Other Assessments


When people ask me what I do and I mention assessments such as the MBTI, I get a variety of reactions. Some people’s eyes glaze over as they say “You what?” Obviously they have never experienced a personality assessment other than possibly a quiz in a magazine they may have done as a teenager. There are others who say “I did that once”, but have no idea which tool was used nor what their particular results indicated. The rare individual can rhyme off their results from a variety of assessment tools and indicate how they play out in their work life. What is common is that people who have done one of the temperament assessments or another 4 part ,model such as Social Styles will remember either the colour or an aspect of their type.

In a recent conversation, a woman was excited to talk about just how Gold she was – “off the charts” as she described her uber-organized style. She had a real sense of how those preferences suited the work she was in and just as aware of how it was a source of possible friction in her home life.

11. Temperament MatrixWhat occurred to me during our conversation was how useful a simple model was in a work context where people have something like colour to anchor their memory. Assessments of any kind are only of value if they are applied. What does this tell me about my strengths? What does it tell me about how others may perceive my actions? How can I become increasingly aware of my “blindspots”?

The other thought I had was that personal development is so important to me that at times I forget that some people could care less. Those of us who see the value in using tools to learn about ourselves and others, may readily see that having insights from a number of tools is simply a more meaningful approach to understanding. Those who value personal development are willing to take the time to learn about and apply more complex instruments.

So even though I have a personal preference for the distinctions made by the Step 2 version of the MBTI that gives a break down of 5 sub-pairs for each preference pair, some people simply want to know I am Gold and this is a good thing for my job. What works depends on the context and the interest of the people involved. Start wherever you are. KISS Keep it simple is sometimes the best motto.

Category : Other Assessments | Blog

Let’s suppose that you were told that Vengeance was one of your motivators. People often frame this in a more personal way as “I am vengeful.” Would you have a reaction to this in your profile?

When you are working with personality assessments, you need to make sure that everyone understands the meaning of the terminology being used in this particular circumstance. As a general rule the terms used to describe personality types or traits are neutral and imply no preferred value.

According to the Reiss Motivation Profile “Vengeance” is the desire to get even with others, the need to strike back. Aggression in animals is an example of the evolutionary basis of vengeance. The emotions associated with vengeance are anger and hate. At a primal level high desire for vengeance is and “eye for an eye” view of life. Another way of looking at this is that these high vengeance people believe that “it’s up to you” and the best way to do things is to simply take charge and get things done. A word that could also be used to describe vengeance that is more palatable is competitive. This motivation can propel sports teams to victory or turn around a failing organization. However, we all know people who love to argue just for the sake of it. There is pleasure for them in pushing back, sparring and defending their position. They love to prove other people wrong. On the downside this is the territory of dictators and despots.

On the other side of the scale, at the low end of the scale, people who score low in “Vengeance” are agreeable and will turn the other cheek. There are some people who wouldn’t strike back even if their life was in danger. This type of person may find that others take advantage of them.

These traits do not go away. If we don’t find a positive, constructive way to get these needs met they will raise their heads in possibly ugly ways. Rather than judging a desire such as “Vengeance” as negative or troublesome design a way to to get this need met such as regular athletic competition. If this is a trait you recognize in others, can you see the positive contribution?

Screen shot 2012-01-20 at 7.30.11 PM

As a sidebar: This painting was part of a show of paintings that I did based on the Reiss. A man came into the gallery and as he was reading the list of 16 core motivators on the Reiss profile, he came to argue with me about Vengeance. He said that he didn’t believe in it as it wasn’t necessary. If anyone got in his way he just “dealt” with them. As he turned to see the artwork hanging in the show, this painting caught his eye and without knowing that it that represented “Vengeance”, he told me that he liked THIS one.

Each letter is made from quotes that capture the energy of “Vengeance” such as “If you aren’t the lead dog the scenery never changes.” I resisted the urge to say “Gotcha” (barely ).

Category : Other Assessments | Blog

Jack's feather

You don’t need to know a person’s Enneagram type to recognize that they might be currently in the grip of a particular Enneagram energy however fleeting the moment. I recently had a request for information from someone who watched one of my painting videos on YouTube.

The word “worry” occurred several times in reference to various aspects of their work… in not one but in two emails. This is territory that an Enneagram Six knows like the back of the hand.

The issue for Sixes is trust – trust in the exterior world and trust in self.

Mastery through practice is an antidote to worry and doubt.

Good advice no matter your type.

PS. Here’s a post I wrote in response to question in her second email. By the way I actually sometimes take my own advice. Do you take yours?

Category : Other Assessments | Blog

Do you know what your needs are?
I’ll be you haven’t really consciously thought about this question recently. Of course Maslow has put them into a hierarchy for us, starting with the basics of food, shelter and ending with self-actualizing needs. But I will wager that other than our daily cave man like morning mantra “need coffee now” or monthly whine “really ought to hit the gym” most of us don’t pay attention to our needs.

