Jun 01, 2015 | 2 Minute Read

DISC in Real Life: Game of Thrones Character Analysis


Unique Interplay of Multiple Sciences Provides Valuable Personal Insights

Game of Thrones is one of the biggest shows to hit TV in recent decades.

The breadth of characters (and the nuances within the characters' personalities) makes it a great educational resource to use in the training room when exploring people's DISC and Motivators profiles.

I've previously written about consultants who use DISC as the "be-all-end-all" solution to every team and hiring problem. I cannot stress enough that DISC is limited to measuring one thing and one thing only: common behavioral tendencies.

It does not measure skills, values, EQ, cognitive ability, education or ethics.

Not having this other key information — most vitally, a person's core motivators — can lead poorly trained consultants to make flawed assumptions and recommendations in the workplace when it comes to conflict, recruitment, leadership development, and a range of other situations.

For example, Petyr Baelish and Ned Stark share the same high "C" behavioral style. They are both portrayed as quiet, cautious and calculated in how they communicate and interact in their dealings with others. They are, however, completely different at a motivators (or values) level.

Petyr seems to have virtually no interest in alleviating human suffering or serving the people he leads (low "Social" motivator).

In every respect, his energy, time and interests are directed toward the attainment and maintenance of power and status (high "Individualistic" motivator).

Ned demonstrates a very different value system. For one thing, he has a compassionate side (high "Social" motivator) and it's abundantly clear he does not want power for himself and has no interest in sitting on the Iron Throne (low "Individualistic" motivator).

Even though he has influence in his position of leadership, he only wants to use it to help his people and serve the greater good.

Motivators totally change the dynamic

I should strongly emphasize that there is no "best" motivator. The "Individualistic" motivator is not necessarily "bad." It only indicates an interest in leading, power and individuality.

The "Individualistic" (or any of the motivators for that matter) can appear good or bad depending on the ethics of the person in question. In Petyr's particular case, he is an extreme example of someone who will throw anyone under the bus (or wagon) to get what he wants — with silent, cunning precision.

Ignoring the motivators component removes what is arguably the most important and powerful element of someone's personality.

When you understand someone's core motivators, you understand what really makes them tick (what things will create joy, energy and engagement; and what things will irritate, bore and create tension).


"Speak to a person's core motivators and you speak to their innermost self."


This is one reason why, if you are only using DISC, you are missing a huge chuck of the picture.

The following infographic (below) has been put together to highlight particular DISC-Motivator combinations from this popular show, and it focuses on selective quotes that best illustrate a particular aspect of a given motivator.

It's important to recognize that, even though I've only listed one DISC trait and one motivator for each example, everyone has a combination of all four DISC behaviors and all six motivators at varying degrees of intensity.

It's the unique interplay of multiple factors in which the richest and most valuable insights will be gained.


Game of Thrones_Motivators2

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Topics: behaviors

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Theo Winter

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