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Comparing SDI to Myers-Briggs


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Comparing SDI to Myers-Briggs

  1. 1. I. What is MBTI ? A basic description of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can be found at theCenter for Applications of Psychological Type website: key statements from this document are as follows: “The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the way individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment." [my emphasis] “The aim of the MBTI instrument is to identify, from self self-report of easily recognized reactions, the basic preferences of people in regard to perception and judgment, so that the effects of each preference, singly and in combination, can be established by research and put into practical use.”Therefore, at its core, the MBTI is about cognition, i.e. how people come to knowsomething through the encoding, storing, processing, and retrieving of information. TheMBTI suggests that behavior flows from understanding “What” types of questions: • What is this? • What is happening or what has happened? • What does this mean?Basically, then, the MBTI says that what people know determines what they will do. II. What is the SDI ? A basic description of the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) can be found at thewebsite of the instrument’s publisher SDI is a motivational assessment that provides an understanding of what drives usand what drives others in our relationships. As a tool about motivation, the SDI speaks toour personal, deliberate, intentional strivings for what matters most: i.e. our values,which raise questions of: • What do I want? • What is most needed? • What are my intentions and goals?The basic premise is that the better we understand what we want from others in ourrelationships and the better we understand what others want from us, the more we cancontrol the outcomes of our relationships. In other words with greater understandingcomes greater power to relate in a way that achieves the results we desire.The SDI is built on a theory that says that all people want to have relationships with otherpeople. Therefore, the SDI says that what people want from their relationships determineswhat they will do. More simply, the SDI is about why people do what they do.   1  
  2. 2. In addition, the SDI is a dual state assessment in that it addresses motives and behaviorboth when things are going well in our relationships and also when we are experiencingconflict in relationships.III. The rationale for using bothAt the highest level we can say that what is on our “minds” determines our behavior. Theconcept of mind can be thought of as consisting of three components: • Cognition – intelligence: the encoding, storing, processing, and retrieving of information • Affect – emotional interpretation: how do I feel about this [person, knowledge, idea]? • Conation – motivation: putting knowledge and feelings into actionTherefore, to more fully understand a person we need to know not only what they haveon their minds (their perceptions and judgments) but also how they feel about thatknowledge and then how those thoughts and feelings impact the way they relate to otherpeople. Once we understand those three things, we can significantly understand whatsomebody has “on their mind.”The MBTI is the premier assessment to address personality from the standpoint ofcognition. Advanced applications of the MBTI can also provide insight into affect andmotivation however this requires extensive knowledge of the MBTI and its theory.The SDI focus is motivation and specifically motivation in relationships. It helps usunderstand what drives us to put what we know into action. We might say that the SDItells me what I want and that the MBTI tells me how I go about getting what I want. Inaddition, the SDI pulls in the affective component of behavior by providing insight intowhat is causing us to feel the emotions we are experiencing. Very little advancedknowledge of the SDI is required to generate these insights.Another way of looking at the differences is to see the MBTI as an “intra-psychic” tool,i.e. it’s goal is for me to grow in self-awareness by discovering what is going on insidemy own mind and my own “interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills.” [fromthe CAPT website]The SDI can best be thought of as an interpersonal tool in that its purpose is help peoplemake behavior choices in regards to others to build communication, trust, empathy, andeffective, productive relationships.By understanding what is going on within me and how I translate that into how I relate toothers around me, as well as how others affect me, I have a fuller understanding of mybehavior that can be applied to teamwork, mentoring/coaching, leadership andmanagement, job satisfaction and retention of personnel, and my own personaldevelopment.   2  
