Now, just what is DISC, exactly? Let us begin with a brief history of how DISC came to be, and how it has evolved over time. In the early 1920’s, Carl Jung outlined the four types of personalities. But, it was Dr. Marston, in 1928, a psychology professor at Columbia University that published what we now refer to as the DISC model of communication styles.
Marston created the DISC model that measures the emotions of “normal people,” showing the connection between energy of behavior and consciousness. He also understood the business side of life and was called upon by industry to consult, using the first forms of applied psychology to business.
Although Dr. Marston came up with the model, it was Dr. Clarke in 1940 who constructed the first actual DISC Assessment. He named this assessment tool the ‘Activity Vector Analysis’. Respondents took the assessment two times, first with ‘Least’ selections, and again with ‘Most’ selections.
Then in the 1950’s, Dr. Cleaver figured out a way to combine the process of selections, so the assessment only needed to be administered one time. His assessment was designed so that one must choose one out of four options, creating a ‘forced choice’ tool.
Dr. John Geier, in the 1970’s, a prominent psychologist and professor at University of Minnesota, created the DISC assessment that is used today as the standard for all DISC assessment instruments. His tool updated the assessment terminology, and was designed to be a more user-friendly format. He also renamed the assessment as the “DISC.”
Presently, we are now using the DISCstyles System which is the most current version and continues to focus on patterns of external observable behaviors.
The DISC Model
The DISC refers to the four core sets of behavior patterns (styles, languages); Dominant, Influence, Steady and Conscientious. The first letter of each of the patterns creates an easy to remember acronym: D I S C. (There are variations of the words associated with the DISC acronym. For example, D has also be referenced as Driver or the I as Interact. However, as you can see the essence of the style remains intact.
The various combinations of the following four determine our own natural (native) DISC communication style (language.) No combination is better than another.
Each behavior style has a significantly different priority or orientation. Each priority denotes a specific focus that generates personal energy and motivation, and as a result there is a wide variance in the preferences to act.