1. A New Year and a New Way of Thinking

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         Wishing you all the best for the new year… As 2018 starts I want to share with you a little history and afew thoughts that inform how we are transitioning into this new year. A Little History… In the 1990’s I presented type information at an ASTD (now ATD) meeting and became known as the ‘type lady.’ At that time, I bristled at the label because this work wasn’t just about type, but it has taken me a while to name what it is about. In the meantime, new trends have emerged using terms like vertical development (transformative with new capacities), horizontal development (refining what already is there), wholeness, self-organization, mindfulness, Holacracy, and more. Now I’m deep into those other trends and am ready to share some thoughts about type and how the ‘type-movement’ can shift in order to achieve its purpose of honoring individual differences. My life work has been around a purpose of enabling contexts where people thrive and are free to be all of who they are. It is one of honoring diversity, which, if not honored, triggers feelings of being ‘less than’ others. From a personal perspective, learning about my type released bound up energy...
  2. Self-leadership, Type, and Getting into The Communication Zone(R)

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    Adapted from an article published in Volume 38.4 of the “Bulletin of Psychological Type,” March 4, 2015. Linda Berens and Stephanie Berens-Kiler Maybe this is familiar…At dinnertime, they had some leftovers and she said to her partner, “You don’t want the spaghetti.” She noticed that he seemed confused and somewhat irritated. He even said something about why was she so negative? Obviously she wasn’t in the communication zone like she usually saw herself. Read on to see how she used type to help her develop more self-leadership. It is said that leadership starts with self-leadership. It is also said that we all need to do more self-management as our organizational systems flatten and we receive less direction. Self-leadership requires self-awareness and the capacity to step outside ourselves. Self-leadership is most like what Robert Kegan called the self-authoring mind. Jennifer Garvey Berger describes it in this way: People with a self-authored mind are those who own their own work, make their own decisions, and mediate among different perspectives with relative ease. Communication is the medium for this development. Communication involves how we listen to others, how we interpret what they say and do and make meaning of it, and how we...
  3. Human Agility: What’s Type Got to Do With It?

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    Why is personality type information useful or helpful? One reason is that it can help increase our agility. I hope you enjoy this video where I share why I think sharing type information using the Berens CORE Approach can really help us be more adaptable and flexible when we need to be and still stay true to who we are at our core. [jwplayer mediaid=”6727″] Many people learn about psychological type through the MBTI® instrument or through the work of David Keirsey. The models and the instruments used are not as important as the approach and how it is delivered. An Integral approach that honors whole type is what I am talking about when I talk about how type awareness can contribute to Human Agility. I hope you enjoy this video, which is a part of a series that will continue. To be sure you are alerted to new videos, you can sign up to our mailing list from this page or subscribe to my video channel.
  4. Happy Spring—Renewal, Rejuvenation, and Type

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    Today is Easter Sunday, a day celebrated by many as a reminder of rebirth and regeneration. Whether you celebrate Easter or not, it is spring and a time when there is new growth. It is a time that can remind us of the benefits of ‘letting go’ to ‘let come.’ Fall is a time of letting go as the leaves change color and drop off the trees and as plants slow down. Then in winter there is a kind of hibernation. And then in spring comes reemergence of leaves and blossoms. The beauty of the new leaves and spring flowers can only happen after the letting go. But this happens only when there are nutrients and water. Born in California, I lived in Kansas from age 2 until nearly 20, when I got married and we moved to California. I often am nostalgic for the markers of the seasons. Last weekend, I found lilacs in Trader Joe’s and bought 2 bunches. They are my favorite flower for the scent and the colors. And they remind me of joyful times in my grandmother’s garden and making May baskets. Oh, the joy of having them sitting in my line of sight as I...
  5. Exploring Human Agility—Part 1