  3. 3. IV. Practical differences MBTI SDI16 personality types of consciousness 7 different Motivational Value Systemsindicative of differing habitual modes of indicative of themes or clusters of valuesgathering information and makingdecisionsFour scales: Extraversion-Introversion; Four core motives: Altruistic-NurturingSensing-Intuition; Thinking-Feeling; (Blue); Assertive-Directing (Red);Judging-Perceiving Analytical-Autonomizing (Green); Flexible-Cohering (Hub)Single state assessment – normal, Dual-state assessment – when things areconscious, behavior preferences going well and when experiencing conflictFlow of mental energy Emotionally satisfying motives in relationshipsPreference on each scale determines Frequency of being driven by each corepersonality type motive determines Motivational Value System93 item forced choice assessment 20 item assessment with 3 choices per item; 10 total points are allocated to each choice by how frequently each choice is trueSelf-score option available but not as Self-score and online versions are the sameaccurate as online version so best practice so the SDI can be given during a workshopis to give the assessment prior to feedback and not by necessity in advanceAdditional insights provided by the Step II Additional insights provided by Portrait ofinstrument (no additional certification Personal Strengths, Portrait of Overdonerequired); and Step III instrument Strengths (no additional certification(additional certification for those meeting required); and Feedback and Expectationcertain qualifications) editions (additional certification required but no restriction on who may be certified)No true feedback or expectation versions Feedback and expectation versions availableDevelopmental assessment (identifying and No developmental assessment availableenhancing effectiveness in perception andjudgement) available (Step III)   3  
  4. 4. V. MBTI StrengthsRobust underlying theory and supporting researchThe MBTI is built upon Jung’s theory of psychological types which itself is a part of alarger system of analytical psychology. There has been a tremendous amount written byJung himself and numerous books and publications by Jungian analysts.The MBTI assessment likewise has been supported for over 60 years by ongoingresearch. CAPT has listed over 11,000 references for the MBTI including doctoraldissertations, masters thesis, journal articles, books and publications. There is virtually noapplication of the MBTI that does not have documentation in support of it: trainer tools/resourcesRelated to above are the many books written on the MBTI that help trainers learn moreabout the instrument’s applications and increase their skill level. A recent search on “Myers-Briggs” found 1,288 results.User groups and social networksThe Association for Psychological Type International (APTi) is the internationalmembership organization for professional users of personality type. It’s over 2,000members meet in local or electronic chapters to discuss type or be part of presentationsand workshops from the top practitioners in the world. are also many less formally organized but very active type user groups across theinternet and most popular social media such as Linked In, Facebook and internet forums.Finally, there are numerous business organizations devoted to advanced applicationtraining in the MBTI provided by world-class trainers. These are done in both on-the-ground and webinar formats.Breadth and DepthAll of the research and writing on the MBTI has provided insights on how to use the toolin every imaginable application. Furthermore, as noted above: • the MBTI assessment is itself based upon a rich psychological theory; • and that theory is also part of a larger theory of the psyche from both a personal and collective level.What this means is that the MBTI can have an extraordinarily long life – “give me yourfour letters and I can talk to you about them for the rest of your life”. An understandingof the structure of one’s MBTI type (the dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, inferior andunconscious functions) has tremendous implications for personal, lifelong development.This requires a great level of knowledge and skill by an MBTI practitioner but thecapability to generate enduring lifetime self-discoveries at very deep levels is inherentwithin the MBTI assessment.   4  
  5. 5. VI. SDI StrengthsSelf-evident and instant “a-ha” impactAccording to CAPT, the MBTI . . . “is designed to implement a theory; therefore thetheory must be understood to understand the MBTI instrument.” Therefore, MBTIfacilitators must teach a great deal of theory during the course of providing feedback.By contrast, the four basic premises of Relationship Awareness Theory are very easilyexplained and the SDI virtually teaches itself. The various motivational factors are self-evident and self-discovery occurs in the process of listening to others rather than thefacilitator.The practical outcome of this is that while it can take as much as 3-4 hours for aparticipant to get their 4-letter MBTI results, SDI workshop participants can literallybegin the self-discovery process within minutes if they have taken the assessment prior totheir feedback session.Easy to identify and remember differencesBecause the characteristics associated with the motivational values are connected toaffect, SDI participants often “feel” (in a physical sense) the energy associated with theirMVS and an immediate