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Know thyself: a survey of personality assessments, Part 3

I am concluding my survey of personality assessments. If you haven’t read Part 1 or 2 or a little of my story, you might want to do that first. Otherwise, here are the next two.

The Motivators Assessment

One factor that every leader should understand is what motivates people. A common mistake is to assume that what motivates you will also motivate others, and this is not the case. In fact, an appeal to a motivation that works for some can actually serve to demotivate others.

Nowhere is this more important than to understand what motivates yourself. If you can access and harness this, you are better able to tailor your job and boost your satisfaction in your work. This is the premise of the Motivators Assessment, as described in the book, What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.

This book, and the accompanying assessment, highlights 23 motivators which are then clustered into 5 “Identities” or motivational types. The 5 Identities are – The Achievers, The Builders, The Caregivers, The Reward-Driven, and the Thinkers. When I first purchased the book and glanced over it, my first thought at seeing these Identities was that I would probably rank high as a Builder. Sure enough, that was my strongest identity.

The book contains a great deal of practical advice for how you can take this self-knowledge and use it to sculpt your work life.

The Enneagram

The Enneagram is a popular tool that identifies 9 personality types (“enne” is “9” in Greek). Various friends of mine have taken an Enneagram and swear by it. As in, “it saved our marriage” kind of thing. There are many sources and books on the Enneagram; a great one is Ian Cron’s The Road Back to You.

Honestly, I am still in the process of becoming familiar with this assessment. But rather than put my ignorance on display for all to see, I’m going to defer to someone who knows her stuff.

Ms. Ron Tamir Nehr is a Life Coach and Personal Development Mentor who has written well on the Enneagram. Her excellent article is here, along with a free assessment.

One thing I have noticed among Enneagram adherents is a tendency to say, “I am a 6,” or something like that. As a cautionary statement about personality assessments in general, I find that if you get too locked into describing yourself by a certain type, as if it were some kind of personality ethnicity, you can inadvertently box yourself into thinking that you can’t help but be and do what your type is. The fact is, we are incredibly capable of all kinds of behavior, and not just those of our “type.” So, do be careful there.

It has been my hope through this series on that you will take the time to better understand yourself and thus become the best version of yourself that you can.

Question to ponder: What assessment has helped you the most to understand and value your unique skills, personality, and contributions?

I teach a course which utilizes the DiSC personality assessment. It’s called “Solving the People Puzzle” and is available in faith-based and non-faith-based formats. Please contact me if you are interested in this for your group or organization.

A set of good books

After many years of wanting this set, I was finally able to pull together used hardcovers from Amazon. I can’t tell you how much of an influence Francis A. Schaeffer was/is to me. Perusing these texts affirms their relevance even today. So much of his vocabulary has entered my own. “the God who is there,” “infinite-personal God,” “the mannishness of man,” “upper-story,” “space-time Fall,” “abnormal world.” So many others. The first piece I read of his long ago was the little booklet, “Two Contents, Two Realities.” This awakened in me a love for philosophical thinking that hasn’t quit. A giant in the 2nd half of the 20th Century, most evangelical believers have little idea of the debt we owe to this saint.

Have you read Schaeffer? What are your favorite books? Which concepts influenced you?

Know thyself: a survey of personality assessments, Part 2

2019-04-22-22-55-10I’m continuing my survey of personality assessments. If you haven’t read Part 1 or a little of my story, you might want to do that first. Otherwise, here are the next two.

DISC (or DiSC, in some brandings)

DISC (stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness) has been around a long time, and you can find some simple, free tests online. Some are better than others and reveal more shadings and nuances. I test out as a “High C,” which corresponds pretty well with the “Strategic Thinking” themes of the Clifton.

DiSC_MK
©everythingDiSC

DISC can be very helpful in understanding and valuing yourself and others. It was a DISC-like assessment that saved my career all those years ago. Very valuable in accepting your unique qualities and contributions.

