Sales person selection and emotional intelligence

Did you know that EQ can be part of your sales person selection process? In a previous post I told you about my client who increased his annual income 50% just by learning emotional intelligence.  But taking EQ into account when hiring sales people can add tremendously to your bottom line – and save you a lot of time.

Let me share some findings from an experiment at L’Oreal (the cosmetics company).  When they hired sales people with certain emotional intelligence competencies in the screening process, they found these people significantly outsold people hired the traditional way.  In fact, they sold over 90,000 dollars more annually than those hired without taking EQ into account.  And the first year net revenue increase for that team was more than $2.5 million.  Nothing to sneeze at.

And get this: retention for those people screened for EQ was much better, too. There was 63% less turnover in sales reps when they screened for EQ.  That’s amazing.

Other research at a large computer company found that when EQ was part of their salesperson selection process, new hires were 90% more likely to finish their training than those who were hired the traditional way.

Sales person selection process

I have lot more research I could cite, but let me share how I recommend going about this.

First, you need a well-written job description.  That may sound elementary, but a lot of what I see out there could be much better.  Also make sure you have a clear duty and task list.  Then, for several important reasons, you need to benchmark the job.  This involves using an assessment that measures behavioral, attitudinal, and emotional intelligence factors for what it takes to be successful on that particular job.

To keep the US Department of Labor happy, you’ll need at least three people familiar with the requirements of that job to complete your benchmark.

Then, based on the findings of the benchmark, the job description, and the duty & task list, develop five or six key interview questions. Each question needs to be linked to the highest priority aspects of the job, and they need to draw out an employee’s past experience in those areas. Nowadays we call these behavior-based interview questions.

As you collect resumes, sort them into A, B, and C piles, and call all your A-level applicants.  Your task from there is to ask each of them the same five-or-six questions, and you’re going to assign a grade to each answer.  The applicants with the highest scores are asked to take online assessments that measure the same things your benchmarks did. Those with the closest matches are called in for interviews.

Two useful books

For more info on how to do this, visit our books page and pick up a copy of The Really Simple Way to Hire, Train, and Retain Great Employees.

I also encourage you to download a complementary copy of my book, 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence.   That’s a free gift to you.

Bottom line, there’s no reason not to use EQ as part of your sales person selection process.  The statistics show it’s really a best practice.

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How do I control my anger?

If you get irritated or annoyed easily, at some point you may have asked, “How do I control my anger?”

I confess, earlier in my life I had a problem with anger. When things happened that I didn’t want to happen, I got angry.

My mentor, the late Alex Goodman, taught me a lot about dealing with anger. He said that whenever people get angry at others, they’re really just angry with themselves. That did not make sense to me. If somebody does something that upsets me, don’t I have the right to be angry?

Alex held his ground. In essence, he said that if an event that results in my being angry is something I could have influenced, then no, I don’t really have a right to be angry. Instead, I have a responsibility to act maturely, and learn what I could done differently. Alex said that displaying anger is more of an attempt to manipulate than anything else.

I chewed on that for a long time. And, the more I thought about it, the more I realized Alex was right. But before I answer the question of how do I control my anger, let me first explore a little about how anger actually helps us.

The value of anger

Anger is a natural human emotion, and it’s a valuable emotion that keeps us alive. Especially when we’re very young. When children are born, they lack the ability to talk. They have needs, but they can’t verbalize those needs. Enter “anger.” If you’ve been around newborns, you know exactly how this works. A baby fusses, and quickly the parents are trying to figure out what the baby wants. Food? A diaper change? A nap? Displaying anger is how a child gets its needs met.

But there comes a time when children learn to talk. And, when this happens, it’s time to wean them away from using anger. They must learn to express their wants and needs verbally. For example, instead of fussing when they’re hungry, we teach them to say, “I’m hungry, may I have something to eat please?”

Think about it. Temper tantrums are simply escalated efforts at using what’s worked in the past: Relying on anger to get needs met. If parents give in, they’re teaching their children it’s okay to use anger to get what they want. But if they set firm boundaries, children eventually stop relying on anger. Unfortunately, some folks don’t learn this, and they continue using anger as a way to get their needs met well into adulthood.

