1. Agenda’s for Change

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    This is an update on a blog I wrote in 2009. I’ve been puzzling over what the Interaction Styles model would predict about change.  Then it hit me…the movement tendency that is favored by each Interaction Style would give us some insight. In the past, I have talked about how if you push a change too fast and too hard, you will get resistance that may result in only a temporary change. My consulting bias is always to work with the system to move it to where it wants/needs to go. Now, I’m wondering if this is universal wisdom or a Behind-the-Scenes Interaction Style bias on my part!  So, let’s explore that a little bit. When developing the Interaction Styles lens on personality type, I and my colleagues identified four movement tendencies after reading about the three tendencies identified by Karen Horney and cited in the Social Styles literature. These three—push against, move away from, move towards—seemed to clearly go with our experiences of three of the four Interaction Styles, so we looked for the ‘missing’ movement and came up with ‘move with’ as opposite of push against. Four Change Agendas Against: The In-Charge tendency is to push against in...
  2. To Test or Not to Test? That is the question.

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    I was recently asked by a colleague, how she could talk to her client about why she usually doesn’t use instruments in her work. I’ve heard from many practitioners who do not use instruments, especially when doing work with Interaction Styles or Temperament alone. However, organizations have come to expect instruments to be used. It is always a decision that the professional needs to make in the diagnostic and contracting phases. I think instruments are very useful when working with some populations who have little experience with self-reflection. However, as people develop, they become more capable of self-reflection. Since I am usually working with objectives that involve fostering development and developing an understanding of others as much as developing an understanding of self, I tend to not use them. Personality is so complex, that I use a process of collecting multiple data points, such as participant responses to presentations of different patterns, feedback from others, written materials, activities, cross checking against multiple models, and sometimes including instrument results. In my experience and those of many other professionals with years of client work, an instrument usually proves to be one of the weakest data points for the following reasons: There seems...
  3. MBTI® and Other Instruments and Second Order Change

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    If you are a coach or organization change professional you may be wondering if you can use the MBTI® instrument or other typology instruments to get second order change? My answer is yes, IF you know type theory beyond the instrument results and beyond simple dichotomies. You cannot get transformative change by depending solely on the results of the instruments or reports based on simple dichotomies. The very way type is introduced can lead to limited first order change or to more transformational second order change. (Note: this blog uses a lot of short-cut terms that are explained in my article, The Five Lenses of Coaching.) What are First- and Second-Order Change? I found the following simple explanation. First-order change is doing more – or less – of something we are already doing. First-order change is always reversible. Second-order change is deciding – or being forced – to do something significantly or fundamentally different from what we have done before. The process is irreversible: once you begin, it is impossible to return to the way you were doing before. I also found the following useful, brief explanation by Michael Perez First order change: Remedial change. This is a more functionally...
  4. Out of a Box and Into Interpersonal Agility™

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    This post is not about out-of-the-box thinking, but about how to keep clients and workshop participants from feeling like they’re being put in a box when introducing them to type models and using type instruments like the MBTI® instrument. Clients often resist type information because of the fear of being put in a box or ‘typecast’ by others. And perhaps the greater danger is limiting themselves by the box they create from the information.   We have a natural tendency to categorize and label. Like the young child with a dog who calls a cat ‘doggie’, we first learn the general characteristics of something, then we generalize them to similar things, than we begin to differentiate.   Set-up or Getting Started The way instruments and/or models are introduced can help take mitigate the problem of people resisting the usefulness and value of the work being done. It can also make a huge difference in how people apply it to themselves to either be in a box or to use it to develop interpersonal agility. Here are just a few of things I use from the Interstrength® Method.   1. Introduce type as a self-discovery process not an instrument result. When...