Submitted by jocadl on
based on the podcasts I've heard and the materials on this site, DISC indeed seems like a very useful tool. However, I'm wondering how it differs from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator methodology, or MBTI.
Has anyone tried or studied them both? Can you comment on the relative strengths and weaknesses?
Behavior v. Character
DISC tends to be more focused on behavior - things you say or do. It is clear in describing "what" you do.
MBTI is more about character: "judging" v. "perceiving" for example. It might help you understand "why" you do the things you do.
Both provide useful insights into oneself.
No harm in taking both, and knowing your profiles. Personally, I found both insightful. What then? DISC is more effective in helping you interact with others; it can provide direct and simple guidance for adjusting how you speak, how you ask for deliverables, etc. MBTI is a little less useful in dealing with others. You can't easily know someone else's MBTI profile, and even if you did, what would you do with the info?
In my experience, MBTI is
In my experience, MBTI is incredibly useful when you and another person have both taken the test, and know each others classification. Being able to look up (or memorize) the characteristics of a classification to understand why they are doing something the way they are is very helpful. As my wife put it, "Oh, the book says you're not just doing that to drive me crazy!"
On the other hand, MBTI classification can be very tricky to identify correctly in the absence of test results. There are guides to looking around someone's office and helping you guess based on what you see around, but my experience hasn't been very good with that approach.
DISC classification is much easier to recognize in another person. The people/task assertive/reserved axes are very easy to recognize, and DISC is a very effective model even with limited knowledge. Are they talking faster? You can too. That's enough to help with effectiveness.
For day to day use, I've found DISC to be more useful.
6-1-2-7 & INTJ
DISC is Far Simpler
We have used both tests and we have found DISC to be far simpler to interpret and put into action. In our world where we are all under pressure to get more done so quickly, a simpler and Effective Tool is great to have in your toolkit.
I have found it to provide good results of the people I manage and has assisted me in communicating more effectively to my Directs based on their DISC profiles.
Simplicity is good
Knowing my own style is only part of the game; understanding other's is equally important - deciding how you use that understanding is another. I have done DISC and MBTI, and I find it much easier to interpret other's behaviour in terms of DISC - whether they have done DISC or not.
Another I have used with I liked was Insights. It is very similar to DISC, in that it has four quadrants based on task-people orientation and introversion/extroversion, with the four 'types' associated with colors. I worked in a company where this tool was used widely, so the language of the colors was widely understood and used frequently and non-judgementally in everyday conversation about behavior, people and even whole departments - making this testing a very helpful part of the ongoing culture - I can't imagine that happening with MBTI.
Differences ... hmmm, our L&D Manager told me they were quite different, but I'm afraid that to me it looked like a duck and quacked like a duck, and if there is a difference between (say) Red in Insights and D in DISC, then it passed me by.
The only real difference I saw was that when I did DISC, a number of people filled in a form on me (as well as doing one myself), and when I did Insights I just did one on myself. I appreciate the value of that, and for me, the data from other people was *exceptionally* valuable. However as I understand DISC can also be done with just a single person, that is probably less a difference between tests and more a difference of how much the company wanted to pay!
(What I got from the forms completed by others - it showed huge, huge variance in behavior, which is unusual - to the point where the person administering the tests asked me to get several more people to complete the test to confirm the variance. Essentially, it seems that while I have a preferred style, I'm a human chameleon and adapt to other people. The other thing the extra tests showed is the degree to which I display the "positive" behaviours associated with my type - eg for a D, it would be making things happen - and the degree to which I am displaying the negative - such as railroading people to get there).
Good insights. Especially, I hadn't thought about how DISC is easier to "read" into people who you can watch behave but who you can't or don't want to assess using MBTI, like peers or one's boss. Helpful. Thanks!
Using DISC vs MBTI
Both DISC and MBTI are valuable tools for gaining a better understanding of yourself. In order to select the best tool you need to know the goals of the organization. Most people prefer DISC if the goal is for people to work more effectively together. DISC gives you a common language that helps build effective working relationships. One relationship at a time.
If there is limited training time DISC is very intuitive and is easily and quickly understood. The terminology is easy to understand and sticks with people. Also, with the new Comparison Reports follow-up after the training session is complete is made easy.
Learn more about DISC.
applying DISC in a multi cultural context
Does anyone find that it is not always easy to apply DISC in a multi cultural context? It seams easier to relate DISC personality to western individual than other. How much does national culture prevent an efficient use of the tool?
Looking forward reading comments
Sophie, I haven't (i work
I haven't (i work in Asia), it maps very nicely i've found. Are you comparing DISC analysis or trying to guess what someone's profile is?
applying DISC in multicultural context
I try to improve my communication skills by guessing what profile someone is. But I do not find it easy with non-westerner.
you know I started typing something really long about Asia, but its too hard, too stereotypical and of no real use to you.
I'd suggest you start out trying to develop a relationship with them first before trying to pigeon hole them. The cultural traits you are trying to put into behavioural traits will vanish once the relationship and trust is there, and quite often you will find someone completely different.
I practice being a subservient leader or a consultative peer (depending on the "who" I'm dealing with) and it works quite well to develop the relationship you need to be successful, this works across all cultures including American :)
Thanks Stephen for taking
Thanks Stephen for taking the time. I agree creating about creating a relationship
I do know of a company called Thomas International that offers a modified version of the DISC test which provides simpler synonyms of the words used in the test to overcome the language barrier especially if English is not the individual's first language.
Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic styles
I'm just reading 'How to make people like you in 90 seconds or less' and came across the VAK concept. The author claims that by observing other peoples behavior, phrases, speaking speed, gestures, etc. you can get some clues about their preferred style and then match them, which then would be helpful to communicate more effectively with them (just google the phrase "Visual Auditory Kinesthetic communication" to get some more details).
Haven't tried that myself yet, but it also seems to be a way to adjust your behavior to be more effective when dealing with people.