What does the small ‘i’ in DiSC Mean?

One question we get on a regular basis is: “Why does DiSC have a small “i”? 

Before we reveal the reason for the small ‘i’, it’s important to note that no company or publisher owns DISC Theory. DISC, the theory, was created by William Moulton Marston in the 1920’s. While Marston developed a theory that helps us better understand human behavior, he never created a ‘DISC assessment’.

For this reason there are a multitude of DISC based products that go by a lot of different names. Everything DiSC, DiSC Classic, Extended DISC, Personal Profile System, Take Flight with DISC, and Tony Robin’s DISC Test, are just a few of the DISC-based products that are available.

The Story of the Small 'i'

Now, getting back to the question at hand, why does our version of DiSC have a small ‘i’? Those that know DiSC know that each letter stands for a particular DiSC Style:

  • D-Style – Dominance
  • i-Style – Influence
  • C-Style – Conscientiousness
  • S-Style – Steadiness

So is it that those with the i-Style are less powerful or less significant than the D-Style, S-Style, or the C-Style? Well, the truth of the matter is no, that is not the case. There is no deep dark research based reason for the small i. And no, certification or advanced training is not required to be a keeper of the secret of the small i.

DiSC was published by a number of different companies over the years. It was once published by a small company called Performax. During this time a funny thing happened as they were trying to release their premiere product, the DISC Personal Profile System (a pre-cursor to the DiSC Classic Paper Profile). Performax was a very small organization, and they didn’t have much room for errors.

They placed an order for the original printing of the DISC Personal Profile System, but when they got their assessment booklets back from the printer there was a typo. A small, tiny, little typo. A typo the size of an “i”.

Yes, that is right. The printer did not capitalize the I in DISC. Performax decided to use this mistake and copyright DiSC to use it to market their DISC Instrument. So that is how DISC got its small i. When you see the ‘small i’ version of the DISC profile, you know it was published by Wiley Publishing, or it is in violation US copyright laws.

Want to learn more about DiSC?

Compare the differences between DiSC Classic and Everything DiSC. Or learn more about the history of DiSC and how the profile came to be what it is today: