Know ThyselfThis ancient Greek inscription written over the threshold at the temple at Delphi calls on us to gain self knowledge.  Whether you are building a business, a career or a professional practice knowing your core strengths and preferences is a fundamental guide on multiple levels. When you pay attention inwardly as well as to current external conditions, you know what to say YES to and what to say NO to not only in the big picture of designing strategy for your career or business but also it helps you understand how to best proceed with day to day decisions and interactions.

Assessment tools such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator help us to hold up a mirror so that we can have a look at who we are and how we behave. You have probably run into this assessment or a version based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung somewhere in your work life or education. If you are like many people that I talk to you have a vague recollection of some of the aspects of your type but can’t remember those letters and what they stand for. No worries – the important part is to enter into a continuing conversation so that this valuable tool stays in your awareness. Remembering your type is not as important as understanding how you process and what that might mean for your communication, the work environments you need and how you approach planning and problem solving.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been a proven effective tool and a powerful resource for business since its development in the 1940’s.  To maximize the value from looking at any model it takes putting it into action consistently over time. There are times to be the hare and times when the slow and steady approach wins the race. Perhaps it’s time to dust off those old MBTI results and see what nuggets are there for you to mine. Even those of you who have not yet completed an assessment you will surely recognize yourself or those who you deal with on a daily basis and find some food for thought as well as some practical tips to implement right away.

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2 Responses to “Knowing who you are is critical to success”

Hi Sandy,
I recently got a book written by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson, called “The Hero and the Outlaw – Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes.”
I was just wondering how does their view compare to MBTI?

Sandy McMullen October 19, 2008

Great question Boris. I believe that one of these authors has another book that is also based on Jung’s work on archetypes. The MBTI is anchored in Jung’s work on our preferences for how we process information and make decisions.

Looking at archetypes when approaching “branding” sounds intriguing and a very powerful approach. Because archetypes take us immmediately into a universally shared experience, we immediately have so much information – from a branding perspective we “get” the whole story.

Looking at personality types doesn’t have the same level of commonly accepted story. We all know what the HERO does but we may not have familiarity with the 16 types. What personality types does offer is an opportunity to understand the inner workings of how someone else processes and how they may contribute to the whole picture – for instance if some team members bring the logical rational analysis of the thinking preference – there will be times when the values based approach of those who have a feeling preference will “soften” the approach and contribute to things like employee retention.

Both archetypes and personality types add to our understanding of the whole puzzle of how to approach our work. Hope this makes sense. I am curious what you took from this book that you applied to your brand building.

Thanks for asking.