As a teenager and young adult, I thought people were totally irrational and unpredictable. In my thirties, I learned about patterns of behavior that people tend to follow in many areas of their lives and in many situations.
Understanding these patterns helped me to realize that people are not totally irrational. Most people simply see the world, prioritize their activities, communicate with others, and act according to relatively predictable patterns of behavior.
The model I learned, and eventually studied to the point of becoming a master trainer, is the DISC model of human behavior.
Before we even get into this post too deeply, I want to emphasize the statement that people tend to do things in predictable ways. I do not mean anything in this post to box people in, label people, or to imply that any of us can know everything about any other person merely by understanding their primary behavioral style (actually styles). Still, understanding the model can form a strong basis for learning to communicate with and understand other people in better and more effective ways.
That being said, here’s a brief overview of how the model describes our behaviors. I’ll be writing more over time. I hope you’ll check back in the future for more posts on this topic.
The foundation for the DISC model comes from the work of a Harvard psychologist named Dr. William Moulton Marston in the 1920’s. He developed a theory that people tend to develop a self-concept based on one of four factors — Dominance, Inducement, Steadiness, or Compliance. This idea forms the basis for the DISC theory as it is commonly applied today.
Later psychologists and behavioral specialists developed a variety of practical tools to apply Marston’s theory. Currently, there are many assessment and measurement tools based on the DISC model.
Dr. Robert Rohm — founder and president of Personality Insights, Inc of Atlanta, Georgia — has developed the best collection of practical application tools using the DISC model that I have found. Through his work, his publications, the work of his team, and a network of Human Behavioral consultants certified to teach his material; he has reached millions of people around the world.
In the DISC model as taught by Personality Insights consultants, the full range of normal human behavior is defined by a circle divided into quadrants as described below.
Divide a circle in half horizontally. The upper half represents outgoing or fast-paced people. The lower half represents reserved or slower-paced people. Outgoing people tend to move fast, talk fast, and decide fast. Reserved people tend to speak more slowly and softer than outgoing people, and they generally prefer to consider things thoroughly before making a decision.
The circle can also be divided vertically. The left half represents task-oriented people. The right half represents people-oriented people. Task-oriented people tend to focus on logic, data, results and projects. People-oriented people tend to focus on experiences, feelings, relationships, and interactions with other people.
Combining these two circles completes the model description…
This post is intended as a brief introduction to the DISC model. I’ll be writing more in the future. If you would like to get an estimate of your primary behavioral styles, check my Free DISC Profile site.