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Posts Tagged ‘personality tests’

OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been a bit unmotivated lately. You may have noticed the dearth of posts. I’ve noticed the dearth of interesting thoughts in my head. While I’ll allow some slackerdom due to holidays, general chaos, sick kids, and such, I’d like to get back into the swing of things.

I’ve been playing around with how to keep myself motivated and have found some fun online personality testing tools to help me find out what will work.

A fun one is Typealyzer. It analyses your blog and comes up with a Meyers-Briggs profile. I’m ETSP. Here’s what Typealyzer says about me, based on my blog:

ESTP – The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

What’s funny is I’ve never really though about myself as an ‘E’ – but I wonder if all bloggers come across as ‘E’ on their blogs, because we’re sharing about ourselves with people ‘out there.’ And I’m not sporty at all. I guess all those yoga references throw things off a bit.
Another test I took can be found at DreamWorkStyles.com.  Apparently the work styles I like best are strategist and facilitator. Which explains why I like my job. It’s always good to get that kind of positive reinforcement!
Psychcentral.com has a silly amount of on-line quizzes, on topics that range from ‘are you addicted to the internet’ (surprisingly, I’m not) to ‘do I need psychotherapy’ (likely beneficial !?!) to ‘your relationship connectedness’ (I’m connected!). A nice way to waste 1/2 an hour, but I didn’t find much valuable information here.
For a slew of other online sites where you can test the heck out of your personality, follow this link. 
As for true insight into what’s really going to motivate me, I think I’ve got to look offline. Although I did just find this link  for a test that will help me ‘discover my purpose in life’. I’ll keep you posted.

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This is one of my favorite of the Heath’s suggestions because it is so true. I tend to be an abstract thinker, and often, no one has a clue what I’m talking about. Until I take the time to get specific and concrete. And then, of course, everyone sees how brilliant I really am.

I’ve actually become a lot more concrete since the monkeys were born. My company uses the thinking style assessment based on the work by Anthony Gregorc. It assesses your thinking styles based on two metrics: whether you tend to order or organize information sequentially or randomly and whether you are better at processing or perceiving information that’s abstract or concrete.

I’m off the charts random, which I’m pretty sure is never going to change. And I have always been more abstract than concrete. But soon after the monkeys were born, I retook the test and found that I’d become more concrete than abstract. Which makes sense when you think that very young children don’t yet have the capacity to think abstract thoughts. So if you want to communicate with little kids at all, you have to start being more concrete. Which has served me well, since I’ve also found that the more senior my client, the more likely it is that he or she responds better to information that’s concrete than information that’s abstract.

So how do you get more concrete? Well, for starters, think of all of the times that we talk in abstractions of time to our children whose concept of time is not yet well developed. “Oh, wait just a minute, honey,” I’ll say to a monkey who is trying to get my attention. Or, “No, we don’t have tumbling class today, it’s another few days until tumbling class.” Even if I get to a level that I think is concrete – naming the days of the week, my monkeys will nod, and agree with me, but not really know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes it’s OK for a notion to remain vague and abstract, but other times it’s really important to convey an actual sense of duration and time. When we’ve got hot food on a plate, and the monkeys need to wait before biting into it, for example, I found that “wait 2 minutes” didn’t work so well. No surprise, since 2 minutes is an abstract notion to a two-year-old. Finally, I caught on. Now I tell them how long they need to wait by telling them how many times they need to sing the ABC. “This is really hot, honey, you need two ABC’s before taking a bite.” And they launch into song. We now use ABC’s whenever we need to ask them to wait a minute or two. It helps them mark time and they really know those ABC’s.

And how does this translate into sharing ideas in the workplace? Even I’m not crazy enough to suggest asking your clients or your colleagues to start singing ABC’s. But I do think it’s worthwhile to take the time to ensure that your ideas are concrete. Especially those really fun, ambiguous, big ideas. 

Sometimes, it’s relatively easy to get concrete just by forcing yourself to get specific. But when you’ve got an idea with lots of nuance and complexity, a great way to make it concrete is through a metaphor. Two of my all time favorite metaphors come from the parenting world, but you get the idea.

  • From a parent of twins, on having a singleton: taking care of one baby is like taking care of a goldfish.
  • From a pediatrician in Manhattan: three kids is the new Hummer.

I know, these are both kind of obnoxious sentiments. But they’re sticky. I love that each metaphor is immediately evocative, conveys a ton of information, and is memorable. Finding equally specific metaphors to capture your big ideas will help them stick.

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During a rare evening alone in front of the TV the other night, I indulged in a guilty pleasure: watching Supernanny! At one point in the show she was talking to the parents about the negative labels that they put on their children, and encouraging them to come up with positive ways to think about and relate to their children. 

I totally get this with kids. When you have more than one, and probably even when you have just one, its very easy to say, oh, he’s the whiny one, the needy one, the cuddly one, and so on, creating a shortcut in your head for thinking about them and relating to them. Over time, those labels develop from a shortcut for thinking about relationships into a factor that determines the way we relate to our children, from what we expect from them to how we respond to their needs. 

Of course, labeling is not limited to relationships we have with our kids. It also impacts the relationships we have with our colleagues. When a ’superstar’ asks for a few weeks off, we gladly and generously say yes. When a ’slacker’ makes the same request, we might grant it, but instead of thinking of it as a deserved break, it’s just one more line in the story that we have about that person. And these labels don’t always get created by accident.

Often, we work very hard to create the labels that we give to people. Management books are full of tests, personality assessments and buzzwords that we can use to label people. Meyers-Briggs, StrenghtFinders, Emotional Intelligence, etc. Even when the labels aren’t specifically good/bad but just various colors of a rainbow, these labels can be dangerous. We use StrengthsFinders at work, which I think is a great tool for getting to know your co-workers. But, over time, its easy to think of people as just their labels, and to stop expecting things from them that goes beyond their label. This can make labels as limiting as they are useful.

I recently re-took the StrengthsFinder test, and 4 of my 5 strengths had changed. At first, I was not only surprised, I was upset. I had really come to love my strengths, and was pretty unhappy to ‘lose’ some of them. That’s when I realized that I was relying too much on those labels and not enough on creating a more complex, but more nuanced, vision of myself that leaves room for me to grow and change. One of my strengths was ‘relator’ and my role at work is called ‘relationship lead.’ Which is nice synergy. Until I start thinking that maybe I want to shift roles, and my colleagues respond by saying, ‘but you have relator.’ And I know I’ve done the same things to other people.

Its easy to see how negative labels can be damaging. But we also have to remember that even descriptive, useful labels of our kids and our colleagues can prevent us from taking a close look at what people are really like, and therefore can prevent us from seeing new possibilities.

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