I got stabbed in the heart the other day on Twitter. The knife was taken out and plunged once again in my gut as I re-read the tweet. It made my heart bleed. I reeled from the damage and had to take a few days thinking time off. My body needed serious recovery, and I sought some internet counselling. What was it that caused such pain and hurt to my person?
“I’m about to go through some Myers Briggs training. Give me strength.”
Oh my eyes! Oh my soul! Please excuse me while I go cry for a moment.
I asked the question, what is it about going through the training they weren’t looking forward to. I was told it was because it’s like reading a horoscope, it could be applied to anyone.
Sadly, this is true.
A clinical trial takes years of development before it is passed and allowed to be used by medical professionals to treat patients. Thousands of people go through the trials, and a complete data set is produced that helps doctors to understand under what circumstances should a particular drug be used. What medical condition should the patient be presenting that suggests a drug should be administered? What population is it meant for? What age range is it most appropriate for? What are the limitations of the drug? What are the possible side effects of the drug? When will you likely see the benefits of taking the drug? Who commissioned the testing, the development and the production? Are there ulterior motives?
So by the time the doctor says you should take this drug, this many times a day, for this period of time, it’s with a strong degree of confidence that the doctor thinks it will help improve your condition.
And at the same time, the doctor could just as well prescribe a placebo, and there’s a fifty/fifty chance it could help improve your condition because you believe it will.
That drug is meant for millions. There is no guarantee it will help, just a very educated guess.
There’s a large number of people who will accept the drug because they trust the doctor, and they’ll trust it will help improve their condition. And there’s a smaller number of people who will scrutinise to the nth degree the prescribing of drugs, because they think they know better than the doctor. Only a very small number of people actually do.
Which is interesting then that there’s such reluctance to consider the usefulness of psychometric testing. In and of themselves, psychometrics are designed to provide insights on quite specific things. They’re not meant as a one size fits all. So I wonder why there is reluctance about using them. For example, the 16PF measures 16 factors of personality. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator measures 4 pairs of preferences. The Belbin Team Roles measures 9 different preferred team roles.
They’ve all gone through quite rigorous testing and development which allows the facilitator a degree of confidence that they’re going to help the person understand something better about themself. The person needs to be open to this, and open to what it might raise for them. It’s that self-awareness which is important because it helps us to be able to decide how to act. It doesn’t have to come via a psychometric, and I’ve written before about the association people have with profiling. It could come via coaching, or via mentoring.
I feel psychometrics get a bum rap because of bad experience with them. A facilitator didn’t help the person gain something. A facilitator fumbled their way through the tool and it wasn’t a useful exercise. A facilitator was inexperienced in the tool and created more uncertainty about the value of the tool.
Or possibly the person receiving the feedback has passed on their own cynicism about the tool. Or their bad experience of it.
Psychometrics get a bum rap. What do you think?