What is DISC?

Twenty-four hundred years ago, scientists and philosophers, most notably Hippocrates, began to recognize differences in behavior that seemed to follow a pattern.  This pattern was explored by many psychologists and scientists until it was defined by Dr. William Marston.  After earning his doctorate from Harvard University, he wrote The Emotions of Normal People in 1928.  From this breakthrough work, he developed the lie detector test that is still in use today.

Marston theorized that people are motivated by four intrinsic drives.  These drives direct behavior into the patterns that he called DISC.  He came to understand that DISC was actually a special language that describes these behavior patterns.

Model of Human Behavior


  • “D” is the Dominant type …outgoing, task-oriented


  • “I” is the Inspiring type …outgoing, people-oriented


  •  “S” is the Supportive type …reserved, people-oriented


  •  “C” is the Cautious type …reserved, task-oriented


He defined four DISC types that are composed of observable behavior characteristics or traits.  These traits are measured in words to express intensity in each type; they are objective and descriptive rather than subjective and judgmental.

This means that DISC shows a pattern in how we act.  We give value to these actions as good or bad and appropriate or inappropriate, but DISC is not designed to measure our values.  Also, keep in mind that your skills and education may affect your opportunities and abilities, but they are not measured by DISC.  We understand that DISC is a valuable instrument that helps us to understand behavior patterns in ourselves and others.

Studies have shown that technical skill, beginning with intelligence and developed through education and experience, accounts for only 15% of success in the workplace.  The other 85% of workplace success comes from people skills!  These skills are developed through learning better ways to behave and interact.

As Dr. Robert Rohm (Personality Insights, Inc.) likes to say, “If I understand you, and you understand me, doesn’t it make sense that we can work more effectively together?”


business team

“D”The Dominant Type →An outgoing, task-oriented individual will be focused on getting things done, accomplishing tasks, getting to the bottom line as quickly as possible and MAKING IT HAPPEN!  (The key insight in developing a relationship with this type person is RESPECT and RESULTS)

“I” The Inspiring Type →An outgoing, people-oriented individual loves to interact, socialize and have fun.  This person is focused on what others may think of him or her.  (The key insight in developing a relationship with this type person is ADMIRATION and RECOGNITION.)

“S” The Supportive Type →A reserved, people-oriented individual will enjoy relationships, helping or supporting other people and working together as a team.  (The key insight in developing a relationship with this person is FRIENDLINESS and SINCERE APPRECIATION.)

“C” The Cautious Type →A reserved, task-oriented individual will seek value, consistency and quality information.  This person focuses on being correct and accurate.  (The key insight in developing a relationship with this individual is TRUST and INTEGRITY.)