Tony Robbins DISC Test: How does it compare to Wiley’s Everything DiSC?

For decades, Tony Robbins has been know as the leading self-help guru. Many businesses and business leaders have learned about DISC because of how he has promoted and marketed it as a way to help anyone grow their career.

So, we had to find out for ourselves how Tony Robbins’ DISC Test compares to the leading DISC based assessment, Everything DiSC®.

Tony Robbins DISC Test

Those that have taken a Tony Robbins’ DISC assessment might be surprised to learn that the assessment wasn’t created by Tony Robbins’ organization. The assessment is actually published by Assessments 24×7. In addition to DISC, the assessment includes the Motivators assessment which is based off the research of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Gordon Allport. 

Both the DISC and the Motivators assessments are research and validated. However, these assessments use a testing environment called Forced-Choice testing.

Consequently, because of the forced-choice testing method, those taking Tony Robbins DISC test must review a total of 112 words. In each box, they are asked to choose one word that is most like them and one that is least like them. This testing method was developed to reduce the social desirability of their responses. Essentially, it tries to stop people from trying to make themselves look better.

Using this method, a learner can only choose one response as ‘Most Like Me’ even if all of the choices are desirable, and vice versa for ‘Least Like Me’ (See Tony Robbins DISC Test Example).

In comparison, Everything DiSC provides a more updated testing environment. Everything DiSC features a testing algorithm called adaptive testing. In this environment, participants are shown a series of statements and asked to rate their themselves on a five-point scale indicating whether they agree or disagree with the statement (See Everything DiSC Test Example).

Because the Everything DiSC assessment is electronically scored, the algorithm automatically adjusts for the social desirability of responses. Consequently, participants are left with more freedom to answer the questions in a way that truly describes them. Additionally, many respondents have an easier time answering questions on a Everything DiSC assessment.

Tony Robbins DISC Test Example

Everything DiSC Adaptive Test Example

Furthermore, Everything DiSC tests participants on eight DiSC scales versus the standard four. Everything DiSC provides a learner with one of the following DiSC Personality Types: D, iD/Di, i, iS/Si, S, SC/CS, C, CD/DC.

In a recent study comparing these two environments, the publisher of Everything DiSC, John Wiley & Sons, found that Everything DiSC was 32% more accurate when compared to DiSC Classic which uses a forced-choice testing environment.

Bar Graphs and Circle Graphs: What's the difference?

Outside of the testing environment, the next largest difference between Everything DiSC and Tony Robbins’ DISC is the way a user receives their DiSC Style.

Tony Robbins DISC shows users two bar graphs: Adapted Style and Natural Style

Comparatively, Everything DiSC shows a person their DiSC Style as a dot on a circle graph (view both graphs below):

Tony Robbins DISC

Everything DiSC Map

Everything DiSC

So what’s the difference? How can one DISC Test show someone’s DISC Style as two bar graphs and another as a dot on a graph?

The answer (and misdirection) lies in the history of DISC.

While the theory of DISC was formulated in the 1920s by William Moulton Marston, it wouldn’t be until the 1970s that first DISC assessment was created. John Geier, who was a researcher at the University of Minnesota, took Marston’s theory and used to as a basis for his behavioral assessment.

Geier’s, DISC test was called the Personal Profile System. Geier’s test asked participants 28 forced-choice questions, and it provided three different graphs to show a person their DISC Personality Style.

Graph I was considered a person’s Public Self (Adapted Style). Graph II was thought to be a person’s Natural Self (Natural Style). Graph III was a combination of Graph I and II, and many trainers used this graph as a person’s Overall DiSC Style.

Does Graphs I and II sound familiar? 

The thinking at the time was that a person had a personality that you showed to the world, and one that was private. The interpretation at the time was Graph I showed the world who we wanted to be, and Graph II was who we actually were (potentially because it showed our less-desirable characteristics).

Geier’s Personal Profile System was very successful, and many other publishing organizations began to copy the model and create their own DISC assessments that included the two-graph model. 

Additionally, John Geier’s company went through a number of names and ownerships, and it is now owned by John Wiley & Sons.

DiSC Classic 3-Graphs

In 2009, Wiley moved away from the 2-graph model entirely and they now only invest their resources in the Everything DiSC circular model. 

As they made this transition, Wiley conducted a study to determine if there was any validity to the 2-graph model.

Wiley conducted two separate studies. In both studies, they asked participants to complete a DiSC Classic 2.0 assessment and respond to a series of 20 DiSC adjectives and rate how much those adjectives describe themselves.

In the first study, Wiley surveyed 376 people, and when they asked them to review the 20 adjectives, they asked them to rate themselves based on how they felt others saw them. They then compared those results to the Graph I on their DiSC Classic 2.0 report. The idea was, if Graph I was our public self, the self assigned DiSC adjectives should match to the same adjectives on their DiSC Classic Graph I report.

The opposite, however, was found. The words didn’t match at all.

In the second study, Wiley surveyed 534 people who completed a DiSC Classic 2.0 and also asked them to review the same prior-mentioned 20 DiSC adjectives. This time, the respondents were asked to recall a recent time when they were under a lot of stress and pressure at work. They were asked to rate how well the adjectives described them in those moments.

The idea behind this study is that we are our ‘true’ or natural self when we are under pressure. Again, however, the participants’ adjectives that they used to rate themselves didn’t match with their DiSC Classic 2.0 Graph II scale scores.

DiSC Theory doesn’t support that we have ‘two identities’ that are determined by a particular situation.

DiSC as a Learning System

Marston’s goal, when he developed D.I.S.C. theory was to understand if a person could be identified based on their behavior.

Today, Everything DiSC uses that same theory as a way for people to understand those they work with, do business with, or simply interact with. 

If you are looking to simply identify your DiSC style, Tony Robbins DISC is one place to start. However, if you are looking to learn and improve your daily relationships Everything DiSC will provide you those insights.