Friday, October 13, 2017

The Rationals

At the last Curtin Business School Centre for Entrepreneurship Growth program, the question was asked: Which profile dominates business?

The only answer I could offer was: In these programs it is the SJs – the sensing judging folk.

These people are grounded, stable, sensible, they like guidelines, security and they have a logistical intelligence. At their best, of course, because questionnaires such as these do not determine functionality or level of efficiency with the natural skill set. And people can, and do, kid themselves and might fill out a form to suit their view of themselves or how they think others might see them.

So what’s the point of it all?

We’re human and complex and most of us do not have a lifetime to analyse human psychology and resulting behaviour and even if we did, it may not help. Take my friend the psychiatrist, for example, who has spent a lifetime analysing human behaviour. On second thoughts, let’s not.

What this Carl Jung based profiling system can do is help. That’s all. It’s a guide.

Back to where I was.

The most recent group of business folk in the Growth Program was dramatically different to the standard mix. For the first time in 12, or 15, or 10, because I’m not good with numbers, years, that I have been delivering a day during the 12-moule course, the NTs (intuitive thinkers) almost overran the SJs.

There were 8 of them, or 10, but not 12. Possibly 9. They accounted for the second largest group, right behind the SJs and swamping the NFs (Idealists or Catalysts) and SPs (Artisans or Improvisers). In the last group I think there was only one NT and we had to pair him up with an NF, an intuitive feeler. The NF required counselling after the encounter. No, that was a humorous interlude, but the NT did say he thought the NF was a “bit soft”.

What is it about these people? And remember, I’m going to indulge in gross generalisations.

The intuitive thinker, what David Keirsey called Rationals, have strategic intelligence. At Curtin Growth we usually call them Theorists. This doesn’t mean they don’t abseil, or surf, simply that these activities do not drive them, are not high on their list of things to do.

The Rationals like theory, particularly theory in their knowledge areas, unlike the Improvisers or Artisans, whose heads may well explode if you feed them theory.
  • Rationals tend to be pragmatic, sceptical, self-contained, and focused on problem-solving and systems analysis.
  • Rationals pride themselves on being ingenious, independent, and strong willed.
  • Rationals make reasonable mates, individualizing parents, and strategic leaders.
  • Rationals are even-tempered, they trust logic, yearn for achievement, seek knowledge, prize technology, and dream of understanding how the world works.

All this means is that they process information in similar ways. It does not mean they will all agree. It does not mean they will process the same content, or come to the same conclusions.

My son, Roger (not his real name, as he’s a private chap), is an NT and he, like his cohort, was and is, very big on competence. As he grew with us, we often had to talk him out of punishing himself for mistakes.

Once he broke a glass table top and it took us hours to get him out of his room.  I remember doing everything I could in attempts to have him laugh at his error. I think I failed. All I accomplished was to confirm his suspicion that his father was an idiot.

The Theorist mindset is, however, the place I feel most comfortable after my own NF home ground and when I inhabit this place, my partner avoids me because I am hard, almost cruel, a bit arrogant (a lot, she would say) and I have little tolerance for those I perceive as fools. But none will suffer wrath like that I reserves for myself.

A group dominate by this preference set might be fearsome to behold, scathing in their outlook and bulldozer like in their approach.

As luck would have it, on the Curtin Growth day, they were very gentle with the rest of us and, really, quite nice.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A group is a group - but not always the same

At the most recent Curtin Growth Program for a group of managers, there was an excess of SJs – traditionalists, stabilisers, what David Keirsey in his temperament model called Guardians. 

Twenty-two in the group and only four not SJs. What would that mean in a team? What would the team look like?

Included in the mix, were, of course, both extraverted and introverted SJs and those preferring thinking and feeling. When you look at the numerically dominant profile it is, of course, ISTJ and when you add the separate preferences, it is again ISTJ.

Often when you profile a group in this way, the majority profile might not be the same as the dominant preferences. This suggests some room to move, some flexibility, diversity. You don’t really want one profile to dominate a group that size.

For example, you might get four ENFPs -  thus the largest number of individual profiles -  in a group but the dominant profile, when you add the single preferences, might be ESFJ.

ISTJs people are responsible, reliable, and when they make a plan they usually stick to it. This is not a team likely to take risks, to break rules, contracts, agreements. They are dependable, responsible, obedient, complaint. However, what often happens is that those with a lean towards other preferences, might shift to fill the gap.

They will look a very conservative group to many of us, perhaps somewhat set in their ways, doing things the way they have been done, since the beginning.

You want this group to run things for you. They are the mainstays. And they will finish projects they start and at the end of the day their work space will be clean, tidy, empty. 

If you want a full ISTJ profile, click here.
For a full SJ profile click here.

