Self-Branding: Using The Meyers-Briggs Tool

Ed Burghard“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

Aristotle

Have you ever tried to create a brand persona for yourself? If so, you’ll know that it’s difficult because you may be misled because your self-perception and how others see you may be very different. So what do you do? Many people (including myself) have found success by using standard self-assessment tools. But there are a few things you should know before you attempt to use a self-assessment tool to ensure you don’t waste your time and that the results are informative to your self-branding efforts. This post will tell you about my experience with the Meyers-Briggs tool and will hopefully encourage you to invest the time to get to know yourself better.

If you’re looking for an objective method to better understand who you really are, the best tool I have found to ensure you end up with something that lets you create an objective self-persona is the Meyers-Briggs assessment. The original developers of the personality inventory were Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers.  The psychometric questionnaire is based on the work of Carl Jung.  It is a tool often used in the private sector to help employees become more self-aware of the impact their personality preferences may have on performance in team situations.  I was exposed to the Meyers-Briggs tool (MBTI) during my career at Procter & Gamble.  I was also exposed to several other self-assessment tools (e.g. Strengthsfinder), but the MBTI was the one I found provided me the best input to use for self-branding.

MBTI Personality Types

The MBTI helps you understand your behavioral preferences on four dichotomies.

  1. Attitudes – Inward focused (introversion) or Outward focused (extroversion)
  2. Function A – Sensing or Intuitive
  3. Function B – Thinking or Feeling
  4. Lifestyle – Judging or Perception

Your unique combination of preferences provides insight into how you tend to behave when interacting with people.  These preferences are determined based on your responses to a validated questionnaire.  The output is a four-letter combination that represents your personality type.  The great news is this questionnaire has been used for years and there is a great deal of insightful information about the potential implications when different type combinations work together.  You can also get insights into your cognitive learning preference.

Personal Insights Are Key

These insights help make you aware of how you tend to prefer interacting with people.  Each of us develops coping mechanisms throughout our career that can override our natural preferences and allow us to be effective (although potentially uncomfortable) in different working situations.  But, understanding your innate preferences helps you get a better perspective on who you really are as a person and what tendencies you may have that can get in your way of achieving your maximum performance.

For perspective, I found I was an off the chart INTP.  This personality type is often labeled as “The Thinker”.  Here are a few of the dominant characteristics I had to take into account when creating my brand persona.

  • Live in the world of theoretical possibilities (I actually have an undergraduate degree in theoretical mathematics).
  • Value knowledge above all else (I am constantly researching, experimenting and learning about branding even now that I am retired).
  • Do not like to lead or control people (I found that becoming a servant leader was the most effective way for me to excel as a Marketing Director).
  • Has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity (I always need to find data to support conclusions).

Understanding how I feel most comfortable interacting with the world led me to career choices where my preferences could serve as strengths rather than liabilities. I also discovered personality traits I needed to be self-aware of when working outside my comfort zone.  This self-awareness helped me understand how to be a good team player when the occasion called for it.

My Counsel

I encourage you to consider exploring the Meyers-Briggs tool.  I believe you will find it as helpful as I have in understanding your personality traits and using that insight in developing your personal persona.

The really cool news is a short version of the MBTI questionnaire is available free online (CLICK HERE), and the general descriptions of the personality types ia also well documented online (CLICK HERE).  Of course, if you find the short version helpful, I would encourage you to consider taking the time to enroll in an MBTI seminar like the one offered by the American Management Association (CLICK HERE) if at all possible.

If you decide to take my counsel:

  • Make sure you commit to being as objective and honest as possible when completing the questionnaire. If you don’t, you’ll generate misleading data.
  • Ensure you validate the results of the questionnaire with people who know you well and that you trust.  They will also give you contextual feedback.  Often examples of when they have observed you acting out your preferences in real world situations can be very insightful.

Now that you know about the Meyers-Briggs assessment tool, you’re ready to begin creating a personal persona you can use to help guide your self-branding efforts.

Discussion

If you have experience with the MBTI, please share some insight into how it helped (or hindered) you in your self-branding work.  The MBTI is not the only tool, so what are some of the other self-assessment tools you found helpful?  Do you have any helpful hints that might make the self-assessment process easier?

Here is a link to a great resource that provides insight into creating an elevator pitch that will help you package your personal brand in an easy to comprehend way.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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3 Comments so far

  1. Brent Walker

    January 3, 2014

    Ed,
    I’ve consistently tested INTP, also, though on the cusp between E/I — off the charts everywhere else. What I’ve found helpful in self-branding (and understanding how to interact with other MBTI types) is understanding the foundation of this in Carl Jung’s archetypes. Understand the archetypes and it helps in pinpointing characteristics to accentuate and the language with which to communicate (and influence) others. Fascinating stuff.
    Brent

  2. […] “The Burghard Group | Strengthening Brand America: http://t.co/V6RvzQTzll”;  […]

  3. […] “Ed Burghard “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle. Have you ever tried to create a brand persona for yourself? If so, you'll know that it's difficult because you may be misled because your self-perception …”  […]

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