We have long held that in terms of work performance it is far better to consider what motivates a person than to ask what is his or her personality type. As my friend Steve Jones likes to say, ‘Nobody goes to work on a Monday morning because of their personality type; they go because of their motivations – or because they have to. Motivation, as we have also long held, is a form of energy, and
that is why it is superior.
There are some ‘precision’ type jobs where, perhaps, using a personality profiling tool is an essential pre-requisite for selection: an RAF fighter pilot springs to mind. It requires a certain type person to do that kind of work successfully; but that said, even given that the personality is the right type
for that type of work, the personality profile won’t say whether the individual is going to be poor, good, excellent or outstanding at doing it; merely, that there is a fit. That, I suppose, is a start.
But the fact remains that personality tests and their psychometric offspring are used as if fit were enough to guarantee performance. Clearly, this is not the case as virtually millions of examples prove – people fit THE profile but are still pretty useless when it comes to performing at a high level. Banks are deeply into personality profiling – and look where their leadership took us!
The reason why measuring motivation is so much more effective is that it measures the energy that you bring to the encounter of work, and this energy is half the performance mix. Skill (and knowledge) is the other crucial factor.
That said, then, energy diagnostics such as Motivational Maps are going to be increasingly used and increasingly important over the next decade. They are providing a picture – quite literally in graphical form – of the individual’s flow and intensity, and this really is connected to performance, which leads to productivity, which finally culminates (unless the organisational strategy is completely wrong) in profits.
Yet there is another way in which tools like Motivational Maps are superior to personality and psychometric profiling. One very valid criticism of personality tools is the tendency to stereotype people. People, for example, find out that they are an extrovert, logical type, and then instead of building on that, and realising its limitations and potential problems, decide to use it as a justification for bad behaviour. They’ll say something like – when challenged – ‘Oh, that’s because
I’m a Red or an ESQY’ or whatever.
Further, the stereotyping is compounded by the fact that most of the personality positioning is on what I call a four-by-sixteen matrix. In other words there are four basic types of person, and each of the four has four sub-types, leading to a grand total of 16 types of individuals. So, to recap, some
6+billion people all fit into one of 16 categories. Hmm. Bit like astrology really – which has 12 – or 24 if we add the Chinese horoscope onto the Western one!
And here again is where tools like Motivational Maps have such a big advantage; for, if we ask how many ‘types’ are there we find there are nine types of motivators. But, each individual has all nine within them but in a different order. Thus the total number of combinations is 9!, which means (9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1) = 362,880. This is a staggering number of possible profiles, but this is not
even the limit because of the scoring system. Basically, the diagnostic range of scores is from 0 to 40. Thus, somebody with an identical rank order of 9 motivators but with a narrow range of say 8 points from the highest to the lowest would be a very different type from somebody with a range of say 30
points. And of course, there is the intermediate range of about 16-20 points to consider.
It could therefore be truly said that with three distinct ranges of scores the total number of possible combinations is at least 3x362,880 = 1,088,640. In short, over a million combinations of ‘type’ and possibly more. Now that is deeply reassuring – and certainly goes a long way to countering the tendency to stereotype – if only because there are so many possibilities!
Savvy leaders, recruitment and HR specialists are increasingly realising that the old personality and psychometric tests are limited at best, and positively misleading at worst. The world of work needs something better, something more aligned with true performance. That something is Motivational Maps – because energy really is superior to personality.