The 4 A’s of the DISC System

The 4 A’s of the DISC System

When trying to understand human behavior, we can reverse-engineer a person’s actions to determine why they do what they do.

So let’s start with behavior. Behavior is what we see. It’s the ten percent of the iceberg that is visible. Our thoughts are hidden below the surface. We can see what a person does, but we can’t see why they do it. Our needs drive our thoughts and they are even further obscured from view.>
If you’ve ever taken a DISC profile and reviewed your behavioral style report, you will find that it’s filled with behaviors that someone with your graph probably displays on a regular basis. However, you will find that the report does not tell you how you think – just how you act (or at least are likely to act).

But can the DISC styles go deeper? In fact, the styles offer a useful glimpse into how a person’s needs drive their actions.

We can categorize the needs in terms of the four A’s:

Achievement (Eagle)
Appreciation (Parrot)
Acceptance (Dove)
Accuracy (Owl)

The Eagle’s need for achievement pushes the Eagle to seek immediate results. Their directness stems from their desire to accomplish tasks quickly. This goal-oriented mindset enables the Eagle to be willing to work independently so that they can work at their own fast-pace.

The Parrot’s need for appreciation means that they like to be liked. Since we treat others how we ourselves like to be treated, this drives the Parrot to provide lots of positive feedback. The need for appreciation can cause the Parrot to seek the spotlight either through humor or verbalizing their thoughts.

The Dove’s need for acceptance means that conflict or anything that disturbs the status quo is not comfortable. To avoid being rejected for their ideas, Doves seek consensus when making decisions. The Dove’s desire for acceptance drives them to help others so that they will be accepted and valued by the team.

The Owl’s need for accuracy drives the Owl to follow established systems and practices. The Owl’s desire to get things done correctly can cause them to take longer to finish projects and make decisions, but when they do, you can be assured that they have tried their best and focused on a quality outcome.

While we all may share the needs for achievement, appreciation, acceptance and accuracy, the question is which is most important to you? Whichever one you select will drive how you think and ultimately, how you act.