Do you REALLY communicate with Customers?

Written on the 22 July 2014 by Clyde Colson, Extended DISC Australasia

Do you REALLY communicate with Customers?

We all face situations daily when our typical approach – or style - that often works well, just does not achieve the results we are aiming for. Our approach makes perfect sense to us, but the others do not appear to “get it”. We may try different approaches, but the process is hit or miss. It is frustrating and unproductive. What causes all these problems?

The reality is that as human beings we are all different. We have our own ways of doing things and behaving in different situations. These differences often cause challenges in our professional and personal lives. The important thing is that we need to understand how we are different and how we can more effectively interact with different styles and, therefore, ultimately improve our performance.

Many of the world’s most successful organisations promote and use an assessment system known as Extended DISC to enable their team to understand how to interact with people and to help them motivate and manage people more effectively. It is a tool designed for observing and analysing behavior – not analysing an individual’s personality. The model does not classify people as good or bad nor does it measure intelligence, knowledge or skills, because no behavioral style is better or worse than the other. They are just simply different, and the identification of a person’s natural behavioral style is paramount to ensure effective communication.

What is a Personal Assessment System?

There are a raft of systems promoted in Australia and New Zealand and many of these are based on the DISC theory which was developed in the 1920s by Carl Jung. Jung described people based on four characteristics: Dominance (D), Intuition (I), Steadiness (S) and Compliance (C).

The varying degree to which people exhibited these characteristics was plotted on two axes. The further to the left of the axes a profile was, the more this indicated use of all five senses. Such an individual could be classified as more thoughtful, reasoning, thorough and considered, requiring proof and needing to be persuaded. The more to the right the profile was, the more this showed a person who wants to progress quickly, for whom variety and change are important and to who risk taking is more natural.

The work of Jung was further developed by William Moulton-Marston in the 1940s and 1950s. He defined a four dimensional behavioral map and as a result the four quadrant thinking of human behavior was developed. It is still popular and is used in management, sales and leadership training techniques. A few variations of the theory are still promoted that use, for example, eight or sixteen categories of behavioral styles. The over-simplification of behavior and its classifications have proven to be a weakness of these systems.

In the 1990s, a comprehensive “customer driven” tool set was developed in Finland, which is used in all human resource activities and not only on individual, but also at team and organisational levels. This system, known as Extended DISC, has been proven internationally, is used in over 40 countries and is available in 50 languages, an important factor considering the number of people in Australasia who do not have English as their original language.

Do you truly understand yourself?

We have all made ourselves what we are. Carl G Jung said “your personality is earned - you have not received it as a gift”. Already in our childhood our parents, relatives and friends have “done their best” to help us form our personalities. We have, however, psychologically made all the decisions concerning the formation of our personalities by ourselves. Most of these decisions have been made in our subconscious mind without us actually ever realising it. This is the reason why we are not always aware of the whole potential of our personality.

Extended DISC analyses help people in that long and fascinating journey to your inner self. We all have the ability to make ourselves better human beings by understanding ourselves better and by identifying the strengths and weaknesses in our personalities, by accepting their existence and by finding ways to utilise our personalities better.

The fact is that you need to know your own natural behavioral style and understand other people’s styles to effectively communicate with them.

How do I determine my natural behavioral style?

An Extended DISC Personal Analysis Report is based on a questionnaire, which is completed in around ten minutes. The answers are computer analysed and a personal profile report of up to 50 plus pages is produced within minutes. There are several methods of obtaining the report but perhaps the most popular method is for the questionnaire to be completed on-line, submitted to the server and the resulting report e-mailed back in PDF format within ten minutes. (This is very useful in recruitment as the report is available to discuss with the candidate at the initial interview).

The report explains in a clear, concise, and easy to read format with text and graphics the natural behavioral style of the person completing the questionnaire. An important and unique feature of the Extended DISC Personal Analysis Report is that it is based on the unconscious and allows the comparison of a person’s conscious behavioral style to a person’s unconscious behavioral style.

This is a very powerful feature as it means that the report does not only tell us what we already know about someone, or what someone knows about himself or herself, but it allows one to assess if a person is comfortable in their work role, whether a person is under some pressure, whether a person feels insecure, is frustrated or feels the need to adjust to a role outside their normal comfort zone.

How does this help me understand others?

Because Extended DISC identifies the behavioral style that takes the least energy and effort, requires the least concentration, and is the most pleasant for you, it illustrates the mode that you normally use to react and is most frequently exhibit outwardly in your behavior. Armed with this knowledge, you can modify your behavior to fit the needs of a particular situation or individual(s).

The Extended DISC Personal Analysis Report uses key words to describe different behavioral styles and helps you understand why some people are more difficult for you to communicate with than others. It also explains how to identify different behavioral traits in other individuals and how we should address and respond to them once we know their natural behavioral style.


Effective communication is a fundamental requirement in selling, be it a product or yourself. Generally speaking, a person will buy from you because they feel comfortable with you. If you cannot demonstrate that you understand them and adjust to their way of doing things, you have an uphill battle in convincing them that they should deal with you.

Extended DISC has a number of tools that help you through this process, however, the Extended DISC Personal Profile Report is the basis of the system, and provides an excellent starting point in understanding people.

How do I get my own Extended DISC Report?

You can begin right now.


Author: Clyde Colson, Extended DISC Australasia

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