There is a DISC-like assessment called The Flag Page, from the “Laugh Your Way” marriage conference people. It’s fun (as you would expect) and identifies what “country” you are from and what your top 5 motivations are. The categories mirror the DISC, but the findings give you some shadings that don’t always show up in a DISC, like identifying “soft” and “hard” qualities.

Summary: simple (in a good way), available free in some places, gives you the vocabulary to give expression to your value.

Fascination Advantage

One of the more unique and interesting assessments I’ve encountered is Fascination Advantage, the creation of Sally Hogshead, a former successful ad writer, who has turned her research into the “science of fascination.” In a word, it helps you identify your highest value in communicating yourself and your personal brand. The system is fully explained in her book, How the World Sees You (@$18), which contains a code that you can use to take her assessment.

Archetype_MK
©howtofascinate.com

The test uses 7 “Advantages” in a unique way: rather than simply identifying your top 2, the appraisal combines your primary and secondary advantages into one of 49 “Archetypes” (see illustration). Thus, my TRUST combined with my POWER advantages synthesize into “The GRAVITAS,” and identify my top 3 adjectives of “dignified, stable, and hardworking.” My “Dormant” advantage (“PASSION”), the one that is the most exhausting for me, is also identified as the least likely to impress others.

Your personalized report prompts you to go on to create an “Anthem” for yourself, which is a 2-word phrase (adjective/noun) that can identify the value you bring to the table. You can use your Anthem on business materials, resumes, website, etc. An example for my archetype might be “Deliberate Certainty.”

Ms. Hogshead sprinkles her writing with some pithy thoughts that are pure gold if you are an assessment advocate like me. “If you don’t know your own value don’t expect anyone else to.” “To become successful, don’t change who you are. Become more of who you are.” And my personal favorite: “The world is not changed by people who sort of care.”

Her website has a ton of resources available, such as videos giving you more insight into your Advantages and Archetype. There’s also an avenue for you to explore the Archetypes within your team dynamics.

Summary: unique synthesis of character traits into Archetypes, plentiful resources for further study. Especially helpful if you are building a personal brand.

Coming next: The Motivators Assessment and the Enneagram

I teach a course which utilizes the DiSC personality assessment. It’s called “Solving the People Puzzle” and is available in faith-based and non-faith-based formats. Please contact me if you are interested in this for your group or organization.

Know Thyself: a survey of personality assessments, Part 1

2019-04-22-22-55-10In my last blog post, I told my story of how a personality assessment saved my career. If you haven’t read it, please do. I’ve learned that I work and lead best when I’m being myself rather than trying to be someone else. Over the years, I’ve taken a number of different assessments, and each one has told me a little more about myself. Here’s a quick survey of some of them, along with some thoughts about the effectiveness of each.

Clifton Strengths (StrengthsFinder)

We use this test extensively with our leaders and other key people at the Chick-fil-A where I work. This appraisal is backed by the power Gallup, Inc., the famous survey people. They are able to synthesize the findings of 20+ million people who’ve taken the test. If you take the simple test ($20), you’ll identify your “Top 5” strengths (out of a possible 34 themes). This is helpful, but the real insight comes when you pay extra ($40 on sale) to reveal your entire list of 34. Note: it’s worth it.DNA

My top 5 strengths are Strategic, Responsibility, Learner, Input, and Relator. Further insight comes from the supplemental book, Strengths Based Leadership, by identifying the 4 Strengths Domains (also available within the app). I’ve learned that I am at my best in the Strategic Thinking domain, and I really need to collaborate with someone strong in the Influencer domain, where I struggle.

Summary: especially helpful when you get the full report, supportive website, extensive documentation. Get the e-book, Expanding Your Strengths.

StandOut

StandOut is the creation of Marcus Buckingham, who was connected with the Clifton Strengths assessment before launching out on his own. StandOut identifies and ranks 9 Strength Roles and classifies you with the top 2 (though you know your rank of all 9). The cost of the test is the price of the book or e-book (@$16-$19). The roles aren’t sliced as thin as the themes of the Clifton.

