Tuesday, August 25, 2009

4 Characteristics of a Diverse Brand Team

Blog entry submitted by Nancy Stearns Burgess, one of our creative CHEMists and a card-carrying “ESTJ”

Something I learned early in my career was the importance of diversity on a team. Not just cultural and ethnic diversity — though they have their own rewards. Instead, I believe a blend of personality types can make work teams more effective—as long as mutual understanding reigns. This insight can also give branded communications a more targeted edge.

“Personalities” are some of the most rewarding, fascinating—yet also frustrating—aspects of work, family, and social experiences. Tools, such as “Personality Quadrants,” can be helpful models. Perhaps you’ve heard of Quadrant I, Quadrant 2, etc. Similarly, some businesses ascribe to the model of Directors, Socializers, Relaters, and Analyzers to help bring focus and meaning to interactions.

Granted these tools have their merits. But they’re also overly simplistic—segmenting people into just 4 categories. Years ago, when I managed a multidisciplinary team in the hospital, I learned about the Myers-Briggs characterizations of personalities from psychologists on our team.

Myers and Briggs based their ideas on the work of Carl Jung. I’ve found these characterizations to be helpful at work and at home. According to Myers and Briggs, people’s traits fall on continuums of 4 characteristics:
  • Extravert (E) ------ Introvert (I)
  • Sensate (S) ------ Intuitive (N)
  • Thinker (T) ------ Feeler (F)
  • Judger (J) ------ Perceiver (P)
That means there are 16 possible combinations, such as INFP, ESTJ, etc. People can be at one end of the continuum or closer to the middle. What is perhaps most interesting is that people with specific characteristics tend to gravitate toward professions that match their personalities. For example, many nurses and teachers are ESFJs. Most dietitians are ESTJs. INFPs are often psychologists, social workers, and clerics.

When drafting targeted communications to these audiences, insight into their perspectives and how they like to receive and process information, can be invaluable. Likewise, better cooperation in the workplace can take place when you know how to speak the language of those who are opposite yourself on the spectrum.

Once you know your natural inclination, you can use that awareness to both understand (and work effectively with) those with a different perspective and to develop within yourself the opposite pole of the continuum. Check out the online tools to help you recognize which of the 16 combinations best describe you.

Click here to learn more at the Myers and Briggs Foundation.

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