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If you read one thread of books and teachings on the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of human existence you will find that life is full of polar opposites: High/Low, Good/Bad, Large/Small, In/Out, Up/Down, Right/Wrong, Loud/Quiet, Left/Right, Fire/Water, Heaven/Earth, Yin/Yang, etc. The list goes on seemingly forever. At the same time there seems to be a pattern of threes in life that is more dominant than twos: Religion, culture, folklore, luck, games, sports, language, social organization, etc.

It is easy to choose two or four polar extremes to classify people into convenient personality types. Introversion/Extraversion, Thinking/Feeling, Detail/BigPicture, Organized/Scattered, etc. If you combine a few of them you can easily come up with an arbitrary number of 2, 4, 8, 16, 64, or more tiny little boxes to explain everybody’s observed behaviour.

You can then go out and make up a test to see if people neatly fit into your set of boxes (types). Statisticians can help you prove that you are right regardless of the data you collect. (You already know not to read too much into the statistics about anything.) Now you have a nice little package of personality types and can write a PhD thesis, write books, start marketing, go on a speaking tour, be on TV, become a celebrity of sorts, offer training seminars, etc. and have a real business. Cool!

Many people have already done this and they have great businesses. I speak with executives that use these trainings in their companies all the time. The participants love them because they are very enjoyable and entertaining. Mostly giving back to the participant exactly what they entered into the inventory.

I like to ask if anybody has actually been able to use these models in their daily business. The answer is always no. The question is: why can’t anybody effectively apply any of these personality type systems to their daily communication and interaction? I don’t know for sure, but it sure seems like they are all arbitrary arrangements and everybody has to choose a polar extreme for it to work out. Once it gets past a few I can’t keep track anymore because I am too busy doing what I am supposed to be doing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fit into a tiny little box of a personality type that someone made up without really understanding me. People are more complicated than that. Casting people into types tends to lose sight of the individual’s uniqueness.

The simple fact is that there is no physical, biological, genetic, anthropological, scientific, or any other evidence to support these theories. There is also no way to ensure that someone doesn’t change because all information you have is based on  that person’s situation when they took the test. However, it is useful for starting a conversation and getting people to talk about their experience and situation. If you are new and/or inexperienced in social interaction, then these tools are a great place to start. If you read the work of the Psychologist Carl Jung or Alfred Adler you will find this to be their original intent and nothing more.

People are individuals. They don’t fit into tiny little personality boxes.

The first step is to understand yourself – Self-Knowledge.

If you haven’t noticed yet, it’s not so easy to do if all you have at your disposal are personality types that put you into little boxes. Look for a way to understand yourself as an individual with a stable (unchanging) basis that has some grounding in how the brain actually works. Then you will start down the path to understand how and why you handle life the way you do.

If you don’t already know, which is ok because most people don’t, go on a journey and find out who you really are.

What is your nature that doesn’t change and what is situational and can change?

Don’t expect a quick answer either. It takes time and work.

From there we can talk about how to understand others.

Let me know if I can supply you with any resources or a place to start.

peopleIf you have been in the business world for more than a week, you realize that everyone has their favorite psychometric (psychological) test, or they are developing their own as part of their research. This creates a competition for who’s psychometric test is better. How is anybody that is not a psychologist (that includes me) supposed to know if the psychometric test is any good? I just want to know if you can actually collect the information, make sense of it, remember, and apply it in day to day personal interactions and business dealings. And, I want to know that it isn’t damaging and isn’t pseudo-science.

In the field of psychometrics there are several criteria that should be met by any good psychometric measure:

  1. It derives from good theory that is readily accessible.

  2. It measures one thing accurately (Reliable).

  3. It measures what is says is measures (Construct Validity).

  4. It discriminates: the scores are normally spread (not bunched).

  5. It discriminates: no one scores on its extreme ends.

  6. Its items all contribute: distribute normally; correlate highly (but not too highly) with other items and rest of the measure.

  7. Its sub factors are all reliable (over a long time period) and readily interpretable.

  8. It gives warnings that an individuals results may be unreliable.

  9. It is supported by a good, comprehensive manual

The next time someone tells you about how great their personality test (or if you catch yourself saying such a thing about your favorite test) ask if the test passes the above criteria. Most of the popular personality profiles don’t meet the criteria and the enterprises promoting them won’t put them up to the scrutiny.

In contrast, Biostructural Analysis is not a test, in the sense of a theoretical psychological test, such as a qualifying exam, but a neutral self-analysis of the individual’s genetically predetermined basic structures. It cannot be compared to situation-dependent or environmentally conditioned personality test, nor is it similar to directionally oriented personality analysis, or genetically predetermined and environmentally induced personality traits based on comparisons of averages.