My assessment revealed that I am an Equalizer/Creator. The descriptions in the companion book and report are among the most insightful of any assessment. Interestingly enough, two of my colleagues tested the same, yet we are very different on other appraisals, especially the DISC. All this goes to show that no one rating can tell the whole story about who you are.

Summary: great advice and application to many venues (leadership, sales, management, client service). Lots of great take-aways. The “How to Describe Yourself in Interviews” sections are worth the price if you’re looking for a career move.

Question to consider: Have you taken either of these assessments, and how have they helped you?

Coming next: DISC, Fascination Advantage, The Motivators Assessment, and the Enneagram

I teach a course which utilizes the DiSC personality assessment. It’s called “Solving the People Puzzle” and is available in faith-based and non-faith-based formats. Please contact me if you are interested in this for your group or organization.

How a personality assessment saved my career

thought-catalog-217861-unsplashMany years ago, early in my professional career, I started a job as an assistant manager with a Wendy’s franchisee. It was just the right job for me as a young man and leader. Two other young men started with me at or near the same time. One of those young men was Zane Gross.

Shortly after we started, there came a vacancy in the general manager position. Suddenly, Zane and I, along with the other fellow, were in competition for the GM position. Pretty heady stuff for a mid-20s new father like me. We all wanted it. Bad.

Zane was/is one of those guys with a “Let’s do it!” personality. Assertive, confident, outgoing. Me, not so much then. And I tried my best to be more like Zane as we vied for that position. Eventually, our supervisors made the decision to promote Zane, and he did a great job and had much success.*

Several years passed, and I’d moved on to a couple of different jobs. All during this time, I kept believing that if I were to be really successful as a leader, I needed to be more assertive, show greater initiative, move much quicker in decision-making. The traditional view of the up-and-coming, go-getter businessman. In short, I needed to be more like Zane.

It was in one of those jobs that I was sent to a workshop with some of the other leaders. During that workshop, we all took some sort of personality assessment. I don’t even remember which one it was – possibly a GREGORC or a DiSC. The only thing I remember is that there were 4 quadrants.

As the first quadrant was described (the Zane Quadrant), I remember thinking that that’s what I wanted to be, what I needed to be to succeed as a leader. But, no. My quadrant was in the opposite corner, pitiful and weak, with its deliberative planning and organization skills. Big whoop.

When the facilitator got to my corner, he said something that changed my life and saved my career: “Every organization needs this person.”

Every. Organization. Needs. This. Person. Every organization needs…ME!

That was the game-changer. Suddenly I knew that I didn’t need to be Zane; I needed to be Mark. If there were deficiencies in my leadership, it was because I wasn’t being the most effective version of myself, not because I wasn’t like someone else.

In the years that have followed, I have learned that my greatest leadership comes when I play from my strengths. As I continue to coach young leaders, I help them understand and value their unique strengths and talents. I tell them,

“Every organization needs a leader like you.”

Question to consider: What are your strengths, and how do you bring them to bear on your unique leadership style?

I teach a course which utilizes the DiSC personality assessment. It’s called “Solving the People Puzzle” and is available in faith-based and non-faith-based formats. Please contact me if you are interested in this for your group or organization.

*Zane Gross now owns and operates a fleet of Wendy’s Restaurants in the Midwest. He is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team. He’s a successful family man and still, like me, a Browns fan.

