Psychometrics is the hub for MBTI in Canada. In the September newsletter Psychometrics Direct, Shawn Bakker writes an article on applying the MBTI functions of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling as a guided process for making career decisions. This sequence allows you to:

  • Focus on the facts
  • Identify the possibilities
  • Identify the consequences
  • Identify what is most important

Type theory indicates that each one of us uses all four functions in a sequence that is particular to our type. For my ENFP type for example, the dominant function is Intuition. The second function that comes into play is Feeling. This makes sense to me as I can see that I very quickly can see future possibilities and then I make a value judgment. These two processes close a loop in the decision making process – BINGO – I have decided. It takes compelling new data and thoughtful analysis to open that loop.

The interpretive report from CPP, the publishers of the MBTI, gives you details for your own sequence of preferences. You can see a sample report here.

For those times when you need to have a solid process to explore an issue the same process that Shawn suggests can be applied to other decisions beyond career choices. You may find it extremely helpful when a group of divergent styles and point of view needs to make an informed decision. The secret is in the sequence.

Start with Sensing in order to gather all of the data. Gather facts based on what your five senses can tell you about the present moment. Observe all of the details in a systematic fashion scanning the whole environment in all directions. While gathering data avoid making any conjectures about what they might mean.

In step two, use Intuition to see patterns, how things interconnect and what might be possible. Ask if the theories that you have put forth fit the data that you collected? A helpful question to ask is “What might this be?” What else?” You will want to cover all of the possibilities… expanding without zeroing in on any one assumption for the moment.

It is during step three, using the Thinking function, will help to try out different scenarios and test them with rational cause and effect analysis. Consider the consequences and full cost of each possibility that you brought forth in Step two. It is not yet time to allow your loyalties or habits to influence the process. That happens in the final step.

Step four brings in the Feeling function and involves seeing things from the perspective of everyone involved and how the end result will affect the whole. The values involved are the final measure by which we make a good decision. Which solution will work the best for all stakeholders?

Category: Decision making
  • Share/Bookmark

2 Responses to “Get the Facts First”

Laura December 11, 2008

Hi Sandy,
The order is different, but this reminds me of the Focused Conversation method that ICA teaches. Their facilitation model for conversations follows ORID: Objective data first, then Reflective (reactions, feelings, what it reminds you of), then Interpretive (analysing, drawing out trends, hypothesizing), then Decisional. I wonder if their model seems to work so well because it walks through all the “types”, similar to what you outline above.
(I posted in more detail about ORID at http://auditorylearner.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/facilitation-training-focused-conversation/).

Sandy McMullen December 11, 2008

Hi Laura
Great observation – Your response also triggered a thought about why Action- Learning groups are so successful. The process takes people through a similar process so that they can discover their best thinking.