DiSC® Famous Characters
Posted by Bill Harshman on
Today, I’d like to stray a bit from the typical structured, more academically-oriented lesson seen on Training Location. In the past, I’ve created fictitious persons (plumber, teacher, manager) and described them through various aspects of their behavior, THEN I break down why they might be considered a certain style(s) of DiSC®. In this sharing, I’ll provide a television or movie character with whom you are probably familiar. Then – based on our observations of them over time – you already have familiarity with their behavior and therefore their respective DiSC® style. Let’s take a look.
One more thing. The DiSC® styles I will suggest for our characters in today’s sharing are just that . . . They are only my suggestions. Mind you, my suggestions are based upon years of experience and application, however you may have a slightly different take based upon your own observations of that character on the small and/or big screen. What I’m hoping is that it makes you think and either agree or disagree through application of the DiSC® model. Let’s take a look.
Before we dive deeper, I have always encouraged learners to maintain a couple important pieces of baseline knowledge. These two pieces are critical to understanding DiSC®. (This is especially for first-time readers of my blogs)
First are the Cornerstone Principles that we have discussed before:
- All DiSC® styles are equally valuable
- Everyone is a unique blend of all DiSC® styles, and most people tend toward one – sometimes two - styles
- Your unique style is also influenced by other factors such as life experiences, education, and maturity
I want to add something to the previous slide around Cornerstone Principles. When I say “most people tend toward one or - in some cases - two styles”, I translate that to “People generally stay in their comfy T-shirt”. Even the most extreme characters eventually revert to their comfy T-shirt. What’s YOUR comfy T-shirt?
Second is the Basic DiSC® Styles Model:
A person’s DiSC® style is decided by the intersection of two dimensions of observable behaviors (including body language, tone of voice, expression, and word choice):
The vertical dimension is known as PACE (or outward activity level) described as either Fast-paced & Outspoken OR Cautious & Reflective. The horizontal dimension is known as your AGREEABLENESS quotient. This means those who are “less agreeable” place a lower PRIORITY (concern) for cooperation and social harmony, and we refer to them as “Questioning & Skeptical” on the left end of this dimension. A general term for them might be result-focused. Those who are “more agreeable” place a higher PRIORITY on cooperation and social harmony and we refer to them as “Accepting & Warm” on the right end of this dimension. A general term for them might be people-focused.
*It is the interaction between these TWO continua which forms the 4 quadrants (or basic styles) of the DiSC® model, AND by which you identify a person’s DiSC® style.
Below is a list of various characters. In a couple cases, I place someone with a primary style and their proximate style. For example, somebody can have a primary (comfy T-shirt) style of Dominant, and yet display some characteristics of the proximate style of Influence. In that case, I have bolded the primary style of Dominant.
Let’s take a look at some of the characters in the movie, Hangover.
Doug – Accepting & Warm combined with Cautious & Reflective
Steady (even-tempered, accommodating, patient, loyal, peacemaker) “We look at these pictures together, okay? One time. And then we delete the evidence.”
Phil – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Dominant / Influence (charismatic, selfish, fast-paced, outspoken, action, Enthusiastic, result-oriented) Excited about Las Vegas, he’s leaving the elementary school where he works and one of his students begins to ask him a question on the steps: “It’s the weekend, I do not know you. You do not exist.”
Alan – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Accepting & Warm
Influence (Outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, high-spirited, lively, people-focused) “We’re the three best friends that anybody could have . . .“
Stu – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Conscientious (careful, responsible, logical, result-focused, voice of reason) “We’re in a stolen cop car with what is sure to be a missing child in the back. What part of this is cool?”
Let’s take a look at some of the characters in the television series, Friends.
Monica – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Dominant / Conscientious (Firm, strong-willed, result-oriented, analytical, precise, systematic) Motto? Do It Now
Chandler – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Accepting & Warm
Influence (outgoing, charming, humorous, life-of-the-party)
Rachel – Cautious & Reflective combined with Accepting & Warm
Steady / Influence (funny, high-spirited, sense of humor, sweet, flexible, genuine, loyal)
Ross – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Conscientious (detailed, careful paleontologist, count on him to do the right thing. Genuine, intelligent, selfless, innocently funny)
How about the series, Breaking Bad?
