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“TYPING IS DEAD!”, declared Dr Stewart Desson at the Association for Business Psychology conference last week.

You might have realised by now that I’m not talking about the mechanisms by which we put words on a page, but how we describe and measure human personality..

I tend to agree. OK, describing people according to distinct personality types (usually Jungian, as measured by MBTI, DISC, Insights etc) isn’t dead but I do think it’s dying, however slowly, and I for one don’t mind putting the boot in. 

I also happen to believe that both types and traits are problematic when it comes to learning and development, because they’re based on a fundamental view that people have characteristics that are relatively stable and fixed over time.

While that might be true, at least to an extent, is it helpful when our greatest need is to help people to adapt to a world that’s characterised by an increasing pace of change, complexity and unpredictability?

TO REALLY CHANGE I MUST SEE THAT IT’S POSSIBLE

Types also then oversimplify human nature – which also goes some what to explaining their enduring appeal.

And while people Dr Stewart Desson and other psychology researchers are starting to show that traits can be more flexible and nuanced, my view is simple:

HERE AND NOW IT’S MY STATE OF MIND THAT MATTERS

What is it and what it could be. Not what it tends to be. My own background in sport psychology emphasises critical moments and finding the right state of mind at the right time: For the best performance, to improve emotional wellbeing, or create change.

WE DON’T CARE WHAT YOU ARE,  BUT WHAT YOU CAN BE

This is the fundamental premise of the Apter framework. It helps us to create meaningful change by focusing on dynamic, changeable aspects of human personality.

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