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Submitted by gearhead86 on


Question for all the DISC-ians:

BLUF:  How do you reconcile a DISC profile with high attributes in opposite quadrants?

I received the results of my DISC profile a while ago and it pegged me as a high-I and high-C.  I read through the profile summary and it's a pretty good match.

I was wondering how these two diametrically opposed personality types complement each other.

Some of the combinations make sense.  I know these are over simplifications, but:

    High D, High I      -- "tellers"
    High D, High C    -- task focused
    High S, High C    -- listeners
     High I, High S     -- people focused

Any ideas?   The only thing I could come up with is situation based -- use whichever dominant style is appropriate.   I appreciate your insights.

In any case, the model is a great tool to use to improve communications and interactions with co-workers and customers.  You don't have to understand all of the theory to use the concepts.


JPBreaden's picture

I too am curious whether anyone else has had experience with this. What about High D/High S? Both seem like a self-defeating profiles...

I identify a lot with the two quadrants Bill mentioned: High-I and High-C.  A couple suggestions: Try to tone down what Marshall Goldsmith calls "the need to be me". Also, "Adding too much value" you might look into. (I just read "What Got You Here..." which is so awesome. Maybe also try "8 Dimensions of Leadership" by Sugerman, which is all about DiSC. ) Both I and C could be more team-oriented, right?

As a High C/High I, I put a high value on Unpredictability. Keep them guessing, right? Be surprising and dramatic, or nuanced and subtle. But listen to "The Management Trinity: One on Ones", which is great for many reasons, but especially on Trust and Teams. To get trust you need quality and quantity of communication, and you need to Be Predictable. High I is probably better on quantity and High C on quality, but you need both. I think that Predictability is grossly underrated. It seems like it's forfeiting a competitive edge, but it's not. 

To sum up: it can be hard for High I to focus on the other person, and it can be hard for High C to communicate enough. Which makes for...inscrutability? Are O3s are the answer? They are nothing if not predictable.

The main reason for this, like you said, is to understand it when you see it in someone else. Otherwise, it's a bit like navel gazing.

But do keep in mind that it's not a exactly a "personality type", i.e. it's not in your DNA, it's your behavior pattern, which can be changed.

Thank you.


stringl's picture


take a look at the sample profile here:  It's from this web page: 

By sheer luck, the sample profile that company has provided matches yours. Although there's also a quick description of all the possible combinations in there. The High I / High C one is listed as 'Appraiser'. 

I know a few people who are High I / High C, or some similar less typical mix of quadrants. It's definitely possible, but I find them a lot harder to 'read' and respond to than some of the other profiles. For what it's worth, the one High I / High C I know is very successful!



JPBreaden's picture

That's awesome. Thank you for the link!

gearhead86's picture
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I appreciate the discussion.   It is interesting to see another perspective on the situation.

Peter -- I will take a look at the two books you referenced.

I've lead teams for most of my career -- both as a direct supervisor and as a lead of a virtual/cross functional team.  I have been fairly successful, but i agree that is is often a struggle to balance frequency and quantity (e.g., level of detail).   I realize that not everyone needs to know the entire history in order to understand the situation - sometimes a brief update is sufficient.

In other words, "Just tell me what time it is.  I don't need to know how to build a clock."

Thanks again.


Singers's picture

Hi Bill,

I'm high C, High I so have a similar situation.

While my natural is a high C and I could easily have ended up as a nerdy programmer - I have always enjoy the people aspect, never been shy in attending company parties. My preferred communication is verbal which is very unnatural for a high C and I dont always have the long patience.

On the C side I generally do my tasks very detailed, though I'm very focused on improving them towards more clear and concise with a lot less detail.
I still love attachments, but I try to stay away from 3 page long emails and have started using a lot more formating in my mails, like bold, bullet points etc.

The key point overall though, is for you to find out and know your strength and weaknesses - your strength is what you must focus on driving and your weaknesses only ensure they are not hindering your effectiveness significantly. 

Kind Regards
Mads Sorensen
Disc 4536

falkb's picture

Hi Bill!

In order to be practical, DISC boils dozens of potention dimensions down to just two. That is, DISC lumps together a number of attributes that frequently go together - but not always. Mixed types, like you and me (high C, high I) are the exception.

Taking myself as an example: Analytical thinking and introversion frequently go together, so DISC puts these in one quadrant and calls the result a high C. But, in my case, the simplification doesn't work out that way: I'm both an analytical thinker (high C), and an extrovert (high I). That is, I score in a way on some sub-dimensions of DISC that makes me a high C, and I score in a way on some other sub-dimensions, somewhat independent of the first set, that make me a high I.

The following link explains it all very nicely and in more detail, starting from below the second chart:

Falk Bruegmann

Sibshops's picture

I'm a high D and high S: 5452. This is my take on a high DS, in the style of manager tools's newsletter.

Let's take a look at those of us who are High DS's.

People who are high DS are directors. High DS both enjoy goals and the paths to get there. We enjoy being in change, but have mixed feelings about attention that comes with it. Because we like goals and plans so much, others may see us as stubborn, independent, single-minded, or persistent. That’s not to say we don’t care about other people. We try to give our directs a choice about what they want to work on, even if it means that we have to take on additional work. Once the task and deadline is in place, we keep them to it. We like meeting agendas, and we like taking notes. We also like interrupting the big boss man when he gets off the agenda. Physically, we smile and appear timid at times, but we have a quiet resolve. We genuinely like all people, even the bad guys.

Examples of High DS's whose names you might recognize can be found here:

If a High DS person were to restate the phrase, "Ready, Aim, Fire," he/she would say, "Ready, Aim, Fire."

Kevin1's picture

I was thinking a high DS would translate this phrase as 

"When you are ready, please aim and fire.  Just don't take all day."



Sibshops's picture

I like your version of “Ready, Aim, Fire.” It is much more cleverer than mine is.

I was actually having some trouble figuring out a High DS version of “Ready, Aim, Fire.” I started typing something there and the only thing that came out was, “Ready, Aim, Fire”. My first thought was, “That’s not very clever. You just retyped the same thing.”, but my second thought was, “You know what, why change it? It isn’t flashy or new, but it works.  Let’s stick with it.”