sense of discomfort with MVS different than their own. This notonly validates their own personal style but also makes the styles of others verymemorable.Also my anecdotal experience and that of others is that more people will remember theirMVS “colors” over time than their MBTI types. And the fact that there are only sevenhighly identifiable colors rather than sixteen types comprised of four scales makes theSDI easier for participants to put into practical use. The temperament model ofpersonality simplifies type by using four highly differentiated and very memorablegroups rather than sixteen but this is an advanced application that many trainers have noexperience with.A system rather than a typeA frequent objection to the MBTI (and other “type” assessments) is that people feel theyare being “put into a box” or forced to decide between two acceptable choices. The SDIdescribes a system of motivations rather than type of personality because it doesn’t askparticipants to make a choice between behaviors but rather state how often they usecertain behaviors. Since most people feel that their behavior “depends”, there can be agreater sense of comfort with an assessment that allows someone to answer questionsaccording to the way they see themselves actually behaving.In truth, the MBTI theory is that each type occurs because of a systematic use of one’spreferred mode of perceiving and judging and relatively less use of one’s non-preferences. It assumes that behavior does “depend” but the more frequent use of certainpreferences over others will result in a distinct and observable type of personality.The practical strength of the SDI is that your result not only provides the kind of system(most frequent theme of motivation) but your scores also plainly state the amount of timethat you see yourself in each of the core motives. With the MBTI, the underlying system   5  
  6. 6. of preferences (from dominant to inferior functions) is not seen in one’s four-letter codenor is that system typically explained in an introductory workshop.Less trainer knowledge requiredThe MBTI was intentionally designed to implement a theory of psychological type. Toeffectively teach the MBTI, a trainer needs to know and also be able to teach theunderlying theory. Therefore, a typical workshop involves a great deal of teaching alongwith group facilitation.The SDI, by its design, is intended to facilitate conversations between people about theirrelationship. It is best taught by allowing people to quickly connect with the energy oftheir inner motives and discover more about themselves by listening to others. It is muchless theory intensive and requires more facilitation skills to allow and manage theconversations as opposed to teaching skills.VII. When to Use the MBTI or the SDIThe basic premises in using either tool are as follows: • The objective of using either tool is greater self-awareness for better self- management. • Both tools have great value and complement each other very well. Even though they measure different things, they are both highly effective vehicles for self- discovery. • Because of their complementary value, best practice is to use both in an integrated fashion. • The key to integration is to continually be clear regarding the key difference between the MBTI and the SDI, which is behavior preference v. motivation. This difference can be succinctly stated as follows: - What I want (SDI) and how I go about getting it (MBTI) or - What I tend to do (MBTI) vs. why I want to do it (SDI)An article entitled The SDI and MBTI: Make Distinctions Rather Than Connections withexamples of those distinctions can be found here: tools have been successfully used in all of the common organizational applicationssuch as team building, leadership development, project management, coaching andpersonal development, etc. However, in deciding which tool to use, instead of thinkingin terms of application, a better approach is to define the desired outcomes for theapplication.In other words, if using an assessment for leadership or management development, whatis it that you want them to do better: communicate; create engagement; manage change?If it is for team building, what does the team need to do better: collaborate; communicate;manage conflict?   6  
  7. 7. Defining what the desired outcome is will often result in a decision about which tool touse and how to focus the training. The table below provides some general considerationsregarding how to approach the use of either instrument. MBTI SDIConflict prevention and Can indirectly point to SDI is preferred becausemanagement– getting into it potential sources of conflict conflict is primary focus ofless often, getting out it faster but more around tasks rather the assessment and conflict than relationships is addressed directly in an introductory sessionCommunication: the Because it deals directly with Deals with communicationexchanging and processing of information processing, the indirectly as path to greaterinformation MBTI is preferred interpersonal influenceCollaboration (Teamwork): Good because it raises SDI is preferred because itwhere are they coming from? awareness of different ways of makes easily