Tools & Training


Extended DISC Personal Management System

Background to the System

The Extended DISC® System is designed to provide users with practical action plans to enhance individual, team and organisational performance. It provides customised and powerful reports on individuals, teams and organisations. However, Extended DISC® is much more than a set of assessment tools. Although assessments have proven to be very beneficial in numerous applications, assessments alone have a limited impact on performance. It is only when the information from the assessments is applied in practice that the value is created.

The Extended DISC® System can be compared to a road map. If we do not know where we are, it is obviously very difficult to reach our destination. However, simply knowing our current location is not much better if we do not have any idea in which direction to proceed. Maps provide us with a frame of reference to make intelligent decisions as to where we need to go. Extended DISC® provides us a framework to help us to make the necessary adjustments at the individual, team and organisational levels to achieve our objectives. The framework is easy to learn, use, and it enhances performance.

Extended DISC® is based on the premise that there are no good or bad people – there are only different people. We all have the opportunity to improve ourselves by learning to recognise our personalities’ strengths and weaknesses, by accepting their existence and by searching for new ways to capitalise on them.

The Extended DISC® System and Theory are based on certain graphical elements that make the different assessments work together. The basic elements are:

  • The Four Quadrant (4Q) Model
  • Extended DISC® Diamond
  • Extended DISC® Profiles
  • Extended DISC® Percentages

Note: The Extended DISC® System is not affiliated with any DISC assessment tools that have been previously available. It is an independent system and is only available through Extended DISC International. The Extended DISC® System is the most advanced behavioural assessment system currently available.

What Is It? – Link to Tool Related Theories

The Extended DISC®-system is based on a psychological theory developed in the 1920′s. Carl G. Jung created the foundations for the theory in his book The Psychological Types (Die Psychologische Typen). His ideas were based on defining two behavioural axis; sensation – intuition and thinking – feeling, and the four main behavioural traits that they composed. The work of Jung was further developed by William Moulton-Marston who defined a four dimensional behavioural map. As a result, the four-quadrant thinking of human behaviour was developed. It is still popular and is used in many management, sales and leadership training techniques. A few variations of the theory also exist that use, for example, eight or sixteen categories of behavioural styles. The over-simplification of behaviour and its classifications have proven to be a weakness of these systems. The original DISC reference framework was developed at the end of the 1940′s and the beginning of the 1950′s to eliminate these problems. It uses regression analysis to separate the combined four basic behavioural styles from each other and makes them into independent and even interdependent behavioural styles. This also makes it possible to have a framework of millions of human reaction modes that can be transformed by using different techniques, into a smaller, more usable quantity.

The DISC-profile has proven to be a very clear way of describing and analysing an individual’s natural reaction mode to the stimuli in the environment. The theory does not have any good-bad categories, making it a behavioural inventory, not a test that one can pass or fail. Extended DISC® Theory does not classify people into good or bad. Nor does it limit a person’s possibilities to develop in any other direction or work environment. Extended DISC® Theory describes the person’s natural reaction mode or behavioural style in different situations. It gives the person a better ability to understand one’s own and other’s behaviour, to adjust one’s own behaviour to better suit the situation, to avoid unnecessary problems in communication and to point one’s life into the direction where he or she better succeeds and enjoys it most.

History of the Extended DISC Theory

Extended DISC® Theory is based on a multi-disciplinary study of human behaviour. Culture, sociology and anthropology explain the behaviour model and norms of different groups and societies. These factors join the members of the group together and separate them from other groups. Behavioural science and psychological study help us to understand the differences among the members of a group – the natural reaction mode to external stimuli, attitudes, values, expectations, etc. Psychology assists in discovering ways to influence an individual, recognise and treat disturbances, and maintain mental well-being. Finally, managerial science makes it possible to utilise the knowledge of all of these disciplines as a tool in the leadership of people.

The development of the Extended DISC® System dates back to 1991. Jukka Sappinen was an independent consultant working in the areas of recruitment, management development, organisational development and intercultural issues. Since his earlier career had made him familiar with different types of assessment and measurement tools, he was looking for a company that could provide him with a comprehensive tool set instead of single tools. As no such company was available he started to develop a new type of approach based on old and existing theories and statistical data collection methods. The key point in that development process was close co-operation with customers so that it was the customer needs that actually steered the product development. The customers wanted to have one system that they could use in all human resource development activities and not only on individual, but also team and organisational levels. The system needed to be so straight forward and self explanatory that it would be easy to communicate across the organisation. Those premises gave birth to the Extended DISC® System that was first officially launched in Finland in October 1994. After three more years of extensive product development and testing, the version 1.1 of the system was ready to be introduced to international markets in 1997.

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