Debbie Giles, co-owner and co-founder of Intesi! Resources, was recently interviewed by Kristin Muller-Wenzel of London Global Consultants for her publication HR Psychos. Here is a reprint of that interview.
Personality Assessments in Business with the DiSC Profile
An Interview with Debbie Giles
Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Intesi! Resources Debbie Giles is a Certified DiSC Trainer with over 30 years of experience in business management, human resource and management training. In our interview she is talking about her work and experiences with personality assessment tests in the last years.
Which method for personality assessments do you use in general and why?
We sell, support, and train using DiSC Profiles by Wiley (formerly Inscape Publishing) who created the original DiSC assessment and continues to lead the way in DiSC innovation. We are an Everything DiSC Authorized Partner and rank in the top 1% of all 1,800 partners worldwide. DiSC is a powerful tool that is easy to understand and simplifies the complexity of human behavior. DiSC assessments are not designed to provide clinical insights into people’s psyches. They are designed to be self-scored and self-interpreted because the individual is regarded as the expert on themselves. You do not have to be a trained psychologist to use DiSC. It is accessible to anyone who has the desire to learn more about themselves and others using words found in everyday language.
How long have you been working with the DiSC method?
We have worked with these assessments for 10 years, through three generations of the DiSC profile in both the paper and digital format.
The first generation DiSC Profile, initially called the Personal Profile System and now DiSC Classic, is the paper booklet version; the second generation is the online DiSC Classic product family providing a comprehensive, personalized narrative in a line-graph format showing scores on four scales of D-i-S-C; and the third generation DiSC Profile is the Everything DiSC product family which offers application layers of the DiSC Model that help participants immediately see the relevance of DiSC to their profession.
The Everything DiSC assessments incorporate adaptive testing to give clients the most precise personality style assignment possible. Adaptive Testing (AT) is an interactive assessment process that tailors questions to the participant. The AT process is more aligned with the standards of the psychological community. Two assessments in the psychological community, NEO PI-R™ and 16PF® were used to establish construct validity of the Everything DiSC AT assessments.
Have you tried out other tests before and what experiences have you with these?
Yes, but we found DiSC to be the most accurate and easy to use for our customers.
Some, like MBTI, are not designed to be as easily self-interpreted, intuitive and relevant as the DiSC Profile. One of the most powerful aspects of circular DiSC map is that it allows us to show the relationship between two people in a straightforward, visual manner. DiSC is a “needs” decoder–making our needs more obvious and showing us how to work more effectively with others to be more productive and satisfied. It is a tool to help us understand where other people are coming from and give us a way to quickly understand the needs and priorities of the people around us. Using DiSC as a guide, you will have a better sense of when and why adapting is so crucial to not only your success, but everyone in your workplace.
Who are your clients, in general, and why do they look for?
We support a full spectrum of clients from small business owners, independent trainers/coaches, Fortune 100 companies, federal and local government agencies to many individuals who simply want to learn more about themselves.
Many of individuals that work with us are in college thinking about how their unique strengths may be applied to the chosen profession or those that are seeking employment.
But the majority of our clients are small to medium size companies who are concerned about enhancing their hiring process to better understand their candidates. We also work with large companies and government who use the profiles and facilitation kits to conduct training sessions and workshops.
In which way does the DiSC Profile provide feedback and what can individuals and companies do with it?
The DISC program provides a framework that participants can use as their behavioral mirror. It introduces them to the DISC model of human nature and clearly outlines some of the important ways in which people are unique. The program explores the different filters that people use to interpret others’ behaviors and helps participants use feedback to build a concrete action plan for stronger relationships.
A team can be more effective and engaged when each member knows how to get what he or she needs out of the process. DiSC helps participants pinpoint the things that drive their success on a team and learn to appreciate the role that their environment has on their motivation. Team members discover how to capitalize on their particular motivators in a way that makes the entire team more energized, dynamic, and successful. Too frequently teams find that differences can also cause confusion, stagnation, or frustration. Only when people have a framework to make sense of their differences can they learn what to expect from others and the best way to get what the team needs. DISC provides that framework to address three of the most common challenges that teams face: motivation, conflict, and communication.
