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When it comes to running a small business, it’s important to understand topics like finance, marketing, product development, culture, hiring, leadership, etc. But something equally as important is understanding your personality profile and how it can help (or hinder) the growth of your business.

Getting to know your own personality is a great way to understand how you can build a supporting cast to help you be even better at the things you need to focus on to drive growth in your business. And one of the best ways to understand your own personality is with a DISC assessment.

DISC stands for Dominance, Influence, Submission, Compliance — 4 distinct personality characteristics that are measured for a person on a scale from low to high. There are combinations of DISC that make for great leaders and of course combinations that don’t.

The good news is, by understanding your own DISC profile you’ll get a better understanding of why you do the things you do, why you like what you like and why you’re good at what you’re good at.

Each characteristic is rated on a scale from 0 to 100 and the scores are combined to characterize your personality profile. For example, the best leaders typically have a moderate to high “D” (dominance) and a high “I” (influence), which are both important traits when leading a team of managers.

Here’s a look at what each of the traits mean. Remember that you can rank low, medium or high for each trait:

  • Dominance: Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.

  • Influence: Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.

  • Submission: Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.

  • Compliance: Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.

So which personality profile are you and how could your personality be holding back your business? First up, you’ll need to actually do the DISC assessment. Tony Robbins has a free DISC profile on his website, which takes just 5 minutes to complete – and you’ll get your assessment straight away. Go here to get started.

After you’ve read your assessment and understand your profile, you can start to see your strengths and weaknesses and think about how you can solve for that. For example, if you lead a team of people but have a low “I” (influence), that’s why you have a hard time convincing people to do what you want them to do. The good news is that influence is something you can learn.

On the flip side, if you have a high “C” (compliance), that’s why you’re so organized, like to use lists and are good at prioritizing. Typically the best sales people have a high “D” (dominance) — “I will do WHATEVER it takes to win that deal!” and a high “I” (influence) — “I can sell ice to eskimos!”, while the best accountants have a high “S” (submission/stability) — “I like the predictability of monthly reports” and a high “C” (compliance/creativity) — “I like using formulas and pivot tables to create financial models”. It’s truly fascinating to understand yourself through the lens of DISC.

There are dozens of DISC combinations that determine how you’re wired and the good news is that once you know your strengths, you can improve and/or hire (or delegate to) people around you to compliment those strengths.

To wrap up, here’s a great presentation explaining each DISC profile,including common traits, their priorities and how best to communicate with people of that specific profile:

Feature image by Dell Inc. via Flickr

Leave a Comment
  • Good Insights Rob.


    I just wanted to let you know that Tony Robbin’s version of DISC and Everything DiSC differ pretty significantly and I haven’t seen any proof about the reliability or validity of Robbin’s short assessment. Research from Wiley, which publishes Everything DiSC, shows that people can be effective leaders no matter what their preferred style. Leaders of every style need to learn to flex into other styles when necessary. Everything DiSC also calculates your style differently than you mention.

    Having said all that, thank you for embedding our slides. We agree that understanding your style and how to work with other styles will make you a better leader. We just recommend using the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders profile.

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