The DISC Test is an Assessment, It’s not a Test

When I hear people talk about the DISC Assessment, I often hear them say things like: “Hey, how'd you come out on that test?” I really don't like that type of reference to the DISC model. While I understand the question, it makes me cringe a little bit because it's not really an accurate way to talk about the DISC assessment.

Here's why it bothers me…

We use tests to find out what you know or don't know. We also use them to figure out what is good or bad about something. We use assessments to learn about a perspective or way of thinking.

Tests have right and wrong answers. Assessments just have answers that are neither right nor wrong.

The DISC Assessment is an assessment. It is not a test.

It might sound like I'm making a point based solely on semantics, and that it doesn't really matter that much. I think the difference is critically important.

When people see the DISC assessment as a test, they tend to get nervous or over-think it because they don't want to get it “wrong.”

It's really an assessment. It has no right or wrong answers. You cannot pass or fail the assessment. Answering the questions only indicates a person's view or perspective. There is no way to get it wrong.

Talking about the DISC profile as a test gravitates towards stereotyping, labeling, and other negative applications. I can't stop people from labeling, stereotyping and judging others based on the results of a DISC assessment report, and I do not want to promote that approach for applying the information.

I would rather use the DISC model as a way to better understand people so that we can build healthier and more productive relationships. With that idea in mind, I prefer to call it a DISC assessment rather than a DISC test.

All of this discussion begs a question: “Why do you call your site DISC Personality Testing when you would prefer to call it an assessment?”

The answer is really pretty practical. It's based on how the world actually works than on how I would prefer that it work.

When people talk about the DISC model, they usually call it the “DISC test.” I live in a world where that is the common language even though I don't personally prefer it.

I have also learned that I have to first connect with a person the way they speak rather than insist on them speaking the way that I do. Then, after we have built a trusting relationship, I might get the opportunity to share my perspective with them. I work on connecting with people the way that they are likely to best hear me and then hope that we can have a conversation that leads to both of us understanding each other's perspective in a better way.

So, as a nod to practicality, I call my site DISC Personality Testing so that we can make that first connection with people rather than call it DISC Personality Assessments and miss the chance to talk at all.

A Collection of Conflict Resolution Quotes

I love quotes. They often capture big concepts in only a few words. They give me “thought anchors” to help me collect and focus my thoughts. This is a quick video I put together to capture some great conflict resolution quotes that help and inspire me. I hope it stimulates your thinking about the mindset of successful conflict resolution. Enjoy!

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.