Best practices



No one can teach like someone who’s been there. Lisa Petrilli is a self-disclosed Introvert as well as an accomplished business woman who has run a $750 million business and negotiated pharmaceutical contracts with top global companies. In an article in the Harvard Business Review Petrelli talks about the contribution that learning strategies for networking made to her early success.

The only people that I have met that really love networking are people who run networking organizations and events. The truth is that many Extraverts find networking a challenge, but not in the same energy-draining way that Introverts might.

Petrilli’s top tips:

  • Embrace having a preference for Introversion. She suggests that many Introverts in business see Introversion as something to overcome. Once a person embraces their natural inclination to spend time alone reflecting, they can refine their ideas and be prepared to make a powerful impact by what they have to contribute to the conversation.
  • Petrilli has reframed networking from a large scale social onslaught to a series of one on one conversations. The benefits include creating better business relationships and being less drained by the experience.
  • She suggests using Social Media or other ways of connecting to reach out ahead of an event to people who you know will be attending, telling them that you are looking forward to meeting them. This pre-introduction paves the way to making connecting more comfortable.
  • If this way of pre- connecting isn’t possible, Petrilli suggests that it made a difference to her when she realized that if she took the initiative in introducing herself that others responded positively. She saw the benefit to her in reaching out first as doing this on her terms, as opposed to the whim of others.
  • Her final piece of advice is to resist the temptation to go directly to the next  event or meeting. Taking a half an hour or so to recharge will allow you to be fully engaged in the next thing on your schedule. It will also help to keep  from building a negative story about networking being an energy drain.

Her final word…

Introverts who avoid networking are making a critical career mistake. Being an adroit networker is non-negotiable — and not as hard as it might seem.

Category : Best practices | Blog

The question:

Do you have any advice for procrastinating ENFPs?


As always be wary of “one size fits all” solutions. The best answers are ones that fit your needs and motivational strategies. Here are my top five tips I use to manage my own ENFP procrastination. Please use any that resonate with you and most definitely figure out what really works best for you.

  1. I create what I call “forcing mechanisms” with a solid deadline. An example of this includes registering for art shows. If left to my own devises without a specific goal for artistic endeavours, I would do more thinking about painting than actual painting. Signing up for a show several months before a “set in stone” date helps galvanize me into action. I can visualize the space where I will hang my paintings, and what I want to work on so that the whole show hangs together. It is fun and energizing to have a plan.
  2. In certain circumstances I find someone to help me with the task or project at hand. As an extrovert having someone to talk with me through each step can be a welcome lifeline and keep me in motion. This works especially well for things such as purging files and establishing order in my office or studio.
  3. I also use other external mechanisms to help me with accountability. When I have a regular session with a coach, a trainer, a buddy or mastermind group it is a way to get clear on my priorities and barriers to getting into action. The very act of articulating my goals and the actions I intent to take to achieve them helps to keep me on track.
  4. For years I was addicted to lists and would visit them regularly to make sure I was crossing off enough items so that I would reach a deadline in time. My current list is 2 pages long – recently reduced from an overwhelming 4 pages.
  5. Acknowledging the need for time to let things percolate and the sense of urgency to build helps eliminate the need to beat myself up for procrastinating. BTW This self- flagellation is a total waste of time. When I try to start early I often cannot focus or generate ideas. Over the years I have come to trust that the sudden urge to clean my desk or read a book may be just what I need to do in this moment and that tomorrow which is another day closer to the deadline will help get the seemingly requisite sense of urgency to work it’s magic and help me get on the kind of roll that only happens close to the last minute.

Okay – over to you. What are your top tips?

Category : Best practices | Blog

On the heels of the APA’s, American Psychiatric Association’s, proposed changes that would negatively impact our perception of Introversion, I was asked if Introverts (INFP specifically) can be highly functioning in social situations?

The answer is a YES in capitals. It actually saddens me to think that the myths about Introversion may have contributed to someone asking this question.

