I have noticed that Personality Typing catches the interest of a lot of people in business because they know other companies are using it. And while they may ‘sort of’ understand how consulting an expert during the hiring process to find the ‘perfect candidate’ may be beneficial, often times they’re not entirely clear what exactly other companies are really paying for. Is seems like a ‘frill’ or ‘extra’ with no clear purpose.
What is the long-term pay off of understanding personality types in a business context? Is this just to make people feel warm and fuzzy? What’s the bottom line?
I was asked to speak at WorldBlu in San Francisco a few years ago, where myself and my then business partner presented a concept that adds a bit of clarity to the question, “Why care about personality type at all when in the workplace? What’s the advantage?” This is what we stated:
The godfather of business management, Peter Drucker, coined the term “knowledge worker” in the middle part of last century. It became clear that fewer people were performing manual labor jobs and more people were working at desks, using the muscle of their minds. Creativity became more important than the ability to sweat on the job and/or perform a routine task about a million times a day. (My guess is that the vast majority of people reading this blog post could be defined as ‘knowledge workers’.)
And while there are arguments for and against the commercial industry moving this direction, one very sticky issue did emerge from the proliferation of ‘knowledge work’ – Human Resources Issues. Instead of being focused on a machine or physical task, now employees were focused on each other. Information had to be passed hundreds of times a day between various people. And that means a lot of interactions with a variety of personalities.
Keeping this in mind, there are two things to keep in mind when a company is trying to vet the worth of personality typologies as applied to their employees:
- Just like a machine breaking down during the Industrial Revolution could cost insane amounts of money while it was being repaired, so too the breakdown of communication between personalities at odds with each other costs companies untold amounts of money.
- Much like creating a physically ergonomic environment prevents fatigue and/or potential injury that halts or stops production in individuals, so too creating a personality ergonomic environment prevents conflicts and miscommunication that halts or stops production in knowledge worker groups.
How much of your ‘bottom line’ is contingent upon the cooperation of each worker effectively communicating information to another employee? Do you understand the personality types of each of your employees well enough to clear up major misunderstandings, preventing massive conflict that grinds productivity to a halt?
Understanding personality types in your company gives you almost mind reading-like powers. If you’re dealing with a problem employee and you can’t seem to understand where they’re coming from, knowing their personality type will tell you 1) what they’re interested in and how you can reach them; 2) how they’re making decisions and evaluating you, their fellow employees and their environment.
It’s a powerful resource, and metrics – including ‘bottom line’ measurements – are written into the equation. So the next time you wonder, “Can these companies afford to have the ‘extra’ of personality typing done for their teams?” ask yourself – can you afford NOT to.
If you want more information on the kinds of profiling available for small and large companies and what it can do for you, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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