Extended DISC Personal Analysis - Frequently Asked Questions

Written on the 10 November 2010 by nn Andrews CSP

Extended DISC Personal Analysis - Frequently Asked Questions

The interpretation of the Profiles is based on the original DISC Theories and the Extended DISC Theory. To understand fully the role of the different questions in forming the profiles would require understanding of the calculation rules for the Profiles.

Although it is important to minimize the response time, the responses given are still mostly based on conscious thinking and analysis. It is clearly easier with the Most responses for a person to adjust the responses in a direction he/she wants to adjust them as it is with the Least responses. Having this assumption makes the Profile I, which is mostly based on the Most responses, not a valid measure of one's unconscious self but a measure of one's conscious self - or to be more precise, one's conscious adjustment of the unconscious self.

However, since interpretation of Profile II is not based on the responses given but the responses not given, and since the calculation logic of the profile is turned around, and since the Least responses are more difficult to consciously rationalize, it has been found in empirical studies that the interpretation of the Profile II is closest to the unconscious self (some call it natural or pressure behavior).

"Why is Extended DISC Personal Analysis measuring more unconscious behavior than other DISC based tools?"

Unconscious behavior describes the most natural style for a person to behave. It requires least energy, is least stressful and allows to person to behave most effectively in a longer period of time.

Measuring unconscious behavior is more difficult than conscious behavior. It may also require a person more time to work with the results. The techniques used to achieve this relate to the number of choices in each question, the choice of words and their interrelationship in each choice and the calculation logic behind the questionnaire.

"How can you be sure that the behaviors that are analyzed from the questionnaires are accurately determined? Since the research findings are from European and American subjects, how can they represent Asians?"

The process for using the Extended DISC Personal Analysis is divided in steps.

Step 1 is the theoretical framework behind the system. This requires deep understanding of the theory and logics how the system works. Being aware of the theory is important for the end user also to be able to understand what the tool can do and what it can not do. Understanding the technical logic behind the tool is not necessary.

Step 2 is the process of collecting the information and creating the Profiles and the report. This is purely statistical and mathematical and is totally culture- free.

Step 3 is the application of the information in some environment. This part requires the understand ing of the tool theory and especially the understanding of the context where the information is to be applied. This part is totally culture bound and requires understanding of the culture.

In simple words, you need to understand what the tool is based on but not how it produces the results.

Again, you need to understand the environment where the results are to be applied. If someone gets a D profile, it means that the person prefers a D response/behavior. But what does it mean in Thailand? This is something the tool doesn't know; it only knows that compared to other Thai people this person is more D. It is then up to those who understand the culture to know what does D exactly mean in Thailand.

The key is that in the questionnaire we can find those stimuli (words) that cause the desired type of person to respond in a desired way. The purpose of the questionnaire is find out how this person is compared to other people within the same culture. Translating the questionnaire is therefore the key issue; it can not always be a direct translation of another language.

The validation study is a process where we check if the tool can identify within this culture the different behavioral traits.

"Should Extended DISC Personal Analysis be used in recruitment since it is not measuring a person's whole personality?"

First of all, I need to align with your statement that Extended DISC Personal Analysis does not measure an individual's whole personality; that is not even its intention. When measuring the whole personality we need to incorporate several instruments (you can find most of them within the Extended DISC System) together with interviews and background information, at minimum.

Extended DISC Personal Analysis measures an important part of our personality; our natural way of responding to external stimuli, i.e., how we show our feelings and emotions to outer world. In every day language that is usually described as our natural behavioral style. The reason Extended DISC Personal Analysis is useful in recruitments is manifold.

It helps the interviewer to get into deeper level much faster than without it. It works as a shortcut to understanding the individual. In the recruitment decision itself it helps us in identifying what are the potential areas where the person will feel more and less comfortable with. And in after-recruitment phase it gives us supporting information on how we could best manage the person to keep both his motivation and performance levels at maximum.

Extended DISC Personal Analysis should never be the sole criterion in decision making when recruiting a person. But, in our opinion, the recruitment process would be clearly less efficient without it. In designing assessment tools, the key is not the collection of the information; there are statistically proven methods available for that. The key is really how to identify if the result is valid or not. The Extended DISC System has, as far as we know, the most strict control system for identifying invalid results. We also are the only company in the business actually doing annual validity check- up for all the languages of regions where we operate.

There is, however, always the area where the results are questionable and it remains up to the consultant within the interview to exercise caution when applying the results. There are instructions for consultants available on how to identify these results with less validity than what should be expected.

"What theory is the Extended DISC System based on?"

