When I was at AMV many of the staff took the Myers Briggs test, a series of questions that would place you in one of 16 different personality groups.
Many big companies use this test because the theory goes that you could interact better with others if you took their personality type into account. For example, if you spoke of an idea in terms of its abstract potential, that would not persuade a personality type that lived for concrete logic, so instead you would look for more a more solid context in which to express yourself, and the whole process would become smoother.
It was kind of interesting (although Ken Robinson is not really a fan) and because so many of us had done it, you could have a bit of a chat about it with colleagues and perhaps find a way to get though any differences more effectively. My only problem was that I was really bad at working out other people’s types, so my attempts to take their perspectives into account were rarely successful.
Anyway, one day a Myers Briggs lady called a few of us creatives together to discuss our recent testing. I’m not sure what the overall point was, but something didn’t quite work for me: I understood what they thought we could get out of this information, but I wanted to ask another question: why are we the types we are? This enquiry was brushed off because apparently it was not a matter that was covered by Myers Briggs, and why care so much about the means if we already had the end?
Well, I just thought that even more accurate analysis could be gained from that knowledge. But then it’s far harder to find out that kind of information.
What separates the good from the bad, or the good from the great? Why are some of us driven and others content with the status quo? Why are some of us neurotic and others carefree?
Of course, these are questions that man has struggled with since the dawn of civilisation, so we weren’t going to solve them that day, but I don’t like to accept things as complicated and important as that without a little more thought. The fact that this system had got so far without that further degree of curiosity seems to me a curiosity in itself.
But maybe that’s just me (and that fact that I’m an ENTJ).