Systems Thinking and Personality Types LO22633

Philip Pogson (
Mon, 13 Sep 1999 13:59:09 +1000

Replying to LO22614 --

Dear Gavin,

Thanks for the intelligent reply. I also work as an HR consultant and
have to wrestle with the kind of issues you outline.

You say you divide work criteria up as per below-

>we split Motivation, knowledge, Complexity of Reasoning from skill and
>behaviour so we can observe what is going on.

-and that you cannot find any single profiling agent to do this. I am
sure this is the case because constructs such as motivation are
extraordinarily difficult to quantify and one would not expect any
instrument to measure all these things!

But given the divisions you outlined, how do you go about putting the
whole person back together again? What is your meta-theory about people,
why they work and what holds them together?

I would also wonder why you are only interested in work contexts.

>We are also not really interested how people respond in other contexts
>because the work area is our focus. That is why all the characteristics
>you >shared with me is not particularly helpful in what we do. I am sure
>that it >is nice to know some of these characteristics but of their
>accuracy and >business use I have grave doubts. I personally have put
>hundreds of people >through tests and many different types and they
>really do not help managers >make mature decisions.

I like to try to understand the whole person, and what motivates and
interests them in all areas of their lives. Do they have a life "purpose"
or vision for themselves? How does work fit into this?

And am I the only one who is having difficulty understanding what is work
and what is "personal?" Sending this email to an international list is
probably both! You see I work simultaneously as a part time on-site
contractor, as an independent consultant running my own company, as a
writer and author, as a subcontractor to other management consultancies,
and I do voluntary work as well. I am sure others also share this
work/private dilemma!

As an interesting aside, I read recently that the fastest growing HR
benefit for employees in the US was access to undertaking voluntary work,
as companies were realising at last that motivation is a complex thing,
and many people cannot have all their motivational needs met at work.
Some folk are happier and more motivated if they can contribute to other
organisations/causes that they believe passionately in...

I have found books such as "Leadership from the inside out" by Kevin
Cashman very helpful for this. Cashman and his team work with the whole
person to help them find, or re-find what it is they actually want to do
on the planet! Joe Jaworski's book "Synchronicity" also relates a very
personal jouney of discovery in this regard.

How does all this help managers make mature decisions? I don't know, but
in my experience many managers also lack personal insight, knowledge of
their own strengths and weaknesses and a sense of what their greater
purpose is. Personality profiling fits in here for me simply as assisting
individuals to understand themselves a little better, and to have
frameworks with which to understand others who are different to them.

But as I have stated in other posts, I can live without any of this stuff
if a client does not want to do it. Except to explore why they are

Best regards,


>In my job which is a Human Resources consultant I have to be able to
>answer the following questions that are posed to me by many managers. Is
>this person motivated to do the job? i.e. do they value what they are
>doing?, Do they have the skills and knowledge to do the job? and Do they
>have the capabilities in terms of complexity of reasoning or logic ? That
>is can they problem solve at the level required?
[Big snip by your host...]

Philip Pogson
Leadership Development Strategy Consultant
Staff Development Branch
University of Technology Sydney NSW 2007

ph: +61 2 9514 2934(w)
fax: +61 2 9514 2930(w)
ph/fax: +61 2 9809 5185 (h)
mobile: +61 0412 459156

"Nothing changes without personal transformation."

-Edwards Deming


Philip Pogson <ppogson@uts.EDU.AU>

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