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I'm curious about what Mark, Mike, and/or others in the M-T community think about two questions.

I understand that DiSC-awareness is important so that you can tailor your behavior to be more effective when communicating with another individual. Given that....

[b]Q1:[/b] How important is it to know your own DiSC profile? And if it's not that important, why bother taking a test to determine your own DiSC scores?

[b]Q2:[/b] Does it make sense for one's own default DiSC behavior to be one in an unfamiliar situation, then something perhaps totally different in a familiar situation? (Like "Di" behavior in a situation among trusted friends/coworkers, but "SC" behavior among other people?)

Why do I ask? I'm a bit conflicted when trying to identify my own default behavior patterns and preferences -- but I'm not sure how much it matters for me to understand my own DiSC profile, as long as I recognize and accommodate others' behavior profile.

[b]Other Background[/b]
I've been familiar communication profiles/models like DiSC for several years . . . and have listened to the members-only podcasts, too. I can very easily point to several different examples where my default behavior tendencies and preferences seem to fit right into each of the D, i, S, and C areas In some corporate training on "cultural diversity" a few years ago, I took a test (self-test) that produced scores like 4-3-3-4 or something like that. All very even, very moderate scores.

This was explained to me as a "blend": a person that is very fluent in all 4 profiles and can very easily step from one communication/behavior style into another . . . much like a Frenchman might also know Italian, English, and Spanish. This might even be a person that can be a translator between people who have different behavior patterns . . . for example a high-Di that is trying to communicate with a high-S.

cincibuckeyenut's picture

I think it is critical that you know your own DISC profile because as you evaluate others and their DISC profile, you need to know what YOU need to change to communicate with them. So your DISC profile is kind of the baseline for the whole process.

cincibuckeyenut's picture

Q2 It is completely possible for your default profile to be different in different situations. How many of us act naturally different at home, church and work before we ever knew about DISC? I know I did.

Peter.westley's picture

dbeene;

[quote="you"][b]Q1:[/b] How important is it to know your own DiSC profile? And if it's not that important, why bother taking a test to determine your own DiSC scores?
[/quote]It is important. Think of it this way: Behaviours are relative. Knowing that I naturally tend towards, for example, High-D behavior, I know that working with someone who shows High-S behaviour, that I have to take time for the person and be concerned for their feelings. Without knowing that I'm High-D, I would not understand that my natural tendency is to come across to the High-S as brash and uncaring, and someone with whom they would not be comfortable working. Unless a High-D knows they're High-D, they don't know their natural behaviour is seen as bad by a High-S. The High-D's natural behaviour is quite OK to a High-D, but not to a High-S.

[i][b]This can be counter-intuitive because it's exactly the same behaviour, just seen from a different perspective.[/b][/i]. That's why I say it's relative. Hope that makes sense.

[quote][b]Q2:[/b] Does it make sense for one's own default DiSC behavior to be one in an unfamiliar situation, then something perhaps totally different in a familiar situation? (Like "Di" behavior in a situation among trusted friends/coworkers, but "SC" behavior among other people?)[/quote] Yes it does make sense and does happen. :-) Over time and with different circumstances your DISC profile tends not to change very much. What does change from situation to situation is your level of comfort. When your are relaxed and comfortable (with friends you know well or family), you are more likely to easily temporarily change your behaviour to the suit the person or people you are interacting with. Conversly you might also be more comfortable behaving in your natural way because you know that family will not have a problem with that behaviour.

When you are in a new or high-stress situation, you may revert to your 'real' behavioural pattern (say D/C) but use it in a negative or destructive way. Or not. You also might change your behaviour drastically in this situation because you are trying very hard to 'fit in' or otherwise feel more comfortable. However, changing your behaviour from your 'natural' profile takes energy and will exhaust you and it's not something you can keep up for extended periods of time.

The point is that situations do make people change behaviour but not permanently. Over the long time an 'average' profile will emerge to those who know you well.

[quote]Why do I ask? I'm a bit conflicted when trying to identify my own default behavior patterns and preferences -- but I'm not sure how much it matters for me to understand my own DiSC profile, as long as I recognize and accommodate others' behavior profile.[/quote] See my answer to Q1 above and ask other people who know you well what they see your behavioural preferences to be. You might be surprised how some people see you!

