Three Types of Personality Verts

Introvert Extrovert Antivert.jpeg

It’s funny, we were out with some other people for dinner.

At one point, the conversion turned to the personality types (in terms of sociability) at the table. 

One person said, “I’m an extrovert!” – they were so proud that they are expressive and outgoing. 

Another person goes, “I’m an introvert!” – they were equally proud that they are thoughtful and more reticent.

A third person then says, “I’m just antisocial!” – they were half laughing and have serious that they are not sociable and even a little antagonistic to others. 

That’s when I came up with the new antisocial term, called an antivert!

Looking up that word on google to see if it already existed, I see someone has used it to brand an antihistamine for preventing and treating motion sickness and vertigo — hence from vertigo, this medicine is an antivert.

If you think of antisocial people as a little of balance or off-kilter and eccentric, then the word antivert works both to treat vertigo as well as to describe people that are the antisocial personality type. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Leadership Is Not A One Personality World


An article in the Federal Times (13 November 2011) called “To Change Government’s Culture, Recruit Leader, Not Loners” was very unfortunate.

According to the author, Steven L. Katz, “Government in particular, attracts, rewards, and promotes people who want to be left alone.As a result we have a government of loners…seen in the scarcity of people with a healthy balance of substantive and social skills who are needed for leadership, management, and bringing projects large and small to completion.”

Katz identifies these “loners” as Myers-Briggs ISTJ–Introverted Sensing Thinking and Judging. Moreover, he proposes that we consider “more people who test in the range of Myers-Briggs ENTJ–Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Judging”–to assume the leadership mantle instead.

In other words, Katz has a problem with people who are introverted and sensing. In particular, it seems that the introversion type really has Katz all bent out of shape–since this is what he rails at as the loners in our organizations. What a shame!

Katz is wrong on almost all accounts,except that we need people who can communicate and collaborate and not just in government:

1) Diversity Down The Toilet–Katz only acknowledges two Myers-Briggs Types in our diverse population–ENTJ and ISTJ.  He is either unaware of or ignores the other 14 categories of people on the continuum, and he promotes only one type the ENTJ–1/16 of the types of people out there–so much for diversity!

Further, Katz makes the stereotypical and mistaken assumptions that introverts are shy and ineffectual, which as pointed out in Psychology Today in 2009 (quoted in Jobboom) “Not everyone who is shy is introverted, and not everyone who’s charismatic and cheerful is extroverted.” Further, shy people are ‘routinely misunderstood as cold, aloof, or stuck up.”

Katz missed the point as taught at OPM’s Federal Executive Institute that all of us have something to learn, teach, and a preferred pathway to excellence.

2) By the Numbers–Contrary to Katz’s implication that introverts are a small and social inept portion of population that should shunned, a report in USA Today in 2009 states that ‘50% of baby boomers are introverts” as are 38% of those born after 1981 with the onset on the modern computing age, Internet, and social media. Interestingly enough, Katz is even dissatisfied with these Millennials who according to him: their “dominant form of communication and relationships is online and on cellphones.”

Moreover, according to a 2006 article in USA Today quoted on, “Introverts are so effective in the workplace, they make up an estimated 40% of executives.

Included in these successful introverts are people like “Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Diane Sawyer, Andrea Jung, and Bill Nardelli”–Sorry, Steve!

3) Situational Leadership Is Key–While Katz is busy searching for personality type scapegoats to government problems, he is missing the point that Myers-Briggs is “neither judgmental not pejorative” and instead “helps assess the fit between person and job” (Reference: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in Organizations: A Resource Book).

In fact, according to a recent study published in Harvard Business Review (4 October 2010), introverts are not only incredibly effective, but are “the best leaders for proactive employees.” Moreover, HBR points out that “Both types of leaders, the extraverts and the introverts, can be equally successful or ineffectual…”

So for example, Introvert leaders (who are “more likely to listen to and process the ideas”) tend to be better leaders in a situation with a extroverted team, while extroverted leaders (who “end up doing a lot of the talking”) tend to excel with a more introverted one.

However, the ultimate key according to HBR is “to encourage introverted and extraverted behavior in any given situation”–that is to use situational leadership to lead and manage according to the situation at hand, and not as a one personality type fits all world!

Katz is right that communication and collaboration are critical skills, but he is wrong that there is only one personality type that gets us all there.

(Source Photo: here)

>Match Me With You


eHarmony and and other matchmaking sites are all the rage on the single scene with recommended partners for people being done by computer algorithm.

Now this concept of matching of people is going beyond people’s love lives and into the world of business.

CIO Magazine (1 Nov. 2010) reports in an article called “Call Center Matchmaking: Analytics pair customers with the right agents for better service” that companies are using similar technology to match customers and call centers reps in order to get higher satisfaction ratings and increased retention rates—and it’s working!