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    Last year, we began to focus on one of the outcomes of our work—human agility. Since that time we made this visible in our certification program description. We have received some questions about human agility so we decided I would do a series of videos explaining more. This blog links to two of them. In this first video, I identify some key aspects of human agility and suggest a little about how type awareness contributes. In this second video, I share with you the importance of self-management and its relationship to perspective taking. I also talk about how type knowledge can help you with self-leadership and self-management. Actually I believe it opens the door to human agility in ways that a direct focus on ‘developing’ human agility doesn’t. You can read more about Human Agility on this website and I will be adding more to that. Also I suggest you read the following blogs: Leadership Starts with Self-Leadership Perspective Taking—Opening the Doors And an article I wrote a long time ago (and needs updated graphics, but the content is still solid). Stay tuned for more in this series. I hope you enjoy them.          
  6. Cognitive Style, Respect, and Forgiveness

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    I recently conducted a workshop with a type knowledgeable group and they explored their Cognitive Styles related to a burning issue inside their organization. The insights that emerged were amazing and they were able to apply them immediately. What I noticed was that by looking at their Shadow Cognitive Styles, they were able to realize how they had discounted input from other styles and were extremely irritated by interactions with people who were habitually engaging in those styles. And this led them to disrespect the person even though they had tried not to. This new lens on type provided a leverage point for understanding and potentially resolving some very profound interpersonal tensions. It provided a language for the individuals to be more mindful as they could then control for their internal judgments. These individuals use Essential Motivators, Interaction Styles, and Cognitive Dynamics rather fluently to help them with clear communication, developing good relationships, and recognizing their own core needs, drives, and talents. The Cognitive Styles lens was helpful in ways that the other lenses had not been, so it confirmed to me that it adds information that the other models do not. What is Cognitive Style? Cognitive Style is a...
  7. 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...
  8. Directing—Informing, a Powerful Polarity

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    Last night I had a dream in which I was trying to get the attention of a large group of people I was supposed to be training. Finally I was so frustrated I yelled, “What I’m going to tell you, will change your life forever!” (or something like that). They all quieted down and I proceeded to tell them about the impact that recognizing their unconscious preferences for either Directing or Informing communications could have. Directing communications are aimed at getting something done in a timely way. The consciousness behind Directing is one of either wanting to achieve a result or manifest an envisioned result. Consequently, there is comfort telling people what to do, or to do something, or ask directly. There is a sense of urgency that is communicated in voice tone as well as choice of words. The closer to a deadline the more likely the language will be forceful. Directing communication serves the drives and aims of the In-Charge and Chart-the-Course Interaction Styles so people with these styles may unconsciously apply some version of Directing communications even when it is not called for. Informing communications are aimed at getting buy-in and leaving the option to act open....
  9. Best of Two Worlds—Just the Beginning

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    July was a busy month and one in which I immersed myself in two of my favorite worlds—The Association for Psychological Type International biennial conference and the Integral Theory Conference, also a biennial event. These two worlds have some things in common. Both address the concepts of types and valuing individual differences and in both the participants are passionate and dedicated to making the world a better place. Yet, no one from one context showed up at the others’ conferences. In a series of blog posts I will share some of my experiences and insights from both of these worlds, hoping to bring the benefits of both worlds to you all. In September, I will be presenting at the Integral Leadership in Action conference so will share insights from that experience as well. For now, here are my perspectives on the theories and the organizations that are at the leading edge of these worlds. I hope you are moved to get involved in both of them. Psychological Type Psychological type had it origins in the 1920s with great thinkers like Carl Jung, Ernst Kretschmer, Eduard Spränger, William Marston and more. Most people will reference Carl Jung, but it was a...
  10. Types, Typologies, and Polarities

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    I’m gathering my thoughts for a formal paper on a meta theory of type that is due May 15 that I’ll be presenting at the Integral Theory Conference July 19 in San Francisco. So I thought I’d share some of these with you. What is a type? A type is often thought of as a classification according to a group of similar characteristics. However, there is another meaning to type that is deeper down in the definitions on dictionary.com: “the general form, plan, or design distinguishing a particular group” When I look at personality type, I am referring to the pattern or form of a group, not a random cluster of characteristics. I would say that a type in this sense is an organizing system. There is an energy field that self-organizes around a core of some kind. I think of it as an unconscious operating system, with a core driver of the system and ‘talents’ that maintain the system. What is a polarity? One definition, again from dictionary.com, describes a polarity as “the state of having or expressing two directly opposite tendencies”. In other words, the two tendencies are there and energy flows between the two. There is a...