identifiableWhy of behavior as opposed approaching similar tasks but what makes a taskto what; engagement, does not address motivational intrinsically satisfying, i.e.motivators, demotivators issues, i.e. the why of behavior issues of motivation, as opposed to what demotivation and engagement Temperament theory helps type theory address the above.Problem Solving and Decision MBTI focus is process, i.e. SDI focus is values, i.e. whatMaking what information are we using matters most and how will we evaluate itWork Styles/Project MBTI is preferred as it SDI is more relationshipManagement directly measures preferred focuses, i.e. preferred ways of ways of approaching tasks dealing with othersCulture: shared attitudes, Type table analysis will raise Composite Portrait of Personalvalues, goals, and practices awareness of this, especially Strengths and/or Teamthat characterize an institution, looking through various lenses Expectations Portrait analysisorganization or group such as Temperament, will raise awareness of this function pairs, attitude pairs, directly interaction stylesStress Task-related stressors Restriction of Valued Relating generally related to forced use Style of overuse of mask of non-preferences behaviors as indicated by Portrait of Personal Strengths Much research and resources available regarding “grip” experiencesChange management What people will do to What people need during manage the change change to fully engage itIn addition, there are two appendices to this document that address specific outcomes andwhich tools are appropriate to use.   7  
  8. 8. VIII. Two Critical ConsiderationsTime: one time vs. extended timeAfter hundreds of MBTI and SDI introductory workshops, my own anecdotal experienceis that the SDI provides the greatest impact on self-awareness and behavior in a shortamount of time. You teach less theory; generate more discussion and understanding ofone’s own style and that of others; provide insight to the sources of conflict; and howconflict manifests itself. Furthermore, due to participants’ strong identification with thecolor scheme of the SDI, it does appear to be more memorable and have more tractionwith the organization or team over time.This is not to minimize the value of an MBTI introductory workshop. It’s success as thewidely used psychological instrument in the world demonstrates that it is a proveneffective tool for self-discovery. Having said that, the MBTI is too often underutilizedcompared to its full potential. The MBTI’s true strengths lie in its complex structure andthose strengths are best realized over time rather than at one time.However, because the MBTI’s focus is on how people best gain and apply knowledge, itis probably a superior tool to use in certain applications. This document containssuggestions for where the MBTI or the SDI should be the primary assessment. But for aone-time general teambuilding or self-discovery event, I believe a greater impact can beachieved with the SDI.Trainer skill and impactIn general, the things the SDI can accomplish can be done with no additional training.Therefore, a trainer does not have to be especially skillful to create a significant impacton the desired outcome with the SDI.The potential for a deeper and longer-term impact is greater with the MBTI than the SDI.However, to achieve this potential requires learning a complex theory and being able torelate that theory in a practical and actionable way. This cannot be done without acommitment to additional training and study as well as experience teaching the advancedcontent.   8  
  9. 9. Appendix A. 18 Ways You Can Use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Strength Deployment Inventory to Create Better Teamwork   MBTI   SDI   1. It  will  tell  you  why  some   Good   Good   people  think  and  act   differently.   2. You  can  identify  areas  of   Good,  through  type   Good,  through  using   strength  and  possible  blind   table  analysis   POPS  and  PODS   spots  of  the  team.   3. When  team  members   Yes   Yes   understand  their  styles  and   the  styles  of  others,  they  are   likely  to  be  more  effective   working  together.   4. It  will  reveal  what  types  of   Best   Good   information  each  team   member  presents  first  and   pays  the  most  attention  to.   5. It  will  reveal  how  people   Good   Best   respond  to  conflict  and   provide  a  framework  in   which  team  members  can   identify  and  reduce  sources   of  conflict.   6. It  will  help  you  understand   Best   Good  but   team  members’  differing   interpersonal  values   approaches  to  creativity,   focused  rather  than   decision-­‐making  and   process  focused   problem  solving.   7. It  will  reveal  what  role   Good  and  even  better   Best   people  prefer  to  play  as  part   using  Temperament   of  a  team.   model   8. It  will  reveal  the  cultural   Good   Good   norms  of  the  team.   9. It  can  provide  team   Good  and  even  better   Best   members  with  awareness  of   using  Temperament   what  irritates  them  and  how   model   they  irritate  others.     9  