Much of my time over last 15 years has been spent in the “coaching” community. While coaches come in all MBTI type flavours, several of the people I have worked with closely have had INFP preferences. The two words that come top of mind in thinking of their social acumen are grace and charm. In watching them work with groups I have seen how they can take the conversation to a deep meaningful level within a short period of time. Perhaps because the inner world of reflection is home turf for the INFP, people sense that they can surrender and trust the INFP facilitator enough to go there with them. In general people with a preference for Introversion can be as outgoing as an Extravert. I personally know many amateur and professional performers who have a preference for Introversion yet love being in front of an audience.

Every personality type comes in every range of psychological health and well-being. In addition type has nothing to do with skill or competency in any area. Whether you are Emotionally or Socially Intelligent has nothing to do with your MBTI type although some would argue that some types are predisposed to it being more natural.

So where does that leave an individual looking for answers to the doubts, fears and challenges that face them in being at ease in the Extraverted world of social discourse? The MBTI and other personality assessments can provide insights into our selves and others and add to our self-knowledge, but the journey to robustness and well-being is truly an individual adventure.

Perhaps a more appropriate question would be “Can someone survive and thrive in social situations after an unsafe or harmful childhood or psychological trauma? Absolutely! In the best case scenario, these life challenges can be fodder for the kind of understanding and strength that makes an individual exceptional. At the same time I will concede that even people with the best of upbringings can be crushed by their reaction to circumstances.

It isn’t any person’s particular “wiring” that dictates their success in a social context, it’s what they do with what they have.

One caveat that may be something helpful to remember is that “No one makes it alone”. So reaching out to others whether they are mentors, coaches or therapists or a trusted adviser, is something we all need to consider. However if you are not naturally resilient SUPPORT is essential. Indeed this is not a one time event. Reaching out, setting up systems and processes that support you on an on-going basis – all need to be integrated into “healthy” living the same way diet and exercise are ongoing day by day.

Commit to daily, weekly, monthly, annual processes that build on what you do well and are comfortable with. Discovering what works for you can either be a hard task and burden or an exciting adventure of discovery. You get to choose!

What do you do on a regular basis to keep you in top form with friends and colleagues? and with yourself?

Category : Best practices | Perspectives | Blog

Follow-up is critical to your reputation and to building and maintaining relationships with your clients, customers and colleagues. “But I’m so busy” you groan “I don’t have time to do all that follow up.” Well I’m afraid this is one of those “You can’t afford not to” situations. Let’s see what follow up means and then look at some MBTI preference specific tips to make it easier.

Things to consider about follow-up

  1. Follow-up is required for every phase of engagement so it is important to identify the cycle of each client/customer interaction; for example, the initial discovery appointment, contracting, delivery, end of delivery review. Your process will be different but there will be some variation on a beginning, a middle and an end. It is helpful to know where you are in the cycle and what is required at each stage.
  2. To determine what is required at each stage, stand in your client/customers shoes.  Try to understand what they might be needing right now so that you can follow-up. What questions do people typically have at this stage and have you answered them? If either you or the client have to gather more information or consult with others before a decision can be made have you created a time frame? Here is an important place to follow up no matter who has the ball. Make the call either way to keep the ball in play.
  3. Think “be of service.” Just because you haven’t heard back from someone doesn’t mean they have forgotten you. They too may be busy. Following up with an offer to help to answer any questions or address any concerns may bring you back to top of mind.
  4. Understand what you are agreeing to. People often say YES before they consider the ramifications of that commitment. It is perfectly fine to say that you would like to think about it or a day or two. Then it is important to get back with a ‘yes’ a ‘no’ or a counter offer. On this same note be aware of any implied agreements or expectations and be mindful if you agree to them or not. You may wish to surface them for a conversation.
  5. If you do agree to something, have a mechanism to make note of it and put a specific date on it so that you can monitor that you completed the item.
  6. If someone else agrees to do something, make a note of that too and follow up after a grace period so that they don’t feel that they are being hounded. The idea is to be helpful.
  7. If you find that you don’t have the resources or time to honour an agreement, say so in time for the person to make other arrangements. If you can offer them another solution even better even if it is your competition. The client or customer will appreciate your honesty and your reputation will remain intact.

