Systems Thinking and Personality Types LO22605

David H. Sherrod (
Thu, 09 Sep 1999 08:00:26 -0400

Replying to LO22525 --

In reply to LO22525 and much of the rest of this topic.

I read from LO502 to LO22587 on this topic, and didn't see this
Isn't a key part of ST the "Thinking"? If one wants to use a
measurement instrument at all and relate it to ST, wouldn't it be more
appropriate to use one which measures Thinking Styles rather than
Personality Styles?

I personally think these instruments are useful in relating both to
Personal Mastery and Team Learning. If they offer some insight to you
personally (and these instruments are usually best applied only
personally), then you've got more data to move through Personal Mastery
with. If an intact team is exposed to an instrument, and it gives a
common language for them to use during dialog, then the instrument (and
the usual accompanying methodology) has served a purpose as well. If
every team in an organization uses the instrument in that manner, then
there's probably an impact on culture, which may be good or bad, depending
on if the instrument is a tool for learning or if it's treated as the
end-all of facts. (As in the CEO example during this discussion).

To Gavin's point, I underscore it. These instruments usually seem to
classify people similarly based on work activities (including the one I
mention below), but I think it's more preferable to recognize the
difference between skills and preferences. I may have a preference for
thinking one way, or expressing personality another. I also have skills,
which I've honed either because of my thinking or personality preference,
or despite them. Either way doesn't really matter - what matters (in a
work situation, for example) is do I have the skills to do the job, and do
any other traits I have get in the way?

I don't understand why more people don't use it, but the HBDI (Herrmann
Brain Dominance Instrument) addresses thinking styles rather than
personality, and (in my humble belief) contains a language "regular
people" can use to more effectively communicate with one another, and
shows them how their thinking style can affect their view of systems
around them. Again, I find it most useful when considering PM and TL.
For the interested, sources are: which has some information.
HBR had an article in July/Aug '97 on MBTI and HBDI assessments. Books
"The Creative Brain" and "The Whole Brain Business Book" which are useful
for gathering information about this tool.


- David

On Tue, 31 Aug 1999 22:20:41 +1200, Gavin Ritz wrote:

> That is Ashby's law of Requisite variety, to be able to respond in
> appropriate ways to your environment. Behavioral responses have very
> little to do with personality. I know of no personality traits that one
> can generalise about and say that those make good or bad managers. Also
> look at Jaques' book on Executive Leadership. His book is all about what
> you saying.

 D a v i d   H   S h e r r o d
L i f e l o n g   L e a r n e r                  mimesis @ infinet . com

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