Since implementing the IBM system called Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform (RAMP), for example, Assurant has increased customer retention rates by 190 percent.

Other companies have been doing customer matching on a more elementary level for some time—for example, financial service firms route calls from high-net worth or high-balance customers to “premier agents.” Similarly, calls made at certain time are “routed to Boise instead of Bangalore.”

With computer systems like RAMP, there is a recognition that customers can do better by being matched with specific customer service representatives and that we can use business analytics to examine a host of data variables from sex and age to persistence in calling to match a customer to “the right” representative to handle their issues.

Based on success rates, computers have been shown to perform sophisticated business and data analysis, and to successfully match people for more successful business (and life) transactions.

If we can successfully pair people for love and for customer service, it makes me wonder what’s next (maybe happening already)? For example, will we pair people to “the right”:

  • Potential adoptee parents?
  • Neighborhoods?
  • Schools?
  • Jobs?
  • Bosses?
  • Coworkers?

In essence, as the “bar is raised” in a highly global and competitive environment, will we be pushed to seek to maximize our potential for success interaction with others—for developing high-performance and highly profitable interactions—by pairing exclusively with those that “screen” positive for us?

With genetic testing already being used to screen for babies that people want—like an order at Burger King—“hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us…”—we are already well on our way to “special ordering” the people in our lives.

Companies have also started to use intelligence and personality tests to weed out applicants, and the use of personality tests like Myers Briggs is already being employed for better understanding each other and working together.

However crude all this may be, it is essentially a high-tech way of trying to optimize our performance. The question is can we use technology to enhance personal interactions and elevate performance without subjecting people to undue bias, criticism, and violation of their privacy? This is a very slippery slope indeed.

Another potential problem with computer matching is that when we rely on computers to “tell us” when we have a good match, we are potentially missing potential opportunities for matches with others that cannot be easily quantified or summed up by a computer algorithm? As they say, for some “two birds of a feather flock together” and for others “opposite attract”—we shouldn’t limit ourselves to any creative, positive possibilities in relationships.

>The Coloring Book of Leadership


In a leadership course this week, I was introduced to the “Insights Wheel of Color Energies,” a framework for understanding people’s personalities and leadership styles.

In the Color Energies framework, there are four types of personalities/styles:

  • “Fiery Red”—The Director—competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed, purposeful, and driving— they seek to “do it NOW.”
  • “Cool Blue”—The Observer—cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning, formal, and analytical—they seek to “do it right.”
  • “Sunshine Yellow”—The Inspirer—sociable, dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, persuasive, and expressive. They seek to “do it together.”
  • “Earth Green”—The Supporter—caring, encouraging, sharing, patient, relaxed, and amiable—they seek to “do it in a caring way.”

There is no one best type—each is simply a personal preference. And further, each of us is “incomplete and imperfect”.

  • The one who seeks to “do it right” may miss the point with their “analysis paralysis” when something needs to be done in a time-critical fashion.
  • Similarly, the leader that’s focused on “just getting it done now” may be insensitive to providing adequate support for their people, or collaboration with others in the organization.

We saw this clearly in the class. After each person was asked to self-identify which color they were most closely aligned to, it was clear that people were oriented toward one or maybe two types, and that they did have an individual preference.

While no framework is 100% accurate, I like this one as it seems to capture key distinctions between personalities and also helped to make me more self-aware. (I am Cool Blue and Fiery Red, in case you ever decide to “tangle” with me :-).

Combining Color Energies with other personality assessment frameworks, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI), can help us to understand both ourselves and others.

With that knowledge we can work together more productively and more pleasantly, as we empathize with others rather than puzzling about why they act the way they do.

Once we start to identify the “color personalities” of others whom we know and work with, we can better leverage our combined strengths.

To me, therefore, leaders have to surround themselves with other excellent people, who can complement their personality and leadership styles so as to fill in the natural gaps that we each possess.

>Revenge of the Introverts


I am an introvert.

Does this mean I am among a minority of the population that is shy, anti-social, “snooty,” or worse?

Many people have misperceptions like these, which is why Psychology Today’s current issue has a feature story on the realities vs. the myths of introverts. Actually half of the people you meet on any given day are introverts.

According to the story, introverts are:

Collectors of thoughts…(and) solitude is the place where the collection is curated…to make sense of the present and the future.”

Most of us don’t realize that there are many introverts, because “perceptual biases lead us all to overestimate the number of extraverts among us.” (Basically you extraverts take up a lot of attention 🙂.)

