What’s Your Type?

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This article accompanied the October 2009 feature story, "The Evolution of E-Learning." 

Paul Stockford, chief analyst at Saddletree Research, cites “career advancement” as e-learning’s unrealized potential, with the power to guide agents toward the career in customer service best-suited to them. With that in mind, I decided to try out the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a 15-minute questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in perception and decision making: You’re either an introvert (I) or an extrovert (E); possess sensing (S) or intuition (I); think (T) or feel (F); and either judge (J) or perceive (P). (In any pair, it’s possible to be a little of each, but you’re more inclined to be one than the other.)

Each of the 16 possible four-letter combinations comes with a full assessment, including specific deficiencies called “blind spots.” Turns out I’m with the ISTJs—Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging—who, according to the MBTI, are “quiet, serious people who succeed by being thorough and dependable. Logical, practical, and realistic, they take their responsibilities seriously and often go beyond the call of duty. They enjoy ordering and structuring their environment and their work. Traditions and loyalty are important to them.”

Now for my ISTJ “blind spots”: Suspicious of imagination and intuition, ISTJs don’t take seriously others who possess those two qualities. ISTJs also expect everyone to be as logical and analytical as they are and become impatient when events prove otherwise. I can attest to having those qualities, but that’s my cue to turn to the MBTI ThinkBox, a Web-based learning environment where I can address my perceived strengths and weaknesses. Free to choose my own path through the materials, by clicking on my various “blind spots” I find multimedia resources to help me improve, both professionally and personally: material on how to think clearly in times of change, meeting management, strategic thinking, organization, and attention to detail. I’m no different than an agent in the sense that I’m often crunched for time, so being able to download these materials to learn at my leisure is vital.

By learning more about myself, and by addressing apparent weaknesses, I can become a better worker, and a better person. After all, people say education is a lifelong journey. “With that kind of awareness, I can be a more-effective team member,” says Sharon Grimshaw, director of program and electronic product development for CPP, which offers the MBTI assessment.

Contact Assistant Editor Christopher Musico at cmusico@destinationCRM.com.

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