What happens when a particular need goes unmet?
Ahhhh…hhhaaaa Unmet needs make themselves known. If you don’t notice your discomfort, your cranky mood, then perhaps someone close will be kind enough to point it out to you. They may ask “What’s wrong?” “You don’t seem to be yourself?” It may be as subtle as a lacklustre feeling seeping into everything, or something feeling “off”.

How can you really know what your needs are?
Here’s a scenario that you might know well. You think that you need a bigger, better car, house, job, city etc. and then you will be happy. You might recognize this syndrome in others when you listen to them complain.

Screen shot 2011-06-19 at 12.08.06 PMSome of us might actually be able to become the kind of excellent observers of our behaviour that allows us to suss out our true needs which most likely aren’t the kind that are satisfied by a new house. For the rest of us looking at the Reiss Desire Profile can be enlightening. This assessment is a comprehensive, standardized, objectively validated instrument that assesses 16 basic psychological needs. Fourteen of these needs or desires are based on animal behaviour; for example, power, independence and curiosity can all be found when studying the animal world.

Who is responsible for my needs?
The simple (yet not so simple) answer is… you are. Here’s an example of the not so simple answer. One of the most challenging needs, if it applies to you, is the need for Acceptance. Before you think that we all have that particular need, the truth is …. we don’t. Some people honestly could care less what you think about them. Not in a mean way – it simply isn’t on their radar screen.

If you have a need like this and expect that because you give it to a particular person or even a job that there is an automatic quid pro quo return due to you, you may be sadly mistaken. In addition it is not necessary. You need to be responsible for getting your need met but if you realize that you can get it met in many ways you can design a solution that works. In the case of Acceptance, there are organizations that value this need – overtly acknowledging this by giving awards and having recognition dinners. Volunteering or working with individuals or organizations that help meet this need takes the pressure off expecting to find it in all the wrong places. Dog owners often boast that they receive unconditional love and acceptance from their pet. Suggesting that a pet can make a difference may seem at first like a trite response – I’m not certain that it is.

So what?
Pay attention to your moods, your feeling of well being. Our emotions and our bodies are great sources of information for us if we pay attention.

If you aren’t sure what needs aren’t being met or what needs are being stepped on or what you are ignoring, look at a needs based tool such as the Reiss Desire Profile.

Take action into your own hands and make a plan to get your needs met. This is not a one time affair. Meeting your needs once does not make them go away. They drive your behaviour whether you are paying attention or not.

Category : Other Assessments | Blog

April 22nd’s Enneagramtip to realize ” how much I am supported” could not have come at a better time.

Picture 9

“Transforming to Essence” is an enormous quest. HAVING a personality seems like a necessary evil. However I truly love the idea of shifting things when elements of my personality HAVE me.

Each of us has our own challenge. As an Enneagram Six the “doubting mind” is the devil I know well. This Enneagram tip appeared in my email the evening after I returned from a bookclub meeting. As I was leaving the meeting, I happened to notice that the hostess had one of my paintings in each of the 4 directions… paintings North, South, East and West. I was bowled over, perhaps because of the concept of the 4 directions. Because I had always known that my friend had some of my work. I mentioned the coolness of the 4 directions to the group and others chimed in about paintings of mine that they enjoyed at their home, at the cottage or in Florida which covers at least 2 directions on another scale.

When I read this message from “The Wisdom of the Enneagram” it struck me that I am totally blessed and supported even when I am feeling otherwise. It also struck me that I have had this awareness before. The Enneagram teaches that what we focus our attention on creates our reality. So this tip is a good reminder.

It was cool that I had the experience of realizing that I was supported before I had the nudge. Progress?

I think progress is a better measure of success than expecting perfection or transformation.

Want to subscribe to EnneaThought for the Day

Category : Other Assessments | Resources | Uncategorized | Blog

Enneagram North is the hub of Enneagram activity in Ontario. Margaret Rao has been studying the Enneagram for many years – well let’s just say she is well steeped.

This event just crossed my path and I wanted to share it because sub-types tell you so much in a concise way plus this event is offered at such a tantalizing price.

And that my friends appeals to self-preservation sub-types – like me.

If you attend – come and say HI

Saturday, March 26 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Toronto First Unitarian Congregation
175 St. Clair Avenue West @ Avenue Road, Toronto

The Enneagram is a practical and powerful tool for understanding self and others, incorporating ancient spiritual wisdom with modern psychology. This 3 hour workshop will offer an overview of our instinctual subtypes – self-preservation, sexual (intimate) and social and how they play out in our everyday lives. Saturday, March 26 from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m in the library. Fee $5.00

Please reply to margaretrao@rogers.com or (416) 658-0998

Category : Events | Other Assessments | Blog

Last week a group that I belong to had the injection of 3 members taking the group to 10. WOW the energy in the room was amplified tenfold and I really had the sense that the new members had shifted the dynamic 100% in a brief hour.

