Know Thyself V

Personal Development Tools we didn’t Use

In the previous blogs in this series, I went through all of the tools that we use as the baseline for understanding who we are.  This know thyself exercise is the launching pad for building our personal development plan.  In this blog I’d like to cover some of the other tools that we reviewed and decided they weren’t going to work for our personal improvement plan.  There were a number of reasons we decided against integrated these other tools and I’ll go through each.  Most of them were disqualified because they were too expensive.  We are launching this initiative as a data gathering social experiment so we do need to keep the costs to a minimum for our participants.

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS-II)

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is a solid alternative to the Meyers-Briggs Types Indicator (MBTI).  The KTS uses the same four letter personality breakout pioneered by Jung and later expanded by Meyers-Briggs.  Keirsey took a different approach than the MBTI.  He used archetypes first define by Platoto split us into four temperament types: Artisan (iconic), Guardian (pistic), Idealistic (noetic), and Rational (dianoetic).  This is what the breakdown looks like:


Keirsey takes these temperaments then breaks them again into two roles each.  This split is based on whether you are proactive or reactive.  For example, in the Rational group, where I fell, the Coordinators are Proactive and the Engineers are Reactive.  These roles are split a final time based on a role variant.  The role variants determines whether you are attentive or expressive.  For the Rational group, the attentive group is the Mastermind and the expressive group is the Fieldmarshal.  Here is a slightly different breakdown of how the KTS defines the four letters in the personality type:


I liked this chart from Wikipedia a little better:


The biggest difference I could see between the KTS and the MBTI was that the Myers-Briggs grouped types by function attitudes where Keirsey grouped everything by temperament.  Myers-Briggs also seemed to adhere a little closer to Jung and his focus on extroversion/introversion.

The KTS is another forced choice test/survey that results in a final designation.  The test was worth running through but the other thing KTS is missing is an easy to use site like 16personalities that gives you great descriptors of all the different personality types.  To get the full KTS results, you have to pay to play.  Here were the incomplete results that I received for free:


The KTS seems to be in wide use at the corporate level and my understanding is that a ton of career coaches use this on a regular basis.  We may come back to this as a tool as the system progresses but for now our go-to personality type tool is going to be the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Enneagram of Personality

The Enneagram is another model of the human psyche.  This approach constructs a typology between nine interconnected personality types.  An enneagram is just a nine sided figure.  The history for this methodology is a little murkier.  Rumor has it that this was started way back in the fourth century by a Christian mystic by the name of Evagrius Ponticus.  The modern version of the Enneagram of Personality is most commonly credited to Oscar Ichazo as part of his teachings of protoanalysis.

Instead of the sixteen types offered by Myers-Briggs and Keirsey, the Enneagram only gives you nine.  This was a little more confusing to me because the breakdown seemed a lot less scientific.  This is another forced answer test that gets you to the end result.  The end result in my case was not particularly definitive.

Here’s the general Enneagram:


Here is a breakdown of the types from Wikipedia:


Here are my inconclusive results:


I didn’t get nearly the insight from this test as I’ve gotten from the others.  Even though this test was free, we’re leaving it out of the toolbox for now.

Other Tests we Reviewed


The StrengthsFinder assessment comes from a book of the same name.  The general idea of the assessment is to provide you with a breakdown of your core strengths in a similar fashion to the VIA institute that we talked about in Know Thyself III.  This breakdown, from what I understand, is quite a bit more expansive and can be used to guide you towards a career that might be a best fit for you.

It is also known as the Clifton StrengthsFinder named after the methodology’s founder, Donald Clifton Ph.D.  This test required access codes and probably works better when coupled with meetings with a coach or consultant.

Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)

This was the brain child of one of the geniuses that came out of GE, William ‘Ned’ Herrmann’.  He built this while running GE’s management education department.  He built a system designed to measure and describe the thinking preferences in people, something they trademarked as Whole Brain Thinking.  This methodology comes with a fair amount of consulting and needs an access code to even get started.  Did not get a chance to even play around with this one much.


This is the last blog of the Know Thyself series.  In our next couple of blogs we will start to dive into the process of turning know thyself into an actionable plan.