I have ALWAYS loved personality tests. Before Buzzfeed quizzes like “What Season Suits Your Personality?” were common—even before the Myers Briggs or Enneagram trended—I would buy magazines solely to take the tests to find out more about myself and then make my family or friends take them so that I could gain a little more understanding about others. It didn’t matter how insignificant it was to learn which Disney Princess my friends were most like. It was fun for me to gather more knowledge about their character (no pun intended).
Who would have known that my obsession with collecting information about others via personality tests could be utilized in a professional setting?
Connecting with Others Through Marketing
The Marketing Team at InterWorks places a high priority on representing our brand. Recently, our Global Marketing Manager, Jenny Parnell, wrote a blog about brands you stay loyal to and brands you leave behind. She mentions the InterWorks brand and how it is meant to have an impact on the audiences we serve.
Our hard work and collaborative efforts allow us to produce high quality externally-facing brand experiences for folks. Whether we do that through design, events, content or webinars, we do our best to connect with our customers on a personal and experiential level. In this, we’ve realized that if we are trying to give our best to our customers, it’s also incredibly important to place an emphasis on our connection as a team.
This can be somewhat of a challenge due to the team being spread out. While most of the marketing team resides and works out of our Tulsa office, our CMO, Dalton Parsons, works in Stillwater; the Events Team—Brittany Dunn and I—work out of Oklahoma City; and one of our communications managers, Vicky Lockett, is in the UK. While Slack and Zoom are great tools to help us stay connected, it’s sometimes a challenge for us to get to know our colleagues with whom we tend to work extremely closely on a deeper, more individual level.
Above: The U.S. members of the Marketing Team
Connecting with Each Other Through Personality
When I started working at InterWorks, I mentioned how much I loved personality tests to Jenny, and she and I came up with a goal of trying to connect the team with personality spotlights via Slack. At the time, our team was also in the process of growing at a fast pace, so as new people were added, we were able to get to know them even if we weren’t in the same office.
I would do this by taking a specific personality type in the Myers Briggs or Enneagram frameworks and give it a breakdown. This was an effort to understand and respect the differences present in our team members’ work dynamics and energy levels, allowing us to move forward a little more aware of the folks we work with, as well as create some self-awareness in the group.
Before the personality spotlights, I would give a general explanation of the test so that we had clarification on what each part of the test results meant. I had just taken a Tableau Desktop 1 course and wanted to try my hand at a viz, so we could have a visual representation of the information I was sharing with the team. Periodically, we’ve updated the viz, and before I published it, I had a LOT of guidance and help from Danny Steinmetz and Grant Eisenmenger who really polished up its rough edges!
While these spotlights were communicated through instant messaging on Slack, they were thorough and highlighted nearly everything, including fun facts, personal values, things you should never say to someone with a specific personality type, best books for a specific type to read, how those folks handled conflict and much more.
If you know anything about the Enneagram or Myers Briggs, I am an ENFJ and a 2 (a.k.a. the Helper). As a 2 and an ENFJ, I take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community. For these reasons, it was really rewarding for me to have a chance to incorporate a passion into my work and do just that.
How Personality Insights Make a Difference
But enough about me! I reached out to my team to get their insight on why they thought this was a good exercise. Below are some responses:
- “I think this whole exercise was beneficial for two big reasons. First off, it makes you think deeply about what really makes you tick as a person. Self-awareness is a seriously underrated advantage in working well with others. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it gives you deep insight into those around you. When you see what drives people beneath the surface, their aspirations and their fears, that’s when true understanding starts being built. Better understanding leads to better collaboration, and better collaboration leads to better work across the board.”
- “I think the personality tests are a great way to understand yourself and your team members better. It is easier to empathize and work on projects with people when you have an understanding of what their perspective might be and how it may differ from your own.”
- “I think anyone who takes a personality test for the first time is surprised by how accurate they can be. It’s always fun to find out more about yourself and know how those details help you advance and grow. Sometimes, it can also be a good view into some of your blind spots. For our team, it’s a great discussion point overall to know your personality type. Even as simple as knowing who is an introvert vs. extrovert has helped us know comfort levels in group settings. With all of the personality boxes we can put ourselves in, I think the gift from these insights is that we can remind each other that all of us have unique qualities/strengths we can apply to work together in the best ways. I’ve learned it’s all about seeing these insights as ways to know more of your applied strengths, not let them constrain you in any way. For instance, I should not say, ‘No, I can’t do that, I’m a 2!’ Instead, I might aim for ‘I should bring my strengths and perspectives as a 2 to this situation.’ Likewise, these should never be used as a form of exclusion: ‘They’re a 2, so we’ll never get along.’ Really, maybe the healthy point of view is ‘I’m really excited to hear what your point of view is here (no matter your number/type).’
- “I’ve always loved personality frameworks, but they were especially helpful for me when walking into this team as a new hire. I immediately was able to gain some steadier footing when it came to knowing my colleagues, understanding myself and seeing how we were all able to work together, like complementary puzzle pieces. It’s been really fun to explore and discuss as a team.”
Pairing Personal Passion with Professional Work
Overall, this was an incredible way for me to blend some passion with my work. Additionally, it was an avenue for me to know team members with whom I don’t get to spend a lot of face-to-face time. My dream would be to do this for the entire company and have a chance to highlight personalities across other teams and departments. I think it was a valuable activity for our team that everyone really enjoyed.
I love that InterWorks provides opportunity for us to combine things we enjoy with our work. It makes it a lot easier to represent our brand well, and if anything, it gave me and others a chance to see that while our work styles may be different, we have the same goal: to put out the best work alongside the best people.
Above: Better understanding each other helps us forge deeper relationships. And is a big reason why we have fun together!