Personality was one aspect of this impact. I could imagine that at least 2 of the 3 members had a preference for Extraversion and Thinking. Since we use Insights as our assessment tool of choice these new members brought a significant injection of Red energy.

Believe me when I say I was awake for the whole meeting. The pace increased and I had the sense that people were processing quickly and would not tolerate being bored. That certainly caught my attention and it was an exciting element to think of how the conversation was going to be interesting and challenging.

There would be absolutely no going back to a more bucolic pace. We were in for a different kind of meeting.

What’s comfortable and familiar is seductive for many. Even change junkies have places in their lives where they fall back into the familiar. How to you handle change in a group? Are you ready to rewrite “how things are done around here”. to accommodate the needs of the new additions?

Category : Communication | Other Assessments | Team Building | Blog

Here is a question I received about reactions to needy people. Perhaps this also strikes a chord with you?

I run like crazy away from people that I see as needy or clingy. It’s top of mind right now because I went on a date last night and decided that the guy was insecure and needy and would need a lot of “coddling” and “taking care of”, and I thought, “I’m out of here; I so don’t want to do that for someone.”

But then I thought that when I have been in relationships – with guys that didn’t come across as needy – I *love* taking care of them. I go out of my way to do nice things and look out for them. But they need to not need it in order for me to want to do it.

I’ve noticed this in work contexts too – I don’t like working with people if I get a needy feeling from them; in fact, the more they say they need me the more I withdraw.

Any Enneagram 5 or INTJ/INFJ light that you would like to shed on this?

Since this reaction to needy people has also come up for me, I am curious to have a l look at what might be happening.

Through the lens of the MBTI
What first came to mind was the possible reaction that someone with a preference for Thinking might have toward someone with a preference for Feeling. For the Thinking type decision making is made through objective analysis and the more internal process of the Feeling preference can seem slow, inefficient, unreliable or illogical which could be interpreted as being “needy”.

People who may have a preference for Feeling but are out-of-preference on one or two aspects might also react in a similar fashion. My out-of preference for the Tough side of the Tough-Tender aspect of Thinking-Feeling has made some people’s “weighing all aspects” time consuming process seem exasperatingly slow and “bleeding-heart” . I avoid “needy” people because my fear is that they won’t stand on their own two feet and make the decisions that are necessary to make for themselves.

Through the lens of the Enneagram
I am wondering if some of this reaction is due to the level of development of the person. Any type who is unhealthy can elicit red flags warning us to steer clear. Riso and Hudson have done a wonderful job in describing the healthy and unhealthy states for each type.

The Enneagram Five is the type most likely to have radar that would signal that a needy person would impinge on their peace of mind. Feelings and emotion interfere with the Fives detached observer stance and is the number one thing to be avoided.

The Enneagram Eight would have a more assertive reaction to the needy person. Rather than withdrawing and avoiding them they would deal with someone who wasn’t willing to stand up and try in a direct manner. While an underdog who is willing to fight for themselves is championed, anyone who clings and shows their belly might be told to “Get a life.”

Each type would react differently to people perceived as being needy and I am curious about how people of other types react. It would be great to hear your perspective.

Through the lens of the Reiss Desire Profile
When I was pondering my response to this query, the insights from the Reiss Desire Profile leapt to mind. Three of the 16 basic psychological needs might each have some influence here: the need for Acceptance, the need for Independence and the need for Social Contact.

The need for Acceptance relates to the need for approval. Anyone with a high need in this area can be seen as being needy. If you happen to have this as a need, you will never succeed in making it disappear. What you can do is recognize and accept it and design ways to get this need filled. Part of the trouble comes when people expect others in their inner circle, at work or random contacts to accommodate this need instead of being intentional in getting it met.

How does one do that? I’m not sure what would work for any individual but perhaps an example will help get the wheels turning. Mary Kay Cosmetics in the hay day of building their organization gave away pink Cadillacs plus many other public ways of showing recognition in a culture based on Acceptance. If someone can get their need met in one aspect of their life they will not have to generalize it to every situation.

Imagine that you are someone with a low need for Acceptance, a high need for Independence and a low need for Social Contact… if this profile or any combination of these desires fits you think about how you typically react to needy people.

What if we could use the information we glean from assessment tools to shift our reactions from personal to objective, we might reduce the temptation to judge or blame and instead get curious about what we can learn about how to work with people of all levels and types of needs.

