The History of DISC
DISC Theory was first proposed in 1928 by Harvard Psychologist, Dr. William Moulton Marston. In addition to DISC, Dr. Marston is famous for two other inventions, as well. He also created both the first lie detector and the world’s most famous superheroine — Wonder Woman. After Dr. Marston’s death, industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke created the first DISC assessment for businesses to use in the hiring process.
Nearly one hundred years later, DISC continues to help to individuals and teams grow and thrive. Businesses use DISC assessments to retain top talent, improve productivity, and drive sales. Additionally, people all over the world use the DISC model to improve self-esteem and communication skills, though it may be branded with some other label.
I learned about DISC Theory from superheroes. Well, from Wonder Woman. As I studied her origins, I found Dr. Marston’s theories fascinating. And he encoded those theories into his comic books! By studying those stories, I absorbed the DISC model, and it became my lens for viewing the world.
The Meaning of DISC
Originally, DISC was an acronym for Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. Marston considered these the four “primary emotions.” Because the research was publicly funded in part, DISC Theory is in the public domain. Because DISC can’t be trademarked or patented, it is frequently rebranded by companies who want to profit from it. In order to make the model more appealing, Submission has been rebranded as steadiness or support. Inducement has become influence. And Compliance is commitment or conscientiousness. Tellingly, Dominance doesn’t seem to bother business executives driving for results. This vocabulary adjustment makes DISC more sellable, but it also removes some of its power. Marston chose those words carefully and with good reason. I discuss this with clients after they have some facility with DISC.
The Power of DISC
DISC assessments offer a way to explore and expand human potential. In fact, the human potential movement grew out of Marston’s research. The DISC model can be used to learn courage, empathy, and wisdom. It can also reveal hidden talents and connect you to powerful inner resources. So you might think of DISC training as superhero training!
In order to introduce my clients to this transformational tool, I’ve incorporated Everything DiSC assessments. I’ve selected Everything DiSC because of their research-based adaptive testing to deliver the world’s most accurate assessments.
As I mentioned, DISC Theory is part of the foundation of the human potential movement. It has not only stood the test of time, but has been deepened through decades of research. It is a powerful to for personal and cultural transformation. It’s easy and fun to learn and implement. If you’re ready to dive deeper into DISC assessment and coaching, please contact me to discuss.