Conley is a master practitioner of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. A former Bain Consultant with a Master in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School, Conley runs TeamOne, a boutique leadership, communication and organizational development consulting firm that works with high performance companies and teams.

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A lifelong MBTI practitioner’s take on PI.

What’s a woman who’s built her career around Myers-Briggs (MBTI) to do when her husband buys The Predictive Index (PI)? I’m not talking about buying the PI assessment solution, mind you. I’m talking about him buying the whole darn company.

PI is a tool that can be considered a competitive product to the MBTI, and the latter is the framework that I have spent my entire career studying, evangelizing, and building a business around.
I think the only answer is: Learn PI, love it, and live it. At least that’s what this Persuasive did.

My husband is the CEO of PI now. I like to think he bought the company because of me (perhaps that is what any highest B might think, right?). Tools like PI’s Behavioral Assessment and the MBTI personality assessment are incredibly helpful for understanding people. And, as we both learned at graduate school long ago, success and happiness in business comes down to having an amazing team filled with A-players doing what they are best at every day. Both of these tools help make that possible.

A lot of my clients ask which tool I think is better. My answer is this: It depends on their needs.   What are they trying to accomplish?  How are they going to use it?  Who is going to take the assessment? 

Where did these tools come from?

MBTI is the “Myers Briggs Type Indicator” and was developed by a mother-daughter team, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, to help people better understand one another following World War II. The MBTI was based on the theories of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist who postulated that people had different preferences for the way they would see the world and take in information, as well as the way they would make decisions about that information. Briggs and Myers developed a questionnaire that made Jung’s theories more accessible to the public. This questionnaire, which would later be called the MBTI, identifies a person as one of 16 different personality Types. The MBTI was further vetted by teams of psychometricians and academic experts from our nation’s top universities and later purchased 

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by CPP (Consulting Psychologists Press) who publishes the instrument to this day. 

PI is based on the work of William Marston, author of the 1928 book The Emotions of Normal People. In this book, Marston theorized that the behavioral expression of emotions could be categorized four different ways. Inspired by Marston’s theories, Arnold Daniels, founder of PI, developed a behavioral assessment in 1952 designed specifically for managing people and improving employee selection decisions. Over the next 60 years, the PI Behavioral Assessment was continuously researched, evolved, and refined by the same company that has owned it since its inception—The Predictive Index. 

What are the tools used for?

PI can be used for many applications, or as the mantra at PI headquarters goes: “From Hire to Inspire.” Its primary application is hiring and selection. PI measures behavioral drives, specifically for Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, and Formality. Having a high amount of Dominance, for example, creates a person with independent, assertive, and self-confident behaviors.  Having a low amount of dominance creates a person who is agreeable, cooperative, and accommodating. PI uses these insights to guide its clients’ hiring decisions. Click here to learn more about the full framework.

The MBTI on the other hand should not be used for hiring. As noted in the popular MBTI blog, CPP Connect. The MBTI measures a person’s preference on 4 different pairs of opposing dichotomies: Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuiting, Thinking vs Feeling, and Judging vs Perceiving.   Rich Thompson, PhD, and Director of Research at CPP emphasizes in CPP Connect: “The Myers-Briggs assessment merely says that we’re predisposed to behave in certain ways, not that our behavior is limited to one direction or the other. According to the theory, we use both preferences of any dimension, but we’re innately predisposed toward one. A right-handed person prefers their right hand. The fact that they’re capable of using their left as well, and may even have become very proficient at it, doesn’t render their designation as “right-handed” less accurate. Likewise, the fact that someone prefers Introversion doesn’t preclude them performing in an Extraversion capacity; it simply means that it will require 

more of their energy.”

Both PI and MBTI are highly effective tools for “Inspiring:” engagement, retention, team-building, communication effectiveness, conflict management, stress management, and leadership development are just a few of the many applications these tools have in common.   

Which one is more accurate?

Both are statistically reliable and valid—as a seasoned consultant, I have great confidence bringing either tool to the most intellectual and challenging of audiences. To read more about validity and reliability of both of these tools follow these links: MBTI or PI.

