Use personality typing to increase profits

Personality typing can be a valuable tool in helping your firm transform the way it does work, which can be a significant advantage in this economy.


Mark Goodale, Morrissey Goodale LLC, Newton, Mass.Given that labor is typically a mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP), and fire protection engineering firm’s largest single expense, it makes sense to do everything you can to maximize your return on that investment. Personality profiling is one tool you can use to help leverage individual strengths, build trust, and increase collaboration throughout your firm. This kind of cultural transformation increases productivity, improves project management and client service, and ultimately leads to the creation of high-performance teams that generate superior deliverables, greater revenue, and increased profitability.

A few examples of the many typing tools in use today include the DISC Assessment, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Predictive Index, and Socionics. Each of these typing tools can be used in a variety of ways to increase the return on the investment you make in your people. Here’s how:

Hiring: The candidate assessment and selection process in MEP firms can be inconsistent, subjective, and inefficient. And hiring the wrong person for a position, or someone who doesn’t fit well into your firm’s culture, is a costly mistake. Personality typing, as one of the evaluation tools, can help you to select the best candidate for a specific role and for long-term fit within your firm.

Individual integration: You may have used personality assessments to hire your new principal, but you may want to consider it for getting him quickly integrated with his team. One of the best ways to “onboard” a new team leader is to provide valuable insight on his team members so he can know how to work with them more effectively. Personality typing can provide that information at a glance and significantly reduce the learning curve, leading to a higher level of production.

Communication/conflict resolution: In consulting firms, how well internal teams work together directly impacts the bottom line. Part of the problem affecting team efficiency may be a basic lack of understanding of team members’ differing perspectives, priorities, and motivators—and a lot of time and energy gets wasted on misattributing behaviors and attitudes. Typing tools often provide a mechanism to gain that understanding and help team members break down barriers to healthy debate and collaboration.

Team building: For teams that exhibit dysfunctions like a lack of trust, a fear of conflict, or a lack of accountability, personality typing can provide the basic understanding to begin improving the communication process and helping team members become more reliable, responsible, and engaged. Once people are aware of how their teammates prefer to communicate, process information, and be rewarded, they can learn how to work together more effectively.

Merger/acquisition assessment: In the same way that you might evaluate the character traits, preferences, and motivations of an individual in comparison to the requirements of a particular position, you can compare the measured traits of a firm being acquired against those of the acquirer (buyer). Statistical comparison of either all employees or a comparable subset in both firms (project managers, principals, etc.) could show how compatible or incompatible the personalities/cultures of each firm are and pinpoint the differences.

Merger and acquisition integration: MEP firms can also conduct a global personality assessment after a merger or acquisition to understand where the overlap and differences are in the overall personalities and cultures of the two firms and to speed up integration. Once the people in each of the firms begin to understand each other, they can accommodate for differences in communication styles, preferences, and motivations, and more rapidly learn how to work together as a cohesive team.

Mark Goodale co-founded Morrissey Goodale. He specializes in organizational development, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, marketing, and executive search, and is a trusted advisor and coach to dozens of industry executives.

Anonymous , 12/19/12 08:25 AM:

Interesting article Mark. From what I've observed in almost 40 years of working with designers is that you can't tell how conscientious they are until almost 2 years into the job. Up until that point they're still trying to prove themselves. Jim in South Carolina
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