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Transcend in Twenty-Ten: Intrinsics – Why Personality Matters

Posted by drwoody on January 26, 2010

One of the commonly missed steps in the career re-engagement process is introspection. I’m a firm believer in the power of stepping back to gain perspective on where you are presently, where you are actually going, and where you really want to go. As part of this introspective process I firmly believe you need to take stock in what you bring to the table. In other words, you have to get to know your intrinsics.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I use the word intrinsics as a catch-all to describe what you bring to the table as a unique individual. We all have our own mix of personality, experiences, training… that combine to create a unique value proposition in terms of what we are able to bring to bear in our career endeavors.

In my last blog post I also outlined the six elements that make-up what I refer to as your career intrinsics. I call these six elements your career pacers: Personality, affiliations, contributions, experience, relationships, and SKAs.

In this post I’m going to focus on personality.

Although there are many influences on human behavior, I believe that personality is one of the most significant. Other influences include experience, culture, upbringing, education, religion, social norms, expectations, and trauma. The reason I believe personality is so critical is that your personality is really responsible for driving how you respond to those other influences. It shapes how you act and interact within your environment.

Personality is really about your natural inclinations. We all have natural leanings and comfort zones. Quite simply, you have certain actions and activities that you tend to be comfortable performing. Having a good sense of what these are is critical to your success. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position that requires you to spend most of your time operating outside of your comfort zone. When you are in your element, you are going to be at your best.

In my upcoming book, The YOU Plan, I talk about the role of personality in my work as an executive coach:

“Whether I’m working with corporate executives or personal clients, I always begin by assessing their personality and natural strengths. I’m certainly not unique in this approach. The study of personality and its application to the world of work has enjoyed a substantial resurgence, with many theories and approaches. What’s important is this: Personality does matter.”

When it comes to assessing personality, there are literally thousands of personality assessments on the market. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of these assessments likely provide as much intellectual insight as reading your daily horoscope or taking the latest quiz in Cosmopolitan magazine. So, when looking for a good assessment, consider the source. Simple on-line assessments can sometimes do more harm then good.

One of the most well researched models of personality is the Big Five. The Big Five consists of five high-level factors that can be remembered as OCEAN: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion/introversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism or emotional stability. The model states that we all have varying levels of each factor that operate together to create our individual personalities. The model has gained such wide acceptance that even the psychologists at e-Harmony use it as part of the matching system. Thus, when looking for simple personality assessments, keep the big five in mind.

For more information on the Big Five and one of the more popular Big Five assessments see: http://www3.parinc.com/products/product.aspx?Productid=NEO_FFI

Some other well-known models include:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: https://www.cpp.com/products/mbti/index.aspx

The DISC assessment: http://www.thomasinternational.net/1/Resources/DISCAssessmentTheory/tabid/4012/Default.aspx

Both have enjoyed a tremendous amount of popularity and use in the business world.

The bottom line is that career success requires really knowing the value you bring to the table and how to leverage and communicate that value in a way that helps others want to utilize it. Really knowing your personality is a good start.

Over the next couple of weeks I will address each of the other career PACERS in more depth, so stay tuned!

Cheers,

Dr. Woody

To find out more about Dr Woody’s upcoming book, The YOU Plan, check out www.TheYouPlan.com

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