So, just how do I control my anger?

Well, I realized that Alex was right. Whenever I sense anger rising up, at the core of it all, I’m really angry at myself. And so, practicing good Emotional Intelligence, I ask myself, “What could I have done differently so that what happened didn’t happen?” It’s really learning to take responsibility. If I can borrow some terminology from Stephen Covey, getting angry is reactive, and taking responsibility to learn what I could have done differently is proactive.

And there’s something else Alex taught me: How I deal with anger is always a choice.

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Children are like Diamonds

Have you ever stopped to think that children are like diamonds? They are highly valuable. We cherish them. Each one has many facets for us to admire. And, we tend to look past their flaws.

If you have children, you know that (like diamonds) each child is exceptionally unique.  As parents, our job is to observe the various facets in each of our children to discover their uniqueness. Learning these things — and using what we discover to improve our family relationships — is practicing Emotional Intelligence.

Practicing EQ as parents includes noticing each child’s behavioral styles, their interests, and also the different ways they perceive and process the world around them.  The more we understand each of these facets, the easier it is to help them shine as we polish them to be who they were born to be.

Be aware: Practicing emotional intelligence with our children can leave us feeling lost if we don’t have a framework, so let me offer one. I call it head, hands, and heart.  “Head” is their cognitive style. “Hands” is their behavioral preferences, and “Heart” has to do with their motivation – the things that drive their attitudes and values.

If we see any differences between us and our children, it’s important to communicate positively about those differences instead of criticizing them.  The ripple effects of valuing the attributes in our children goes a long way. That’s important to know, because the ripple effects of criticizing them do, too.

If children are like diamonds, what are the facets?

As I said, the “Head” framework considers cognitive style — how children perceive information, process that information, and how they make decisions. It also takes into account how they get mentally re-energized.

The “Hands” framework is about behavioral styles.  If you’re familiar with DISC assessments or the Four Temperaments (driver, expressive, amiable, and analytic), you already know about this framework. Some children place a high value on getting results whereas others are more social and outgoing. Some are loyal and steady, and still others strive to be accurate and precise.  Everyone has a blend of these, but most children have a strong preference toward one or two of these styles.

Lastly are the motivators, or ‘Heart’ issues. This includes their attitudes about learning, about money, and how they like their surroundings.  It also includes how they give to others, their perspectives about being in charge, and the systems they use for living their lives.

In all these areas, children have preferences, and we can demonstrate our love for them by affirming what we observe.  Every position in every part of the framework I just described has both strengths and weaknesses.  Our job as parents is to remember that children are like diamonds. We need to let them shine by focusing on their strengths — and telling our children that we value those strengths.

To help you in this effort, I strongly recommend you download a complimentary copy of 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence.   It will give you a step-by-step process for how to connect better with your children.

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Money doesn’t motivate – or does it?

I have more than one client who says, “Money doesn’t motivate me.”  I have other clients who are motivated by money more than anything.

Obviously, we need money to provide for our families.  But there’s a very informative article at the Harvard Business Review that explores the impact of money on our motivations. Turns out that intrinsic motivation is three times more likely to drive job performance than extrinsic motivation – such as money.

Also, in study after study, job satisfaction and salary were found to have almost no correlation. Employees at the bottom half of the salary range were just as satisfied in their jobs as those in the top half.  And this wasn’t just true in the U.S.  The results were statistically similar in Taiwan, Australia, India, and Britain.

With this, I’d like to (again) shoot some holes in a belief held by many managers. The common thinking is, “Just pay people more and they’ll be happy and motivated.”

Be careful of bad psychology

As I’ve said for years, the idea that we can motivate other people is bad psychology.  The word motivation literally means, “a reason to move.” And, the truth is that people move for THEIR reasons, not yours.  For some people, money is a strong motivator. However, in almost 30 years of using assessments that identify people’s motivations, I can tell you that money doesn’t motivate the majority of people.

When I did my master’s thesis research on the importance of soft skills in middle managers, I was shocked to discover so many managers disregarding the intrinsic motivations of the people on their teams.

In order to save time here, I’m going to boil down the reason for that into one very simple phrase. Many managers won’t like hearing this, but it’s true:

They were lazy.

