As business owners and entrepreneurs, we are always looking for new tools and techniques to help us grow and improve our craft. Whether that’s a new training programme to undertake or a new article to read, owning a business is a constant learning and improvement process.
One of the tools I believe isn’t used nearly enough by business owners is the ‘DISC’ analysis.
WHAT IS A DISC ANALYSIS?
Let’s start with the basics – the DISC analysis is a behavioural assessment tool. Typically used by Psychologists to identify the certain behavioural characteristic, the focus of the analysis is on 4 distinctive traits – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Contentiousness (or Compliant) – DISC.
First designed by psychologist Willian Moulton Marston (the same man who helped develop the polygraph tests) in 1982, he theorised that these 4 traits are how different people illustrate their emotions, and that this illustration comes from people’s sense of self and environment. Marston never intended to use the DISC profile as an assessment tool; it was Walter Clarke who developed the modern version of the profile as a behavioural analysis tool in 1956.
Today, the DISC analysis is still used to understand how we behave as people. Typically, DISC profiles are administered as a speed quiz, encouraging participants to answer the questions as quickly as they can and then move on. This added pressure means participants have less time to think through their answers and give what they perceive to be the ‘correct’ answer – they just respond with their gut. This means the responses are genuine reflections of their behaviours – which is exactly what we want.
WHY IS IT USEFUL FOR BUSINESS OWNERS?
DISC analysis is a particularly useful tool for business owners and their teams, helping them to understand themselves and how they react to situations better. Participants learn how to be better managers, make more informed decisions and work better as a team and an individual. The DISC analysis helps do this, in part because of its identification of behavioural tendencies. Each profile letter has its own set of behavioural characteristics. For example:
Dominance – Sees the big picture, can be blunt, accepts challenges, gets straight to the point, perceives themselves as more powerful than the environment.
Influence – Shows enthusiasm, is optimistic, likes to collaborate, dislikes being ignored.
Steadiness – Doesn’t like to be rushed, calm manner, calm approach, supportive actions.
Contentiousness/Compliant – Enjoys independence, objective reasoning, wants the details, fears to be wrong.
All DISC styles and priorities are equally valuable. The idea of the analysis is not to find out if you are better than anyone else but to gain a better understanding of yourself and how you think about situations.
I believe is one of the most underrated business and personal activities we can do. Getting to know your own personality also gives you the ability to build a supporting cast of complementary styles of people for your team – which is why some businesses will use a DISC profile as part of their recruitment process. You may find that you score highly with 2, or even 3, personality types – that’s OK. Everyone sits differently on the scale, by examining where you fall it will help you understand your own decisions – those gut calls you never quite knew the reasons for. It also helps you understand in what areas you are holding your business back so that you can take steps to rectify it.
There are hundreds of ways utilising a DISC profile can drastically improve your business, from helping you build a solid team that works well together to expanding your horizons and helping you improve your own skill set. A business is only as strong as its weakest link, as a business owner, you should always be looking for ways to strengthen that. A DISC analysis is just one way to figure out if those weaknesses are within your people, and how to work them out.
For more information about DISC profiles, or to discuss how executive coaching could help your business, get in touch with me today.