[quote][b]Other Background[/b]
I've been familiar communication profiles/models like DiSC for several years . . . and have listened to the members-only podcasts, too. I can very easily point to several different examples where my default behavior tendencies and preferences seem to fit right into each of the D, i, S, and C areas In some corporate training on "cultural diversity" a few years ago, I took a test (self-test) that produced scores like 4-3-3-4 or something like that. All very even, very moderate scores.

This was explained to me as a "blend": a person that is very fluent in all 4 profiles and can very easily step from one communication/behavior style into another . . . much like a Frenchman might also know Italian, English, and Spanish. This might even be a person that can be a translator between people who have different behavior patterns . . . for example a high-Di that is trying to communicate with a high-S.[/quote]

Remember that we all show a continuum of behaviours. We all show some of each behaviour at some stage or another.

This is also not uncommon. Though such a tight pattern (no behaviour clearly showing more than the others) might indicate a bad test day. Sometimes these things can take a couple of runs to reveal a consistency. It is unusual to have no behaviour above the mid point. Having said that, don't panic!

Someone who shows an ability to move between behaviours I call versatile. But above that, someone who can move between behaviours at the right time with the right person, I call flexible.

If you have really notice this in yourself, it quite possibly explains your comment about being Di among friends but S/C at work. These behaviours could well be the 'right' ones for the circumstances.

Someone who's flexible usually builds excellent trust levels with most people easily. In my work I have measured this flexibility and it often correlates with a high EQ (That's emotional Intelligence) and good "leadership" ability but that's another story...

Sorry for the lengthy response, hope it helps.

Mark's picture

It's absolutely critical that you know your own style. One point of the DiSC system is understanding your style and others' styles. That allows you to identify people and situations that will make you have to behave outside of your natural tendencies.

Before I answer the second question, let me make clear something about Disc. EVERYONE has ALL FOUR STYLES present in them at all times. We all can be quite aggressive when provoked (some take no provocation, some take an earthquake). All can be outgoing and enthusiastic. All can be reserved and nurturing, and all can be data and perfection oriented.

This inclusion of all styles is reflected in the DiSC scoring - for instance, 7-7-1-1 in my case. That means I am very much NORMALLY a high D and I, but also have a minimal amount of S and C. There ARE NO ZERO SCORES IN DISC.

You can, in any situation, behave any way you like. The whole beauty of it to me is that while it tells you what your natural tendency is, YOU CAN BEHAVE ANY WAY YOU WANT TO IF YOU JUST THINK ABOUT IT FIRST.

That said, I DONT see you having "different default" behaviors. You have ONE default (that's the definition of default, of course). If you are behaving differently, it's not a different default, it's just you adapting. You have a preference, a tendency, but you are stepping outside that to be effective. That's the Holy Grail of DiSC.

I noted in a different post that I had heard of "blends, but I think this terminology is VERY confusing. We are ALL blends... someone who moves easily between the different styles is simply adapting.

Adapting, to me, is a beautiful form of respect, as well.

Mark

dbeene's picture

Thanks Cincy, Peter, and Mark for the comments.

A couple follow-up questions....sorry if this seems elementary...

[b]Q3:[/b] If I know someone is a high-D, I adjust my behavior to be more D-like. That is, focus on the facts, be as black-and-white as reasonably possible, have good posture, etc. Why is it important for me to know whether I'm an I, S, or C -- as long as I speak in the "language of D"?

[b]Q4:[/b] In some circumstances, is it appropriate to behave in an opposite direction to provide a moderating effect -- if, for example, the person you are talking to is behaving in an extreme D / I / S / C way?

Thanks again...

Mark's picture

First off, it's so you can tell OTHERS how you'd like THEM to communicate with YOU! :lol: Sorry I wasn't clear about that.

Second, because far too often, you (and we) DON'T think before we engage. We tend to lapse into our natural style when we are tired, or when things are routine. That means you're more likely to have trouble connecting with those who have a different tendency than you do at times like those... and that's a LOT of time.

Good question, though.

It's a privilege to serve you,

Mark

Mark's picture

Oops, sorry, second question:

The only question is whether what you will do will be effective. If you think doing the oppposite will work, go for it.

Do I find it likely? Not for someone just beginning.

That said, I wil say that DISC isn't a complete answer. A long term relationshp with someone will help you learn things about them that the DiSC CAN'T teach you. It's just that most people never get there.

Hope this helps - keep us posted.

Mark