer is this: It might be possible. I don’t think it is probable.

In short, I don’t think that your core, inner, basic personality style changes unless you experience some type of major psychological or brain trauma.

I do think that you can learn to behave differently in different situations. I think that you can learn to adapt, mold, and shape your behavioral style to increase your effectiveness in a broad range of situations.

However, changing your words and actions does not change your personality style.

Further, why would you want to change your personality style? Assuming that you fall in the range of normal human psychology, your personality style is just another expression of “normal.”

Wanting to change your personality style implies that there is something wrong with your natural one.

In the vast majority of people, there is nothing wrong with their personality style. So, why try to change it?

As we consider the question raised in the title of this post, we have to carefully distinguish between who we are and what we do.

Personality style relates to our perceptions, interpretations, priorities, and reactions to the world around us. Behavior style is often related to our personality style, and it is influenced by many other things. Personality style is part of who we are. Behavior style is merely what we do. They are definitely related. They are not exactly the same thing.

So, can you change your behaviors in response to the world around you? Absolutely you can!

Can you change your personality style? Not real likely.

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DISC Model FAQ’s: Is Changing Your Behavior Phoney?

Guy Answers the Question:
Is Changing Your Behavior Phoney?

As I teach, train, and coach using the DISC model, people hear me say that I encourage them to change their behaviors to fit the situation and to better connect with other people.

Sometimes, people ask me if consciously changing behavior is phoney or fake. This concern raises another common question about the DISC model, and how I recommend people use it to connect and communicate more effectively.

In answering this question, I often refer to a Thomas Jefferson quote:

In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

As I see it, choosing a behavior, word, or tone that will improve your communication effectiveness is not a moral or ethical issue. It is just a matter of style.

We often change our behaviors for different environments. For example, most people recognize that appropriate behavior during a wedding ceremony is likely to be different from appropriate behavior at the celebration party after the ceremony. Different environments call for different behaviors.

As long as your intent is not to defraud, manipulate, or somehow deceive the other person, behaving in a way that might be uncomfortable or unnatural for you in the interest of connecting with them is not fake or phoney. Rather, I see it as working to create a better environment for the other person.

DISC Model FAQ’s: Can Your Personality Style Change Over Time

Guy Answers the Question:
Can Your Personality Style Change Over Time?

People often say that they think they had one personality style as a child and a different one as an adult. While I suppose that is theoretically possible, it is not very likely.

I do not claim to be a licensed mental health professional, psychologist, psychiatrist, or neurological system expert. I have spoken with thousands of people in various environments and done lots of reading on the topic. Based on everything I know today; I believe that our primary, basic personality style is determined by about six years old.

That simple statement then begs the question: Are you born with your personality style or is it developed over time. I’ll write more about this later, but the simple answer is: both.

And, before I go much further, let’s clarify a point: the DISC model actually estimates your behavioral style rather than your personality style. The distinction can be subtle, and it is still a note worthy distinction. Still most people use the words personality style and behavioral style almost interchangeably.  In conversation, I often switch back and forth between the phrases myself — not because I see them as the same but simply due to slipping into colloquial speech rather than strictly accurate clinical speech.

Back to the topic of this post: can your personality style change over time?

Barring a major physical or psychological trauma, I don’t think so — at least not very much.

We might find ourselves in different environments (or contexts) that call for us to behave in different ways. And, changing your behavior to fit a situation does not imply that your personality style changed. In fact, I would go further to say that I don’t think that most people see major changes in their behavioral style either.

This last statement calls for some explanation.

Often when I teach or speak on the DISC model, I don not have the opportunity to delve into the subtlety of the information learned from completing a full DISC assessment that produces graphs that show the blend and intensity of the four DISC style in both the person’s environmental, or adapted, style and their basic, or natural, style.

Here’s the quick distinction between environmental and basic styles.

For most people, their basic style represents the most consistent part of who they are. It usually represents how theythe think about, feel about, or otherwise interpret and process the world around them. It reflects the type of environment that would be the most comfortable for them.

On the other hand, their environmental style represents how they behave in response to their world. It may or may not be the same as their basic style. It’s usually not terribly different, but it can be for some people. The environmental style reflects what people have done to their behaviors to function, survive, and succeed in their environment.

Environmental style can change over time as people find themselves in different environments. Basic style tends to stay pretty much the same over a person’s lifetime.

I also believe that most people can learn new ways of behaving and interacting that make them begin to look as if they have changed their personality. For example, I have learned to tell stories and jokes to entertain and engage people while I am presenting, and I still prefer to be alone. I still have a reserved personality even though I have learned some outgoing behaviors.

In keeping with the theme of this blog, the big idea is this: don’t hide behind your personality or behavioral style, get over it.

With study and practice, all of us can learn to adjust our behaviors for greater connection, relationship, and influence with others.

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