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Game Theory in Business and Myers-Briggs

About 15 years ago, all of the executives at my Bank were given a Myers-Briggs test - this is a personality assessment often used in business to show how people think and more importantly teaches you how to relate to people who think differently than yourself.

I was amazed to realize I was one of the only ENFP's (Extrovert; Intuition; Feeler; Perception) at the Bank; but apparently ENFP's account for only 2-8%  of the population.  As an example, it drove me absolutely insane that people needed something in writing to understand what I was saying.  Why couldn't they just listen to my summary and conclusion.   But after this assessment I understood why they needed something concrete.  (On Wall Street sometimes your worth is determined by the elaborateness of your spreadsheet.  Which I thought was completely stupid.) But my point is as follows, I knew these people operated on a completely different plane so in order to be successful I needed to communicate in a way that they would follow.  So I would make the spreadsheets and write the business plans because I recognized  it wasn't a reflection of my intelligence nor communication skills but others being programmed differently.  As a side note, most on Wall Street are ESTJ ( Extrovert; Sensory; Thinking; Judgement) the exact opposite of me.

Understanding how you think is critical in business because knowing what drives you to a decision allows you to recognize your associated weaknesses in not only the way you process information but also your conclusions.  You can take one of these tests at www.myersbriggsreports.com.

Once you know how you operate the next step is understanding how the person sitting across the table thinks.   Background information prior to a meeting is always key.  But this goes beyond know your audience - this is about understanding 1) what this person's  drivers are 2) how they receive and process information 3) how they come to conclusions and 4) how you can guide them to the goal you seek. It is game theory with whomever is sitting across the table from you but you've now advanced your odds.

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