The four key ingredients in a DISC profile are the four DISC factors: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. Each DISC profile shows the relative importance of these four factors in a given individual's behaviour. While the four factors are formally named 'Dominance', 'Influence', 'Steadiness' and 'Compliance', they are much more commonly referred to among experienced DISC users simply as 'D', 'I', 'S' and 'C'.
Note that no factor is 'better' or 'worse' than any other - a DISC profile simply reports a style of behaviour, and each style has its own inherent strengths, and also its own specific shortcomings.
It is common to find behavioural styles that represent a single factor - a highly Dominant individual, for example, or a very Steady one. At least as often, though, profiles show a combination of these factors, leading to more complex interpretations as the various factors combine together.
Nonetheless, an understanding of the properties of each of the four basic factors is an important first step in interpreting any DISC profile. The factors help to define a person's motivations and drives, their aversions and dislikes, and their general style of behaviour.
One way of understanding the relationships between factors in a profile is through 'sub-traits'. There are twelve of these, one for each possible pair of factors. For example, if a particular individual has a high Dominance score and a low Steadiness score, we can say that they are 'Self-motivated', and further interpret their profile in light of this. We can represent this relationship using a shorthand form - for instance, 'D/S' (pronounced 'D over S') represents Dominance being higher in a profile than Steadiness.