What the DISC Assessment Tells You About Yourself

“No matter what job you have in life, your success will be determined 5% by your academic credentials, 15% by your professional experiences, and 80% by your communication skills.” - Stephen Wang

If you think about it, how we interact with each other is a major component of our business lives. So it stands to reason that our success in business, as well as in life, is greatly affected by our communication skills – in other words, how well we convey our thoughts and ideas to other people, and how well we listen and understand.

At some point in your life, you’ve probably run across people who you “just click” with. This happens in both our personal and professional lives. You meet someone and quickly feel like you understand each other completely. You work well together. You enjoy being around each other. Every interaction feels positive.

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On the other hand, you can probably recall a few people who simply, “rub you the wrong way.” You have a gut feeling that makes it hard to trust this person. When you talk, the conversation seems unproductive and uncomfortable. You may even have grown to dislike this person. And in both cases, when you try to figure out what makes these people different, you can’t really put your finger on it.

But what if you could put your finger on it? What if you could read people you’ve just met and quickly determine how well you “fit” with that person? What if you knew how to adjust your communication style so that you could more effectively interact with them? Would that be a positive in your business? In your life?

This is the main reason that I advise my clients to take the DISC Assessment. It is a powerful tool that allows me to hone in on their communication style and help them understand what their strengths are as a communicator. More important, though, I can then coach them in how to quickly assess new people they meet and know how best to communicate with them.

The DISC Assessment scores you in four areas: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. While everybody shows each of these characteristics to varying degrees, the one you score highest on tells me a lot about your nature and personality. Clearly, every person is unique, but generally here are the characteristics of people who score highest in each area:

  • Dominance. People who are high in Dominance, or a “high D,” tend to be strong, decisive leaders and are often very competitive. They are strong-willed, sometimes to the point of being stubborn. And in conversations, they are direct and to the point. High Ds are frequently in high-level executive and management positions.
  • Influence. A high score in Influence typically indicates someone who is a “people person.” They are naturally adept at connecting with people and tend to be strong networkers. The “high I” is often described as charming and persuasive in conversation and enjoys building relationships. People who are high in Influence tend to be natural salespeople and are often successful entrepreneurs.
  • Steadiness. A “high S” is most likely the steady rock who is calm when a crisis occurs. These people are usually regarded as “laid back” and “easy-going,” as well as being very trustworthy. A “high S” is someone you can count on to keep a secret. They make strong project managers and often excel in the human resources field.
  • Compliance. People with a high Compliance score are logical problem solvers and disciplined workers. They can be precise and exacting in their attention to detail. Careful and well-organized, a “high C” usually does well in fields like engineering, computer programming and accounting.

So how can this information help you? Let’s say you scored highest in Influence, which means your instinct is to chat people up to build rapport when you first meet them, then get down to business. However, if that meeting is with someone who is high in Dominance, your communication styles will clash because the “high D” wants to get to the point as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, you can’t go around administering DISC Assessments before every meeting, so you need to be able to read people quickly. In this hypothetical situation, I would advise the “high I” to start with a quick question, like “How are you doing today?” or comment about something in their office. For example, if you notice a framed photo of him or her on a boat holding a fish, you might say, “Oh, I see you like to fish.”

Their response will tell you a lot about their communication style. If they start telling you the story about how they caught the fish in the photo, feel free to engage them in a friendly conversation about fishing. This person is probably not a “high D.” However, if you get a short, curt “Yeah, when I have time,” you probably are dealing with a “high D” and you should get to the point… quickly.

Think of it as a quick, shorthand way to understand the people you’re dealing with and how you should approach communicating with them. As a business coach, I find the DISC Assessment to be one of the most impactful tools available and have seen first-hand how it benefits my clients.

Coach Sanjay Parekh has more than 25 years of experience in business leadership, strategic planning, sales and marketing, human resources and effective team-building. He has worked primarily in manufacturing, starting in his family’s business, and eventually joining a multi-national corporation with operations in 18 countries, serving as a Regional Executive and Senior Management Member. Today, his passion is sharing his knowledge, experience and business acumen toward the goal of helping others enjoy the success they deserve!


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