DISC

Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality. (FROMM, 1947)

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Origins of the DISC

The DISC Personality System was inspired by and based on William Marston’s book the Emotions of Normal People, a seminal work that was influenced by the works of Hippocrates and Carl Jung among others. Dr. William Moulton Marston (1893–1947) leaves a vast legacy. He was a renowned lawyer and psychologist, invented an early form of the lie detector, created the DISC model of Personality, authored self-help books and created the popular Wonder Woman comics. He was a man ahead of his time in terms of his ideas and philosophies. He was born in Cliftondale, Massachusetts, and obtained a law degree in 1918 and graduated from Harvard with a PhD in Psychology in 1921. After teaching at American University in Washington DC, Marston travelled to Universal Studios in California in 1929, where he spent a year as Director of Public Services. Marston, though well respected by the psychological community, was often critical of their approach and set about developing tools that emphasized observable behavior and practical applications to everyday life. These tools were developed to increase motivation, understanding and adaptation of behavior. The Marston DISC model has been in the public domain for many years now, and several publishers have developed universally accepted tools based on it that are valid and reliable for use in schools and the workplace. IML was established in the same spirit in which Marston conducted his research: all of the work and theory is meaningless without practical application. Observable behavior patterns that can be predicted and adapted (depending on the environment), and understanding the motivation behind an individual’s behavior are the hallmarks of all IML products. Because of this, IML has spent 20 years in developing versions of DISC that are easy to use and understand, that are universally accepted as valid and reliable, and yet require minimal training. As you will see from the research information included in the Technical information section, research has also focused on the predictive ability of the DISC to achieve certain goals and attain measurable benefits in the classroom and workplace.

  • career planning
  • conflict resolution
  • personal and leadership development
  • executive coaching and team development

The Maxwell Method of DISC Report aims to help individuals identify their personal strengths and capitalize on their talents to make them more effective individuals. In identifying one’s own and others’ innate abilities, attributes, weaknesses and fears, the report helps people communicate better and work together more effectively. The report is a result of a strategic alliance between The John Maxwell Team and the Institute of Motivational Living (IML), the publisher of the DISC Personality System. The Maxwell Method DISC Report and other Maxwell Method DISC reports use the components of the DISC Personality System and the DISC methodology. The concept of the DISC is based on William Marston’s theories, which postulate that people basically possess one or more of four different personality styles:

  • Dominance – this describes someone who is direct, decisive, a problem-solver, a risk taker and a self-starter
  • Influence – this describes someone who is enthusiastic, trusting, optimistic, persuasive, talkative, impulsive and emotional
  • Steadiness – this describes someone who is a good listener, team player, possessive, steady, predictable, understanding and friendly
  • Compliance – this describes someone who is accurate, analytical, conscientious, careful, precise, meticulous and systematic.

Research has shown that behavioral characteristics can be grouped together in these four major divisions called personality styles. People with similar styles tend to exhibit behaviors in ways common to that style. Most individuals have a primary and secondary style but share these four styles in varying degrees of intensity. To date, IML has assessed more than a million persons using the DISC and has trained more than 450,000 using this instrument.

Uses of the Assessment

The Maxwell Method DISC Report is a quick self-report personality instrument that takes less than 10 minutes to complete. It consists of 24 questions, each with four descriptions. A person chooses which is ‘Most’ and which is ‘Least’ descriptive of themselves. Instructions are provided on how to self-score the instrument. Graphs are used to plot the results and show the profile of the person. The Introduction to Behavioral Analysis provides more useful information on how to interpret the results of the assessment. The Maxwell Method DISC Report can be used in organizational development, leadership development, training, team building, career planning, executive coaching, and conflict resolution. It can also be used, with prudence, in hiring situations. Given that hiring involves making a decision about people, there are a number of precautions that need to be taken, including:

  • that there is an understanding of the limitations of the assessment and what the assessment measures
  • that the DISC profile is used in conjunction with other considerations of ability, qualifications, experience, reference checks, interviews and other suitable measures of fit with the job
  • that the DISC profile is used to generate hypotheses about the person that are checked via a behavioral interview.

The Maxwell Method DISC Reports The Maxwell Method DISC reports were developed to combine the philosophy and leadership development components of The John Maxwell Team and the DISC Personality System into assessments, tools and reports that would empower John Maxwell Team Certified Speakers, Trainers and Coaches in their mission to add value to people around the world. In order to create these Maxwell Method Reports and offer them to our team members, The John Maxwell Team developed a strategic alliance with The Institute of Motivational Living (IML) and People Keys in the report creation and publishing using the DISC Personality System as the basis for report components, analysis and interpretation.

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