I know the words “personality profiling” can carry a big stigma in our society, but let me lay out the pros and cons first — then you can make your decision as to whether it may be right for you and your company.
First, personality testing is nothing new. It’s been around for years. It’s been used both positively and negatively at companies of all sizes.
One of the biggest pros of doing this type of testing is it can help people learn how to work together more harmoniously and help put people into situations that give them a greater chance to be successful.
One of the biggest cons to this type of testing is it can be used to manipulate people and limit what projects and work staff members are assigned as well as how far they can go at a company.
Personality profiling can be a double-edged sword, but it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on how you intend to use it. If you use it to recruit and hire people in a better way so they can be better matched to the job you’re hiring for by better identifying what their strengths are, it’s a good thing. If you use it to help bring about better understanding and as a mechanism to teach team members how to better communicate with one another, it’s a big plus. But if you use it to learn how to better manipulate and control people, well, it’s a huge negative.
So, let’s talk about how to make this a useful tool.
First thing to do, in my opinion, is to use a much better phrase for this type of testing than “personality profiling,” and that phrase is “motivational mapping.”
So, from here on, I’m going to call it motivational mapping because that is what it should be.
What makes us tick
The type of testing I recommend to my clients is Flag Page Motivational Mapping.
Remember, this type of testing can help identify people’s tendencies, but it doesn’t provide the absolute truth about people and what they can ultimately do and accomplish.
I’ve taken many different motivational mapping tests and I really like them. Today, I recommend them to my clients once they understand how to use them the right way.
My dad taught me you should never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. So if you’re going to engage motivational mapping as a way to work better together, I strongly suggest you take the test and share what it says about you. Nothing bad can can come of it.
Feeling so strongly in motivational mapping is why I share what my own test results reveal about me with my clients. And I ask them to take the same test and share what their results say about them and their tendencies. That is because it helps us better understand what makes us tick, what motivates us, and how we like to work and be spoken to. After we discuss what the test is telling us, communication always improves between me and my clients. When they do the same testing with their staff and their new hires, communication gets better for them, too.
Let me use examples to explain what the differences are between tendencies and absolute truths. My motivational mapping shows very little that would make me want to be up in front of people doing lectures, workshops, and seminars. Yet, I’ve successfully done tons of workshops, keynote speeches, and training seminars over the years. This is not to brag; I leave the testimonials on my website to defend my statement.
What makes my training so good, despite no indication on my mapping that I want to be on stage or in front of people, is I have an overriding desire to achieve a successful outcome. That desire is fueled by a desire to learn and then share with others what I’ve learned. And there is one absolute truth about me: I have a much bigger desire for a positive outcome than any reluctance to entertain, so I’ll do whatever it takes on stage or in a seminar.
The desire to be successful and become a better speaker and trainer have led me to practice a lot with some great trainers who specialize in making people better speakers. I go way out of my normal comfort zone, and I’m happy to do it.
I have one more example of how tendencies can be helpful but not an absolute truth. I have been working with another consultant with a number of clients for more than five years. On paper, we’re about as opposite as opposites can get. But we shared our personality testing results and learned what makes us both tick and what we’re motivated to do. We know what each of us likes to do, and, over time, we’ve learned what we’d prefer the other person do. It works because we’ve learned how to use words that ring true with each other. It’s to our mutual benefit and our clients’, as well.
Last but not least, I have helped extraordinarily shy people become great on the phone as customer service representatives. I’ve done the same with introverted techs by teaching them how to talk with customers and become better at sales. Here’s what I know: Nobody who is extraordinarily shy wants to talk to people on the phone, let alone face-to-face. But if the desire is high enough, and with enough good rewards and a mentor to help, then a person can overcome most of his initial weaknesses to reach great levels of success.
Now, if you can help people leverage their good tendencies and talents by better understanding them, putting them in the right situation, and coaching them the way they need to be coached, the sky is the limit.
It’s a powerful advantage to use these tools. Just be careful not to make things too convoluted and too technical. You want to avoid “paralysis by analysis.”
Try to take away from any good testing a few key words or points that will help the team learn how to interact in a more positive way. Then, practice it so it becomes natural.
The big thing to remember is you and your team’s attitude has to be one that focuses on communicating the following: “We’re in this together to make a win for the customers, the company, and ourselves.”
Then, take the time to listen to one another — and learn how to love and respect one another.
This article was originally titled “Personality profiling pros and cons” in the November 2016 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.