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Why are there so many terminologies for DISC?

I have already mentioned how popular the DISC test can be among the entire universe of tests available today. This popularity is mainly due to its simplicity and effectiveness, which I have already expanded on in a previous article. It is no surprise that it is so popular and widely used in the professional world as a source of information regarding the style of the person with whom you interact or may interact in the future. In other words, it is widely used in recruiting people and in workshops on improving teamwork.

Since Marston’s theories have been in the public domain for years, several companies have been offering tests using the DISC theory as a basis. They prefer to use different terminology than the traditional one (i.e., Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness), changing it for objects derived from a particular theme.

Some examples I have come across are animals, colors (in fact, there are different color combinations), ancient cultures, natural elements, etc. Nevertheless, some companies do use the DISC nomenclature. The preference for one or the other will depend on each coach, consultant or professional.

In all cases, the base is the same. Four different styles of personality complement each other. Ultimately, it is not vitally important to understand the names or terminology each company uses; instead, it is about understanding the rationale behind it. That is, the characteristics of each style and how one should communicate with each one.

What is important to highlight is that terminology allows a group of people, such as a company or organization, to standardize a common language. I know many examples of companies that contracted the services of a consultancy, which suggested that all members take a DISC test and then explain the four names by which they identify the four DISC styles and the characteristics of each one. In this way, the whole group can speak the same language. It is not necessary to refer to an individual as “dominant”. They could refer to him or her as “red” or “fire”. What matters is that you understand the person’s main characteristics.

I have verified how easy it is to adopt one of these terminologies and to start using it daily. Over time, replacing the name of the four DISC styles becomes natural. I have even argued with individuals who insisted they followed the correct or the most appropriate terminology. By the way, most of them were not even aware of the existence of the DISC theory. Fun discussions either way!

We must be careful and remember that our terminology might differ from what others use. Two people might have probably taken a DISC test, and both know that their predominant style is “Dominant”, but one refers to this style as red and the other as white. They may think they are different simply because they were taught that way.

Again, the important thing is to understand the characteristics of each style. The name is only to facilitate communication and understanding.

If you want to learn more about DISC, I recommend reading other articles on my blog. If, on the other hand, you are interested in knowing your DISC style, contact me via the website to schedule a meeting.

Alexander Martinez

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