Friday, October 04, 2013

SOP Friday: DiSC Profiles

I like to tell audiences that "Technicians are From Mars; Receptionists are From Venus." In addition to being mildly amusing, this points out a truth we all know: Techies and fundamentally different from clients.

Technicians tend to be "nerdy" and less social than the average client we serve. Of course that's not true across the board. Sales people have to have certain traits to be successful. Owners and managers tend to have other traits that make them successful.

That's where personality profiles come it.

DiSC Profiles are a popular kind of personality profile. Google "disc profile" and you'll find plenty of information. Basically, DiSC is a tool that helps you understand how people behave based on their personality. It can help you understand how people on your team prefer to be communicated with and motivated.

How Do Companies Use DiSC Profiles?

We use DiSC profiles for two primary purposes. First, we use them to look at prospective employees to help evaluate whether they would be a good fit for the job. Second, we discuss them as a group to learn how to work together.

As an example, let's go back to the technician and the receptionist. Very often the technician will walk into a client's office, say "I'll be at the server," and walk on by. The tech is focused on getting the job done and ticking through a checklist. In the meantime, the receptionist is a lot less analytical. She thinks the tech is rude because he didn't stop, say hello, and chat a bit about what he's there to do.

Some elements of a personality trait affect your job. For example, conscientiousness and attention to detail are very important for a technician. An easy going manner and an ability to influence others are important to sales people. As a result, it can be very useful to look at the personality traits of employees and prospective employees.

DiSC profiles are generally available for about $60-75 each.

When Do Companies Use DiSC Profiles?

Let's say you want to use DiSC profiles in the hiring process. When exactly do you ask a prospect to take the personality profile? After all, you can't ask every applicant to take one.

Some companies narrow the selection down to three prospects and then have those three complete the profile. In such a case, the goal is to use the profile to help make a decision among three people who have all interviewed well and are good candidates.

We like to narrow the choice down to the one candidate we think we want to make an offer to and ask that candidate to take the profile. The goal here is to see how the candidate fits in with the mix of personalities on the team. Since all personality types have strengths and weaknesses, you need to make sure you have a variety of personality types on your team. Where one is weak another is strong.

You certainly don't have to use personality profiles. And if you do, you don't have to use DiSC profiles. But it is certainly worth considering.

If you talk to anyone who has applied for jobs recently, they'll tell you that all the big chains now have online applications that go on for ten or more pages. They ask a variety of questions to determine whether you have the right attitude and temperament for the job. They are using their own kind of personality profile to screen candidates.

While profiles are not a perfect science, they can give you some good insights. It takes some serious training to use them well, especially with teams. But many companies use them for all new hires. In very small companies, you might consider having every employee take a profile. In larger companies, you should at least ask all of the "core team" to complete profiles.

I've been amazed over the years at how many people read their DiSC profile and are amazed at how accurate it is.

If you haven't taken a DiSC profile for yourself, you should. You might find it very enlightening. And you might decide that everyone in your company should follow suit.

Good luck out there.

Comments welcome.

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About this Series

SOP Friday - or Standard Operating System Friday - is a series dedicated to helping small computer consulting firms develop the right processes and procedures to create a successful and profitable consulting business.

Find out more about the series, and view the complete "table of contents" for SOP Friday at

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Next week's topic: Getting Started - The Form of Your Business


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  1. Anonymous2:26 PM

    We have found this to be an invaluable tool, and we use a website that allows us to manage all our disc profile tests. This allows us to go back and look at any test we have given, which is great to go back to after you let an employee go.

    Not sure what everyone else has found but we find the following:

    Type "D" are good managers and lead technicians.
    Type "I" we have found are good sales people.
    Type "S" usually don't make good technicians but would probably be good Marketing people.
    Type "C" are good technicians that do their paperwork and follow procedures.

  2. Thank you, Steven. Do you mind sharing that site?

  3. Anonymous6:55 AM

    Sure, we use

    To get the management you need to get what they call an EPIC account, we started with a starter package and just add EPIC credits as needed.

  4. Yes, that's the same one we use.


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