1. A New Year and a New Way of Thinking

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         Wishing you all the best for the new year… As 2018 starts I want to share with you a little history and afew thoughts that inform how we are transitioning into this new year. A Little History… In the 1990’s I presented type information at an ASTD (now ATD) meeting and became known as the ‘type lady.’ At that time, I bristled at the label because this work wasn’t just about type, but it has taken me a while to name what it is about. In the meantime, new trends have emerged using terms like vertical development (transformative with new capacities), horizontal development (refining what already is there), wholeness, self-organization, mindfulness, Holacracy, and more. Now I’m deep into those other trends and am ready to share some thoughts about type and how the ‘type-movement’ can shift in order to achieve its purpose of honoring individual differences. My life work has been around a purpose of enabling contexts where people thrive and are free to be all of who they are. It is one of honoring diversity, which, if not honored, triggers feelings of being ‘less than’ others. From a personal perspective, learning about my type released bound up energy...
  2. Self-leadership, Type, and Getting into The Communication Zone(R)

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    Adapted from an article published in Volume 38.4 of the “Bulletin of Psychological Type,” March 4, 2015. Linda Berens and Stephanie Berens-Kiler Maybe this is familiar…At dinnertime, they had some leftovers and she said to her partner, “You don’t want the spaghetti.” She noticed that he seemed confused and somewhat irritated. He even said something about why was she so negative? Obviously she wasn’t in the communication zone like she usually saw herself. Read on to see how she used type to help her develop more self-leadership. It is said that leadership starts with self-leadership. It is also said that we all need to do more self-management as our organizational systems flatten and we receive less direction. Self-leadership requires self-awareness and the capacity to step outside ourselves. Self-leadership is most like what Robert Kegan called the self-authoring mind. Jennifer Garvey Berger describes it in this way: People with a self-authored mind are those who own their own work, make their own decisions, and mediate among different perspectives with relative ease. Communication is the medium for this development. Communication involves how we listen to others, how we interpret what they say and do and make meaning of it, and how we...
  3. Happy Spring—Renewal, Rejuvenation, and Type

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    Today is Easter Sunday, a day celebrated by many as a reminder of rebirth and regeneration. Whether you celebrate Easter or not, it is spring and a time when there is new growth. It is a time that can remind us of the benefits of ‘letting go’ to ‘let come.’ Fall is a time of letting go as the leaves change color and drop off the trees and as plants slow down. Then in winter there is a kind of hibernation. And then in spring comes reemergence of leaves and blossoms. The beauty of the new leaves and spring flowers can only happen after the letting go. But this happens only when there are nutrients and water. Born in California, I lived in Kansas from age 2 until nearly 20, when I got married and we moved to California. I often am nostalgic for the markers of the seasons. Last weekend, I found lilacs in Trader Joe’s and bought 2 bunches. They are my favorite flower for the scent and the colors. And they remind me of joyful times in my grandmother’s garden and making May baskets. Oh, the joy of having them sitting in my line of sight as I...
  4. 3 Domains of Self-Leadership

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    Notice that I didn’t say, “The 3 Domains…,” there are many domains of self-leadership, but in this blog, I want to share with you information about three domains of self-leadership that seem to have been forgotten in the current literature. Self-Leadership There are many articles, blogs, books, and websites devoted to discussing self-leadership. Their definitions and guidance range from checklists with ‘rules’ to follow that focus on setting goals to a focus on self-awareness and self-management. All of these have some value. Of course I favor the ones that focus on self-awareness and self-management. I also like the ones that cite the evidence that leadership development and organizational change programs need to start with self-leadership of not just the leaders, but also the individuals at all levels. And they also cite evidence that organizations are more successful by traditional measures when they do provide coaching and training that develops self-leadership. So how do we develop this self-leadership across an organization? How do we approach development of self-awareness when the focus is on actions to take rather than self-reflection? We can develop a great deal of the self-awareness needed for self-leadership through the Berens CORE™ Approach to introducing the multiple lenses...
  5. What Your MBTI® Results Probably Didn’t Tell You

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    By that I mean, what the results alone didn’t tell you and what you may not have experienced in your interpretive session. For more information than what is in the video read the following updated blog post from 2010: Getting the Most Out of the Type Code The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® self-report instrument was developed by Isabel Myers to help individuals find their best-fit type. In order to develop the instrument, the J-P dichotomy was added. Now the four-letter type code that results from her work has become a standard for referring to the 16 types no matter how you arrive at determining the best-fit. Traditionally, type has been approached by explanation of the four dichotomies of Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs iNtuiting, Thinking vs Feeling, and Judging vs Perceiving. By exploring preferences for one or the other pole of the dichotomies most clients get some very valuable information that they can use in their personal and professional lives. A growing number of type practitioners have found it useful and powerful to understand the type code in terms of other, related models that provide different information about important aspects of the 16 personality types. They use the four temperaments or Interaction Styles or...
  6. Whole Type and Beyond

