Dear Michael and Mark,

I have only recently begun listening to your podcasts, up to about 10 or so. I find them quite interesting, valuable and entertaining. However, I was quite puzzled and disappointed to hear your “feedback” podcast. I almost wondered if someone hacked in to your systems, re-recorded your podcast (mimicking your styles and voices) and you don’t even know it. I imagined if you heard it yourself, you will tell me that it is exactly what happened! Well, we shall see!

Before I go on, is there a pre-requisite to that podcast, hence my confusion? Or, perhaps, I misunderstood the entire purpose of the podcast?

My conclusion of the podcast is similar to an old adage: treat everyone equally, but differently! Which I always TRY to abide by. So point well taken!

Did I draw the right conclusion, in a gist?

I find your actual feedbacks, the wordings of them, very troubling. Essentially, you identified the types (D/I/S/C) and psychologically and methodically attacked their self-esteems (sensitivities and strengths) and reduced them to nothing; shred them into pieces, type by type. I have issues with “typecasting” in general anyway - topic for another post.

There was nothing constructive about those feedbacks, nothing more than a scare tactics. It is almost like telling a person that when you miss your deadline and you are over the budget, people think that it might be because you have: AID/limp/lisp/a missing limb/extra fat or that awful mole on your forehead. This is something, a jealous and/or a disgruntled ex-wife/girl friend, a friend, a colleague, or an old aunt/uncle would do to hurt your self-esteem. Again, as I said, I might have missed the purpose of the podcast, but do you really want to attack the self-esteem of your employees? Judging from your other podcasts, I find this advice to be in absolute contradiction with what you guys preach, and I am glad to say so.

Perhaps, my expectations were different. I was expecting for questions to ask “the Jacks”, their potential responses (usual BS according to the types) and sifting through the answers to get to the bottom of why he was late and over budgeted, as he isn’t usually, and how to encourage him to avoid the same mistakes in the future vs. tactics to lower his self-esteem, practically make him feel like shit. I can see the horrifying, your life is about to crumble, motivation factor in your approach, but it may only work once or twice, because all of your Jacks will soon become Jack-N, as in Nothing.

Obviously, I would love a response from Michael and/or Mark, but I am also very curious about what my fellow members think about my take on the podcast.

I thank you in advance for reading and for your thoughtful responses.


juliahhavener's picture
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I think you missed something.

The purpose of using DISC is to customize your feedback (which is straightforward, nonchalant, and fact-based) to your recipient based on how they process information.

If someone were giving me feedback, they could tailor it to my high D/I tendencies. "Julia, when you don't meet deadlines, it doesn't get the job done, people learn they can't count on you, and it will be harder to get you involved in these types of projects. How can you change this?" It's designed to get my attention, gives me valid reasons (that are important to ME, not you) to do what needs to be done. Because if you're a high S who values slow and steady, what's important to you doesn't much matter to me (in the emotional quotient).

July 2005 - Giving Effective Feedback
Oct 2005 - Feedback - Revisited!
Feb 2006 - Improve your Feedback
(and then I recommend the four cast series on DISC)

regas14's picture
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I can appreciate your point and hadn't considered it in that way before and I think there are a couple of points that should be emphasized to avoid the effect you describe.

First, feedback is done with care and concern for the individual. In this way you are citing certain effects of their behavior because you know the effects they would most/least like their behavior to have. For example a high I is motivated by people liking them so your feedback will help them identify those things that do/do not reinforce that objective and encouraging them to continue/change to get the desired result.

Second, feedback is delivered unemotionally. It is clear when someone is attacking you. That is not the purpose of feedback. The purpose is to help people realize a behavior and its impact which thay may not have self-awareness of. If as a High-D my primary goal is to move people to action and someone has an observation of a behavior which is successful/unsuccessful in accomplishing that, I'd want to know so that I can continue/change what I'm doing.

Third, feedback is like breathing. You should be providing so much positive and negative feedback that it truly reinforces my first two points and your fear of targeting one's insecurities will be balanced by those times when your positive feedback reinforces the most important parts of their ego. Very few individual instances will independently be a "big deal" and if you remember that in your delivery, your people will get that this is how we live, grow and breathe as individuals who want to grow and be validated.


Mark's picture
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I am sorry you drew those conclusions. We stand by the recommendation wholeheartedly, and have used it thousands of times with unerring success. Your inference is neither our statement nor our implication.

I can't be sure which casts you have listened to, but it pains me to think that you would deliver such a vehement response without having listened to the casts that Julia recommends above. Our approach to both feedback and DISC are rooted in love and care and appreciation for ALL others.

Separately but relatedly, if you have fears that we might recommend behaviors that you would characterize as attacking someone's physical being, their physical or mental health, or their self-esteem, or as engaging in scare tactics, then I encourage you to re-think asking for our advice in any other area - which you may have already acted on, if memory serves - or even being a member. I can't imagine associating with, let alone soliciting and then accepting advice from, someone whom you would believe to engage in conduct that could be characterized so reprehensibly.

I find your note troubling as well. You'll do better in getting a thoughtful response from me with a less defamatory, more civil, and, I might add, gentlemanly and professional tone.


sklosky's picture


Your post is fascinating. Here's my take on it.

In a vaccum with no moral and ethical integrity, I can see how the casts can be interpreted to reach a puzzled and disappointed location. My interpretation is different, and I believe that the casts were put together with noble intentions to guide managers to be more effective when they are doing "the right thing".

Mark and Mike have stated that they expect "Manager-Tools" managers to be honorable and ethical. While there has not been a specific cast on this, it is clear to me that these are guiding principles.

The podcasts are primarily about tools. These tools are definitely a means to an end (noble or otherwise).

Had you thought about how these tools can be used for noble purposes or for evil purposes?