PACE & PRIORITY: Decoding the DiSC Style

Posted by Bill Harshman on

PACE & PRIORITY:  Decoding the DiSC Style - 

Before we begin, let’s remember the rules:  There is no perfect style (or combination of styles) AND everybody has some degree of all 4 styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness.  This becomes especially relevant in our discussion today – Decoding the DiSC Style.


Our recent focus on PACE & PRIORITY is key to decoding one’s DISC style.  This helpful perspective is meant to be used in conjunction with the research-based DISC instrument from this website.  It is an aid in navigating the world of needs, preferences, and priorities throughout your personal and professional life.  We know we can understand someone at a high level based upon our knowledge of their PACE & PRIORITY.  However, there are also indicators demonstrated through their behavior that give us deeper, closer insight to their style. 

People-Reading Technique:  Normally, we can pay attention to body language, tone of voice, expression, and choice of words.  However, suppose we are not able to identify their PACE & PRIORITY.  Do people demonstrate behaviors that can still help us?  YES!  For example, when you see an email written in extremely brief tone/language and right to the point, we see a style that is purposeful, brief, and more notifying than friendly.  Based on your knowledge of the DISC model above, you might begin to surmise you are dealing with a D.  If, on the other hand, the email is filled with a happy tone, very social, font change, emoticons, exclamation marks, and is filled with how much fun the particular meeting will be, you are likely dealing with more of an I.  Now, these assumptions always need confirmation; however, suffice to say that responding to the D’s email – for example - with a lofty, rambling email that fails to get to the point will likely fall on blind eyes and not be read.  I won’t bother continuing with the C or the S, however, based upon previous blogs, you are probably able to understand how those respective styles would construct an email (S being friendly, methodical, and productive and the C being more formal, detailed, serious). 

Here is a favorite activity of mine when discussing DiSC style around the topic of “grabbing lunch.”

A “D” might suggest you jump in the car and decide on the way.

An “I” might describe their morning, then explain what cravings they have, then suggest you take their new car, and then will swing by another coworkers’ desk on the way out of the office to see if they want to join also.

An “S” might sound like this:  “Hello Sarah, how are you today?  I was considering where we could go to lunch.  Do you have a minute?  I’ve got a couple suggestions to run by you.”

And a “C” might call ahead to confirm the restaurant is open, check the menu online ahead of time to estimate how much they can/will spend, and even check the Yelp reviews to see others’ opinions of the restaurant, and of course calculate the directions and driving time.

Hopefully, these somewhat humorous examples will demonstrate the 4 different approaches which can help you begin to identify the individual styles.

Here’s a quick summary of the most common behaviors of each style:

D’s tend to be direct and straight to the point, seeking control and results.

I’s tend to be more spontaneous and social, seeking participation and playfulness.

S’s tend to be deliberate while relaxed, seeking acceptance and cooperation.

C’s tend to be deliberate and detailed, seeking accuracy and quality.

As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DISC is understanding your and others’ styles, then using that knowledge for improved interactions.

Next time, we’ll dig into how to respond to the various, unique styles.

If you would like a complimentary webinar (online) introducing DiSC to your team or organization, please send an email to  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.

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