Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Friday, December 18, 2009

We're More Than Myers-Briggs

A couple of weeks ago a friend and colleague, Susan Buckingham of the Niagara West Employment and Learning Centres, offered to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Step II to me—and at the best possible price. Naturally I agreed. I wasn't in the least surprised to find that I came out as an ENFP; nor was I too surprised to learn that I am in the category labelled “Intimate, Reflective” (once I thought about what this means).

As it happens Susan is also an ENFP and I was graceless enough to return her favour to me by asking her to do the Holland-style interest assessment available at I wanted to see how her results might contrast with mine.

Before we get to those results let me say a word or two about livecareer. The basic results from it are free and include percentiles for various scales that can be useful. I am concentrating here on the septagon used to represent scores on the six Holland-style scales plus an additional scale* that, to my knowledge, is unique to this instrument. For easy reference here are some very abbreviated definitions.

Artistic (Creators) - original, creative, expressive
Attentive (Servers)* - enjoy helping and serving others; looking after the comfort and well-being of others
Social (Helpers) - interested in helping to keep others emotionally or physically healthy, or in teaching others
Investigative (Thinkers) - enjoy the challenge of problem solving in mathematics, technology, and sciences
Realistic (Doers) - like physical activity, working with their hands, and are mechanically-inclined
Conventional (Organisers) - enjoy supervising others in jobs where rules and tasks are well defined; detail-orientated, organized, follow instructions well, prefer routine
Enterprising (Persuaders) - like to talk to, influence and persuade others

Here then is the comparison of my livecareer results with Susan’s. My septagon is purple, hers green. At first glance our results may appear sharply and utterly different. However, if we ignore the relative magnitudes of our scores on the Artistic and Social scales, in appreciation of the fact that both of us are 'AS' Holland types, then we see that a clearer pattern emerges. We actually differ in that one of us is Enterprising and the other Investigative. (We still get along amazingly well.)

So what’s the point? I would say it is that there are a lot of ways of slicing and dicing “human nature” and that it’s worth considering a variety of ways of looking at how a client should interface with his life and career. No one instrument does it all.

inkscape is a free software product that made it easy and straightforward to create the image shown above. I am indebted to its makers.