Extended DISC® FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions about the Extended DISC Personal Analysis Report.

What reading level is the Personal Analysis questionnaire is designed for?
Assuming a person has had a normal, proper schooling, he/she should be able to respond to the questionnaire at the age of 15 (it's been done successfully at the age of nine). However, a more important aspect is the formation of one's personality and self-identity. This definitely pushes the age up to around 18. Therefore, it is not recommended that the questionnaire be used for individuals younger than 18.

What is the theory behind the assumption that the Least answers produce the unconscious self and the Most answers the conscious self?
The interpretation of the Profiles is based on the original DISC theory and the Extended DISC Theory. To fully understand 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 minimise 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 than it is with the Least responses. As a result, the Profile I, which is mostly based on the Most responses, is 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 on the responses not given, and since the calculation logic of the profile is turned around and the Least responses are more difficult to consciously rationalise, it has been found in empirical studies that the interpretation of the Profile II is closest to the unconscious self (sometimes called natural or pressure behaviour).

Why does the Extended DISC Personal Analysis measure more unconscious behaviour than the other DISC based tools?
Unconscious behaviour describes the most natural style of a person’s behaviour. It requires the least energy, is the least stressful, and allows the person to behave most effectively in a longer period of time. Measuring unconscious behaviour is more difficult than conscious behavior. It may also require more time to work with the results.

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) do not always create accurate results (Profile). The key is to have a system that identifies when the results are accurate and when they are 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 been able to establish a certain answering pattern, which is the same in both subquestions and which he/she has been able to follow consistently throughout the questionnaire. The result you can see in the shapes, size and position of the two Profiles.

How can you be sure that the behaviours that are analysed from the questionnaires are accurately determined? Since the research findings are from European and American subjects, how can they represent for example, Asians? What back up data can you provide?
The process for using the Extended DISC Personal Analysis is divided into steps. Step 1 is the theoretical framework behind the system. This requires deep understanding of the theory and how the system works. Knowledge of the theory is important for the end user to be able to understand what the tool can do and what it cannot 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 specific environment. This part requires the understanding 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 other words, one needs to understand what the tool is based on but not how it specifically produces the results. Again, you need to understand the environment where the results are being applied. If someone gets a D profile, it means that the person prefers a D response/behaviour. But what does it mean in Thailand for example? This is something the tool cannot determine. The results only indicate that compared to the other Thai people this person is more D-style. It is then up to those who understand the culture of Thailand to determine what exactly D-style means.

The key is that in the questionnaire we can find those stimuli (words) that cause the desired style of person to respond in a desired way. The purpose of the questionnaire is to find out how this person compares to other people within the same culture. Translating the questionnaire is therefore the key issue; it cannot 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 behavioural traits.

Regarding the questionnaire, how can only 24 items generate so much information for the Personal Analysis report?
The 24 questions do not create the content of the report; they only create the Profiles. The content of the report is based on the Profiles. Since people's behaviour is predictable, once we identify the style we can predict the person's behaviour in different situations.

Questionnaire respondents sometimes find the word pairing contradictory. One of the words may describe them the most, but then the second word describes them the least. Hence, they are unsure how to select. How should we best instruct the respondents to answer the questionnaire?
The primary 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 option that describes you best and the option 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 it could not anymore measure the subconscious behaviour.

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?
The Questionnaire asks 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 the possibility of stablishing a systematic answering pattern. The other issue is that we do not control our behaviour fully in the work environment (as we do in our home environment). This contrast forces us to think and analyse ourselves more and makes it, therefore, easier for us to establish the answering pattern.

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 about 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 a major personal stress, there is a good chance that the Profile has changed.

We need to remember that the idea is not that the Profile has to stay the same over 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 a change in the Profile and a temporary adjustment.

A rule of thumb is 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 have internal resemblance that is greater than external (i.e. they resemble each other more than combinations outside the group).

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 behaviour.

To help the Extended DISC user utilise the Profiles, a classification system with different levels of deepness has been created:

Level Differentiating Feature No. of Combinations
1 Dominating Character (example I) 4
2 Letter Cominations (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, Level 1 is often deep enough. In applied training (like sales training) Level 2 is often appropriate. In that case, every 40th person on average gets the same result (Profile combination).

The Diamond is similarly divided in levels:

Level Differentiating No. of Cominations
1 Dominant Character (example I) 4
2 Characters above the Middle Line (different 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 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 it is unlikely that the text will be exactly the same, unless they belong to a very rare class where the text bank for that class is smaller.

Motivators Page classification is also based on the Diamond Level 4.

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 behaviour, but in the relationship to their current environments.