What Is the DISC Model of Human Behavior?

by | Feb 26, 2016 | The Right Insights

DISC is an acronym for dominance, influence, steadiness (sometimes support), and compliance (sometimes caution). It’s a behavioral assessment tool that determines which of these drive a person’s self-image and behavior. The model was devised by Harvard psychologist William Moulton Marston in the 1920s and was later developed into a behavioral assessment tool by industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke.

While it dates back nearly a century, the DISC model is still considered well-founded and remains highly respected and widely applied today. One big reason it’s so successfully is because it’s not a “personality test.” Rather, it’s a non-judgmental way to gain insights into why people do what they do and have productive conversations about it.

DISC Explained

Here’s a quick explanation of what each of these traits means in terms of how people express their emotions and behave:

  • Dominance: Results-oriented people who take action and challenge the status quo
  • Influence: Enthusiastic people who bring others around to their viewpoint and build teams
  • Steadiness: Supportive people who collaborate well and seek stability
  • Compliance: Reserved, focused people who are cautious and following the rules 

The model divides a circle into four quadrants to plot an individual on two axes. The top two quadrants represent outgoing, faster-paced people, while the bottom two represent reserved, slower-paced people; the left two quadrants represent more task-oriented people, while the right two represent more people-oriented people.

  • Dominance falls in the top left quadrant, for outgoing, fast-paced, task-oriented individuals
  • Influence falls in the top right quadrant, for outgoing, fast-paced, people-oriented individuals
  • Steadiness falls in the lower right quadrant, for reserved, slow-paced, people-oriented individuals
  • Compliance falls in the lower left quadrant, for reserved, slow-paced, task-oriented people

How is DISC Applied to Businesses?

By providing real insights into why people—including self, coworkers, employees, managers, customers, prospects, and others—behave the way they do, the DISC model of human behavior helps companies achieve:

  • Higher employee productivity
  • Increased employee satisfaction and loyalty
  • Stronger teamwork
  • Better communication
  • Enhanced motivation
  • Less conflict
  • Faster, more satisfactory conflict resolution
  • More persuasive sales forces
  • More successful employee training
  • Higher quality customer service and retention
  • Smarter recruiting, hiring, placement, and promotion
  • Greater self-awareness in each individual 

Pici & Pici Methods

We’ve studied the DISC model for human behavior in depth and learned to apply it to sales, leadership, performance management training, and other aspects of professional development and success. Our Rapport Mastery and other training programs rely heavily on the DISC model.

Our DISC-based approach has proven itself time and time again for more than 25 years. It is a positive, constructive way to quickly build strong, trusting relationships of mutual benefit. Anyone can learn it and harness its potential to generate more high-quality leads, close more sales, improve communication, boost productivity, reduce conflict, build high-performance teams, improve employee and customer satisfaction, and otherwise accomplish a whole lot more.

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