Extended DISC System is not based on one theory alone, but the original Jungian theory on human behavior forms the bases to the DISC theory and all instruments based on it. In addition, when developing the system several other models and theories, like the Katzenbach & Smith concept of high-perfoming team, the wave-curve model (Sappinen) on cultural adaptation and the Hofstede model of cultural dimensions, have been utilized.

 Extended DISC Personal Analysis Questionnaire related questions

"What is the grade reading level our questionnaire is designed for?"

Its probably very much culture and society related. Assuming a person has had a normal proper schooling, he/she should be able to cope with the questionnaire at the age of 14-15 (it's been done successfully at the age of 9).

However, the more important aspect is the formation of one's personality and self-identity, which definitely pushes the age up to around 18. Therefore, we don't recommend the questionnaire for people younger than 18.

"Questionnaire respondents sometime find the word pairing contradictory. One of the words may describe them most, but then the second word describes them least. Hence, they are unsure how to select. How should we best instruct the respondents how to go about answering the questionnaire?"

The purpose of the questionnaire is not to make it easy for the people to respond to it. The only advice we can give is that it is supposed to be difficult and you just have to select the row that describes you best and the row that describes you least. Anything else would make us part of the answering process, which should not be the case. The key is that they compare the rows, not the words. If the questions were easy (like most Disc based tools have), it would be easy to adjust your answers to the direction you want and you couldn't anymore measure the subconscious behavior.

"When answering the questions, why do we have to imagine ourselves at work? Actually, we don't show our true selves at work because we need to conform to the work environment. In order to get the correct analysis, shouldn't we imagine ourselves outside work?"

We are asked to imagine ourselves at work because it is important that we concentrate on something when answering. The worst option is that we start thinking of ourselves at work in question 1, at home in Q2, with friends in Q3 etc. This will definitely ruin our possibility of establishing a systematic answering pattern. The other issue is that we do not control our behavior fully in the work environment (as we do in our home environment). This contrast forces us to think and analyze ourselves more and makes it, therefore, easier for us to establish the answering pattern.

"Regarding the questionnaire, how can only 24 items generate so much contents for the Personal Analysis report?"

The 24 questions don't create the content of the report; they only create the Profiles. The content of the report is then based on the Profiles. Since we have learned that people's behavior is predictable, once we identify the type we can predict the person's behavior in different situations.

"How can you be so sure that these 24 items will generate the accurate information needed for the analysis?"

The 24 questions (actually 48 questions) don't always create accurate result (Profile). The key is to have a system that identifies when the results are accurate and when not. The method is purely statistical; we have actually one question (including two sub questions) that is then repeated 24 times. The key is to identify if the person has managed to establish a certain answering pattern, which is the same in both the sub questions and which he/she has been able to follow throughout the questionnaire. The result you can see in the shapes, size and position of the two Profiles.

"How accurate are Personal Analysis results if a person completes the questionnaire again after a few months?"

If the person's life environment has remained much the same without any major crises, the forecast is that the results will not change much.

However, if the environment has changed or if the person has undergone major personal stress, there is a good chance that the Profile has changed.

We need to remember that the idea is not the Profile has to stay the same in time; people need to have skill to adjust to the environment and, within time, this adjustment is certainly reflected in the Profile as a shift to some direction.

Another issue is to make a difference between change in the Profile and a temporary adjustment. A rule of thumb could be that if the basic shape of the Profile changes from one of the 6 main profile types to another, the Profile has changed.

"Why do two people get the same (or almost the same report) although they have answered differently in the questionnaire?"

In the questionnaire, there are 12 possible combinations in each question. Since there are 24 questions (with 12 possible combinations in each) the total number of possible ways to answer the questionnaire is 79 496 847 203 390 800 000 000 000! Managing that many different combinations would be both totally impossible and meaningless. Hence, the number of combinations has been reduced into combinations that internal resemblance is greater than external (they resemble themselves more combinations outside the group). More on that little later.

Note! There is no interpretational information in the individual answers. The answer can only be used for the next step in the process. Answers of two or more individuals can not be compared to one another.

Calculating the Profiles and the Diamond

The process for calculating the Profiles is a combination of straight-forward mathematical equations that reduce the number of combinations to 11 753 582 400. Managing that many different Profiles would still be impossible and the differences in the Profiles would not represent significant differences in the individuals' actual behavior. To help the Extended DISC user to use the Profiles a classification system with different levels of deepness has been created:

Level Differentiating Feature No. of Combinations

1 Dominant Character (example: I) 4
2 Letter Combinations (example: ISC) 40
3 Upper Percentages (example: 0-50-30-20) 800
4 Lower Percentages (example: 100-0-0-0) n/a

The different levels are used for different purposes. In general training to the system, Leve l 1 is often deep enough. In applied training (like sales training) Level 2 is often appropriate. In that case every 40th person on average get the same result (Profile combination). The Diamond is similarly divided in levels:

Level Differentiating Feature No. of Combinations
1 Dominant Character (example: I) 4
2 Characters above the Middle Line (differnt layers in the Diamond) 4
3 Letter Combinations (example: ISC) 40
4 Advanced Letter Combinations 160

Generating the Report

To generate the different pages of the report, different combinations are used. Text Page uses the Level 4 in the Diamond to classify the results.