To believe that their employees would be motivated to work harder just by dangling more money in front of them was a one time “easy” decision. But not necessarily an effective one.

In truth, we can identify at least nine natural, or innate motivations, and 12 learned ones. And money is only one of those 12.  Managers who want to “motivate” their employees (to the use the common phrase) must learn what drives each employee. That takes effort. And to do it well, a manager must really want to know what drives each employee.  This is a core responsibility of being a manager. Unfortunately, this rarely gets taught in most management training.   If it does get taught, it’s usually only in passing.

I’m not saying money doesn’t motivate

I am not saying that money doesn’t motivate.  However, you must learn what drives each employee, and that means practicing emotional intelligence. To help you do that, feel free to download a complimentary copy of my latest book, 10 steps for improving your emotional intelligence.

The bottom line truth is that for most people, money doesn’t motivate. For some people it does. To create a motivated and passion-driven team, you must learn what drives each individual, and then put your emotional intelligence to work.

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Leadership and emotional intelligence

The correlation between good leadership and emotional intelligence has been established in study after study.  In fact, 4/5 of the difference between average and top-performing leaders is emotional intelligence.  Consider that for a moment.  You are much more likely to be a top-performing leader if you practice emotional intelligence.

Okay, well, how do we put EQ into practice?

There are lots of ways to answer that, but one way is to consider some often overlooked aspects of leadership.

Creating Passion-Driven TeamsIn my book Creating Passion-Driven Teams, chapter two outlines the core responsibilities of front line workers, of managers, and of leaders.  The responsibilities listed in this chapter make a huge difference in organizations.

At the leadership level, I point out that leaders are responsible for – among other things – collecting the ideas of what can make the organization better, the horizon (the regulatory, economic, and business horizons), and also the capabilities of the organization.

What do leaders do with those responsibilities?

They must communicate the ideas they have and the ones they collect and get feedback on them. They must also communicate their observations of what they see on the horizon. And, they must invest in the capabilities of employees.

To quote an old saying, “No man is an island.” Leaders who hold their cards too close to the chest don’t get valuable feedback, and the result is they rarely make the best decisions. There’s also an old proverb that says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Over the years, it’s been my observation that good leadership and emotional intelligence are deeply intertwined.  To collect, share and get feedback on ideas about company operations requires a foundation of self-awareness and self-management that under-gird strong, empathic relationship skills.

Is EQ needed?

Could a leader do these things listed above without emotional intelligence?  Sure. Would it be done well?  That’s up for debate.  Remember, when comparing average performers with top performers, 4/5 of the difference between the two is emotional intelligence.

So, if someone were to ask, “What formula provides any given leader the best edge for success?” the worldwide study I just mentioned, plus hundreds of others, tells us that emotional intelligence must be part of the equation.

In other words, leadership and emotional intelligence are forever married.  And I don’t think it’s even fair to teach leadership skills any more without teaching emotional intelligence.

With that, I’d like to give you a leg up … a way to help strengthen your leadership skills.  Just click the image below and download a free copy of my latest book, 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence.  That’s right — it’s free.

While you’re at it, you might want to swing over to Amazon to pick up a copy of my best-selling book, Creating Passion-Driven Teams.  Just a thought.  🙂

Whatever you do, I urge to become a student of good leadership, and that includes becoming a student of emotional intelligence.

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The value of self-awareness

For several millennia, wise people have realized the value of self-awareness. As far back as at least 550 BC, the Greek phrase, “gnothi sauton,” which means “know thyself,” was a common saying.

And it’s still around today. For the last half-century, the idea of “know thyself” has really been the cornerstone of all reputable leadership training. And, for the past 25 years, self-awareness has also been the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness can be defined many ways, and at the risk of sounding all woo-woo, it has many layers as well.

In his best-selling book “Emotional Intelligence,” Daniel Goleman defines self-awareness as “knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources and intuitions.” My version is a little simpler, but covers similar territory: “perceive and assess our own emotions, desires, and tendencies.”