Walter White – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical.
Conscientious / Steady - This is a tough one (He’s kind, caring, and timid, HOWEVER, he’s demanding, calculating, and ruthless with a love of power. His chemistry genius makes him an artist in the world of meth).
Or, one of my favorites, Finding Nemo?
Dory – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Accepting & Warm
Influence (Outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, high-spirited, lively, people (fish)-focused) “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.” Motto? Let’s Have Fun
Marlin (Nemo’s father) – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Conscientious - (Analytical, reserved, precise) “If this is some kind of practical joke, it’s not funny and I know funny. I’m a clownfish.”
And, this classic seen by all ages, Toy Story
Woody – Cautious & Reflective combined with Accepting & Warm
Steady (cautious, careful, stability, concerned about fellow toys’ safety and happiness, responsible, competent, and level-headed. Deeply devoted to his friends, people-focused) "It doesn't matter how much we're played with. What matters is that we're here for Andy when he needs us."
Buzz Lightyear – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Dominant (Direct, firm, strong-willed, results) Motto? Do It Now, “to infinity and beyond”)
Who can forget, Godfather.
Vito Corleone – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Steady / Conscientious (cautious, skeptical, result-focused, gracious, patient, intelligent, and soft-spoken, but iron-willed, few words, fierce loyalty, family first) “Make him an offer he can’t refuse”
Sonny Corleone – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Dominant (short-tempered, tough, charismatic, direct, forceful, results, means business) “Do It Now”, “You touch my sister again and I’ll kill ya.”
Michel Corleone – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Conscientious (brave, questioning, skeptical, result-oriented, reserved, Action) Motto? Do It Right, “Never let anyone know what you’re thinking.”
Everybody’s favorite, Disney
Mickey Mouse – Influence (cheerful, adventurous, Charismatic, fun-loving, whimsical, heroic, kind, nice, brave, funny, happy, bashful, selfless, comical, forgetful, optimistic); “See ya real soon”; Motto? Let’s Have Fun
And most popular, Top Gun.
Maverick – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Dominant (daring, bold, brave, charismatic, risk-oriented) “I feel the need for speed”
Carole Bradshaw – Fast-paced & Outspoken combined with Accepting & Warm
Influence (Goose’s wife) outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, high-spirited, lively). Motto? Let’s Have Fun
Iceman – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Conscientious (cautious, skeptical, result-focused, rigid, analytical, reserved, precise, private, systematic) Motto? Do It Right. “Hey Maverick! Who was covering Cougar while you were showboating with the MIG?”
And, a couple more for good measure.
Let’s try your diagnostic skills!
MacGyver – Cautious & Reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical
Conscientious (cautious, questioning, analytical, reserved, precise, private, systematic) "There always seems to be a way to fix things."; Do It Right
Forrest Gump – Cautious & Reflective combined with Accepting & Warm
Steady (people-focused, Accommodating, even-tempered, patient, humble) “We go together like peas & carrots”
I’ve mapped out our characters for a visual representation:
A couple things about this DiSC® map.
- Look at the dispersion.
- Look at the clustering on particularly the D, I, S, & C regions within the respective quadrants.
- Not sure why, however we seem to have mostly I’s and C’s.
- Generally speaking, we have equal dispersion overall between the 4 quadrants
- Also, for example. Note how different Buzz, Sonny, & Maverick are, however they are all Dominant types (direct, firm, strong-willed, forceful, results-oriented). Be careful to not bias your thoughts toward or against someone just because they are a certain type. They MAY keep good company. You never know.
Only question is where do YOU think you fall among the characters, and most importantly . . . why?
I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC®. Whether your needs include Onboarding, Employee Engagement, Culture Change, Conflict Management, Coaching, Team Building, or simply Communication, DiSC® is the research-based, proven, leading training solution.
As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DiSC® is understanding your and others’ styles and then using that knowledge for improved interactions.
If you would like a live, complimentary webinar (online) for your team or organization, please send an email to email@example.com. If you’d like to purchase the DiSC®, visit DiSC® Classic or Everything DiSC® at our website. And, check out our products from The Ken Blanchard Companies as well.