Starting in the Moment

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”

– Anne Frank

When it rains, it pours! I’ve been so busy serving my clients that I’ve neglected one of my loves – writing. So, I’m going to run an experiment. Rather than write as if I’m running marathons, I’m going to start running sprints. I feel my “Starting in the Moment” blog will be a way to fulfill my personal desire to write on a regular basis without having to commit to huge chunks of time. “Starting in the Moment” will be a regular series of short, in-the-moment, from the trenches learnings and koans. My highest hope is that it will nudge the world in a better direction. At the very least, it’ll satisfy my desire to reflect and write regularly! So, here’s my inaugural “Starting in the Moment” blog entry. I hope you like it.

Hiring for Fit

I’ve started to see the value of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessments as a team building activity. My hesitation in the past was due to the amount of effort required to run and debrief a full MBTI assessment. That all changed thanks to fellow Agile coach, Andrew Jess Goddard. He introduced me to a great online personality assessment called, “16 Personalities” (www.16personalities.com). It’s free, only takes 10-15 minutes to complete the online questionnaire and most importantly, it’s fun! Its accuracy stems from the continuous recalibration of results from over 142 million (and counting) tests taken to date globally. It’s based on the 16 MBTI personality types. The 16 types are derived from five personality aspects such as Extrovert vs. Introvert and Thinking vs. Feeling and categorized into four roles: Analyst, Diplomat, Sentinel and Explorer. I’ve used it as a Retrospective activity for Scrum teams. Each time was a roaring success because of the fun and safe manner in which it encourages team members to openly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their personality type. So, then I’m wondering, why limit this strictly to existing teams? Why not use personality assessments as a tool for HR, managers, and teams hiring new members to assess the fit of candidates? Is the team looking for Analysts, Diplomats, Sentinels or Explorers? Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Ask each candidate to complete the short personality assessment prior to the interview
  2. During the interview, ask the candidate to share what their personality type is focusing on the associated strengths and especially weaknesses

If an existing team is already aware of what their personality types are, they can use this to assess how new members could fit in or not. Besides, it’s a great alternative to the time-worn, “What are your weaknesses?” interview question followed by the standard, “I’m a perfectionist” answer.
Many mature Agile organizations include the team members in interviewing and selecting new team members. For those emerging Agile organizations that are not there yet – could this be an acceptable way to factor in cultural fit for the team?

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