As I’ve talked about in previous videos, this includes knowing our own behavioral style, including our strengths and weaknesses. Let me tell you, this isn’t always easy. I remember when my coach had me take my first DISC Assessment almost 30 years ago. Among other things, it pointed out my strengths and my weaknesses. I was like, “NOOO!”  I was devastated! I had weaknesses! I didn’t want weaknesses. I wanted only strengths.

The real value of self-awareness

As it turns out, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is one level of self-awareness. However, coming to grips with your weaknesses is a whole different level. You develop not just self-awareness, but self-acceptance in realizing that you are capable in some areas, and not as capable in others.

Part of the reason that self-awareness is the cornerstone of the EQ model is that you develop some grace and mercy toward yourself. Then, when you own that  … when you come to grips with accepting your own weaknesses … then you have a foundation for being able to display empathy toward others. And empathy is part of the second level of the EQ model.

I firmly believe that it’s hard to display empathy in any real depth if you don’t have a gracious understanding and acceptance of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Another area we need to be aware of our cognitive style – the strengths and weaknesses in how we notice and process information, and how we make decisions.

It’s also valuable to understand our personal motivations. Some are innate and some are learned, but motivations drive our behavior, and it’s good to be consciously aware of what drives us.

But remember, we can’t stop at just knowing these things about ourselves. The real value of self-awareness comes in accepting ourselves as we’ve been designed.

Now, I do need to throw out a caution, because part of being emotionally intelligent is understanding the power of emotions. Deep emotional imprints can lead us to believe things that are not true.

In future videos I explore that more, plus I will share some ways to strengthen your self-awareness.

In the mean time, let me suggest you download a free copy of my latest book, 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence.

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How managers use emotional intelligence

If you’re wondering how managers use emotional intelligence, I suppose it depends on how effective those managers want to be. If they want to be top performers, they need to use it well.

All joking aside, there is a strong correlation between how managers use emotional intelligence and their performance ratings. Research in over 200 companies worldwide shows that in middle management positions, 2/3 of the difference between average performers and top performers is emotional intelligence. The news seems to be everywhere, such as this article in Inc. magazine about the best managers using EQ.

The question remains: How do they use it?

The EQ model provides a great foundational framework. It all starts with self-awareness. Managers need to know their strengths, their weaknesses, their personal goals and motivations, and also their behavioral and cognitive styles. The next step is self-management, which is capitalizing on their strengths and knowing where they need help — as well as when to back off. To quote a famous Clint Eastwood movie, a man’s got to know his limitations.

How managers use emotional intelligenceThe second level starts with social awareness – that is, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of everyone one your team. This is a core responsibility of management that is rarely emphasized in management schools. But know that understanding your people doesn’t happen by osmosis. A manager must become a student and strive to learn about the people on his or her team.

As I’ve observed in my 30 years of working with teams and team leaders, those who become students of their people are the most effective managers. Why? Because when they’re aware of each team members strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and their behavioral and cognitive styles, they know how each person performs best.

With that knowledge they can make better assignments and they get problems solved easier. It’s part of the relationship management quadrant of the EQ model.  All of this makes them more productive, effective, and profitable.

Yes – this is how managers use Emotional Intelligence.

Can you see its value?

Isn’t this what we expect from managers? Create productive, effective, and profitable workplaces?

And so, considering how managers use emotional intelligence to create engaged and effective teams, I strongly recommend all managers learn it.

Let me say this, too: If you’re a manager, you’re never too old or too young to learn EQ. The other day I read that you can’t learn EQ after your 40’s. My eyeballs kind of popped out when I read that! I’ve had lots of clients in their 50’s and 60’s who’ve learned EQ and put it to work right away with excellent results.

In closing, let me add that learning EQ is not difficult. I’ve been teaching it for nearly 30 years to a wide variety of people in many industries, and if you want to learn it, you can.

PS. No matter what your age, if you would like to give your EQ a boost, let me recommend my latest book, which I am giving away for free for a limited time – it’s titled 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence, and you get it free by clicking the image below:

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Personality types and emotional intelligence

If you’ve ever taken a Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI), you may have wondered about the connection between personality types and emotional intelligence. Or maybe you haven’t. Either way, cognitive style is definitely something I cover when I’m teaching EQ.