  10. 10.     MBTI   SDI   10. It  can  assure  that  the   Good  and  even  better   Best   positive  contributions  of   using  Temperament   each  team  member  are   model   recognized  rather  than   devalued.   11. It  will  reveal  differences   Best   N/A,  the  SDI  is  more   among  team  members  in   relationship  focused   their  styles  of  time  and   than  task  focused   project  management.   12. You  will  have  a  tool  for   Best   Good   strengthening   communication  among  team   members.   13. It  can  help  team  members   Good   Good   understand  and  adapt  to   differences  in  management   and  leadership  style.   14. It  will  reveal  what  types  of   Good   Best   work  projects  and   environments  each  person   thrives  in.   15. You  will  better  understand   Best,  relates  to   N/A   team  members  who  may   introversion  and   keep  their  best  side  hidden.   extraversion   16. It  will  reveal  differences   Good  and  even  better   Best   among  team  members  in   using  Temperament   terms  of  what  they  value  and   model   what  they  consider  “ideal”.   17. It  can  provide  team   Good  and  even  better   Best   members  with  awareness  of   using  Temperament   what  they  find  motivating   model   and  rewarding.   18. It  provides  insight  into  what   Best,  especially  as  it   Good,  more  regarding   causes  stress,  how  one   relates  to  function-­‐ interpersonal  conflict   behaves  under  stress  and   attitudes  and   due  to  mask   how  to  recover  from  it   Temperament   behaviors       10  
  11. 11. Appendix  B.  Nine  Reasons  Why  the  Myers-­Briggs  Type  Indicator  or  the   Strength  Deployment  Inventory  Can  Help  You  Be  a  Better  Leader     MBTI   SDI  1. It  will  tell  why  some  people   Good   Good   think  and  act  differently  than   you.  2. It  will  reveal  the  natural   Good,  task  focused   Good,  relationship   strengths  each  person  has  to   focused   offer  you.  3. It  will  give  you  tools  for   Best   Good   strengthening  your   communication  with  others.  4. It  will  help  you  understand   Best,  relates  to   N/A   people  who  may  keep  their   introversion  and   best  side  hidden.   extraversion  5. It  will  reveal  what  types  of   Best   Good   information  you  and  other   people  present  first  and  pay   the  most  attention  to.  6. It  will  reveal  what  types  of   Best   Good   work  projects  a  person  thrives   in.  7. It  will  reveal  what  types  of   Good  and  even  better   Best   work  environments  each   using  Temperament   person  thrives  in.   model  8. It  will  reveal  how  people   Good   Best   respond  to  conflict  and   provide  a  framework  in  which   others  can  identify  and  reduce   sources  of  conflict.  9. It  will  reveal  what  role  people   Good  and  even  better   Best,  easier  to   prefer  to  play  as  part  of  a   using  Temperament   understand  about   team.   model   others     11  
  12. 12. Appendix  C.  Self-­Selection  Ratio  Analysis  Self-Selection ratios are used to determine how frequently different MBTI types appearin groups of similar characteristics. It compares the percentage of each type in a samplegroup to the percentage of that type in a base comparison group. When a type preferencehas a ratio greater than 1, it is said that this preference is over-represented in this group.When a type preference has a ratio less than 1, it is said that this preference is under-represented in this group.I did a Self-Selection ratio analysis that used my  own  database  of  225  individuals  who  have  validated  MBTI  and  SDI  results  and  identified  a  single  MVS,  i.e.  I  did  not  include  people  self-­‐reporting  multiple  MVS,  e.g.  “Hub/Red”  or  “Blue/Blue-­‐Green.”  An  example  of  my  analysis  is  this:  I  looked  at  the  percentage  of  Extraverts  there  were  in  the  Blue  MVS  group  (65%).  I  compared  that  to  the  percentage  of  Extraverts  in  my  total  database  (52%).  65%  ÷  52%  =  1.25.  Therefore,  Extraverts  are  over-­represented  with  the  Blue  MVS  group.  This  type  of  analysis  was  done  for  each  of  the  eight  MBTI  preferences  and  each  of  the  seven  MVS  groups.  The  over-­‐represented  preferences  greater  than  1.2  for  each  MVS  Group  are  below.  Blue E 1.25 F 1.85Red-Blue E 1.57 F 1.24Red E 1.35 T 1.56 J 1.32Red-Green T 1.95Green I 1.72 S 1.44 T 1.69Blue-Green I 1.64 F 1.21Hub T 1.22It is critical to keep in mind that all MBTI types are in each of the MVS groups.Therefore, over-representation does not mean equivalence, i.e. Blue does not equalFeeling or Green does not equal Thinking. 1 It is far more insightful to be able to say,“Extraverted Blues relate to people this way and Introverted Blues relate to people that                                                                                                                1  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  all  of  the  18  Red-­‐Greens  in  my  database  prefer  Thinking.     12  
  13. 13. way”, than to say “Blues tend to be extraverts.” Again, my article at, has a number of real-life examples ofdifferent preference-based behavior within the same MVS group.   13