What is the “user experience” like when taking the assessments?


It is worth noting that the PI Behavioral Assessment and the MBTI are both untimed assessments. 

There are two options when one takes the MBTI: The Step I Form M or the Step II Form Q. The Step I Form M is the original MBTI.  It is 93 questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. These 93 questions are “forced choice” questions: “which do you like?  A or B.”  The results identify an individual’s preferences on the four dimensions of the MBTI framework as demonstrated in the figure below (excerpt from a sample Form M Profile report). See the entire report here.

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The Step II Form Q is the more recent, more detailed version of the MBTI. It is 143 questions and is also forced choice. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. The results not only identify an individuals’ four letter type, but also provide detail into five sub-facets of each of the four dimensions of the framework (twenty sub-facets in total). This additional richness adds a lot of personal customization to the results and I have found really enhances the credibility of the tool in general, especially for those individuals that are on the border between preferences.  Below is an example of the sub-facet reporting. This is an excerpt from a sample Step II Form Q Interpretive report (my personal favorite) showing the sub-facets of the Extraversion/Introversion preference spectrum.

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PI’s Behavioral Assessment is a very different user experience.  Firstly, it is remarkably short. It’s common for assessment takers to have an ‘is that it?” experience once they finish.  The average assessment is completed in 6.5 minutes.  It is also delivered as a free-choice, stimulus-response format that is only two questions. The free choice nature of the assessment leaves assessment takers feeling good about the experience in that they are never faced with the tough choice of “it depends”, which is a common outcome of the forced choice format.

There are many report outputs, but people learn to read these patterns and in 3 seconds can discern a great deal about someone’s behavioral preferences, drives, needs and likely behaviors.

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The results above are my “pattern” and show my 4 behavioral drives along a normative scale.  You can see that my most dominant drive is my positive 2 sigma high B (extroversion drive).  My next strongest drive is my negative 1.5 sigma low C (patience, or in my case absence of patience).  This makes me someone who is quick to connect and exceedingly people-centric.

It is worth noting that the Predictive Index also provides a cognitive assessment as part of its workforce analytic software suite. PI’s Cognitive Assessment is scientifically validated and provides a measurement of ‘g’ or general cognitive ability. General cognitive ability is widely regarded in the psychometric world as the number one predictor or workplace performance. Unlike the PI Behavioral Assessment, the Cognitive Assessment is delivered in a timed, multiple-choice, forced-choice format. Assessment takers are given 12 minutes to complete numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning questions of varying difficulty. The result is a score that is calculated by counting how many correct responses are selected within the 12-minute period.

How much does it cost?

If a client wants to use the PI assessments, they purchase an annual software subscription, which is based on how many employees a company has (as an example a 100 person company’s annual fees would be about $10,000.  Once subscribed, clients have access to an unlimited volume of assessments, software users, and reports. They can then purchase training and consulting services or workshops in addition to the software subscription.

MBTI charges per report. You can order reports for $12-$100 (US) depending on the report type and the language.

 

What languages are supported?

The PI Behavioral and Cognitive assessments are available in more than 70 languages. The PI Job Assessment and PI software are available in more than 20 languages. PI Workshops are available in more than 12 languages. PI takes localization seriously and invests heavily each year to ensure that translated versions of assessments remain valid and workshop materials remain just as impactful regardless of the language chosen. 

The MBTI is available in more than 20 languages with culturally appropriate norms for each country.  Language choice is also a factor in the price of the report. For more information about MBTI you can visit:  www.cpp.com.

Let me just say, that I have been an MBTI users since 1999 and it was my first psychological framework. That being said, I have been really enjoying learning a powerful new framework like The Predictive Index. The unlimited use philosophy, the ability to use it for hiring, and the fact that the survey taker experience is so quick and easy has made me a huge fan.

If you plan on using one system for both hiring and inspiring (communications and team development) you will be well served by The Predictive index.  If you have lower volume assessment needs and if you are using a tool for communication and team dynamics, the MBTI should certainly be in your evaluation set.

Happy Assessing- Conley

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The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Predictive Index