Autumn 2004

Cover Page

MBTI at Work

Personality Preferences in Action

Corporate Case Studies

DiSC and True Colors

"What sets apart high-performance teams, however, is the degree of commitment, particularly how deeply committed the members are to one another."

~Jon R. Katzenbach & Douglas K. Smith

Newsletter Archives

"No one can whistle a symphony.

It takes an orchestra to play it."

~H.E. Luccock


"Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success."

~Henry Ford

Corporate Case Studies

How the MBTI Impacts Organizational Decisions

A CIO rethinks her strategy of creating an open workspace for her team members, after learning that three quarters of them are Introverts, who like quiet for concentration.

A Sales manager decides to enroll his team in a conflict resolution workshop after realizing their strong ESFJ tendency to avoid conflict and sweep problems under the rug.

An ad agency modifies the way they present creative concepts to their client after recognizing his need to ruminate over ideas for several days, resulting in a better relationship between company and client.

An administrative assistant stops taking umbrage at certain comments by her supervisor, after learning that he (an ESTJ) views socializing as a detriment to completing tasks.

Kaiser Permanente, the largest HMO in the U.S. recently underwent a major reorganization of responsibilities—one that impacted nearly every employee. Proactively, one department held a series of MBTI training sessions that addressed how different type preferences dealt with change. The results showed that while some department members would certainly relish the new opportunities and see limitless horizons, others would experience uncertainty, fear and sadness at leaving the old ways behind. Together the team examined their individual preferences, and developed strategies for helping everyone cope with the upcoming upheaval.

The Ryland Homes Company uses the MBTI as part of their young manager training because they believe that diversity in preference type is important and as such should be a component of their leadership development program.

How the MBTI Impacts Team Decision Making

“As a management team, none of us had been exposed to the MBTI before, so when we received the results of the assessment, we were impressed with the power of the tool in its ability to get to the heart of who we were as individuals. We were somewhat shocked at how accurately it depicted the way in which we interacted with others.

Personally, it gave me a much greater appreciation for my colleagues. In particular, one who was an ENTP (I’m an ISTJ). I’m very data-driven in my decision-making, while he is intuitive. I realized that numbers were not going to be persuasive if the information didn’t correlate with his gut-instinct. So we have a different type of conversation around decisions now. It’s also helped me to be more of a “big-picture” thinker and listen to my own instincts where before I might have gotten bogged down with “evidence.”

It truly changed the way I approach others and I’ve become more flexible in my thinking. As a manager, having this kind of insight into your team is valuable. It certainly doesn’t preclude getting to know people as individuals, but it does allow you to avoid pit-falls and build trust more quickly. It’s also easier to provide the kind of coaching and support most appropriate for each team member’s type.”

Bryan Shogren
Business Operations Director

How the MBTI Drives Organizational Growth

“I’m convinced that having outside consulting contributes to our success. We’ve grown by 300% in the last fifteen years because these outside influences force us to be accountable for making necessary changes: organizational, cultural, interpersonal. With no profit motive to drive our growth like private enterprise has, associations are at risk for losing momentum and becoming stagnant.

Choosing to have my team participate in the MBTI was a smart economic decision. I didn’t go into it looking for a feel-good exercise. Building rapport is nice and all, but I wanted operational and economic outcomes from this investment of time and money. I have to admit, I initially possessed a degree of skepticism, but the results of the assessment were dead-on, garnering a 95% accuracy score from the participants.

It’s changed the way we approach conflict, communication issues, decision-making …instead of meeting people where we think they should be, we meet them where they are.

For me, the bottom line was personal responsibility. Once you know what your type preferences are, it’s your responsibility to adapt and change and grow to compensate for certain areas and to leverage other areas. Knowledge is power…but it’s also a burden. If you’re unwilling to act on what you learn from this, it’s a waste of time. But if you can look at some truths (some perhaps painful and in conflict with your self-perceptions), you and your team can make great strides.”

Mark Breslin
Engineering and Utility Contractors Association

It’s important to note that in most of these cases, the teams had been significantly exposed to the MBTI instrument in a combination of classroom training and experiential training. The managers’ comfort with the instrument and its results sharply peaked after witnessing the various personality preferences in real and simulated interactive challenges. This was particularly true when the interactive challenges were adventurous in nature: team sailing, ropes courses, team orienteering.

© 2004 Adventure Associates, Inc.