Why I like the worship music of CityAlight

A recent output of fresh worship music has been recorded by an Australian group called CityAlight. Their repertoire may or may not have shown up in your church, but if not, it should. Their three recordings – Yours Alone(2014), Only a Holy God (2016), and Yet Not I (2018) – are full of rich, singer-friendly, congregational songs. Here’s 5 reasons why I like CityAlight:

  • Rich, gospel-centered lyrics. I value lyrics above all when it comes to music that is intended to be sung to God in worship. Unfortunately, the over-stereotyped, but sometimes-accurate description of modern worship is simple lyrics, repeated often. I must confess I’ve been guilty sometimes of promoting this. But with song writers like the Gettys and now CityAlight, we can sing lyrics like these:
Who else could rescue me
from my failing
Who else would offer His only Son
Who else invites me to call Him Father
Only a Holy God
Only my Holy God!
Come and behold Him
The One and the Only
Cry out, sing holy
Forever a Holy God
Come and worship the Holy God

Maybe it’s their Anglican roots, but there’s a hymn-like richness there. In an interview with Tim Challies, representatives of the band said, “The vision of CityAlight is to write songs with biblically rich lyrics and simple melodies for the Christian church to sing.”

  • Songs in singable keys. I wish more worship leaders would understand that we don’t all have the range of a Chris Tomlin. With the exception of a couple of songs on the first album, 90% of CityAlight’s songs are in vocal ranges that are comfortable for the average person to sing.
  • Vocals that don’t draw attention. Don’t get me wrong; the singers in CityAlight are great. But you don’t go away from listening with the thought that the vocals are the center. No vocal embellishment (that honestly, sometimes seems like showing off), but simply sticking to the melody for the most part. With CityAlight, the mix is such that you get a good exposure of the crowd singing along. It comes across as singing with the church, not for the church.
  • Speaking of melody, catchy tunes! It’s much easier to learn and sing along when the tune has some character to it, with changes in pitch that match the flow of thought. It’s because of this that these recordings are sing-along-able!
  • Variety of music. There are up-tempo hand-clappers, thoughtful and meditative ballads, soaring and anthemic hymns. The variety keeps me coming back again and again to supplement my personal times of worship.

The irony is that for the explosion of worship music available, there’s been less actual worship. To enhance your worship, I invite you to check out CityAlight (available wherever music is bought or streamed). If you’re a worship leader, you would do well to emulate their practices.

Question to consider: What practices help you the most in your worship of our Holy God?

What this blog is about

gaelle-marcel-8992-unsplash.jpgI loved my time in college. Even now, my wife says that if I could get paid to go to school, I’d be all over it. And she’s right; I’m a naturally curious learner. To some degree, all of us are; some people feed that desire more than others, while others suppress it or let it atrophy, or only learn new things when required by the job.

Psychologists differentiate between a static mindset and a growth mindset. More and more, we’re recognizing the necessity of continuous improvement in our learning. Cecelia Meis writes,

“A growing body of research shows that neurologically, growth mindsets stabilize existing neural pathways and even construct new ones, allowing connections between information and response to happen faster and more reliably.” (Success Magazine, Spring 2019, p. 23)

So, it behooves us to develop and nurture our minds whether it’s actually necessary for our jobs or not.

This brings us to the purpose of this blog. As I think and grow and learn, I want to share some of that to benefit others. To that end, the theme of this blog is “supporting life-long learners.” To do that, I plan to target my writing around four main topics that I hope will be helpful:

  • PRODUCTIVITY – organization, goal-setting, personal assessment such as DiSC or CliftonStrengths
  • LEADERSHIP – including educational effectiveness through classroom management
  • CHRISTIAN THOUGHT – theology, philosophy, biblical literacy, cultural observation and critique
  • CHURCH LIFE – especially in the areas of preaching and worship

…all from a biblically-informed world-view.

So I invite you to join me in this journey. Let’s set up shop here and discuss the world as we see it. Meis goes on to say, “Remember that learning new things isn’t always about getting a raise or earning a promotion. Learning in all forms is inherently beneficial.” (Ibid, p. 24) Let’s discover the joys of life-time learning and how we can help one another on the way. Please follow me; I hope to post 3 times per week. Share this with your friends, and by all means, please join the conversation and comment. I’ll do my best to reply.

Question to discuss: What subject (topic, skill) do you most like to learn about just for the fun of it, and why?