Category : MBTI Facts | Other Assessments | Relationships | Blog

Seth Godin, author of Linchpin and my blog of choice each day talks about the limitations imposed by the fear originating in what he calls our lizard brain.

“The lizard is a physical part of your brain, the pre-historic lump near the brain stem that is responsible for fear and rage and reproductive drive.”

This fear shows up as resistance that infects the voice in our head we listen to telling us “to go slow, be careful, not to risk, not to try, not to rock the boat, not to stand out etc. etc,)

There is a distinction I would like to add to Seth’s wisdom that comes from understanding the instinctual subtypes of Enneagram. In other words we are not all created equal in our motivation in this area. We are driven by needs for intimacy, for social needs and for security, safety and self care or self preservation needs. BUT we do not have these in the same intensity or priority. You can watch the clip of Enneagram author Helen Palmer below http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D86IVsoiqTE

If you recognize that self preservation or security needs are highly important to you, you need to factor that into how you decide what to listen to. These needs are not going to go away nor can you simply dismiss them. However, it seems to me that people with strong security needs often pay a price that they don’t acknowledge consciously. They will stay in a relationship or difficult work situation long past the time to take action because the familiar discomfort of the current conditions seems less painful than the discomfort of the what is unknown and insecure.

Avoiding is not a strategy or plan that works long term. Don’t wait for a crisis in order to make a plan of action. You can make a plan that is rational and well considered and respectful of who you are as a person. Sacrificing your power by relinquishing the steering wheel for the illusion of safety is anything but safe.

Category : Decision making | Other Assessments | Uncategorized | Blog

This is a tale of apples and oranges.. The MBTI and Enneagram are two very different personality typologies which look at very different things. They work well when used in conjunction to provide a fuller understanding of what make us tick just as apples and oranges both contribute to making an excellent fruit salad.

The MBTI is based on the work of Karl Jung and it looks at the conscious functions of taking in information through the functions of Sensing and Intuition and making decisions through Thinking or Feeling. The underlying assumption is that one way of doing this is not inherently better than another. It is a preference one has that is in fact not an indication of skill or talent but of what is often most accessible and therefore most often practiced. The 4 letter code that makes up the 16 different MBTI types helps to indicate how these functions interconnect. Most MBTI literature focuses on the positive or more neutral aspects of the types before looking at what happens “in the grip” of stress.

The Enneagram has a history that is more esoteric. It dates back before the mystic schools of Islam where the Sufis used aspects of the Enneagram in the spiritual development of initiates. When the Enneagram was brought to the West the first teachers were exploring questions in psychology concerned with dysfunction. The Enneagram looks at the world of the unconscious and how the 9 different worldviews outlined by the Enneagram influence our orientation to the world. The current teachers of the Enneagram have shifted the focus from the shadow aspects of personality to focusing on real world applications of the model for business and self development.

Mapping One onto the Other
There isn’t a direct correlation- hence the apples and oranges analogy. There are some things that may be typical however given the understanding that there is an exception to every one of these forced correlations.

  • Enneagram 5 and I,T
  • Enneagram 8 and E
  • Enneagram 2 and F
  • Enneagram 7 and E,P
  • Enneagram 1 and J
  • Enneagram 3 and E
  • Enneagram 9 and I
  • Enneagram 4 and I,N,F

Some authors and researchers such as Tom Flautt and Renee Baron with Elizabeth Wagele have mapped this even more extensively than my very limited correlations. They too add the cautionary tale of exceptions being a distinct possibility.

Using these tools

The MBTI has a validated inventory that has one publisher so that it is readily recognized across sectors as a valuable tool in business for team building and personal development. People can recognize areas of possible strength and what else may need looking after. The downside is the perception that it can be learned and applied in a one time event. Without reinforcement the MBTI type may be forgotten and shelved MBTI-amnesia!

The Enneagram has a variety of assessments that have been tested to various degrees. It comes out of the oral tradition and is best learned by watching participants discuss their type in a workshop setting. Then you can see the physical characteristics, patterns of speech as well as hearing typical ways of focusing attention. Even though it may not have been as rigorously tested for validity the Enneagram has its own distinct advantages in certain circumstances. It too can be effective for personal development and creating understanding in teams. The Enneagram is uncannily accurate in capturing core dynamics. In part this means that the disowned shadow elements are also on the table from the beginning and some people find this challenging.

My personal take is that the Enneagram is a harder “sell” in a business environment, but a very important tool that anyone serious about leadership ought to consider. It isn’t the easiest route to take but the rewards of self knowledge at the deepest level make it worth the effort. At the end of the day real leaders need to dig deep to take people into uncharted territory.

Knowing both tools adds the distinctions that make for a truer picture. Mastery is in the ability to make these kinds of distinctions.

Please don’t make me choose I am delighted to have both in my toolkit.

Category : Other Assessments | Uncategorized | Blog