Saturday, June 02, 2012

Idea 2: DiSC, MBPTI, DEAN, Carl Jung... psychology

You may or may not have come across the Myers-Briggs Personality type indicator, had the test done etc. if you are lucky you have had the Myers-Briggs thing simplified from it's ungainly and complicated technical imprecision into the unapologetically imprecise rule of thum DISC models or DEAN etc. All of these have their basis in Carl Jung's big idea that human behaviour is not random.

Probably a lot of research though was done to come up with the broad clusters that are now employed to lump people's personalities into one box or another. I for one know myself to be INTP, but I'm low-I and from memory low-T using the tie break rule it's fairly easy to mistake me for an ENTP or an INFP and maybe even rarely and ENFP. Also I haven't done the profile in almost 10 years, so who knows whether I'm still sitting in the same chair.

Using DiSC terminology this means I'm a high-i. I find it easiest to adapt to being a high-S (Though I'm not good at it) and can also switch to being high-C. I'm alarmed at how often in my pursuit of creative work I have to step into being a high-D and... all this is potentially garbage jargon to you.

The importance though of this idea of Jung's built on by Myers-Briggs and eventually dumbed down for management consulting purposes is not so much what it tells you about yourself but merely - the explosive conclusion that people think differently and value different things.

Up until this model or idea was presented to me, I was obsessed with the disparity between our education/academic systems method of discriminating between individuals (grading them) and it's ability to predict success. It was apparant from an early age for example that students who scored very high enters were not as likely to achieve the material success of people with significantly lower enters (a sobering thought to somebody who had a high enter). I mean it's immeadiately apparant - kids who get 99 and above do things like Medicine and Law, which pay well, but not great. You never read an article about a fortune 500 company director or worlds' richest man to read about a doctor or lawyer.

I think if I told you I had an IQ of 100, you'd at the very least know I was A) of average intelligence and B) talking about an intelligence quota a test devised to rank people's intellectual abilities. The same weight isn't thrown behind the Jungian behavioural personality types though.

Most people would have heard of introverts and extroverts, but judgers versus percievers? Thinkers vs feelers? Intuitives vs (I can't even remember)?

All the acronyms in the title though reflect one key idea - people are different. Academia ranks you out of a hundred in assessment the ranking is relative. In a fairly objective piece of assessment like a maths test the worst score reflects 0 and is a failure to attempt/get any correct answers on a paper. the Best score is 100 and reflects a correct answer on all possible questions. In something more subjective like English, the best score means you wrote enough paragraphs with enough quotes to have them all counted up and multiplied out to 100...

Messy, but the point is they are linear. Or vertical. They aren't arranged in a matrix and show no dichotomys. A student faces no dilemma, you simply exert your efforts trying to be the best you can be. An arguement could be made that in the IQ test there is such a thing as being 'too smart' but it also promotes the belief or assumption or opinion that it is best to be as smart as possible.

The personality type introduces you to the reality of what Honest Abe Lincoln put as he always did, eloquently: 'You can please some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all the time.'

It's true. So let's use DiSC. Give somebody who is a high (D) a criteria, and they will do everything in their power to excel at that critieria. They care about results, which is great and why high D's populate many management positions, but remember that criteria are kind of arbitrary, so if you say 'more unit sales = better' a Driver will do things like go off and discount, cutting into your profitability. You will be contractually obliged to reward them because you gave them unit sales as a target, but you will curse them from the unprofitable sales department. Conversely somebody who is a high (C) just cares about the well being of the team, they want everybody to be happy and secure in what they do. The worst outcome is somebody hating their job, the criteria (unit sales) is never so important as the people they are responsible for.

These world view differences create probably, most of the ordinary conflict in our lives. It also breeds a lot of dissatisfaction, we strive for acceptance by the group and to be valued by society. The problem is that no group will really have any meaningful agreement on what they value. Dream teams that work on paper fall apart because it turns out the collaboraters care about very different things.

Most people use the idea of behavioural personality profiles as apologies for why they are so hard to work with. I use it daily to understand people and thus diminish the frustration I percieve and no doubt exert on other people.

While I was born with strong sexual preference for females, it seems I have been born with either weak preferences for introvert extrovert, and feeling versus thinking. So I don't know if the ease I now feel in adapting to other peoples preferences or the preferences required of a particular job are the product of my own flexibility, but I think it is simply in my ability to realise that different behaviours are required, and then imitating them.

Hence it's an idea I still use constantly.

1 comment:

Danny Osborne said...

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