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    Among type practitioners, we often speak of ‘whole type.’ For many this means something about treating the 16 personality types derived from the theory of Carl Jung as ‘wholes’ rather than as adding up the parts. For example, INTP represents a holistic pattern with a theme that is more than the sum of the parts I + N + T + P. Often people give lip service to the statement that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, but don’t really have much available to use to describe the whole type patterns. Then they are likely to revert to describing the ‘parts’ of the type code such as Sensing versus iNtuiting. And they may even use language such as, “She is a Thinker.”  The incongruity between the language and the statement about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts doesn’t occur to them. The view I find that honors how we are naturally as human beings is one that says there is a whole pattern and that pattern has a theme that we can describe holistically. For example, Dario Nardi and I developed some short themes that are not composed of the traits from the...
  7. What do INTP and ESFJ have in common?

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    Cognitive Styles is more than type dynamics, so let’s take a look at INTP and ESFJ. Back when I started working with the type code, I thought these two type patterns were really different. After all, they have opposite preferences. In addition since I came into type through being introduced to Keirsey’s temperament theory in my Master’s degree in Counseling, I could easily see how they were opposites from a temperament perspective. These differences were clear to me, at least the Essential Motivator (aka temperament) ones were. Those with INTP patterns have a need for competency and knowledge, a talent for Strategy, and tend to use abstract, conceptual language and take Pragmatic, independent roles in getting things done. Those with the ESFJ pattern, have a need for being responsible and a place to contribute, a talent for Logistics, and tend to use concrete, tangible language and take Affiliative roles. Then we identified the Interaction Style differences of Behind-the-Scenes for INTP and Get-Things-Going for ESFJ. While both styles share a preference for Informing language, they are different in their core drives and aims. Behind-the-Scenes styles are driven to wait until they have enough data to integrate before they act and Get-Things-Going styles are...
  8. Does Type Get in the Way of Development?

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    I have just attended the European Association for Psychological Type conference in Paris. The presentations I attended were stimulating and highlighted a need for a shift in how psychological type is traditionally presented—something I’ve been saying for a long time. About 50 percent of them focused on development, especially ‘vertical’ or transcendent development. One of the most talked about presentations was that of Steve Myers. His topic was “Can Psychological Type Be a Barrier to Individuation?” As I understand it, Individuation involves a growth process. Steve defines it on his website as "Individuation is a process that leads to a more mature, balanced, 'rounded' person." Since writing the material on his website, he has further articulated what is involved in this growth process. Currently, Steve differentiates between Myers Briggs Theory and Psychological Type Theory as Jung meant it to be. He frequently quoted Jung’s writing on this topic so I want to share some of these with you. lassification is nothing but a childish parlour game…  My typology is… not in any sense to stick labels on people at first sight… ny typological terminology superficially picked up… serves no other purpose than a totally useless desire to stick on labels. ...
  9. Mindfulness Part 2: The CORE™ Method and the Brain

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    Thursday, I learned of some research that, to my mind, clearly supports how the CORE Method can evoke integrative processes in the brain and thereby strengthen neural integration and stimulate the growth of the middle pre-frontal structures in the brain. Neural integration is what is necessary for us to be more adaptable, balance our emotions, attune to others, have a greater sense of morality and empathy, regulate the body, eliminate fear, gain insights into oneself and more. So how did I make this link? Mind, Relationships, and the Brain I wasn’t able to attend the Wisdom2.0 conference this week, but I did catch some of the live streaming and am very grateful for being able to experience Dan Siegel’s talk on Mindfulness and the Brain. Dr. Siegel is a psychiatrist who studied “family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.”  His current field of research is interpersonal neurobiology, a term he coined in The Developing Mind, 1999. It is an “interdisciplinary field, which seeks to understand the mind and mental health.” He also coined the term, Mindsight, which is what led me to see a connection between HOW we introduce type lenses...
  10. MBTI® and Other Instruments and Second Order Change

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    If you are a coach or organization change professional you may be wondering if you can use the MBTI® instrument or other typology instruments to get second order change? My answer is yes, IF you know type theory beyond the instrument results and beyond simple dichotomies. You cannot get transformative change by depending solely on the results of the instruments or reports based on simple dichotomies. The very way type is introduced can lead to limited first order change or to more transformational second order change. (Note: this blog uses a lot of short-cut terms that are explained in my article, The Five Lenses of Coaching.) What are First- and Second-Order Change? I found the following simple explanation. First-order change is doing more – or less – of something we are already doing. First-order change is always reversible. Second-order change is deciding – or being forced – to do something significantly or fundamentally different from what we have done before. The process is irreversible: once you begin, it is impossible to return to the way you were doing before. I also found the following useful, brief explanation by Michael Perez First order change: Remedial change. This is a more functionally...