You said that the interpretation of the DiSC Profile is easy and self-interpreting, but does it sometimes happen that clients want a more detailed explanation?
When a client completes an online profile, their report is automatically generated in a personalized, narrative easy to read format. The results are written to be self-interpreted. Occasionally a client will request clarification.
What do you, as an expert, think is the best way to proceed after a test?
There are several follow-up reports that make the learning stick. Comparison Reports are follow-up reports that can be created for any two participants to illustrate their similarities and differences. The Comparison Report helps to build better relationships by improving communication and efficiency, while reducing tension and misunderstanding. Everything DiSC Supplement for Facilitators is a valuable tool for any facilitator by providing more detailed assessment data about a respondent’s DiSC style including unexpected items and work well in a one-on-one coaching session.
How do companies proceed after they have the test results? Do they talk openly about them in the team? Or do they keep the results private?
Organizations routinely use DiSC to train employees, teams, leaders, managers, and salespeople. Many workshop and training sessions are conducted to provide clarification to the reports and lead participants through activities that provide deeper insights into their results. Once individual participants have completed their reports, group reports are frequently generated based on the data in the individual reports. The group reports provide data about the diversity of interpersonal styles in the group and a behavioral cultural overview to the facilitator or manager so they can work more effectively with the group.
Group culture has a large impact on the behavior, attitudes, and satisfaction of each group member. Those who fit the culture feel right at home in the group. But for others, the culture leads them to feel uncomfortable and frequently frustrated. Although not every participant agrees with or flows with the culture, most group members feel the pressure that a culture exerts to act in a certain way.
DiSC does not address all the elements of culture, but helps group members understand many important priorities, needs, goals, fears, emotions and behaviors within the culture. The real organizational benefits happen when DiSC becomes part of an organizational culture—where people have open dialogue about their priorities and preferences, using DiSC as a springboard for discussion. This dialogue is an opportunity to learn more about a person’s style, and then to figure out ways to adapt to their needs.
What is the general reaction to the test results? Does it happen that people change or have to change their career path?
The DiSC Profile does not precisely determine job fit, job fitness, or success, and it does not measure a specific skill, aptitude, or factor specific to the position. DISC instead describes one’s work behavior patterns, “style” or “type.” DiSC gives insight into your behavior as well as the behavior of others.
For years, DiSC has been used to help people recognize the occasional need to adapt their style to the people or situations around them. The Everything DiSC circular model uses shading to help participants understand the areas on the DiSC map where they might have difficulty stretching beyond their natural tendencies.
Those participants that have negative reactions to the results are few and far between.
While most people often have a different image of themselves than how they are seen by others, how big is the gap between test results and self-assessment?
The Everything DiSC Assessment asks participants to respond to statements on a five-point ordered response scale, indicating how much they agree with each statement. Because the Everything DiSC assessment is electronically scored, the computerized scoring algorithm automatically adjusts for the social desirability of responses. Thus the participants are left with more freedom to answer the questions in a way that truly describes them. Adaptive testing, an interactive assessment process that tailors questions based on an individual’s responses, was added to the Everything DiSC Assessments to assign participants’ DiSC styles more precisely than ever. The adaptive testing technology tailors questions to the individual. People who respond inconsistently to any given set of statements will be asked to respond to more statements; or if their responses show that they have two equally strong styles, more questions will be given to determine if one style is stronger than the other.
How often does it happen that clients try to give a better picture of themselves and be the “best” in the test? Do you have experience with dishonesty, just to make sure that they leave a good expression on their employers?
We stress that they need to be honest in order to get the most accurate results. This is not a “pass” or “fail” test.
Does it happen that people do the test more than once and get another result?
Various personal factors such as mood, energy level, health, mental state and distractibility must be considered because they all influence how a person responds to the questions.
Debbi, thank you a lot for your answers and the insights you gave our readers into the DiSC personality assessment.For more information and an own assessment please visit the Home Page of Intesi! Resources http://www.intesiresources.com/.