Whether your personal strategic plan is focused on helping you grow personally, professionally, or both, it's important to take a good look at yourself before proceeding further. Taking some time to be introspective can help you to determine the what, why, and how of the changes you want to make.
For instance, one woman I know felt like she was always struggling to balance work and home. Work seemed to always dominate her life. She was convinced there was nothing she could do about this situation. She just had to work and meet her deadlines. When she took some time to examine herself she realized that her assumptions weren't true. Rather, she found that she was driven by accomplishment and recognition. At work, it was easy for her to feel successful. She could complete projects, sign contracts, and acquire new clients. She received bonuses, promotions, and praise frequently. At home, these sort of accolades were harder to come by, and she found that this part of her personality was being swept aside. She rarely felt as if she accomplished anything at home and often didn't feel appreciated or valued. It's no wonder she found herself "stuck" at the office so often. If she wasn't working so hard at the office, no one would appreciate her!
Imagine if we'd just tried to work on strategies to help her balance work and home without that critical insight. Knowing this information gave us the much needed information to develop meaningful strategies that would really work for her. Balancing her time wasn't really the problem at all. Learning how to recreate her home environment made all the difference. We focused not on ways to spend more time at home, but on how to gain a sense of accomplishment and reward in her home life.
But how do you gain that insight? There are many ways to take a look at the inner workings of yourself, but my favorite method is through the use of assessments. There are two that I rely on the most that translate powerfully into personal strategic plans: the Myers Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI) and the Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 (EQ-i 2.0).
The MBTI is a personality inventory based upon the work of Carl Jung. The tool examines the ways that you utilize perception and judgement to assign you to one of 16 personality types. It's important to know that no type is better than the other - they are all equal. Knowing your personality type helps bring to light your innate preferences and allows you to learn about yourself. Once you understand yourself through this lens, you can grow and develop in ways that help you accomplish your larger goals.
The second tool, the EQ-i 2.0, measures your emotional intelligence. Essentially, emotional intelligence is a person's ability to recognize and manage her own emotions and the emotions of others through successful interactions. In other words, how well do you understand, empathize, and connect with the people around you? The EQ-i 2.0 evaluates your abilities on five composite scales and fifteen subscales to give you an in-depth look at yourself across a variety of situations. While you may have little control over your level of traditional intelligence, you can work to develop your emotional intelligence. And research has demonstrated that emotional intelligence is a better indicator of success in the workplace than traditional intelligence. All the more reason to work on it!
So which test should you take? It depends. With clients who haven't done a lot of introspection, I like to begin with the MBTI. With the MBTI results the client can focus on how to stretch and balance their personality. EQ is a bit more complex, so I use that with clients who have already spent a good deal of time working on self improvement. For the clients that really want to make growth and change in their lives, I use both. While that may seem like a lot to some individuals, I like as much information to go on as possible. You may try the MBTI now, and the EQ-i 2.0 a little later in the coaching process. Clients rarely find that they didn't gain anything from the assessment process.
You can take these assessments online, but working with a coach to interpret and apply these results gives you a whole other level of value from those tools. A coach can help you to apply this information to your personal strategic plan to help you live your life with purpose. With introspective work, it's helpful to have someone "outside" to process the results with.
BCG offers these assessments in the context of coaching or just for your own informational purposes - and we'll be offering a 10% discount on the MBTI and the EQ-i 2.0 for the next month. Use the promo code STRATPLAN by February 28, 2017 to save 10% of both assessments.
This post is the third in a series of posts about personal strategic plans.