What are they missing?
-          Spontaneous enthusiasm
-          Risk
-          Out of the box thinking
-          Lateral thinking
-          The big picture
-          Flexibility
-          Adaptability
-          An Ideal

A classic ISTJ of recent prime ministers was John Howard. He was a sure hand at the wheel and rode the country through a dream period. He took few chances. His biggest was calling in the guns and he won that first round. But it was also too hard for him to say “sorry”.

The Doust family I grew up in was dominated by SJs - an ESTJ and an ISTJ -  and you can imagine the difficulty they had with an ENFP – extraverted intuitive feeling perceive – a kind of hippy dreamy lunatic, emotionally driven kid who could start a heap of stuff and finish little of it. But, by Harold, he could come up with some oysters, crazy ideas, twist a phrase into an entirely new sound and make your hair flatten with laughter. 

And when they put him in the building and “Run this shop”, he did and folk streamed in to experience the ride and the fun and the turnover hit the clouds. Then he left because he got bored. 

But, much later, they asked him back for his emotional intelligence and his wacky take.

Fact is, SJs need NFs and visa-v and no better example than that there is almost nothing this presenter enjoys more than a room for of SJs, because he can see them looking at him and asking “How the hell does this bloke survive” and I am looking at them and marvelling at their ability to succeed.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Guessing game

Michelle Chafin. (estp)

In the last Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship Growth Program we did what we always do – brought someone out after lunch and tried to guess their Jungian profile.

This time it was Michelle Chafin. Some of you will remember Michelle. If you know Michelle you will not forget her. She is one of those wildly enthusiastic people who tend to bring a light into a room when they enter.

What we do in this guessing-game is run through the Jungian preferences, one by one, until we have a complete profile.

Not hard to guess her first choice so I won’t dilly dally – MICHELLE IS AN EXTRAVERT. We took a vote. No-one voted for introvert, including Michelle.

Michelle responds: Here’s a question I remember.

Q. If you were to entertain friends at your home how many people would attend?
A. Over 20. Although I would not have it at home, I don’t cook. So it would be a restaurant. Eamon and Scott asked which restaurant would that be? And I said, well, Bib and Tucker (which they own), of course. 

Remember, the first is about where you get your energy. The second is how you experience things and how you collect information. Because this preference confused us all, I am going to save it for last and skip to the third dichotomy – thinking and feeling.

Initially, some people thought that because Michelle was a warm and friendly woman, she must be an F (feeling). This function is the only one with a gender bias and if Michelle was the opposite, T (thinking) then it would of course be influenced by her femininity.

This preference is about the decision-making process – do you prefer to make decisions, or do you love collecting information and staying at the party no matter what because you are so in the game and tomorrow is irrelevant. Okay, maybe that last bit was just me when I was a young party beast. 

We asked Michelle a few questions and because detail is not my strong point most of them have disappeared from my memory, but here are some we might have asked.

1 – If you had to tell someone they were not ready for the program here at Curtin, would you tell them or ask someone else to tell them?
Now I’ve written it I think we asked something like this and she answered – “I’d just tell them.”
2 – Do you shop with your head or your heart and if someone was rude to you but their price was right, would you keep going back?
3 – If you’re in a race and some falls over, or falters, do you power on past or stop to see if they are okay?
When we asked Michelle for her confirmed preference she answered “Thinking”.
Michelle: I also remember this.
Q. What do you think about the house prices for the new millenniums.
A They will be fine, I would prefer to teach them how to survive in today’s world, provide them with skills. 

Two confirmed - E and T - two to go.

The final dichotomy also caused a split because Michelle seems so organised but under questioning she provided evidence to suggest she preferred a more “laid-back” lifestyle. The other glitch was her appearance – neat, tidy, elegant. She presents a bit like the neater of the two, those with a J, a judging preference. Unlike the presenter, with his un-combed hair, his shirt out, and his cluttered box of tricks.

1 – Are you well organised?
2 – Would you rather wake up in the morning and make your day up as you go along?
3 – Is your wardrobe at home neat or cluttered?
4 – Can you leave work with your desk disordered?
5 - Do you like starting or finishing a task?

Michelle confirmed she preferred to shoot the breeze, a P, perceiver.

Q. When you arrive home to do you chuck things down.
A. Yes, and the room is not always tidy, even though I do prefer tidiness, when busy I just chuck everything and get to it later. I don’t stress out if there is a mess.

And now for the tricky preference.

As we threw the questions, it seemed pretty clear to me Michelle was confirming the preference I knew – S, sensing.

1 – Do you read fact or fiction?
2 – What do you do on weekends?

And she is so an ESTP. I have an ESTP brother and they love being in front of people, doing things with people, entertaining, and participating in sports and activities. Start talking big picture philosophy to him and his head collapses in front of you.

