When people take a DISC assessment, they often wonder if their style can change over time. The question shows up in two common ways:
- I think I was more reserved (or outgoing) when I was a kid, and now I’m not. Could my adult style be different from my style when I was a kid?
- I took the assessment a few years ago, and I was more ____ style than I am now. Could my style have changed?
The short answer to both versions of the question are the same: maybe, and not likely.
It is pretty rare for a person’s basic, core personality to change after about 6 years old. It can happen. It’s just pretty rare.
What is more likely, is that the person has learned new ways to behave and interact with the world and they are behaving differently today than they did in the past. In the language of the DISC assessment, their natural style probably doesn’t change but their adapted style does. While their general preference for receiving and processing their experiences isn’t different, their response to it is.
For example, I’m really linear and logical. I’m not terribly emotional. In my family, we have a running joke that I have a feeling rather than feelings. I’ve always been that way. I was that way as a kid, when I was in high school, when I was in the Navy, when I entered my first professional job, when I was a new husband, when I was a new father, and today as a grandfather. My preferred way of receiving and processing information, making decisions, and communicating with others has not changed.
However, I have learned new things, gained broader experience, and matured in my thinking. I’m more comfortable processing, deciding, and communicating in ways that are not my most preferred ways. I have adapted to my world and my context.
There is probably some deep philosophical discussion we could engage in about whether that makes me a different person or not. It’s probably true that I am a different person today than I was 30 years ago, and still my preference for doing things hasn’t really changed that much. So, my adapted style has changed, my natural style has not.
When I get a chance to have a conversation with people on this idea, I find that most (not all) people agree that this is true for them as well.
Can your DISC personality style change over time?
Yes, of course it can, and that’s probably not the full answer. It’s more likely that the way you express your style has changed rather than that your core, basic, and natural style has actually changed.