Making follow-up easy (with a nod to your MBTI preferences)

  1. Automate or systematize this process if what you are offering allows for that. Personally I would need to hire someone to design this process for me as my ENFP preferences are better suited to other tasks.
  2. Identify your preferred way of communicating – email was made for Introverts. If that is how you like to get things done, let your clients know. Make it easy for both of you by declaring something like… “email requests are returned withing  X amount of time”. Then be demanding of yourself that you do just that.
  3. Extraverts may wish to have a follow-up phone call. That way, you can get a quick grasp of the whole issue and hear if there are any unspoken concerns. It may work for you to have a specific time of day for making and taking calls, and let people know that you are available for phone calls between 8am and 10am for example. Then it goes without saying – be there.
  4. Consider whether some aspects of follow-up can be delegated to an assistant who can troubleshoot and screen what things need to be handled by you. Someone with a preference for Intuition can train an assistant to answer FAQ freeing them from repetitive detailed responses.
  5. For Perceivers – Understand what the person is asking if they make a request and answer “that” question only. No need to expand to other areas and open up something for no reason.
  6. For those with a Thinking preference- Most buying decisions are made with an underlying values based bias which is backed up with cool rational analysis. In other words, if you like it you’ll buy it (or hire a person etc.).  So please don’t underestimate the Feeling aspect of decision making. Some of your follow up may be in preventing buyers remorse or dealing with people’s values based objections or their feelings. Follow-up may be simply listening to their concerns – without the need to “fix’, provide arguments or question them.
  7. Those with a preference with Judging can be of tremendous value to Perceivers in keeping a project moving forward in a timely manner. If you have just rolled your eyes at the though of yet again playing this role for people who should have it together, consider the possible advantage that this gives you. Then there is the huge ‘value add’ you give your clients if you can follow -up with kindness. Think of it this way… “Those who have the capability have the opportunity (responsibility) to use it.”
  8. For those with a Sensing preference, be aware of the exactly how much detail the client wants in order to be satisfied. They may want to leave all of the technical details to you and just need a yes or no answer. This also goes to the amount of follow up – some clients may not need to be contacted as often as others depending on their experience and need for information.
  9. For those with a Feeling preference – my suggestion in an ideal world would be to work in a business you believe in working for clients whose values are in alignment with yours. In the real world, step into the clients shoes and deliver according to their requirements. If what they want does not cross an ethical boundary, tailor your follow up to their needs and preferences not yours.
  10. In a nutshell, think of follow-up as part of building your business not as a nuisance and see if that makes if more palatable. It is all about maintaining trust and developing strong relationships. Your reputation is worth gold.

Are you a Follow-up ninja? What are your secrets?

Category : Best practices | Blog

How much time and effort do you put into promoting yourself and what you do? Add to that the amount of time you spend on the business you have contracted to deliver. Between the promoting and delivering are a myriad of steps that require attention…returning phone calls, clarifying needs, perhaps submitting a proposal, strengthening and maintaining relationships. The list goes on.

Consider the following tale of “follow up” success and failure. Compare these three experiences in getting quotes for a specific service.

Supplier #1
The website is straightforward and business-like with no bells and whistles. A few days after the initial conversation called back to say that given the complexity of the requirements, his limited resources and the time frame, he thought it would be best if he passed on making a quote. He could probably have delivered but he didn’t have the bandwidth if there were additional complications.

Supplier #2
Their website is like eye candy – everything you might want for your business. It boasts a team of experts and the examples of the work they have done is terrific. Emails and phone messages were returned a week later to set up a call. Documents and a discovery phone call resulted in a promise to return a quote within a day. Three weeks later and I haven’t heard a peep.

Supplier #3
Their website is high quality and professional. After an initial call to get an idea of the scope of the project a conference call was held with three of their experts on board. The needs of the situation were fully explored and understood. A complete proposal with costs and timeline was presented within 3 business days.