If you’re a Myers-Briggs junkie, allow me a moment to do a quick review for people who may not be familiar with cognitive style.

The granddaddy of cognitive style assessments is the Myers-Briggs type indicator made popular by the mother-daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. Their assessment was inspired by the work of the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, and they started using their assessment in 1943.

Other tools, same measurements

Over the years, other organizations have also developed assessment tools that measure cognitive style, including one by my company, which we call the Cognitive Style Indicator, or CSI. But what’s important is that most of the tools, including the one we created, measure cognitive style in four distinct areas:

1. How we get our mental energy
2. How we perceive information
3. How we process information
4. How we make decisions

Our preferences in these areas are what we call our cognitive style.

The spectra explained:

On the mental energy spectrum, introversion and extraversion are the words used to describe the two sides. Strong extroverts tend to be energized by being with other people. They’re outgoing and talkative. On the other side, strong introverts get re-energized by being alone. They’re more reflective and reserved.

On the perceiving spectrum, the two words we use are sensing and intuition. People scoring strongly in sensing tend to notice what is “here and now” or what their senses tell them. People scoring strongly on the intuitive side tend to perceive future implications, as they notice patterns and possibilities.

On the processing spectrum,* thinking and feeling are the words we use. Those scoring strong on the thinking side process by being objective and fact-based. Those scoring strong on the feeling side take people’s feelings and extenuating circumstances into consideration.

(* Traditional MBTI adherents say this spectrum measures decision-making style. I see why they say that, but I think it’s more accurate to say that this spectrum measure how someone processes information en route to a decision.)

On the decisions spectrum,** the two ends are referred to as judging and perceiving. Like the judge in a courtroom, those scoring strong in judging are looking to make a decision and move on. Those scoring strong in perceiving like to stay flexible and adaptable, perceiving their options.

(** Traditional MBTI adherents describe this spectrum as how people structure their lives. Again, I see why they say that, but I think it’s more accurate to say this spectrum measures how people make decisions, which then, in turn, impacts how their lives get structured.)

All styles can learn EQ

Research about correlations in personality types and emotional intelligence show that any of the 16 types can learn EQ. Granted, some will have an easier time than others, and you might think that people scoring strong on the feeling side of the processing spectrum would be those with the highest EQ. But that’s not the case. Of the 16 combinations, those with the highest EQ were stronger in thinking than in feeling.

And so, I have two things to say when it comes to personality types and emotional intelligence. First, it’s super valuable to learn about the four spectra of cognitive style when learning EQ. And second, it doesn’t really matter which letter combination describes you. Emotional intelligence is learnable, and no matter what your style, you can learn it.

PS. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to take a Cognitive Style Indicator.

PPS. To help you learn EQ, I’d like to offer you a free book, titled 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence. You can download it for free here:

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Why my definition of emotional intelligence is different

If you’re learning EQ, then, by all means, a definition of emotional intelligence should be clarified.

As a background, the term emotional intelligence was popularized by Daniel Goldman in his 1996 book of the same name, and according to Goleman’s book, EQ is:

the ability to identify, assess, and control one’s own emotions, the emotions of others, and that of groups

Frankly, that definition bothered me.  I don’t think it’s morally correct to control the emotions of others and/or groups. I wanted a better definition.

Turned out there were other definitions out there. And so, after much thought, my company came up with one of our own about 20 years ago, and we still use it. Here it is:

an intelligence and skill that enables you to perceive and assess your own and other people’s emotions, desires, and tendencies, and then choose the best course of action based on that perception to obtain the best result for everyone
Unpacking this definition:

The first two words we’ll examine are perceive and assess.

Perceive means to become aware or conscious of something. It’s what you notice.

means evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of something. It’s a processing function.

What do we perceive and assess?

our own and other people’s emotions desires and tendencies

Okay — let’s unpack a little more.

Emotions are defined as an instinctive state of mind,  derived from our circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

Emotions just happen.  We run into somebody we like, and we feel happiness. Somebody steals something from us and we feel violated.

Desires are strong feelings of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

These are our wants, and they are commonly linked to our motivations. For example, if I’m motivated to achieve financial security, I desire a large return on investment in any deal.

Tendencies are an inclination toward a particular type of behavior or way of doing things.