But when we asked Michelle to confirm she said “N, I’m an intuitive”. My socks nearly fell off, but I went with it because she might have had a good reason, it might have been the week she was having, maybe one of those times in a person’s life when they are reflecting, reassessing.

Also, not a good look in front of a group, when someone says “I’m an S”, and you responds with “No, you’re not.” Could make you look like an arrogant bastard who thinks he knows everything about everybody.

Later in the day Michelle approached and said: “I’m not an N, you know, I’m an S.” Phew.

Michelle: Interesting with regards to the N and S. As there was something happening that day, actually that week – which was seeking change and focus on future. 

Q. What type of books do you prefer to read?
A. Business books.
Q. Do you like sports and are you competitive?
A. Yes and when doing Jacobs ladder I like to go with someone fitter so I can chase them – push myself.

And here is a brief on the ESFP: 

ESFPs are fun and delightful to be with. They live for the moment, and know how to make the most of each moment. They are genuinely, warmly interested in people, and love to make others happy. They're usually very kind-hearted and generous, and are always going out of their way to do something nice for someone. Their affection is simple, straight-forward and honest. They dislike theory and complexities. They often resist forming relationships which require them to function on a high Intuitive or Thinking level. They prefer for things to be light and happy, although their warmth and affection runs deep. Their potential downfall is the tendency to live entirely for the present moment, and therefore to sometimes be unaware of the direction that their relationship is heading, or to be easily distracted from long-term commitments.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What now

After my last session at the Curtin Business School Centre for Entrepreneurship, the participants asked for a few extras. I should have charged them a standard and exorbitant consulting fee, but, unfortunately, it would have been a counter-profile request.

My profile: extraverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiver, ENFP. What it means in practice is that I am a bit of a dreamer hippy idealist type and money is peripheral and not an aim.

First question: How do we implement this knowledge in business?

Damn good question and the answer will, naturally, depend on your own profile and the rest of the puzzle that has gone into making you who you are.

For example, remember the four intelligences of the model of four, the temperament model, the one based on what drives us?

The Improvisor-SP has a tactical intelligence so he or she will probably just dive in without any preparation but take particular note of body language and try to find ways of working with colleagues or employees while in full participation mode. And probably make sure they have some fun with their new knowledge. 

The Stabiliser-SJ has a logistical intelligence and this person might note the salient points, then create a time-line of to-be-implemented instructions, guidelines, work books.

The Theorist-NT has a strategic intelligence and these folks might analyse, make a strategic plan that could be an integral part of a broader plan, then implement it, in particular if they were an ENTJ, or lose the plan, if they were an ENTP.

The Catalyst-NF has a diplomatic and emotional intelligence and given these people are my brothers and sisters, better just write what I would do. It is also important to remember that my NF profile is tempered by other components – I am a man, grew up in a small town on a farm and in a shop, spent first 16 years an intense Christian, was a hippy for as long and for most of my life I have kept a journal.

First thing I would do, is nothing, almost, because although an extravert, I am a reflective version. I would return to my workplace, be a little less conversational and observe. After work, even during, I would make notes. At night I would attempt to line up my notes with my new knowledge and look for commonality, characteristics I shared with each individual in the workplace, so I could attempt connections.

Now for some general tips.

- Read the Know Yourself Booklet, particularly pages 10 -13, 22 – 29.
- Jung’s type gives you a template with which to work through personality conflicts
Rather than saying: “He’s a prick and I refuse to work with him.”
You could say: “Hang on, it looks like you are the kind of person who likes precise detail and you do not take things personally. Whereas I am big picture and tend to be a bit sensitive.”
- Always useful to remember that relationships are inevitably negotiated settlements.

And now here are a few key questions to ask to help determine, or guess, a person’s type.

So when we meet, would you like me to tell you everything (Ext), or would you prefer notes on paper (Int)?
(If “yes” to notes)
You want extensive notes? Dot points? Graphics? Big picture stuff (iNTu) or concentrate on detail (Se)?
(If “yes” to tell me)
How much time do you have to meet, because I can could go on for hours?

Thinking and feeling preferences you can put out feelers, or pointers.

           Current analysis suggests the bottom line means we have to close the business down (Thi).
That’s a very good suggestion but what about the impact on staff (Fee)?

With this dichotomy, you can always get an idea in a preamble to a meeting, or conversation. Are they interested in talking about personal matters, or do they just want to get on with it?
If you look through the “Know Yourself” booklet, almost any of the listed characteristics can be turned to a question.

Breadth and depth: Have you got a lot of friends (Ext), or just a couple of very close mates (Int)?
Justice and mercy: That guy who got 10 years, I mean, that was the maximum, so he should have expected it (Thi). or: He was pushed, his wife had only recently died and his cat was run over. I think the court was a bit harsh. (Fee)

If you have a dilemma, flick me an email. –

There’s more, but I’m going to end here. Next instalment soon.