WHAT IS DISC?
The Cleaver DISC is a behavioral assessment tool used to identify people’s motivations and personal tendencies. A few versions of the DISC exist, but the one that we at Cloverleaf like best is the Cleaver DISC. Did you know that some version of the DISC is used by over 70% of Fortune 500 companies today? The Cleaver DISC was developed in 1956 by John Cleaver, inspired by the theories of psychologist and industrial engineer William Marston.
DISC identifies 4 “scales”: Dominance, Influence, Conscientiousness, Steadiness and provides a numerical score for each of these scales that can define a behavioral profile. The score for each of these scales is provided on a 1-100 range where lower numbers represent lower levels of each of the four behavioral scales and higher numbers represent higher degrees that these behaviors may be experienced. You can watch this overview video for more context.
HOW CAN I USE IT IN A TEAM SETTING?
Understand your people. Do you know what motivates your team members individually? The DISC provides information about motivational tendencies. For example, if someone is high in Steadiness, they likely place more emphasis on cooperation and sincerity than persuading others or competing. Or if someone has higher levels of Dominance they may push harder for outcomes or towards goals.
Enhance communication. A person’s DISC score may also provide insights into how to effectively communicate with them in a way that “speaks their language”. A team with a disproportionate amount of high D scores may dominate the conversation and not make a comfortable and safe environment for those with higher S or C scores to offer their thoughts or ideas. This can lead to groupthink or not surfacing great ideas that can be the difference in success or failure at the team level.
Next time one of your team members has conflict with another team member, they should pull up that team member’s profile to get a better sense of how to communicate best with that person. Use the relationship map on the team dashboard for immediate comparison.
Depersonalize conflict. Yes, depersonalizing conflict IS possible and it DOES help you reach a resolution more quickly and painlessly! During an offsite or team meeting, try using your Cloverleaf team dashboard to display your team’s aggregate DISC results. Spend a few minutes highlighting some of the similarities and differences on your team in terms of conflict management style and conflict triggers. Then, invite your teammates to come up with a “conflict contract,” establishing some group norms for dealing with conflict. Getting everyone’s input on a set of conflict standard operating procedures will help generate buy-in by letting your team take ownership of their team culture!
Capitalize on cognitive diversity. A multitude of studies have shown that the more cognitive diversity that exists on a team the better the team outcomes. One such study from Harvard is an especially compelling case and you can read more about their results at this link. The use of the DISC assessment helps teams not only understand how much cognitive diversity exists on a team, but also how to harness that diversity in a way that improves team outcomes. By using the team DISC wheel you can see clearly where your team lacks certain styles or how a single team member may play a critical role for the team. Notice how the purple circle team member would play a much needed role for the team.
Define the right roles. Lastly get a better sense of how individual team members fit into the roles (both team roles and functional roles) you are asking them to play for your team on a daily basis. Asking someone that has a High C behavioral pattern to do Sales could conflict with their natural style and while they may be able to do the role well for short or medium periods of time it will likely cause internal stress and possibly lead to quicker burnout or possibly even turnover over time.
Begin working with DISC by taking the assessment here.