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Many of us have taken at least one personality test during a college class, like the Myers Briggs test, to see how we work and interact with others. I remember the first time that I took the Myers Briggs in an MBA class, I was either an INTJ or an ENTP. I thought this was very flexible of me to be able to switch from I to E and from J to P, depending on the situation. My professor walked by, heard this comment, and said that actually meant that I am hard for others to read...

personality test

It is funny to me that most people I have met have only ever taken the Myers Briggs test, which seemed accurate to me, but not very helpful in explaining me and how I work most effectively and process thoughts and feelings to contribute to a team. It was a good tool years ago, but limited to 16 personality types.

Last year, I completed the HELM Senior Leadership Program through Goodwill Industries International and I completed the RightPath Self-Assessment for the first time. What a life-changer! I completely understood myself, my strengths and weaknesses, and my team members' same traits; plus we used this information to work more effectively as a team together. I have also used this assessment to help me in my marriage and family interactions.

Before this, I could not figure out what it was about me that always made me the first choice of team members to lead teams. It turns out, others sense your strengths, sometimes before you do. In team interactions, we tend to look at everyone else, but fail to know ourselves well enough to improve ourselves and function well within a team. Start with yourself, then work with others!

Successful Team

I am currently reading "The Wisdom of Teams -- Creating the High-Performance Organization" by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith with McKinsey & Company, Inc. I am struck by the simplicity of the essential element of a successful team, that the authors state is the most critical foundation of a team -- clarity and consistency of the organizational performance standards, or "performance ethic," that provides direction and meaning to a team's efforts.

Team consultants tend to focus on the personalities, behaviors and actions of the team members to consult in working together to improve organizational productivity. This good foundational read reminds us to start at the beginning when forming a team. The organization or company sets the standard, by our leaders' actions and communication, as well as, its culture. Team members, whether they realize it or not, will perform in a team to their organization's expectation and current culture.

The full cycle of this concept is an organizational lesson that teams need to communicate and understand their performance ethic to begin to define their team goals. A successful team can enhance and raise their company's performance ethic level, and if company leaders incorporate team improvements into company culture, higher organizational performance can be achieved.

"Collaborative Intelligence - Thinking With People Who Think Differently" by Dawna Markova, Ph.D., and Angie McArthur, is a must read for any leader who is trying to maximize the effectiveness of their team.

Visit their website at to take the quiz to discover your mind pattern, share with your team and start working better together.

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