Supplier #3 was hired and in action one day later. I am not alone in this endeavour. Everyone involved in this project will be an ambassador for this company for years to come. Supplier #1 also scored big time in my books because they were honest in a timely manner. I would definitely use their services in the future because they maintained their trust.

Supplier #2 lost trust and respect. I hope that it was an anomaly but I have no reason to try them again or recommend them to others. I am so disappointed because they looked so good online.

MBTI tips
Follow through may be more natural for someone with a preference for Judging. I know that my ENFP preferences do not contribute to my being a movie star in this area. However, being on the receiving end of poor follow up reinforced the importance to one’s reputation. The impact stretches far beyond one event.

If follow up isn’t your strong suit design systems to help you take care of every aspect of your business where follow up counts. Autoresponders do this for the part of your business that is online. What do you do to ensure that you don’t drop the ball?

Category : Best practices | Blog

Money is tight and time is tighter.

What that means for training is cutting back on both quantity and unfortunately that often impacts the quality as well. Consultants are often willing to dance to the tune of the sponsor. “If you lower the bar and need the limbo we can do that because we want to pay the bills and because we may think that something is better than nothing”. The consultant or type practitioner sees that the client is in need of assistance. Those of us who use type tools know the benefits of understanding type, so we agree to “do what we can” withing the framework that is given.

In a recentTypeLabs webinar Hile Rutledge of Otto Kroeger and Associates provided a bit of a wake-up call around this issue. That was not his intent but what he suggested was that a type practitioner needs to be very clear about knowing the purpose of any type training. In doing MBTI training he suggests that type practitioners need to contract to have the first training designed specifically around helping participants understand MBTI type theory well enough to make an informed decision about their “best-fit” type. That’s it – a single focus.

Then, applying type awareness to improving communication, decision making or conflict resolution for an intact team would be contracted for a second session.In the end trying to crunch introduction and application into a shorter and shorter single session timeframe doesn’t serve the client well.

The bottom line is that the type practitioner or consultant needs to be very clear about the implications of lowering the bar to limbo standards and they need to make sure that the sponsor understands exactly what outcome they can hope to achieve for each level of investment.

It is better to elevate the discussion to focus on results rather than budget alone. Anyone wanting to use type in their organization is well advised to budget for the time required to build a strong foundation and to introduce a mechanism for reinforcement in applying the knowledge.

The waltz has a 1 2 3 count and type practitioners need to take the time to present the case for quality instead of agreeing to shortcuts in a knee-jerk fashion. I understand that what I am suggesting flies in the face of current economic reality however it is important to stop and reflect on what’s required to provide a good outcome.

Without the investment of time in training and integrating into the common language of the team, the MBTI is filed at the bottom of the cabinet under MY WHAT? “Oh that was something we did last year if only I could remember what it said”

Category : Best practices | Consulting/ training | Blog

Hile Rutledge from Otto Kroeger Associates is a well known and respected author, consultant and trainer specializing in using assessment tools such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator for organization and leadership development. A few days ago I attended a webinar sponsored by TypeLabs that Hile presented on making type presentations interactive. Hile walked us through some rich and specific examples of the “why” “what” and “how” of involving participants in exploring aspects of the MBTI to give them both understanding and ownership of the material.

However one thing that stood out for me was a Hile’s directive to the type practitioner in presenting MBTI theory and that was our responsibility to make the case for the less preferred preferences and attitudes in a business context.

What you need to champion as a type practitioner

I am assuming that you, like me, were trained to approach all aspects of the MBTI as neutral so that we talk about all the preference and attitude pairs as being equal. In the business world no one would question the value of the Thinking preference. It is a given. There is a subtext that it is “the better way.” No doubt that business runs on the ability to be objective. What Hile is saying is that in doing interactive exercises as well as presenting type theory, it is incumbent upon the type trainer to show how Feeling contributes to good business practice and not to assume that people will value both equally.

This also holds true for the attitude pair of Judging and Perceiving. We don’t question that the organization and structure that is natural to those with the Judging attitude is good for business. Not only is it possible that certain businesses will have a predominance of those who prefer Judging, the infrastructure is built on that preferred way of being. So take the time to brainstorm with your audience about what Perceiving can contribute to the bottom line. It is also important to point out that people do not have to have that preference to attend to how these behaviours that will enrich their business processes.

