Friday, May 27, 2005

Life's Independant Thinker

I have survived. Three days, two nights in a country hotel with my team.

I tend not to blog about work (other than the ‘I’m on a train/plane again” type of comments). But in this case I may touch on a few areas.

It’s fair to say and would be no to surprise to anyone who is in or around my team that we are pretty dysfunctional. We’re six people on a fairly flat hierarchy with one boss. And we’re all very different. In so many ways.

The brief to the coach who came for two of three days was to help us understand our personalities and working styles so that in future we can begin to avoid the tensions and clashes that typically characterise our team’s working day. We’re currently in a situation where me and one other guy refuse to talk directly unless absolutely necessary, usually using another team member to convey information between the two of us. We’re also pretty culturally diverse with Dutch, French, English, Belgian and Iranian representation in the team!

The woman who spent time with us was a very perceptive, smart lady who used the Myers Briggs theories to frame our discussions.

In the “type” analysis I came out as a I, N, T, J* or as the tag line says ‘Life’s Independent Thinker’.

* (Introversion – iNtuition - Thinking – Judging)

What was deduced - as expected - is our team are all completely different types. Now we understand who we and others are, the challenge will to take this insight back to the workplace to communicate and work more effectively. I have a fear that people will use this as an excuse (e.g. oops I’m 30 minutes late for the meeting ha ha that’s because I’m a Perceiver ha ha). I was amazed when one person in the team (the opposite of my organisational ‘judging’) did not even understand or conceive how being twenty minutes late for a meeting was ‘disrespectful’. He had not even placed a value on it!

The other part of the meeting that highly amused me was being able to apply this model to other people to understand their behaviour and how you might interact in future. I think the idea was that you applied this to workplace and other teams. I just sat there quietly analysing my family. I understand why when going on holiday my mum and sister drove me absolutely mad because they would be incapable of booking or getting ready until the last minute– usually losing and forgetting something on the way (as opposed to me having an excel spreadsheet that planned the Argentinean trip –importantly including scheduled, free, spontaneous periods). But my mum, sister and I on holiday would all always be in seventh heaven to sit together quietly and bury our noses in a book for the whole day (and sometimes evening) without saying a word to each other.

Oh and by the way, Frog and I are very similar. Except for the Sensor/iNutition part. (detail vs big ideas). That’ll be the ex-accountant thing then.

I have oversimplified terms below so you can get an idea:

Energy Source
  • Extroversion

    Do you get your energy from being around others and find it draining to be on your own. Like to think out loud in meetings to get ideas going?


  • Introversion

    Do you like space and quiet to recharge your batteries. Find pause and reflection before speaking ideas. Prefer to spend time with a couple of close friends than a room full of people.


  • Sensing

    Like specific answers to specific things. Like to hear things sequentially rather than randomally. Like jobs with tangible outcomes rather than theories and concepts.


  • iNtuition

    Usually more excited about where you’re going than the detail of where you are. Always asking “but what does that mean?”. Believe that “boring details” are a redundancy.


  • Thinking

    Pride yourself on your objectivity – even if people describe you as cold hearted you know that’s not true. Enjoy proving a point for the sake of clarity – you’re very happy to play devil’s advocate.


  • Feeling

    Consider a “good decision” the one that takes everyone’s feelings into account. Try to smooth over conflicts (let’s all shake hands and be friends). Feel that love cannot be defined and find offence at people who try to do so.


  • Judging

    Are always waiting for others who never seem to be on time. Are accused of being angry even when you’re not – you’re just stating an opinion. Keep lists and use them ; if you do something that’s not on the list you may add it just so you can cross it off.


  • Perceiving

    Don’t plan a task but wait and see what it demands; don’t like to be pinned down to things but keep options open. Are easily distracted. Often lose car keys and mobile phones.

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