Systems Thinking and Personality Types LO22679
Thu, 16 Sep 1999 09:03:05 +0000

Replying to LO22624 --

> Subject: Systems Thinking and Personality Types LO22624

Gavin wrote...

> From my knowledge and correct me if I am wrong the Meyers Briggs is
>very far from this. In fact there is not one profiler that I have
>seen that can do this.

You are correct when you said that Meyers Briggs is very far from meeting
the criteria. You are also probably correct in saying that "there is not
one profiler that you have seen that can do this."

The reason that you are probably correct is that all appraisal systems
that I have seen, even the Strong-Campbell, only identify people on the
basis of "types" - i.e. put them in groups on the basis of limited and
generalized measurements. That is what Adizes and Steven Covey do. When
they do that, their "type" profiles are easy to understand and admittedly
have value in "batching" people relative to "types" of temperament,
vocational interests or expected moods or emotions. (Note that I said
"moods" and "emotions" rather than psychological or personality traits.
They do not, and cannot get that individually specific.)

Reflections is a system that is dedicated to the uniqueness of EACH PERSON
appraised. We develop an in-depth, exhaustive "profile" which, in your
words, "takes into account the internal representations (traits),
responses (reactions, actions, intentions, motivations) and the feedback
loop (two-way interaction between the person and his or her current
environment). We do (again in your words) "differential between
motivation, responses and internal representations."

>So a profiler must be able to take into account the internal
>representations, the responses and the feedback loop. If it does not
>do this it is not a systems approach.

Yes, there is a "time component" but ONLY on the basis that each
individual lives in an ever-present state of "now" and, from there,
"recalls" the past and "projects" into the future on the basis of his or
her "profile" - which we call "construct" - i.e. their total structure of
personality traits and their motivational levels.

> First of all mainly because one has to freeze time and its human
> value components

> We should stick to the subject of profilers and systems approach. Let me
> share what it means by systems approach. There is a cybernetic loop
> between the nervous system (brain) and our responses (actions) or
> behaviours. Connected by the so-called feedback loop, see Peter Senge,
> Ashby, Von Foerster, Ackoff etc etc . So a profiler must be able to take
> into account the internal representations, the responses and the feedback
> loop. If it does not do this it is not a systems approach.

I will be more specific about the "profiler" in the context of Senge's
book. He has 4 main "core disciplines"" PERSONAL MASTERY AN UNDERSTANDING

The "profiler" (i.e. "construct" orientation of individuals) is involved
in all 4 core disciplines. There are three things that must be
identified, brought into the SYSTEM, and dealt with on a systematic basis:

1. "Your own tacit beliefs or your own core principles." I'll add my own
definition: "Each man's philosophy is his own autobiography" - i.e. our
"construct" profile is the source of what we think, how we think, why we
think, our tacit beliefs and core principles.

2. "Develop a vision or mission for yourself." Again, I use my own
statement: "Each man's philosophy is his own autobiography" and his
philosophy originates in his own "construct" profile. Your own vision or
mission is called "vocation - to hear a call from within." ("Occupation"
only means an activity in which one is "occupied" - i.e. "busy" or

3. "Also become involved in developing shared missions and visions with
the people with whom you associate." That can only be done if "the people
with whom you associate" have ALSO gone through the process of having
their "construct" profile identified. Once done, they can begin to
develop "shared missions and vision." Alfred Schutz said it best: "The
prototype of all social relationships is an intersubjective connection of
motives." Converting Senge and Schultz strategies to Reflections system
of "profilers," I refer to a wonderful set radar graphs that Patrick Neils
and Joe Cotruzzola developed, utilizing a "profiler" program. It is a
master "profiler" which takes the "tacit beliefs and cores principles" of
EACH individual, puts the beliefs and principles of each person into the
graph database, then shows the places and degree of "mutual interest" and
places of difference of those individual "core beliefs and core
principles." That establishes the absolutely solid foundation from which
each and all individuals can "become involved in developing shared
missions and visions."

Furthermore, that becomes the absolutely essential, pragmatic, objective,
impersonal, solid foundation from which each and all individuals can have
a "dialog" rather than a "discussion" or an "advocacy." As the Senge book
says, "you should know all the facts and viewpoints, and everyone involved
should understand them. You can THEN try to see what you believe in."

