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Did you see this article in the Wall Street Journal?

“The Personality Trait That Can Hold CIOs Back”

The title is a kind of anxiety-inducing click bait, inviting CIOs to worry about how they might be deficient. But if you read it hoping to find the secret for success among the C suite, you might be disappointed.

The essential point is that CIOs who’ve come up through the ranks of IT have differences in personality from most of the rest of the C suite, and that these differences can detract from their influence and power in the organization.

This conclusion is based on studies using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. You know that, it’s the assessment tool that says that you’re an ENFP or an ISTJ or some personality type similar to that.

According to the sources cited in the article:

“Most CIOs perceive the world through information gained through the five senses, which means they prefer to focus on concrete facts, numbers and data that happen in the present… CEO’s and CMOs tend to focus on intuition, or information acquired as patterns or hunches…”

That may be true. I have colleagues who’ve taken the Myers-Briggs “test” and gained valuable knowledge about themselves, and insight into their strengths and difficulties.

But the results of the Myers-Briggs have to be taken with a grain of salt. The assessment tool itself is based on anecdotal observations and intellectual conclusions made by Carl Jung, not reliable experimental data. The personality dimensions that it measures – the results show a bell shaped curve, but the dimension is divided in the middle into two opposing traits rather than a continuity.

If you find that many of your colleagues make decisions based on intuition, or assessments of data as patterns or hunches; and you focus on facts, numbers and data; and you could have more influence and power in your organization if you used intuition and hunches?

Then use intuition and hunches.

Penberthy's Law of Common Information, in response to Thomas Davenport
A coffee company *and* a retailer

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