Nevertheless, Biostructural Analysis must adhere to the same criteria, and it does even though it is not a psychological test.

So what does Biostructural Analysis “test” and how does it compare with a psychological test?

  • Biostructural Analysis starts from the unchangeable “operating system” of the brain and not from the changeable “software programs.” From there one gets particular insights about the authentic (fulfilling) strategies of a candidate and about his functional strengths and limits.

  • Biostructural Analysis aims at recording genetically imprinted and, therefore, unchangeable patterns of personality and behavior. This leads to a free recording of functional potentials of personality in their quality of opportunities and risks. We are not talking about aptitude or required qualifications.

  • Biostructural Analysis reflects the important processes, conditions and mechanisms for open systems. Through the functional structure of the brain the individual list criteria are identified in order to ensure stable situations in chaotic (living) processes.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know, or even understand, all of that to use Biostructural Analysis and its graphical representation, the STRUCTOGRAM. This system makes it simple and memorable to understand yourself and others in relationships, sales, and leadership. The STRUCTOGRAM system is used worldwide as part of a professional learning system.

If you want to learn more, you can read Evolution of Personality by Rolf W. Shirm and Juergen Schoemen.


Burning clock

Burning clock

Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn. – Delmore Schwartz in “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day.”

Every time management book and course will tell you that the key to time management is knowing ourselves and that we cannot actually “manage” time; we can only manage our own behavior and our activities. So, just how do we do that?

I hope by now you have gone through enough exercises to understand what you are trying to build and what it will take to build it. I am also assuming that you understand the difference between activity and doing what is important and worth doing.

Unforeseen events in life have a great influence on our lives. They provide stimuli, open up new perspectives, or force us to react. Seen that way, life controls us. However, the way in which we deal with this and how we react largely depends on our biological personality structure (biostructure): it’s a question of individual patterns of resonance and reaction. With our reactions, we intervene in the running of our lives, as well as that of others. In other words, structure has a great influence on process. For example, how do you respond when you have to be on time vs. when there is no demand to be on time?

Put simply, everybody has a hardwired preference to how they handle or think about time.

Understanding yourself in relation to time is important so that you can:

  • Accept yourself and improve your own behavior and organization in accordance with your nature (your biostructure or Structogram®).

  • Accept others who deal with time differently from you and manage the relative strengths and risks of your approach in a relationship.

Considering only the dominances of the three major sections of the brain, as outlined by Paul D. MacLean the famous brain researcher, leads to three very different people and three different approaches to handling time.

  1. A Brain-stem (social) dominant person tends to build upon established grounds, thinks about the past, relies on intuitive judgement, and avoids radical change. They tend to be more social, fun, and talkative. Left on their own they don’t think too much about time, or use time engaged in task avoidance. This person is often late as they still have a lot to say in the previous meeting.

  2. A Limbic system (dynamic action) dominant person is very aware of the present and does not hesitate. Their actions and reactions tend to be spontaneous and rather undiplomatic. This person does not like to wait and everything has to happen immediately. This person is ready to start and end on time and becomes impatient otherwise.

  3. A Neo-cortex (rational thought) dominant person thinks a great deal about the future and what is possible. There is less opportunity for unplanned events to happen and even the relation to time requires planning. Punctuality is a must with this person and they have a strong attitude toward “progress” and improving circumstances.

Consider Yourself

Which of these three styles fits more or less to you when you are left to your own way of doing things?

Are you always late and don’t really worry about the time? Do you get impatient and want everything to go faster? Or, does everything have to be precise and planned out?

Which approach is best?

Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages every approach. Applying the appropriate method based on the situation is most desirable but, not always easy to adhere to.

When trying to implement a time management system or organize yourself, it may help to take stock of yourself and how the system matches your nature. Most time management and organization systems work perfectly for the person that developed them. That makes sense because they developed their system for themselves.

Working with Others

Of course, very few people work alone. Many of us have to manage one meeting after another, either on the phone or in person, rearranging calendars, which is interspersed with individual work that needs to get done.

It’s easy when everybody follows the same approach but, can become very frustrating working with people that have a different approach to managing time.

How stressful is it when people operate differently from you?

Do you get impatient when others drag things out or are too talkative? Are some people always late and expect you to be flexible with your time when you like precise timing? Are some people to uptight about time when they should just relax an be a little bit more laid back?

If you are working hard to build trust and credibility with others you may have to be more flexible in your approach and try to understand what works best for each of you as well as consider the circumstances. Expecting others to automatically conform to your method is typically a recipe for disaster.

Of course, it will cost you some time and energy to come a little bit closer to the other person’s approach. You get to decide if it is worth it or not.

Perhaps this post provoked you to think about the different ways in which we manage time and the strengths and risks of our approach when working with other people.

Either way, let me know how you deal with the issue of time in the comments below.

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