Re: Myers-Briggs LO2107

Fri, 14 Jul 1995 14:04:48 -0700

Replying to LO2080 --

Several points arose for me when reading Carol's response. The following
is a synopsis of three.

1. While I was considering your suggestion to start each interaction with
the assumption that "every behavior has a positive intention", I thought
about Carol's four effective databases that she mentioned earlier
concerning another subject. The Russell Ackoff levels that she talked
about are:

To me, the assumption that every behavior has a positive intention fits
within the Information Database. This assumption is important. It is a
basis for interpreting behaviors as positive. But it provides me a only
basis of information (like there being 7 days in a week.) Now, I must
decide what to do with that information.

The application of the information into practical usage in day-to-day
living requires something else. The use of mental models which help us
communicate can provide the framework for us to apply information which
then can become knowledge and provide us with wisdom in which to act. The
Myers-Briggs Typological theory can be used as a ladder toward
understanding of practical situations not as a limitor.

2. As concerning classification systems, language classifies. The use of
words (either explicitly (vocally) or "tacitly" (implicitly, or thinking)
requires a classification system. It is not classifications that get us
bogged down, rather the assumption that our classifcations are "right".
This is another consideration necessary for living in the realm of
posibilities and not being bounded by my own paradigms and reference
frames. I must remember that my classifcations are not factual, rather
that they are my assupmtions. Just as is true for MBTI types. They are
ONLY my assessments, answers, interpretations of behavior, etc.

3. The mental model that typology provides, can help keep one open to
having behavior explained (classified, if you must) with a model that
provides various alternatives to explanations outside my own preferred
style. Yes, any mental model, can be used to limit oneself. Just like
MBTI. If we try to explain all behavior based upon typology we will
become closed. But if we use it to as a means to open up new areas of
interpretation than we are accustomed to, it can be a useful tool.

>Kate Andrews wrote, replying to LO2043 in LO2066, a marvelous
>personal account of an event in which MBTI helped gain insight--
[...snip by host...]
>Now I've previously admitted a bias against "classification" systems,
>so I wonder: can we apply Ockham's razor and come up with a simpler
>way for people to discover these things about each other? Perhaps in
>this case, Kate can help by considering an alternative possibility?
>Here's the approach that I think is simpler: Teach the team to
>participate with the clear and present shared presupposition:
> Every behavior has a positive intention
>(I know this is controversial...we can debate the legitimacy of that
>presupposition separately.)
>Now, each party has the obligation to ask, "Since that person does it
>differently from me, what's their positive intention, and how can I
>leverage that intention toward the goals of the team?" I submit that with
>little practice you have a more general-purpose tool that can be used by
>you to discover: "Hmmm, this person who seems to be indecisive has the
>intention of gathering more facts; how can the team use that skill?" (and
>by the other party to discover "Hmmm, Kate makes decisions before all the
>facts are in; that might be useful when we have to make emergency
>decisions; how can the team use that skill?")
>My intent is not to be argumentative, but to explore whether there are
>better ways of facilitating team processes than classification. Does it
>make sense?