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Making the Case for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)*

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment—Hugely Valuable, Hugely Misunderstood

What is it with people and their reactions? We all ask ourselves that question every day.

Why do people blow up at the most unexpected moments? Why do wars break out on my teams? Everyone I know searches for the answer to those vexing, maddening questions.

And what would it be worth it for you to know the answer—and be able to apply it? Knowing the answer is important to you and to every person on the planet.

Most Perplexing Question—and the Single Most Important Answer

Heidi Halvorsen is a Harvard prof and author of, “No One Understands You and What to Do About It.” She asked her self-help book hating husband what kind of book she could write that he would read. At first, he said none, but on further reflection, he said he’d read a book that explained why, as a seasoned manager, people suddenly pushed back on him, didn’t understand where he was coming from, and were really angry although he had the very best of intentions. Sound familiar? Ever happen to you?

I was clueless on the subject of how to manage people’s reactions. How could it be that what I just said could clear a room and I didn’t even know what I’d done? I was a very successful sales person, but I had conflicts with finance people. When I came back from a sales presentation I would proudly announce my success to our VP of finance who didn’t even acknowledge my sale. He wanted to know if I had filled out my expense account. That was something I was going to eventually get around to. I thought he was really being aggressive and pushy for his own convenience.

Personality Type—It Revolutionized My Life and Career

Then I discovered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. When someone finally put me in a class that explained how it works, I finally got it. To my personality type, ENTJ, making the sale was not just the most important thing—it was the only thing of importance. To the VP of finance, he was keeping me out of prison for the violation of IRS laws, which I was sure couldn’t really be true. We were on a collision course because as two different personality types (he was an ISTJ), we valued a world of opposites. He would never make a sale and I couldn’t run finance.

After I learned about MBTI, I understood some fundamentals about myself that explained my world and the world of others in a way that I had never understood it before—it was totally life-changing.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment—Hugely Valuable, Hugely Misunderstood

If you are inclined to discount the value of personality type, you’re in good company. Personality type, especially the MBTI has been attacked by many distinguished sources. It has been described as inaccurate, putting people in a box, and denying the uniqueness of the human being. Psychologists often don’t like it or use it, although a few do. People who don’t like personality type get very emotional in their opposition, which I find curious in and of itself.

So here are a few useful facts about personality type.

  • It has very ancient roots, going back at least as far as Hippocrates in the 4th Century, BCE.
  • It came to modern prominence through Carl Jung, in his book, Psychological Types, published in 1921.
  • The MBTI was constructed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers.
  • The Myers-Briggs Company (formerly CPP) has produced and marketed the assessment and done a very admirable job of research and production of variations on the assessment through many decades.

Please Consider Taking a New Look at the MBTI

If your experience with personality type has been less than miraculous, let me help you do a do-over. It’s worth the time and effort.

Delta, Inc. and Carol Kallendorf, Ph.D., have used MBTI in our Delta Alignment Model for several decades because it produces incredible insights that can lead to personal and team transformation. Once you give people a tool like MBTI that enables people and teams to come to quick decisions and actions, money is saved, the product is developed more quickly, and sales rise. MBTI is an important component of team alignment, the single most important ingredient in team success.

Here are some reasons that MBTI might not have been a meaningful experience to you the first time you were exposed to it:

You may not have had enough time to learn the MBTI basics. Learning the MBTI is learning about the way the human mind works. You can’t sum up the human mind or the MBTI in a couple of hours. The fact that there are 4 preferences in 16 different types can be daunting because it is complex. In order to learn MBTI, you need to have enough time to master its principles and applications.

Those who led your MBTI session might not have had the skills and knowledge to teach it. I have been appalled at the lack of knowledge that many practitioners have of MBTI. When Delta, Inc. teaches MBTI, we have a methodology that when someone walks out of our sessions they grasp the basics and know how MBTI works to increase their skills.

Your MBTI Report might have been deficient. We use MBTI Step II, which is a comprehensive report designed for senior level people. It can be done online at our website. Contact us for information on how to complete and receive a state-of-the-art MBTI report.

Why the MBTI is the Enduringly Best Personality Type Assessment

I believe that MBTI is the most accurate and reliable personality type assessment based on our research and experience. It is by no means the only assessment that should be used by organizations. There are assessments for a wide spectrum of traits that organizations use to choose the right employee for the job they can contribute their best.

MBTI gives a person a whole way of viewing and valuing themselves. Experiencing a debriefing on your MBIT Step II report from an expert on MBTI is like meeting someone you’ve told is the most key person in your life—and it turns out to be you. I gained more insights into my approach to life, my strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, in a few minutes than I ever had been able to learn in a lifetime.

MBTI provides the best tool for teams to create alignment. What is not clearly understand is that if Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth, and Leonardo DaVinci were all the same room, they wouldn’t be successful as a team—if they were not aligned. Einstein would be doing an equation. Queen Elizabeth would be working on a new ship. DaViGreatGreatnci would be haggling about the price of a painting. The MBTI is the most effective tool to align a group of diverse people into a team that uses each others’ best qualities to achieve goals.

It is predictive of what people will do in given situations. MBTI accurately predicts a team’s behavior in a given situation. Hardly anything could be more useful to an organization. The most important aspect of any scientific theory is the principle of predictability—that it will predict the same things will happen in the same situation at a different time and place. If you mix two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen together you’ll always get that miraculous liquid called water.

Human beings are not like mixing chemical compounds, but MBTI demonstrates how preferences produce types that behave in a predictable manner. Some personality types will get great results leading teams but will ruffle feathers. Some will make team members feel like they are happy and valued but may want to avoid conflict when conflict is necessary. MBTI produces useful and actionable predictability in hundreds of ways.

Reconnecting to MBTI—with a Free Offer

If you’ve completed MBTI before but didn’t connect in a way that creates the magic of the instrument, if you are a part of an organizational team, we would like to offer you a free administration of MBTI Step II, which is the most complete MBTI Report available. The MBTI takes about 20 minutes to complete and after you’ve completed it we’ll send you the report along with a professional debriefing that will last about an hour. Just email me, and we’ll send you the instructions to receive this MBTI report, and an interpretation of what that means to you. It is a valuable offer, and well worth your time.

Austin, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

(512) 498-9780

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