Established behavioral techniques can improve business operations and the office environment.


(Part 1 of 3)

By John Kimmel

Has this ever happened to you? You are having a crucial conversation with your boss, a customer or someone else at the office. It could even have been with your spouse or one of your kids. The conversation was going well, and then you said something, and unexpectedly the atmosphere of the conversation took a turn for the worse. Maybe the person suddenly became angry or shut down emotionally. All the while you were standing there shocked, unaware of what you said to make them so upset.

Almost all of us have experienced a situation like the one above at some point in our lives, and some of us find ourselves in this quandary on a regular basis. Commonly, the trigger is not what you said to the other person, but rather the way you said it.

We all communicate differently based on how we are wired. And because we communicate using different styles, we prefer to be communicated with in certain ways. Think of it as speaking the same language but in different dialects with individual nuances.

The good news is that there are only four different “behavioral languages” that we speak with, and they can be easily learned. It is also easy to identify the behavioral language of the person you are communicating with, so that you can make those disastrous conversations a thing of the past.

During this series of three articles, I will tell you all about yourself and the people you know and love. I will reveal how you respond to different situations. I will uncover what your darkest fears are, what motivates you and what takes the wind out of your sails. I will even reveal blind spots that you may not realize are part of who you are, how you act and how others see you.

At this point, you might be thinking this sounds like some sort of magic trick. I can assure you that my methods are grounded in science. The data behind DISC was first uncovered in 1928, and researchers, psychologists, counselors and businesspeople have been refining that discovery ever since. It is an incredibly accurate communications tool that is not only useful, but is fun, encouraging and verifiable.

Let’s start by identifying your style of behavior. DISC is about answering two important questions.

First, are you more outgoing or more reserved? That’s not asking if you are extroverted or introverted. An outgoing person is always ready for the next challenge or personal interaction. They move fast. Decisions come quickly and with little effort. They are like cobras, just waiting to strike. Reserved people are the opposite. They think and act more deliberately, weighing options and potential consequences. They believe that important decisions take time to research to achieve the most desirable outcome.

Now, are you more outgoing or more reserved? I realize that sometimes you are one way or the other—we all are. But which is the most dominant? By the way, one is not better than the other.

Now that you have determined if you are more outgoing or reserved, let’s move on to the second question. Are you more task-oriented or more people-oriented?

As with the first question, you might be saying, “Well, sometimes I am more focused on tasks, and sometimes I am more focused on people.” That is true of us all. If I am working on a spreadsheet, I am usually very task-oriented. But if I am playing with my grandson, I am more people-oriented. But, like the first question, which way do you lean?

If you are not sure, here is an example that will help you decide. Imagine you have a very important team project that must get done on time and on budget. Now imagine that your team gets the job done on time and on budget, but during the process, Bob quits and Susie gets upset. If you are the type of person who thinks, “I am sorry that Bob quit and Susie got upset, but we got the job done,” then you are likely more task-oriented. However, if you think, “Well, we got the job done but it just wasn’t worth it because of the way it affected the staff,” then you are probably more people-oriented. So, which are you? Task or people?

Now let’s put your two answers together.

  • The D personality style is outgoing and task-oriented. D stands for Dominant. Your style is the least common and only makes up about 15% of the population.
  • The I personality style is outgoing and people-oriented. I stands for Inspiring. Your style makes up about 25% of the population.
  • The S personality style is reserved and people-oriented. S stands for Supportive. Your style is the most common and makes up about 35% of the population.
  • The C personality style is reserved and task-oriented. C stands for Cautious. Your style makes up about 25% of the population.


You have now taken the first step. You have identified your DISC style. During the rest of this series of articles, we will unpack your strengths and weaknesses. We will also learn how to quickly identify someone else’s style, and the language that they speak, so that you can effectively communicate with all of the style types.

Understanding and applying DISC will increase new sales and create more customer loyalty. Using DISC will improve the quality of new hires and help you determine if your current team members are in the best possible position for the organization to thrive. Simple awareness of DISC will also reduce a great deal of drama around the office, making it a more comfortable and productive work environment. Envision an office where people get the job done and have fun doing it.


John J. Kimmel is the author of Selling with Power and has spoken at many state and regional petroleum marketer associations. Kimmel provides custom solutions to increase the effectiveness and profitability of sales teams for petroleum marketers all over the United States. To learn more, visit