Values vs Personality

Since the 1950s many models have been built on this logic of dividing the world into categories:
  • Axenrose: a system to type the interaction between people based on the Rose of Leary.
  • Belbin Team Roles: distinguishes nine classic roles which a person in an effective team can take on.
  • The Big Five: gives five dimensions to describe a character.
  • Enneagram: diagram with nine personality types.
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): system that recognizes sixteen personality types.
  • Core Qualities: qualities which a person (or corporation) excels at.
  • Leary’s Rose: communications model which describes what behavior is brought out by what behavior, and how to influence that behavior.
In practice there were and are some real issues. Personality types which should be able to do and want a certain something, didn’t do it. And people not expected to do or want this, showed they were doing it. Based on the personality type systems this was “unexplainable”. Between “can” and “do” there can be a huge divide. For instance, with some regularity, we find people who are superb salesmen, very talented and highly qualified, however their sales data is weak. Upon closer examination we often find that next to their “ordinary” work they have a thriving sales business on the side. Not surprising because there is competency. When asked the question why they don’t use their talent at work, a whole new set of problems surfaces, but the bottom line is a lack of motivation.

Nothing new there: Motivated people are more productive and produce more for the company. But does that have to do with personality types or something else?

Drives tests give insight into what motivates people, how you can motivate them to do something, or how under the influence of the circumstances they find themselves in they might show a side of themselves you hadn’t seen before. From a drives approach there is no mystery how someone can be reserved and introverted in church on Sunday morning and yet later that same day can beat someone near to death on the football field.

We are all driven in our own way. There’s nothing mysterious about it. Drives are measurable. You can use them effectively to explain and predict behavior. In the 1950’s the American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, defined the wide variety of our needs, and that those needs vary considerably from person to person. The psychologist Graves succeeded in categorizing the drives and his successors Beck and Cowan introduced color codes, which greatly improved communications about drives. Later, worldwide research by Harvard professors Lawrence and Nohria conformed the picture: in every culture we can distinguish universal human drives.