Posted 5 years ago
DISC versus MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) is consistently a question posed by undecided business coaches, corporate trainers and human resources professionals everywhere. Is one of these two behavioral assessments really better or more practical than the other? Does the elder, MBTI (pub. 1943) offer any distinct advantages? Or does psychologist William Moulton Marston’s DISC (pub. 1972), offer its users a leg-up? There’s no better person to ask than Dr. Tony Alessandra. After working with behavioral assessments for almost half-a-century and publishing several dozen books on related topics, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone better qualified. Considered one of North America’s foremost thought leaders on the subject of behavioral assessments, Dr. Alessandra addresses this popular question in-full with this week’s story on Platinum Rules for Success. Enjoy!
by Dr. Tony Alessandra
I am often asked about the difference between DISC versus MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) and if there’s an advantage in using one over the other.
Both DISC and MBTI are assessment tools that provide insight into personality and behavior. Both are widely respected and used by individuals, organizations, institutions, and corporations worldwide. There are, however, a few notable differences between DISC versus MBTI:
(1) The DISC assessment is shorter in length than MBTI (typically 24-30 questions for DISC versus up to 90 questions for most MBTI tests).
(2) MBTI sorts individuals into 16 4-letter types. According to Wikipedia:
(3) DISC focuses primarily on four dominant behavioral types:
(4) MBTI assumes that personality is fixed and unlikely to change, while DISC is more open to the possibility that different situations and environments might bring out different behavioral traits in an individual.
(5) MBTI is largely an indicator of how people think internally. DISC measures how personality translates to external behavior.
Generally speaking, MBTI is a good assessment tool for the individual looking for self-knowledge. MBTI results tend to be very personal and typically reveal a great deal about an individual’s inner self. Although this may sound like an advantage over DISC, this can in fact be a weakness. Because MBTI is so deeply personal and is based on a large amount of revealing data from the extensive MBTI questionnaire, people who take the MBTI may often feel uncomfortable sharing their results with others. This could make MBTI unsuitable or difficult to use in a public environment such as a business, organization, or corporation where team building exercises, corporate retreats, staff training, sales meetings take place.
Also, with 16 different personality types and acronyms that are often confusing, MBTI language often fades from the memory of the casual user very quickly. MBTI test-takers are often unable to retain useful information from their personality profile. DISC, on the other hand, offers all of the advantages of MBTI, but with a more user-friendly interface. The simple acronym “DISC” is easy to remember, and therefore makes a much more lasting impression on users. It’s typical for individuals taking the DISC assessment to remember their results years after taking the initial assessment.
Because the DISC assessment is specific to whatever environment you have in mind when taking the assessment, results tend not to be as intimate or personal as MBTI. It’s easier for individuals taking the DISC assessment to share their results, confident that though the assessment results might reveal their work personality, their private self can remain protected.
Dr. Tony Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having been raised in the housing projects of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, internet entrepreneur, business author, and hall-of-fame keynote speaker. He earned a BBA from Notre Dame, a MBA from the Univ. of Connecticut and his PhD in marketing from Georgia State University (1976).
Known as “Dr. Tony” he’s authored 30+ books and 100+ audio/video programs. He was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame (1985) and Top Sales World’s Hall of Fame (2010). Meetings & Conventions Magazine has called him “one of America’s most electrifying speakers”.
Dr. Tony is also the Founder/CVO of Assessments 24×7. Assessments 24×7 is a global leader of online DISC assessments, delivered from easy-to-use online accounts popular with business coaches and Fortune 500 trainers around the world. Interested in learning more about these customized assessment accounts? Please contact us.