Statistics Worth Noticing
There are a few statistics that I think are worth noticing. I have seen some interesting patterns in corporate leadership teams that are quite different from the US population as a whole.
The first observation is that there are five dominant types when I look at corporate teams. They start with the types that end with the TJ combination. Remember that T (Thinking) is very logical in their decision-making. The opposite end of the scale is the F (Feeling).
The word feeling is misleading in Myers-Briggs types (MBTI). People often assume that you either work and think logically or your feelings tend to take over and may make rash decisions. A better descriptor might be values. People who have a preference for F (values) over T (logical) are not illogical. They’ll weigh all of the logical points of view but their final decisions will be driven by the values they believe the team (and themself) should live by.
Feeling Plays a Large Role (or Should)
As an example, I would often watch leadership teams prepare to make decisions based on the logic of one dimension or another. Once they have worked through all the logic, an answer might seem very obvious. Then, if there is a person on the team with the “F” preference, they may ask a question something like this: “I see the logic and I agree with the logic but how do you think our customer will react to that decision?” The question was not logically based but was value-based. I’ll notice the rest of the team being silent for a moment as they contemplate the question and then say something like “You’re right. The customer probably won’t like that at all and we may lose customers because of the decision.” This often leads to a rethinking of the decision, taking into account both logic and values.
Before I show you the interesting statistics, I want to throw in one further MBTI type. That type is the ENTP. It doesn’t end in TJ like the other four but it has been classically known as the “Entrepreneur Type”. I find that with leadership teams, the ENTP (Entrepreneur) type often comes up with a new or innovative approach to a topic but then the TJ’s take over for implementation (very logically based).
Together these five types INTJ, ENTJ, ISTJ, ESTJ + ENTP make up 71% of Leadership teams and 68% of Operations teams. Those numbers aren’t unexpected but in contrast to a general population where those five types are the preference of only 28%, it paints a very different picture of corporate leadership.
It’s important that you don’t misunderstand me. I’m NOT saying that you should have a preference for one of those five types to be considered a good corporate leader. If you’ve learned to balance your own thinking on each of the four scales, regardless of your personal preference, you’ll make the best corporate leader. In fact, it is my belief that many teams and many individuals on teams fool themselves into thinking that the TJ+ENTP types are required and therefore “act” as if they are one of those types for fear that they’ll be “found out” to be one of the “inferior” types. There are no inferior types, only inferior balance of all types.
The Other Statistic Worth Noticing
The other statistical anomaly I’ve noticed on corporate leadership teams is in the NT/ST area. Notice that both types have the T component (logical) while some of them also have the N (iNtuitive) component and others have the S (Sensing) component. They are both logical in their decision-making but some are driven by their conceptual (N) view of the future while others are driven by the facts and details (S) of the present.
The US population, in general, is 10% NT and 30% ST. Leadership teams are 49% NT and 39% ST while Operations Teams are 32% NT and 50% ST.
Once again, this pushes corporate leadership teams in a much more logical approach to decision-making versus the general population.
Word of Caution
But here’s one word of caution. Madison Avenue learned a long time ago that we make decisions based on feeling (F) and then justify those decisions based on logic (T). Neuroscience has proved that to be true. This also holds true for ideas and thoughts. We “buy” based on feeling and then justify based on logic! Don’t kid yourself. Your feeling, value, emotional side comes into play in your decision-making much more than you think.
Years ago my wife and I were in a Chevy dealership looking for a “sensible” car. While we were waiting, another salesman and I were drooling over the current Corvette. My wife finally said, “I see no logical reason to buy a Corvette.” The salesman and I looked at her as if she was from the moon. The salesman said, “No Corvette has ever been sold based on logic!” Guess which model makes the most money for Chevrolet.
Diversity of Thought
Diversity has been used and misused a lot recently. I think one cartoon recently summed up that misuse:
When we think about diversity from a leadership point of view, we should be celebrating and encouraging diversity of thought, history, perception, and preferences. This helps us build unity, engage everyone and in the end, make the best decisions.
Respecting team members and their ideas will be key to building unity. Dividing people into arbitrary groups doesn’t help. Building respect is what helps. I’ve built these thoughts around the Myers-Briggs Type Indication. But working with any valid assessment of personality will do the trick as long as you drop the arbitrary ethnic, racial, or gender division. Diversity of thought is independent of these arbitrary divisions.
RESPECT the people you work with!