Shiny, happy objects all around

My brother introduced me to the concept of the “shiny object” — the distracting, alluring thing on which the unwary fixate.  Seth Godin uses the concept to get us focused on our goals and milestones.

This post shows [again] why Seth is one of the wise marketing minds.  To the unwary, marketing is a kind of magic that can put a shine on anything or even polish a you know what

Many, of course, only sell that shine.  Seth reminds us to begin with the end in mind if we want it to be more than a veneer.

Caveats about “Personality Type” and Myers-Briggs

Extending my earlier post about personality and leadership….  While I see value in Myers-Briggs, there are a lot of caveats about the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and personality testing in general:

  • MBTI measures aspirations as much as reality.  One has to be very careful about whether you’re seeing what you are or what you wish to be.  Both are OK results, just know the difference.
  • The test and rating scheme were heavily influenced by the types and theories of the creators themselves (and ultimately Carl Jung‘s concept of Psychological Type). 
  • The logocentric nature really turns some folks off (though I see the four characters like they’re on slot machine “wheels”). 
  • The simplistic visualizations in MBTI mask the malleability and fuzzy nature of “type.”  As noted above, one’s mental or emotional statecan skew the results.  Also, other tests/approaches have more straightforward insights into the differences between how one reacts when stressed vs. relaxed.
  • Type can become stereotype — which is one of the best insights from Stephen Covey’sSeven Habits….”  It is useful as a screening and development tool, but MBTI is much more useful to each individual to know him/herself.  To reinforce this, one approach is to have everyone destroy their “type IDs” at the end of MBTI-based training.
  • Type doesn’t mean destiny.  Everyone thinks sales people have to be “E,” buy many only appear to be extroverts.  Much of their apparent spontaneity is an effect achieved through meticulous preparation.  Many actors are “I” as well — one of the reasons The Method is so effective. 
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