By Aspen Grant, Growth Coach & Managing Partner
Many of us have heard of the DISC assessment; the behavior assessment tool that helps to improve teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace.
But have you ever used it to help navigate your personal life?
DiSC is an acronym that stands for the four main personality profiles of its model:
If you’ve been able to take a DISC assessment you may know how helpful they can be, but have you ever thought about using one for your marriage? And how about when you work with your spouse...as many entrepreneurs do or will do in some capacity. In that case, we’re talking about doubling down on making for better communication and a better relationship.
DISC At The Workplace
The first time I had ever heard of the DISC assessment was at a department wide training workshop at a company I worked for many years ago. When it came time for the DISC part of the workshop all non people managers were asked to leave, that was me. I left but later kept hearing all my manager co-workers talking about their results and enjoying their findings and how they could now use them at work. I felt like I had missed out and was disappointed that I hadn’t gotten to participate.
Fast forward years later, I’m running HR for a tech company that my husband owns and the DISC comes up again. This time it had become part of our hiring process and something that all employees at the company would experience, use, and have ongoing workshops on. The insights gained about my natural as well as my work behaviors and communication style was enlightening and confirming to say the least.
DISC At Home
What was even more enlightening was learning about everyone else's in the company, especially my husband. Many of the behaviors in my husband and myself for that matter, that I would judge or be frustrated with, I was now able to understand and not take so personally. Immediately, my husband and I had this new information and language we could use to better communicate with each other.
Let me explain what it did for us. First of all, we found that we were 100% polar opposites. He was high in D and I and low in S and C and me the complete opposite. What does this mean?
DISC AT a high level:
Everyone is a mixture of each style, but most people tend to fall into one or two main DiSC style quadrants. Much more can be found on the tendencies of each of these profiles by googling but this gives you a little context.
At Home - Before & After DISC
Here’s how typical communications would go with my husband and I before taking the DISC. Let’s say I wanted to purchase something for the house, I would share with him all the reasons why we should purchase it or have it. He would get frustrated and impatient with me because to him I wasn’t getting to the point of just telling him what it was I wanted. His frustration and impatience made me annoyed and I felt disrespected and hurt. At times I’d also think he was being rude, when he would signal for me to get to the point.
I also couldn’t help but judge him and think he was being irresponsible in wanting to make a decision without the background information or all the details. I was essentially communicating to him the information that I would have wanted in order to make a decision. I had no clue that he didn’t care or need any of that information to make the decision. All he wanted to know was the what, in order to get to the bottom line result and possibly the who, for who would be involved. He only wanted to know what I wanted to buy, not even how much it was or when it would arrive, just the what. It dumbfounded me.
With this tool and ability to put words to our different styles we began to communicate much better and be way less hurt and/or frustrated. I’ve learned to be more direct and tell him the “what” and then wait to see if he wants any further information. He’s gotten much better at telling me why he wants to do something. Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t come natural to either one of us and we’re not perfect about it, but I have gotten much better and am able to catch myself much more quickly. When I can’t help myself and I just need to get deep into the how’s and why’s of something, I just jokingly say, “sorry, it’s the High C or High S in me”. Understanding this about one another has made it so we don’t take it so personally anymore and we have more patience and understanding for each other.
It takes constant awareness and let’s face it, none of us are constantly aware but like anything, with practice, it becomes easier, more natural and more consistent. I may never act or decide on things as quickly as he does but I certainly have learned to value that trait in him. When I look back, there’s been way more wins than losses in our life because of that one trait. He’s never going to put the level of thought and research into many of the areas in our life that I do. He knows that he can feel good that they’ve been well thought out and we’re making a safe bet on key things like finances, our kids, insurance and more.
Free or Paid DISC Assessment?
There are many sites that offer free disc assessments as well as organizations that offer a full report for a fee. At our company we paid for a report that was specific to certain roles in our organization, i.e. sales, people management, leadership, etc.
For the purposes of this and being able to have a tool that helps you understand yourself and your spouse or partner and to communicate with them better, the free ones are a great way to get started. I hope this can be as transformative for you as it has been for me.