Sunday, April 28, 2013

What an Extraverted Intuitive Needs to be Productive

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based on the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung. Jung observed that people have inborn preferences for gathering information and making decisions and that these preferences guide an individual’s behavior. The mother/daughter team of Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers expanded on Jung’s theories and created an assessment to make the combined work accessible to all individuals. Today, the assessment is used by most Fortune 100 companies and over two million people worldwide, annually. The assessment identifies an individual’s inborn preferences on four dichotomous scales: where you focus your energy, how you prefer to take in information, how you make decisions, and how you deal with the outer world. Type is best used to understand other people, improve communication, and develop individual skills.

The first dichotomy is Extraversion (gets energy from other people) and Introversion (gets energy from reflection).  The second is Sensing (gathers information from specific sensory data) and Intuition (gathers information by focusing on connections between patterns, possibilities, and meanings).  (Introduction to Type and Leadership by Sharon Lebovitz Richmond).

Using just the first two dichotomies alone gives you four very styles.  According to Introduction to Type and Coaching by Sandra Krebs Hirsh and Jane A. G. Kise you get the following Four Learning Styles with the associated motivating activities.

In an earlier article, "It Does Pay to Know Your MBTI Type," I argued that preference never equates to skill and people can be skilled on both side of a dichotomy.  We encourage people to learn when each side is needed and be able to use all eight tools in their leadership toolbox to be a more effective leader.

I am an Extraverted Intuitive and as frequent readers know, I have been on a journey to learn more about myself and more about leadership development over the last few years.  The above definition describes my learning style perfectly.  Unfortunately, if left to my own devices, I could literally live in the learning world forever.  But there is a part of me that wants to be highly productive and contribute to the work in a significant way.  The Intuitive part of me keeps saying that I haven't learned enough yet and I need to take in more information.  

Over the past few months, I have discovered many of the Franklin Covey courses (about which you will hear much more in future posts) but they have helped me develop some habits that really have made me more productive.  While much of what I have learned is still being processed and I cannot quite credit which program each comes from, suffice it to say the ideas are the intellectual property of Franklin Covey and the (many times) colloquial descriptions and personal application are my contribution.  

Without further ado, this is what (this) Extraverted Intuitive needs to be productive.
  1. Quiet reflective time to journal and brainstorm ideas.  My favorite platform right now is Evernote because I can use my commuting time on the subway and lunch time to jot notes about things that I want to write about (and sometimes even start writing it).  Once I go to publish a post on my home laptop I just open up Evernote on my computer and cut and paste.  They sync automatically between any of the devices on which I've loaded the app.
  2. A quiet place to write.  Here I opt for a small office I created in my home after my son has gone to sleep (why you often notice posts between 9:00 PM and Midnight my time).  
  3. Benchmark goals.  I am working on starting a few things that I hope to take off.  If I start planning for a big project, I will never get anywhere because I will never stop looking for more information.  By breaking my big goals down into smaller (but still stretch) goals as benchmarks, I can decide on a daily basis if I have enough to accomplish one of the smaller tasks.  The small wins by reaching goals or establishing new strategies when I don't feed me as well.
  4. In the specific case of writing this blog, a must have for me to be productive is a list of possible topics.  An amazing mentor recommended an editorial calendar, and because of another MBTI preference that just didn't work for me.  But I did end up looking through the calendar to find something I wanted to write about.  Now, it has morphed into a revolving list of topics that I can choose from when I need to.  (Yes, the Intuitive side of me LOVES making the list of possibilities and that is an added bonus.)
Yes, an Extraverted Intuitive would like to continue discussing options, but to be productive, I have learned to utilize skills that come naturally for people with a preference for Introversion to make me a more rounded person.  I still have a preference for Extraverted Intuition and need to go there frequently to rebuild my energy, but that doesn't mean that I can't learn to use the skills natural to the other preferences to maximize my contribution.  

What other tips to Extraverted Intuitives have for maximizing their own productivity?

Want to read more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?  Check out these posts: