How to test for Balance in your Personality

I just finished one of those personality quizzes. Not the Facebook ones, like “What Game of Thrones Character are you?”. The ones that ask the would you prefer questions, then tell you something about your personality.

I have taken a few of these over the years. A small (170 people) startup I worked at about 5 years ago had us all do Meyers Briggs. You can find free assesments online if you look.
Meyers Briggs is the classic one that has been around the longest. It is based on Jungian psychology and was started in the ’70s.

Here was the funny thing that happened with the Meyers Briggs test. When we received our results, the HR lady brought me into her office. This was the new HR person. She wore here hair up in a twist with brightly decorated chopsticks to hold it, every single day. She was into shoes, big tall fancy shoes. The sort of shoes that make a person walk like they are wearing ski boots. Anyhow, we made small talk on the very slow walk to her office. I wondered if my results were wrong, or if this was the firing for insubordination. The reason I should have been fired from that job are a different story.

She started talking about Meyers Briggs and how helpful it could be and how much she learned about the people on the team. She had done the full company assessment twice before at previous companies. I had the feeling she was trying to say something without saying anything. Finally, she asked if I took the assessment seriously. I did. I think things like this are useful.

My philosophy when taking a quiz like this is to read the question and click an answer with the first feeling I get from my gut. Don’t overthink the questions. First, because the engineers mind can get wound around the deeper meaning behind the question and never get untangled. And second, because I think that is the best way to get a good result.

She was wondering if I had purposely answered the question in a contrary way. In the Meyers Briggs questions they ask “Do you like blah” and later “Do you not Blah”. So if your answering AABAABAAB in a pattern they will catch it and throw out your answers.

The ratings are in 16 possible patterns, there are 4 dichotomies and each has two preferences. You can be Introverted or Extroverted for example, but not 0 or 1, it is an analog scale. I had the “usual” engineer category, INTP, introversion, intuitions, thinking, perceiving. Here was the real question she had for me. My results were very balanced, especially for an engineer…

Too balanced.

Usually someone that balanced is either cheating the test, or a sociopath. Cool. I had to laugh because I had seen this: Hugh Cartoon  and read the Gervais Principle. Does that mean I should be in charge?

From Hugh McCloud
Company Hierarchy

Where I work now, they do a thing called Emergenetics. It is the same deal, but with it’s own different spin on the results. Plus they use a pie chart, not a bar graph.

Again, I was in the right spot for an engineer, but was balanced. Much more balanced than the others who took the test at the same time. They do an afternoon workshop to go over the results, so we shared our profiles.

The one I just completed was from a book. Anther book based quiz is “Strength Finder 2.0” I have done the “Strengths Finder” years ago. I know I did, but can’t find the results in my papers. I guess keeping papers is not a strength.

The latest one is from the 80/20 Marketing Plan book by Perry Marshall.  He has a marketing DNA test. It is supposed to help you identify the best way for you to do marketing. I scored a 7-6-3-6. Again there are 4 categories, and 1-10 on each. So, once again balanced.

Two things stuck out to me. Writing is a good way for me to communicate, so keep blogging. Second, I like to start things, but can loose interest. Yep. That is probably why I need to keep blogging.

On Balance

The third time the result is a balanced profile is interesting. It seems like a good thing. Certainly working as an engineer you have met people who were so introverted they could barely talk to coworkers. It is the old joke:

“How do you know an engineer is an extrovert?”
“They look at your shoes when they talk to you.”

Balance is something you have to work hard to achieve. You may have to look up from the code window and see what is happening in the business, what is going on with your coworkers, and is it sunny out today?

Toastmasters may be good for you. It helps you get used to looking at other peoples shoes.

When I interview someone who knows what was happening on parts of the product that they did not own, it is a good thing. No one wants to hire someone who has only specified the back panel screws. Or, even worse their part worked, it was the web guys who failed. No, it is the team.

These tests are like the colored glasses in CSI Las Vegas. You remember how those worked. The CSI would come back to the crime scene and turn out all the lights. They put on the “special” colored glasses and shine the UV light around. Suddenly they see something they could not see before.

Keep looking for balance in everything you do. And keep taking tests. A personality test is the same as the CSI glasses. A lens you can use to look at your strengths and weaknesses and maybe see things you missed.

Then again, I am a Sagittarius, and I married a Scorpio. What do I know.

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