For each combination there is a separate text bank from which the actual report is generated. The text bank enables 228 383 696 totally different Text Pages to be generated. (Note! Our competition at best can create about 200 different texts). It is possible for two people belonging to the same Diamond Level 4 class to have partly the same text but unlikely to have exactly the same text, unless they belong to a very rare class where the text bank for that class is smaller.

Motivators Page is also based on the Diamond Level 4 classification. The Graphical Page and the Additional Pages are based on the Profiles Level 3 classification. The Flexibility Zones is based on the Diamond Level 4.

Profiles II and I

Since Profile II measures more closely the individual's natural self (unconscious behavior) and Profile I the response to the impulses from the environment, it is natural that the report is generated based on Profile II. Differences in Profile I do not reflect differences in the individuals' natural behavior but in the relationship to their current environments. The Advanced Mode options allows for printing some information about Profile I (Present Situation).

"How does one answer in the questionnaire influence the bars in graphical and Additional Page?"

One answer does not directly influence anything but the Profiles. The Profiles are the first and primary result of the calculation formula behind the questionnaire. All the rest of the report is based on the shape, size and position of the two Profiles.

The shape of the Profile defines the place in the Diamond and the Percentages. Those are used for selecting the text and calculating the bars on different pages.

The important feature behind the reliability of the Extended DISC Personal Analysis is that it is not possible to influence the results by changing one single answer, the respondent needs to change the complete answering pattern to have any major influence on the results on different pages of the report.

Extended DISC Profile and Diamond related questions

"Do you have any experience why a person would get a Mirror Profile twice?"

Basically, if someone does it twice, I have not heard of any extra reason it might be caused for. Things that I could think of (as possible causes) are:

  • person has a totally wrong perception of oneself
  • person is trying to (consciously or unconsciously) cheat the system
  • person has a strong belief and understanding of what is required from him (by the current
  • environment), and feels it being totally opposite to what he is (in this case, Profile II would
  • be valid)
  • person is currently undergoing a stage in his life that makes it not possible to have a stable
  • self image
  • person has somehow misunderstood the instructions

"What's the main advantage of the Diamond?"

The Diamond is an excellent platform to view the results of several (even thousands) of individuals at one glance. It also provides us with an easy way to compare individuals (like within a team) and to identify where our strengths as a team lie. It also works as a quick overview for the team itself to know who is where. It is easy to teach, giving us the possibility to use it in presentations that don't allow time to go through the theory in more detail. It also operates as a connecting link between different tools; it is a platform that can be used on individual, team, department, organizational and even national level. It can be used to describe the unconscious and conscious behavior of an individual. Just to name some of the advantages.

"Is it possible to say anything about a person's energy level in an Extended DISC Profile?"

A person's energy level is more dependent on his/her physical condition, motivation and attitude than behavioral style. Naturally, D and I, being more extroverted styles, show their energy level more visibly to other people. They are said to be more energetic.

There might be a correlation between the size of Profiles and the person's energy level. If both Profiles are tight (or tightesh), it is often a sign of frustration - which typically decreases a person's energy level.


  1.  Extended DISC Diamond is based on the Extended DISC Theory. An explanation of the construct of the Diamond can be found in Extended DISC System Manual.
  2.  Extended DISC Personal Analysis measures the natural response preference to an external stimuli.
  3.  Profile Point is an indication of the position of the particular DISC trait in the Profile template. More information about Profile Points in the Extended DISC System Manual.
  4.  Invalid Profile is a result of the respondent not being able to establish an answering pattern and following it up throughout the answering. More information about Invalid Profiles in Extended DISC Personal Analysis Manual.

About Ann Andrews CSP
Ann Andrews is a specialist in working with high performing teams. An ex work study engineer and initiator of self-managed teams in a manufacturing organisation, Ann is now an international speaker; HR consultant; team facilitator; author and the creator of The Corporate Toolbox. She has written four books and contributed to five others. One of her books Did I Really Employ You? is being translated into Arabic and Russian. Ann is a past National President of NSANZ (National Speakers' Association of NZ) and a CSP (Certified Professional Speaker) one of only 120 women in the world who have achieved this standard of accreditation.

Author:nn Andrews CSP