Saturday, September 12, 2009


Recently for a staff retreat and team-building exercise, I took a MBTI test and found out that I am a ISFP. At the workshop though, I validated as a ISFJ. As WWF-ers, my colleagues and I enjoyed the acronyms because our world is flooded with them: PMP, USAID, TNC, CI, WCS, WFC, CTI, SOM, WOC, CCC.

Anyways, an ISFP is described as someone who is:
1. Able to "live in the moment"
2. Aware of people and the world around them
3. Independent
4. Faithful to people and things important to them
5. Guided by strong core of inner values, with a desire to contribute to people's well-being
6. Adaptable and flexible, unless a core value is violated
7. Quiet and unassuming
8. Seen by others as quiet, reserved and private

This fascinating tool was developed Isabel Briggs Myers based on psychological theory by Carl Jung. I was unsurprised by the results and was pleased that the tool confirmed who I already knew I was. Some questions weren't easy to answer, requiring at least a beer or two before taking a stab at it...not given much room to say, "well, it depends". Of course, you might get different results if you used the tool after a "major event" or after considerable lapses in time.

E (extraversion) or I (introversion) - where you focus your attention
S (sensing) or N (Intuition) - the way you take in information
T (thinking) or F (feeling) - the way you make decision
J (judging) or P (perceiving) - how you deal with the outer world

The preference clarity index showed I was clear about being an I and a F. I was only slightly a S or I might swing the other way according to circumstances.

At the workshop we were grouped with people with similar preferences for the four preferences. Most of the groupings confirm why I worked well or got along with certain people and less so with some. I understood better the sources of conflict and tension.

A manager seeking to restructure would find this useful for setting up his or her team. While it is tempting to choose people who are the same type, there is strength in diversity and that different tasks would suit certain people very well. I think it's a recipe for a happier work place...of course when you have the luxury of choosing what you want to do. Most of the time you just do what you have to do.

I really like that the facilitator said that just because you are of a certain type, it doesn't give you the excuse for bad behavior. I guess despite my preference for solitude, I'd have to venture out for social gatherings every now and then. I'd have to learn to fight the urge to follow my heart too much and use my head when situations require it.