Todd Hoskins chooses and uses tools, products, and practices that could belong in an entrepreneurial business toolkit. He’ll be checking out how useful they are to folks in a business environment.
Cool Tool Review: Personality Inventories
A Review by Todd Hoskins
A few years ago Liz looked at the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator through the lens of personal productivity. For years, organizations have used personality tests to evaluate leadership styles, workplace interactions, and for team building. I think personality inventories are a great tool for examining interpersonal relations within a company, and can be a valuable tool for personal growth as well.
What I do not like . . . Companies that make hiring decisions based on personality test results are trying to mechanize their workforce. It is a bad practice, regardless of the research that supports it. If you have a role and need it to be filled by a “type,” then you will likely not get more than the type. The best hiring managers I’ve known make decisions based on qualifications, proven work experience, cultural fit, and gut instinct. The “ideal candidate profile” is just a way to expose your own needs. At some point, it needs to be questioned. (Don’t we all have stories of the “crazy hire” that turned out to be brilliant?
So, let’s be clear. You are not a type. You are a person who has patterns of behavior and preferences that can be categorized, but there will always be anomalies. No test can tell you (or your boss) who you are, but it can be an effective:
- Conversation starter
- Evaluation of biases and prejudices within your organization
- Tool for evaluating work styles
- Impetus for individual growth
Personally, I am a fan of Carl Jung, so I do like the MBTI. You can take a quick online test here. The online tests (especially the free ones) are not comprehensive, but every online test I’ve taken over the past eighteen years has confirmed the results of the first professionally administered test: I am an ENTP. Some would say this would make me an excellent dictator, assassin, CIA agent, or freelance writer. After taking the test, here is a good place to start looking at the type.
What can you do with it?
- Have a conversation: Does your office environment respect and nurture the various types?Â Or, do you prefer some qualities more than others?Â There is strength in diversity!
- Do you know how to talk or work with your boss in ways that are effective?Â Peers?Â Employees?Â Customers?Â SpeedReading People has made a business out of this, and I recommend their services.
- What are the strengths?Â What areas are lacking?Â Both organizationally and individually.
To a degree, you are who you are.Â But there’s also great power in learning how to stretch and expand within the areas you gravitate to least.Â For example, I am very, very strong on the “N” of intuition within the MBTI.Â I am working on the sensory perception – this column represents some of that work.Â How can I be more practical?Â I may be good at integrating theory, but I put conscious effort into grounding myself in the concrete world.
Summing Up â Is it worth it?
Enterprise Value: 4/5 â If you can afford it, hire a consultant to do this right.
Entrepreneur Value: 5/5 â Know your people, and let them know you.
Personal Value: 5/5 â Don’t stop with the MBTI.Â There’s lots of great resources out there.Â And remember, it’s just a starting place – data before insights.
Let me know what you think!
Todd Hoskins helps small and medium sized businesses plan for the future, and execute in the present. With a background in sales, marketing, and technology, he works with executives to help create thriving organizations through developing and clarifying values, strategies, and tactics. You can learn more at VisualCV, or contact him on Twitter.