Who am I?

In the last fortnight, I’ve taken 3 personality tests. By understanding what the results of these test mean, I hope to learn how I can work with people more effectively, and be more comfortable in my own skin.

Dave the Innovator

As part of my degree course (Innovation and Applied Entrepreneurship MSc), I undertook Kirton’s Adaptors and Innovators test. Kirton suggests that:

Everyone can be located on a continuum ranging from an ability to "do things better" to an ability to "do things differently", and the ends of this continuum are labeled adaptive and innovative, respectively.

Unsurprisingly, the mean score of people on a course entitled Innovation and Applied Entrepreneurship was skewed towards the Innovative end of the spectrum. The most highly innovative person in the group was yours truly.

More innovative than 98% of people

I was slightly surprised that I scored so highly, because I am capable of detailed work and have developed systems to help me be more organised and structured. However, according to the theory, these don’t come naturally and in retrospect, I’m only fastidious in short bursts.

I recognise the behaviour descriptions of Innovators as my own:

  • I’m often undisciplined,
  • I have a scattered approach,
  • I think tangentially,
  • I take control in unstructured situations,
  • I like radical change, and
  • I am good in a crisis.

I also embrace change. I’ve lived in over 20 addresses and had many jobs. In fact, I’ve never stayed in a job for longer than a couple of years apart from my last full-time position at Lloyds TSB and I completely transformed that role through process improvement during my time there.

Like a reed, I bend in the wind.

Dave the Colourful

I took a four colour energies test with my business coach Janine. I came out as the Synchroniser. Each energy is rated along a scale of 0 to 108 — scores under 54 are suppressed and above 54 are preferred. My scores ranged from 48 (red) to 64 (green) which Janine remarked was very balanced (and quite unusual).

Understanding my energy levels.

A preference for Green comes from approaching situations thinking about feelings and relationships. The strength of a greeny, like myself, is that I build deep, long-term relationships, am a natural listener and am sincere and warm. These are all things that can I relate to and like about myself. I think a downside of being a Green is that, although my default position is to think positively about people, I can find it hard sometimes, to trust people to form those deep relationships.

Interestingly, I scored highly on Blue. A Blue’s strengths are: being knowledgeable and detailed, competent, asks probing questions, thorough follow-up and follow-through. I recognise these qualities less. Although I am quite knowledgeable and can focus on details , I don’t have the attention span to be thorough all the time. [edit — I’ve spent ages proof-reading and editing this — that’s the blue-side coming through!]

The useful thing that I took from this exercise was how to deal with fiery and impatient Reds. I know I’m not a natural Red, but I can use this energy sometimes. I’ve suffered in the past by not being listened to. I realise now that this is because of other people’s impatience… and my waffling! Reds need concise explanations — summaries, not details.

Dave the Campaigner

So I took a Jungian style personality test too and came up as an ENFP. I realise that I took a similar test a year ago now and also came out as this type. I remember reading the descriptions on 16personalities.com and feeling that they were pretty accurate — they describe ENFPs as Campaigners.

ENFP — the Campaigner, according to 16personalities.com

I see life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected. I am fiercely independent, crave creativity and freedom. I switch between being a passionate, driven idealist to an imaginative and enthusiastic free spirit and I love to connect emotionally with others and gain insight into what motivates them.

16personalities describe the best way forward for ENFP personalities is to establish themselves as entrepreneurs and consultants, blazing their own trails and taking on whatever project is most fascinating.

Dave the Reflector

I realise that these tests have their own shortcomings. They are based on my perceptions of myself and are affected by the way I answer questions — perhaps I came out as balanced on the colours test because I answered the questions tentatively?

The Jungian test, assumes you are either an extrovert or an introvert, whereas I feel I fall somewhere in between the two. Reading the Campaigner personality type reminded me of reading my horoscope. You can read something and feel it really speaks to you but I’m sure it’s not all written in the stars.

We are all complex beings. Should we be categorised into a finite number of personalities or colours or whatever? I’m not sure, but what doing this exercise has helped me realise, is that it’s okay to be me. I often feel guilty for being a bit flaky - starting something and not seeing it through to completion, or I feel bad for only spending a small amount of time doing the more monotonous and routine work. In the past, I’ve let this guilt dampen my enthusiasm but now I understand it I won’t feel that I’m letting myself down.

I need to work out strategies to deal with my excitable aspects. I already have some: my to-do lists and goal setting process. I really should have a better strategy for deciding whether to take on projects and I think that needs to be whether those projects really do fit in to my core values.

Thanks to this process, I recognise that I really should delegate some of the more detailed tasks and surround myself with people that share some of my more sociable and touchy-feely aspects but complement my creative spontaneous side with a more pragmatic and diligent nature.