This system does that so well that we can identify the tacit beliefs and
core principles of each person, where they would understand each other,
where they would not understand each other, where they would agree (and
who), and where they would disagree-without one ot those persoans saying
one word. It could all be done on the basis of the prior identification of
their "construct profiles" But that is not our objective. Instead, our
objective is the same as for Senge, Adizes and Covey: to get people to
know and understand themselves, know and understand others, to establish a
common identity/belief/principles base for SYSTEMATIC discussions to reach
mutually beneficial, mutually motivated goals and strategies.

The other factor that must be involved in "profiler systems" is the
ENVIRONMENT. By "environment," I mean any and every specic situation,
circumstance, relationship, surrounding, space in which a person is
"placed." If the best actors in the world were prepared to put on a
Shakespeare play, and the set was designed for "Cats," the actors would
not fit! The set would not "suit" (fit) them! One man's feast is another
man's poison. Jack Sprat and his wife are what Senge and Adizes are
talking about; Jack could eat no fat; she could eat no lean; there was
something on the plate for each of them; and, between them, they licked
the platter clean.

I believe the Reflections profile meets the requirements of a systems

Let me give you a few quotes and you decide:

In their pioneering work, Theories of Games & Economic Behavior, John
Von Newmann and Oskar Morgenstern proposed and developed a
(from a very thick book - written long before Senge) will illustrate
why it is A SYSTEM and is so significant:

1.1.1. "The analysis is concerned with some basic problems
arising from a study of economic behavior which have been the
center of attention of economists for a long time. They have their
origin in attempts to find an exact description of the endeavor of the
individual to obtain a maximum of utility, or, in the case of the
entrepreneur [like Adizes & Senge], a maximum of profit."

1.2.4. "We shall attempt to utilize only some commonplace
experience concerning human behavior which lends itself to
mathematical treatment and which is of economic importance...It is
well-nigh universally agreed, that an approach to this vast problem is
gained by the analysis of the behavior of the individuals which
constitute the economic community...One of the chief difficulties lies
in properly describing the assumptions which have to be made about the
motives of the individual."

3.3.2. "Let us for the moment accept the picture of an individual
whose SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES is all-embracing and complete, i.e. who,
for any two objectws or rather for any two imagined events, possesses
a clear intuition or preference. More precisely, we expect him, for
any two alternative events which are put before him as possibilities,
to be able to tell which of the two he prefers. It is a very natural
extension of this picture to permit such an individual to compare not
only events, but even combinations of events with stated

3.3.4. This procedure for a numerical measurement of
the utilities of the individual depends, of course, upon the

"Completeness in the system of individual preferences" means
completeness in the system of "constructs." The following quote from
Experimental Design & Analysis by Wayne Lee identifies the difficulty
in developing such a system:

"Even though the number of factors possibly affecting any behavior is
very large, experimenters typically use designs with only two or three
factors. Why are not more factors used? One reason is that as the
number of factors increases, more hours are required to maintain the
ability to detect differences among conditions. In addition, as the
number of factors increases, preparation and presentation of the
stimuli become more complicated. Furthermore, interpretation of the
results becomes more difficult because analysis of variance leads to
consideration not only of the interactions between pairs of factors,
but among triples of factors, quartets, and so on. Although
interactions among three or more factors can be interpreted
mathematically, such interactions are difficult to understand and use.
"Psychologists seem to shun anything more complex than a
three-factor interaction. As far as this author is aware,
interactions among four or more factors have not played an important
role in practical applications, in psychological theory, or in the
summarization of empirical findings in psychology. Even if they were
of considerable importance, however, they would doubtless be ignored
because of the limitations of human comprehension."

The Human Resource Identification & Utilization System (HRIUS)
which produces the "Reflections" appraisal, University Majors
Appraisal, and the Occupational Outlook Appraisal uses the
theories, mathematics AND SYSTEMS proposed by Von Neumann
and Morgenstern. It uses 17 traits, each measured at any of 100
motivational levels. Those traits, each at their own motivational
level, mathematically interact with 17 "situational" factors, at any
of 19 importance levels for each line of the appraisals. That is 17
to the 100th power for the individual interacting with 17 to the 19th
power. Just to produce all limits used in this SYSTEM, a computer (in
1977) had to operate non-stop for 7 1/2 hours.

Therefore I believe that the Reflections "profiler" system meets all
the criteria, objectives and expectations of Senge - and more!


Jeff Selzer
Motivation Consultant

Triad Development Group
183 El Carmelo Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306-2339
Phone: 650-852-9722
Fax: 650-856-8585


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