Testing the personalities in your startup

Testing the personalities in your startup

04-Oct-2013 by Startupbootcamp

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success,” Henry Ford

The saying goes: “In every web/mobile startup there needs to be a hacker, a designer and a hustler”. One of the important aspects, when looking at the structure of a founding team is that each role should have complementary skills rather than similar attributes. However, skills is one thing, personality another and the ability to work together as a team is such an important criteria for a successful startup.

A personality test can help a group focus on their strengths and weaknesses, as well as give them an insight and understanding of the preferences and behaviour of the other team members – that is why we had Myers-Briggs come to the office.

Each member of the team took part in a personality test focusing on 4 pairs of preferences based on Jung’s theory.

Extrovert – Introvert

Sensing – Intuition

Thinking – Feeling

Judging – Perception

The test itself has been proven to be an interesting tool for dialogue, as it analyses how personalities match the workplace culture and other team members. When filling in the questionnaire the important thing to focus on when looking at one self is, “the way I am”, as it creates the most sincere answer throughout the test. The result of the test shows in the first letter in 4 of the preferences, for example ESFJ or ISTP, followed by the percentage of how conscious one is about the preference compared to the opposite.

We all have an image of our own personality, so when someone comes and “puts ones persona in a box” it creates a lot of thoughts regarding one self and the dynamics in a team.

For a newly created startup a quick look into the different team members through the MBTI test would help create a tool to understand each other’s personalities and would probably make it easier to create work structures that suits everybody. For several of the teams at Startupbootcamp, who have worked together for a long time, the MBTI was used to get an even better understanding of each other as well as the differences, which may not have been focused on before.

The result of the test created thoughts for all of the teams to work further on. One of the teams, Pergunter, a social network that gives you tools to ask and answer questions through photos and videos, have worked together for a long time. However, the MBTI helped the team understand why there at times might have been small misunderstandings, as Emilio’s preferences are more in the thinking and intuition compared to the two other members, who had a stronger preference on feeling and sensing. However, having a team structure where you mix the different preferences can also be a strength, as a situation would have been thought through from several perspectives. If all the members were “thinkers” rather than “feelers” it could create some unexpected consequences, as there might have been a “missing part” when making the decision.

However, having all the different preferences active in the team may also create some consequences, as an introvert person might not always be balanced with an extrovert person because of their different work styles. An extrovert person would most likely always have the door open, talk a lot and love action, which often would clash with an introvert person, who gets its energy out of thinking and reflecting as well as working in a calm pace.

MBTI is therefore also a tool that can be used to work with the difference of preferences we have, by making us aware of them. It creates the possibility to create a common language that can increase the quality of teamwork by creating ideal communication rules. Besides from that you also get the insight on how all team members contribute – each in their own way.

Want to know more about your own startup or team? Explore the use of the MBTI and learn more about your fellow team members here.

If you want to know if you have the same type as Barack Obama, Steve Jobs or Nelson Mandela, learn more about your type here.

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