Sunday, February 1, 2015

I'm No 'Wiser'!

The article, 'Forget Myers-Briggs: To Build a Great Team, Focus on Something Called 'Factor C,' showed up in my LinkedIn email.

This excerpt comes from authors Sunstein and Hastie, Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter. Turns out they mention Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) on pages 205-207 of their book. I am not sure why! "A lot of companies take the test (MBTI) seriously." From my experience, if you take MBTI, DiSC or any other numerous assessments seriously, a be-all-to-end-all, you are leaning towards absolute certainty and problems. MBTI and other assessments are a starting point for better understanding.

The MBTI was never meant a be-all-to-end-all or to pigeon-hole people, but an aid to celebrate another aspect of diversity - personality - to better understand and self-manage oneself especially in problem-solving, communication and conflict resolution.

One thing that was drilled into me when I got qualified for MBTI; NEVER USE MBTI FOR HIRING AND PLACEMENT! This article seems to make the assumption that MBTI can be and is used for this. "By some reports, almost 90 percent of the major US companies use the Myers-Briggs test for employee selection, placement, or counseling." I know professionals who use MBTI for counseling.

I use MBTI with individuals, co-workers in conflict, new teams or re-organized teams for insight and understanding. (I recently facilitated an MBTI workshop for a team. They have a new leader and two new team members. I used two reports from Consulting Psychology Press - Interpretive Report and Team Report to help them understand how the 'team' preferred to solve problems, communicate and deal with conflict versus how they individually preferred to tackle these challenges. They had several AHA moments!) MBTI exposes the diversity of personality within groups, teams and communities. That is good and needed! 

The article emphasizes MBTI is used to predict behavior. I disagree. I tell participants in MBTI workshops that as an ENTJ, I am just like all other ENTJs except that I'm a little bit different from other ENTJs and actually all ENTJ's are different from all other ENTJs! MBTI is merely a starting point to understand how one's preferences affect behavior.

According to the article, 'Factor C' is the collective IQ of team members. They sight a recent study that this seems to indicate 'Factor C' enables predictability. We seem to be wired to need predictability. Look at how much we pay attention to the weatherperson, yet we know how unpredictable the weather can be! We crave certainty and knowing what is coming around the next bend. All of life is full of volatility, uncertainty, chaos, complexity and ambiguity. Learn to deal with it!

From my experience, emotional intelligence (EQ), trumps IQ. You can Google EQ versus IQ to come to your own conclusions. Personally, I'd rather be a part of strong EQ team than a high IQ team. EQ is about significance - people and legacy rather than success - things and rewards. EQ impacts diversity as a strategic initiative more than IQ.

I see this over and over when I use tools with groups, teams and communities like Joel Barker's Implication Wheel, Edward DeBono's Six Thinking Hats or Harrison Owen's Open Space Technology. While IQ is a factor in the outcomes of using these tools, it is EQ that creates flow and synergy. MBTI helps with EQ and has no connection to IQ.

My recommendation: Continuously work at being relational. Stay curious rather than judgmental. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

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