To me, being an introvert is extremely helpful in my professional role because it enables me to accomplish some very important goals:

I can apply my thinking to large and complex issues. Because I gravitate to working in a quiet (i.e. professional) environment, I am able to focus on studying issues, coming up with solutions, and seeing the impact of incremental improvements. (This will be TMI for some, but when I was a kid I had to study with noise reducing headphones on to get that absolute quiet to concentrate totally.)

I like to develop meaningful relationships through all types of outreach, but especially when interacting one-on-one with people. As opposed to meaningless cocktail party chatter – “Hello, How are you today?” “Fine. And how are you?” “Fine.” Help, get me out of here!

I get my energy from introspection and reflecting; therefore, I tend to be alert to areas where I may be making a mistake and I try to correct those early. In short, “I am my own biggest critic.”

So while it may be more fun to be an extrovert—“the life of the party”—and “the party’s going on all the time”—I like being an introvert and spending enough time thinking to make the doing in my life that much more meaningful and rewarding.

[Note: Lest you think that I hold a grudge against extraverts, not at all—you all are some of my best buds and frequently inspire me with your creativity and drive!]

>Myers-Briggs and Enterprise Architecture


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality questionnaire designed to identify certain psychological differences according to the typological theories of Carl Gustav Jung as published in his 1921 book Psychological Types (English edition, 1923).The original developers of the indicator were Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. (Wikipedia)

The MBTI indicates 16 personality types among people. MBTI helps explain why different types of people are interested in different things, are good at different things, excel in cetain types of jobs, and find it difficult to understand and get along with others.

In MBTI, there are 4 performances or pairs of opposing tendencies that people are ranked on:

  1. Introversion or Extroversion—whether the person directs and receives energy from inside themselves or from the outside world.
  2. Sensing or iNtuition—whether the person performs information gathering through their 5 senses or through their 6th sense, intuition.
  3. Thinking or Feeling—whether the person conducts decision-making through logical analysis or through a value-oriened, subjective basis.
  4. Judging or Perceiving—whether the person lifestyle is driven to come to closure and act on decisions or remain open and adapt to new information.

In the book, The Character of Organizations by William Bridges, the author extends the use of MBTI from individuals to organizations.

“Everyone knows that organizations differ in their size, structure, and purpose, but they also differ in character…the personality of the individual organization.” Knowing an organization’s character “enables us to understand why organizations act as they do and why they are so very hard to change in any fundamental way.”

Applying the Myers-Briggs 4 pairs of preferences to organizations looks like this:

  1. Introversion or Extroversion—“Is the organization primarily outwardly oriented toward markets, competition, and regulations or is it inwardly oriented toward its own technology, its leaders’ dreams, or its own culture.”
  2. Sensing or iNtuition—“Is the organization primarily focused on the present, the details, and the actuality of situations or on the future, the big picture, and the possibilities inherent.”
  3. Thinking or Feeling—“Decision making happens on the basis of principles like consistency, competence, and efficiency or through a personal process that depends on values like individuality, the common good, or creativity.”
  4. Judging or Perceiving—“Prefer to reach firm decision, define things clearly, and get closure on issues or always seeking more input, preferring to leave things loose, or opting to keep their choices open.”

Where does an organization’s character come from?

  1. Its founder
  2. Influence of business (especially a particular industry)
  3. Employee groups
  4. Subsequent leaders (especially it’s current leader)
  5. Its history and traditions

“An organization’s character is certainly going to change over the years. And with all the variables at work, you can see that the changes are going to be somewhat unpredictable…the important point is that at any given time, an organization will have a particular character, which will to a large extent shape its destiny.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, the character of the organization can have a citical impact on the work of its EA practioners. Here are some examples:

  • The target architecture—the EA practioner needs to tailor the target architecture to the character of the organization. For example, an introverted organization may be more intent on developing proprietary technology solutions or customizing software to its own ends than an extroverted organization which may be more inclined to out of the box, commercial-off-the-shelf software solutions.
  • IT governance—the EA practioner may need to handle IT governance differently if the organization is a judging or perceiving one. For example, if the organization is more judging, the IT Investment Review Board and EA Review Board may be able to come to decisions on new IT investments and their alignment with the organization’s EA more quickly than a perceiving organization, which may be reluctant to make firm decisions on new IT investments or may require additional information and details or require exhaustive analysis of alternatives.
  • Change management—the EA practioner may need to handle various levels of resistance to change and manage it accordingly based on whether an organization is more sensing or intuitive. For example, if the organization is more sensing, focused on the present and the details of it, then the enterprise may not be as receptive to change as an organization that is more perceiving, big picture, strategic, and future-oriented.

Just as an understanding of your own and others personality helps guide self-development, life decisions, and social interactions, so too knowing an organization’s character can provide the EA practioner critical information to help develop a realistic architecture for the enterprise, provide useful IT governance for investment management decisions, and influence interactions for effectively managing organizational change.