Ignore your counselors at your own risk!

A colleague called this morning to see if I conducted seminars on Myers-Briggs, the personality assessment. I told him I've found few people who've attended Myers-Briggs who could remember anything beyond their own four-letter style. I prefer a different system, which I've found people can remember — and use — years after the session.

He agreed that Myers-Briggs was challenging and confusing, but the client was insistent. This is another case of a client "wanting what they wanted" regardless of whether the training created the results they wanted. The only reason the colleague's client wanted this system was because so many of his staff had gone through it. He wasn't asking the critical question, "How many of those who attended can remember anything about it, let alone use the information regularly?" If he asked that, the answer would, no doubt, be "very few, if any."

If you are looking for deep-impact training, explore what outcome you want and is what you're self-prescribing going to accomplish that? Or even better, engage counselors who your respect, then take their advice! You'll get a much higher ROI if you ask yourself tough questions, then are willing to be open to a different solution.

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2 Comments on “Ignore your counselors at your own risk!”


  1. Sadly, too often people latch onto a particular assessment instrument only because they know someone who used it their company and thought it was good. Such is often the case with Myers-Briggs. While it’s an excellent instrument, it probably isn’t the best one to use in every environment. I’d like to see more conversations start with, “Where’s what I want to know… what’s the best way to find that out?” Instead, as you have noted, the conversation is more likely to begin with “Do you do x?”

    In my company, everyone takes the Myers-Briggs upon starting their job. The results are then posted in your office for anyone who enters to see. You can tell instantly (even if the person is out of the office!) whether they’re an introvert, a list-maker, a feeler, whatever. Whether you like MB or not, I do think this is an excellent way to reinforce the meaning behind the interpretations because over time you can see how certain types are manifested on a daily basis.


  2. Rebecca,

    Congratulations on your new blog! I’ve got it bookmarked.

    Regardless of the instrument used, I find that it’s all too often a “personality” profile is administered and then nothing is done with the information gained. A friend of mine was just complaining that she and her co-workers had spent an entire day taking an assessment, and learning what it meant – yet she felt that the communication within the company was exactly the same a month later.

    As you indicated, the assessment is just Step One. In order for any assessment (or training program, for that matter) to be effective, there must be some follow up coaching so that people can learn to USE the new information and training they received.

    Keep up the great work!


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