I may tend toward solving problems as soon as I see them, or I may tend to take my time and think things through. Tendencies are affiliated with behavioral styles and cognitive styles.

Perceiving and Assessing in the moment

Because emotions, desires and tendencies can change throughout the day, we must learn to perceive and assess in the moment. Why? Because what you hear is true: we can’t put ourselves or others in a box.

Here’s an example of how emotions, desires, and tendencies can shift in short order. Let’s say you’re at work, and for the entire morning things are operating like a well-oiled machine. Workflow is running smoothly and everyone is in a great mood. But in the afternoon, your largest client calls with an urgent need to have you put together a large report and overnight it via FED EX to five different locations.  Everyone jumps into action, but then the Internet goes down and your computer’s hard drive crashes. Arrgh!!!

Putting our definition of emotional intelligence into action, you perceive and assess the emotions, desires, and tendencies of yourself and those around you, and then you:

choose the best course of action based on the perception to obtain the best result for everyone.

By the way, notice that in this definition, EQ operates within a win-win mindset. If we use EQ simply for our own needs, we run the risk of manipulating others. Not good! Therefore, I think it’s imperative that true emotional intelligence be used to obtain the best result for everyone.

And that’s my definition of emotional intelligence.

If you’d like to learn more, I invite you to download a free copy of my latest book:

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What does DISC measure?

As I’ve said in previous posts, one of the assessments I use when teaching emotional intelligence is the DISC Assessment, but I often get the question, What does DISC measure?  If you’re not familiar with DISC, or even if you are, what follows is a background on the DISC language.

Essentially, DISC is a behavioral assessment that measures our tendencies in four key areas:

    • How we respond to problems
    • The ways we influence people
    • Our preferred pace
    • The way we respond to procedures

That’s the short answer for the question, “What does DISC measure,” but if you’re wondering why we call it DISC, a brief history lesson will help.

Let’s go back to 400 BC, when a guy named Hippocrates – you may have heard of him – observed four main behavioral styles. Six hundred years later, a Roman philosopher named Galen made the same observation of four behavioral styles. But it wasn’t until the 1920’s that a professor at Columbia University named William Marston found a scientific way to determine people’s predominant style.

He did this by creating two perpendicular axes.  Essentially, one was for how people deal with risk.  At one end he placed people who were more bold or outgoing, and comfortable making higher-risk decisions.  The other end was for people who were more reserved, preferring to take their time with risky decisions.

The second axis was a Task / People spectrum.  One end was for people who focused more on tasks, while the other end was for those who were focusing more on people.

When Marston did a perpendicular overlay of these two spectra, he noticed each quadrant had a predominant behavioral characteristic.

In the quadrant for those are task-focused and more bold, Marston observed their predominate characteristic was Dominating problems.  Whenever these people were faced with a problem, they wanted to solve it right away – in other words, dominate the problem.

What does DISC measureFor those who are more outgoing but focused more on people, Marston observed their predominant characteristic to be Influencing People. If they had an opinion about something, they wanted to share it.

For those who focused more on people but were more reserved and took their time with risky decisions, he found their predominant characteristic to be a Steady Pace. They didn’t like a lot of change, and were a stabilizing factor on teams. They were steady.

And, for those preferred taking time with risky decisions but focused more on tasks, their predominant characteristic was Complying with procedures.  They wanted to understand and follow the rules.

With this, Marston created the Acrostic DISCDominate problems, Influence people, maintain a Steady pace, and Comply with procedures.

And that’s why we call it DISC. So in the future, if someone ever asks you, “What does DISC measure?” you can answer with confidence.

By the way, it helps to remember the alliteration of Problems, People, Pace, and Procedures. Then just fill in the DISC words as you go.

Finally, you should know that there’s no “good” or “bad” in DISC.  Your preferred style can be more effective or less effective in given situations, but there’s no good/bad.  Your DISC preferences is just that – the way you are wired and prefer to behave in the face of problems, people, pace, and procedures.

NOTE:  Daniel Bobinski is certified in DISC and has been teaching it for nearly 30 years. If you would like to get DISC Assessments or DISC training for yourself or for your team, just contact us at  

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