DISC Assessment Is For the Birds.

While the DISC behavioral test might be a perfectly fine assessment of behavioral styles in the academic world, the CEOs in my CEO peer group here in Honolulu are convinced it’s a waste of time for most people in the real world.

Have you ever taken a DISC assessment? The tool is designed to chart four typical behavioral styles: dominance, inducement, submission and compliance.

You have taken it? Soooo…if you’re familiar with DISC, you use it all the time, right? For example, you use DISC every time you interview? Every time you provide feedback? Every time you assign someone a task?

You don’t use it everyday? (Mock surprise.)

Most people I know who have taken a DISC assessment have trouble remembering their results. Maybe it’s in a folder inside your brain somewhere, but you just have trouble accessing it.

Most people say, “Oh yeah, DISC. I know that. Hmmm. Let’s see. Wait. What was I again?”

That’s why the CEOs I work with believe that — for most organizations– DISC is a waste of time. The info might be stored in there, but isn’t wired to anything else in the real world. If those neurons don’t get wired to real world knowledge, they aren’t accessible. They say that what gets wired together, gets fired together.

Along comes Merrick Rosenberg. I brought Merrick in from the Mainland to speak to my CEO peer group here in Honolulu. He did a presentation on DISC that was unlike anything I’ve seen before on this topic. In short he related each DISC style to a bird.

Here are the birds and their styles. You’ll recognize each bird by reputation:

Eagle: decisive, dominant, bold, risk-taker

Parrot: talkative, optimist, enthusiastic, social.

Dove: harmony, helpful, listener, consistent.

Owl: thinking, analytical, logical, methodical.

He spent, oh, say, an hour or so showing us how to use the styles and then demonstrated how we might use this understanding in a real world application. A few of the scenarios Merrick covered included:

  • Delegating a task to a direct report in a disaster scenario
  • Discussing a problem with the head of the IT department
  • Presenting quarterly results to the entire organization
  • Talking to an employee that has lost a close family member

In each scenario, Merrick showed the CEOs how to wield their newfound understanding for maximum impact.

After Merrick’s presentation, one of the CEOs in my CEO peer group said, “I’ve seen DISC before. I’ve done DISC before. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as capable of using the tool as I do right now.”

I’d say that was well worth the time invested.

Interested in learning more? Check out Merrick’s book “The Chameleon” on Amazon.

Hope this helps.


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