This intro to Lou’s book talks to me so much that I have to share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and here. I put it here because I do not want to lose this. Full disclosure, I’m an Influencer type in this model.
With semi-apologies to Dale Carnegie and his best selling self-help book, using anti-DISC you can hire more diverse talent, become a better interviewer, learn how to become a better manager and leader, become a better listener, and become a more well-rounded and approachable person. Wow!
In a previous post I suggested that it only took 1-2 minutes to figure out your dominant DISC style. For the 30-second version just pick the description in the diagram or phrase below that best describes you:
Directors: “No Excuses”
Influencers: “Let’s Talk”
Supporters: “Let’s Agree”
Controllers: “Be Cautious”
In the same post, I pointed out that the DISC assessment and its variants at best assess preferences, not competencies, so they should never (repeat: never!) be used as part of an up-front screening process. The big problem is that when used for this purpose, it eliminates diversity hiring as an option – people who can acheive the same, or better, results using a different style. Due to this potential diversity problem, I believe this disqualifies all of these types of assessments as up-front scrreening tools. It’s far better to define the results you want then find candidates of all stripes who can deliver them. On the recruiting front, passive and more discriminating candidates won’t take the test unless the opening clearly represents a career move. This is a triple whammy no-go: the tests are not predictive, they exclude diverse candidates, and the best candidates won’t take them.
However, DISC offers significant value when used to improve team skills, communications, understanding and decision-making. Here are some ideas on how to use it this way:
1) Change your pace of decision-making to increase your assessment accuracy. The horizontal axis in the grid represents your preferred speed of decision-making from seconds and minutes on the right to hours and days on the left. If you’re a Director or Influencer you need to move to he center point to minimize the impact of first impressions. This is about 45-60 minutes into the first interview.
2) Hire your Anti-DISC to increase workforce diversity. If you focus on performance rather than skills and generic competencies, you be able to broaden the pool of high potential people you’re seeing and hiring. This starts by preparing performance profiles for each new opening and banishing traditional job descriptions. The underlying concept behind this is to seek out people who are successful doing what you need done, but do it in ways that are non-traditional.
3) Use your Anti-DISC profile to improve your interpersonal skills. In team meetings, force yourself to adopt some of the traits of your diagonally opposite style. By putting yourself in the shoes of your “least like you” style, you’ll better understand why people who aren’t like you evaluate information the way they do. It might open new insights and new ways of viewing a problem you hadn’t previously considered. This might be similar to Phil Jackson’s Zen Master training, and then again it might not be.
4) Become an adaptive multi-purpose leader by becoming DISC-centric. Strong leaders have the ability to effectively use the strengths from each style depending on the circumstances. In essence they move to the center point on the DISC grid. To find out where candidates stand on this measure, ask about major accomplishments at different periods of time. Dig into the process and style used to complete the tasks, handle tough challenges, make decisions and work with others. You’ll notice that the most adaptable people use a variety of styles as they mature, in essence modifying their natural style moving around and towards the center point. More rigid people over-emphasize their dominant style in most cases, moving away from the center point. This movement away is magnified under pressure. As you observe this in others, you might want to consider how you personally handle stress and pressure from this DISC grid perspetive. Becoming aware of this shift is a good self-development exercise that might help you better understand the cause of some of your interpersonal conflicts and offer some techniques to more effectively deal with it.
DISC has it’s good and bad points. Since you can figure out your DISC style in a few minutes, and even the not so clever can fake it, take it for what it’s worth – an interesting tool. I contend it should never be used for screening purposes for a number of reasons, but has value from a communications and self-development standpoint. From a hiring standpoint it can be used to make better assessment decisions on two fronts. For one, the interviewer can become more open-minded and objective by collecting information using the best techniques of each style. For another, observing how candidates have modified their styles depending on the circumstances, looking for maturation and flexibility. For something so simple, this has great value. _____________________________________________________
Lou Adler is the Amazon best-selling author of Hire With Your Head (Wiley, 2007) and the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! His new book, The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired, will be published in January 2013