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Learning Readiness, Capability, and Brain Savviness

As an invited speaker with a group of business leaders, I was sharing our ( perspective on talent management.  As expected with tough audiences, one of the business leaders asked, “In two words, what do you do?”  The two words that popped out of my mouth were: “Learning Engineering.” Engineers design, plan, and build according to specific standards and calculations; it struck me that the term was just right.  We are engineering learning for individuals and organizations to enable them to achieve their goals and purpose.  By helping organizations provide a way to profile leaders, managers, and individual contributors essential to perform, we help individuals at all of those levels understand what is required for a given organization.  By facilitating individual learning paths through a career, we are engineering learning to leverage individual talents and to build capability for their career futures. Then one of the business leaders said, “I will not limit
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A Mindset Shift

Mindset is a disposition, an inclination, mentality, an ethos, or a point of view.  It is a useful term in that it allows for flexibility, variability, and stability in perspective.  The term gets used to say someone has a social, fear, business, dreamer, or growth “mindset.”  The term is intended to communicate a kind of “gestalt” in the way an individual approaches life.  Popular at the moment is the notion that a growth mindset is a perspective that we can learn and grow, that intelligence is malleable, and that openness to experience invites experiences that help us extend beyond our basic talents.  Feedback —in all its forms —is vital to a growth mindset. [1] The absence of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset (which may serve various purposes as well) which has the main downside of leading to what I call, “hardening of the categories.” Carl Jung could have helped us tremendously if he had titled his initial work Psychological Mindsets rather than Psychological Types.  If you

A Thoughtful Journey: An Introduction

Carl Jung created a remarkable library of books, letters, and lectures.  If you have read any of his work and feel he is sometimes simply "too far out there," you are not alone.  During his life he had the luxury of time for reading the great books, engaging in massive letter writing, seeing clients or working in a clinical setting, and seemingly able to travel, write, and present endlessly.  He was nothing less than an acute observer of culture, history as manifest in literature, and master of synthesizing information both current and from the past which led him to propose inventive ways of thinking about the human experience. I think many readers of Jung miss the mark when they forget the intellectual culture in which his work was embedded and his simple proposition that he was sharing his journey .  His writings are not particularly straightforward--complicated as well by being translated into English.  His ideas are often esoteric. It is easy to see why his family preve

Personality Brokers: A Point of View

Engaging. Informative. Speculative. Illuminating. Irritating. Thoughtful. Mistaken. These terms describe  Merve Emre’s new book, The Personality Brokers (in the US) and What’s Your Type? (in Australia and Europe), published by Doubleday.  Emre brilliantly used sources in multiple places to support her historical rendering of the family environment and passions of the mother-daughter duo who are responsible for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment.  She managed to expose a host of attitudes, reflective of the time, and of the unique character of the individuals involved.   Emre’s real goal, however, is to use the popularity of the MBTI® tool to expose issues in the use of psychological tools in organizations.  She is right to point out that using personality based tools for selection and promotion is problematic and typically doesn’t end well for the individual or the organization.  Noting that individuals are being improperly evaluated from a self-report tool is precisely
Personality Research Matters and How You Can Help My Time magazine arrived today and on page 8 the heading asks, “Who are you?”  The short piece is a summary of recent research on personality.  Arriving at my door, the article serves as a kind of cornerstone moment in a week when fifty colleagues sent me links from different newspapers reporting the same research finding: there are four personality types.  And this is on top of two weeks of a cascade of articles and emails on a new book about the history and use of the MBTI.  This entry is for all of my friends and colleagues who follow the personality research and publication saga that I’ve been part of for the last 40 years.   First, I will soon post a review of the new book, The Personality Brokers. I’m still checking some facts and leads before I respond to that book. Second, and the primary reason for this note is that a new research report that has been widely published about claims that “scientists” have proven the pre

Math and Insights for Human Development

Please note at the outset that I am assuming individuals who hold the various views and perspectives that are outlined below have positive intent (as I do). My experience is that most individuals who are passionate about a point of view are sincere and believe that their insights will benefit everyone, if they could only see the value of their insights. Not so long ago I was invited to talk at a forum at a large public university on the “evidence” for various personality models and how these models inform perspectives on development. One of my companies at the time was certifying professionals in several personality assessments, which were based on different models of personality. As the forum unfolded, my co-panelists unloaded all critical cannons on the MBTI® assessment as an unfounded, unscientific, bad psychological model, and I was asked to defend it. Every single criticism of the MBTI®, using the 1984 Manual, lobbied at me was reasonable and analytically sound. I asked my as

Power to Encourage Creativity in Constructive Discontent

Imagine a highly experienced senior executive team in a manufacturing organization reaching an impasse on an issue of strategic importance.  The tension is so thick you feel the pressure in your chest.  The decision facing them involves a billion dollar bet. There are multiple, deeply felt and argued for perspectives that are completely at odds.  All arguments are equally robust; the depth of feeling about the perspective to take on the choices at hand are equally compelling.  They are facing a complex challenge, not simply a complicated one.  With complicated issues you can bring forth enough expertise and analysis to find the best path forward; with complex issues there are so many dynamic, paradoxical, ambiguous, and multi-factor elements that all the expertise and experience does not reveal a best path.  The path can only emerge by acknowledging and honoring the perspectives and discontent in the room among fully committed and hard working colleagues and by finding a construct