Affirmative action in the MBTI – what do you think?

Category : Best practices | MBTI Facts | Blog

A consultant like Pam Fox Rollin who has such depth of knowledge and experience in using the MBTI works with clients in a completely different way than someone in the early days of using the instrument. Pam sets the context for her use of several assessment tools:

I’ve been an enthusiastic learner of type for (oh my!) 26 years; and I have used type in my professional practice for 10 years.

I follow Pam on Twitter @pamfr and through The Presencing Institute community so I have an idea of her expertise, her passion and commitment. I will be attending a session she is giving on working on identifying “blind spots” with clients this Friday and I was curious about how Pam approached using assessments in her consultancy.

Her answers are just what you would expect from a professional – crisp, clean and insightful.

How do you ascertain that it is the right time to use a particular assessment with a client?

When they want to figure something out that an assessment can help them with.
Obvious, I know


What do you do in your consulting practice now after years of experience with regards to assessment tools that you didn’t do in the early days?

Great question!
– I link the learnings more explicitly to their goals. When someone is just learning a new model, those links may not be obvious
– I slow down for what they’re captivated or puzzled by. If we don’t “get through it all” so be it.
– I tune workshop activities to the (probable) types in the room. If there’s a strong preference for Introversion, for example, the first activities are usually small-group and silent.
– I engage them more actively in considering the gifts/benefits of other types – and how to incorporate those points of view into their own leadership
– I’m more able to use multiple models… I’ve learned how to space them and make the connections from one to another to strengthen understanding and reduce overwhelm.
– I use more striking visuals and memorable stories.

What is “top of mind” for you these days regarding your work with clients?

How to use type (especially the cognitive processes) to help senior teams upgrade their decision-making. The tendency at that level is to assume they already use good decision-making and that any improvement is a matter of quality of inputs and analysis, rather than how they frame the decisions and consider what’s in scope.

Below you can see Pam’s bio from the session she will be giving for TypeLabs series Type Practitioner Blueprint. I am accustomed to thinking of “Blind spots” from an Enneagram perspective and am curious to see what Pam has to say about the MBTI in this regard. I’ll let you know my top insights or you can sign up to hear first hand.


Category : Best practices | Blog

The Question
What is the best way to get along with your MBTI type?

The Location
I asked this question on my Facebook page for Personality Plus in Business

The Incentive
I offered to make a doodle for anyone who participated. This MBTI Inspired cartoon could be printed out and posted by your desk – Hey- It’s only fair to give folks a “heads up”!

The Responses
These are hilarious – what about your type? What’s the best way to get along with you?

MBTI type answers

MBTI type answers

MBTI Get along advice continues

MBTI Get along advice continues

What's the best way to get along with my MBTI type?

What's the best way to get along with my MBTI type?

The Question
What’s the best way to get along with your type?

Category : Best practices | Doodles | Relationships | Blog


Which one of these is you? Do you leave a party or seminar looking for what’s next or are you quite ready to go home?

One of the first MBTI trainers that I had is a vivacious, energetic presenter. Many people assume that she has a preference for Extraversion but in fact her preference is for Introversion. People are often attracted to the trainer and have questions that they want answered so the person presenting is literally front and center from the moment they walk in the door until the moment they leave. This can be a challenge for everyone but especially for the Introvert who would do well to plan for lunch alone. “Can I buy you lunch?” may seem like “Can I pick your brain and leave you on empty?”

Extraversion and Introversion refer to where an individual gets their mental energy. Because the Extravert gets it from the external world of sights, sounds and people they are fed by a party or other social event and want more. The Introvert on the other hand while fully engaged during the event finds the internal world of reflection energizing. After the party they are ready for some “alone” time.

The Extravert will also eventually reach a point where they need to retreat from the outer world to regroup.

Do you recognize yourself in either character in the doodle?

Category : Best practices | MBTI Facts | Blog