DiSC and Culture

 John Ruh  DISC

  • How does the local culture where an individual was raised or spent most of their life impact their DiSC profile?
  • What does the data collected from DiSC profiles in the world’s various regions tell us about those cultures?
  • How can one learn to adapt to work, communicate and develop relationships with different styles and cultures?

DISC and CultureWho will benefit from this article?

This data and approach is only for the serious student who is willing to be introspective and truly is committed to understanding, accepting and supporting him/herself (and therefore others). Also, it requires a basic understanding of culture and exposure to the differences that exist within cultures in different parts of the world.

We have used DiSC now in four businesses for over 30 years and done thousands of profiles, 1-1 sessions and group sessions. This has given us hands-on experience which we value more than theoretical concepts. Therefore, based on years of work and as mentioned worldwide work with this tool (published in 42 languages) here are our findings:

A. How does culture impact one’s DiSC profile?

Your country of origin (and in many cases your region within that country as culture can vary significantly even within a nation), your family/upbringing of origin and your personal values, mission and purpose impact your DiSC profile. While the DiSC profile is a superior behavioral tool it does not identify the factors listed above however those factors do impact an individual’s natural DiSC behavioral style.

When in Australia, we asked a large group of participants if they had ever interacted with any New York “D” profiles. I can’t print what was said however it was a blatant example of how culture impacts DiSC and how recognizable it can be. In Australia a “tall poppy” (someone who stands out as an individual) is cut down just like in Japan a “tall nail” is hammered down. Thus, in those two countries D profiles are much more subdued than a “New York D”. This is not be judged and make one right and another wrong, however it is a clear example of how culture impacts one’s DiSC profile.

B. What does global data suggest?

Here is a “D summary”:

  • Data collected in two studies in 1993 and 2013 in the United States produced results indicating approximately 70% of the population study (74% in 2013) are I and S profiles.
  • Countries with the highest D, I, S, and C populations:
    • D – Russia – 23%
    • I – United Kingdom – 40%
    • S – Netherlands – 35%
    • C – China – 22%
  • Countries with the lowest percentages of D, I, S, and C profiles:
    • D – China – 11%
    • I – Netherlands and Russia – 33%
    • S – Russia – 24%
    • C – Australia and Netherlands – 12%

Source: TTi white paper by Bill, Dave and Ron Bonnstetter, Ph.D. Email us at john@johnruh.com for the white paper.

C. How can one learn to adapt to different styles and cultures?

One must first how to learn to identify various DiSC profiles using our 2 questions and 4 step model. However, once you have some skill at doing this, you can easily follow these three simple steps:

Step One: Awareness
You must be aware that the person you are interacting with is impacted by their culture. Once you do this and can practice stopping, looking internally first at yourself and paying attention not only to the person’s DiSC profile but also to how their culture influences their life, you will be better able to communicate and bond with them.

Step Two: Acceptance
This is harder than it may seem because if you are in judgement of this person’s DiSC and culture at not being right or inferior to yours your ability to bond and communicate will be severely limited. The question I am often is how to do this. You must understand yourself first and accept your profile and your culture including all the parts about yourself that you find difficult to acknowledge.

Step Three: Practice
Without practice, practice and more practice one merely gains insight. Insight alone, however, will not produce the skills, including the DiSC profile, beliefs and values, you may want to develop in order to read others quickly and to use the right language to communicate with them.

Dr. Ron Bonnstetter, PhD. is a prolific researcher of the DiSC tool and an author of several works on the use of DiSC as well as Director of Research for TTi International. With regard to this topic, Dr. Bonnstetter stated, “Recognizing cultural differences is crucial in today’s ever-expanding international world”

As you can see from this short primer on the DiSC tool, it is a powerful means of identifying the behavioral styles and preferred communication and interaction between people. It can be applied and be valuable regardless of cultural origin, with the simple understanding of the fact that culture is imminently impactful on how human beings develop and is therefore revealed in the DiSC style.

John M. Ruh and Associates (JMR) is a team of experienced entrepreneurs with various specialties all aligned and committed to putting proven programs, processes, and accountable people in place in support of growth-oriented organizations. The JMR team utilizes DiSC as one of several tools that have proven effective for clients. JMR is focused on delivering results and the firm’s proprietary “7 Promises”. To learn more, visit www.johnruh.com or phone us at 773-775-6636.