Are You Just Fooling Yourself?

Having an accurate understanding of themselves and how they are viewed is sometimes the biggest challenge our clients face when contemplating a change of career.  In talking to thousands of prospects and clients each month we truly see all kinds. From people who have an over-inflated view of their self-importance and market value to people who are undiscovered gems incapable of self-promotion. How do you make sure you are not fooling yourself or missing your full potential?

In this context, recently I have been reflecting on instruments to measure personality, self-image, and potential. 

Imagine the available dimensions.  If we stick with simple dichotomies, then there are the introvert / extrovert, logical / emotional, spiritual / rational, optimist / pessimist, ying / yang, and countless others.  Moving up the scale of complexity, one of my favorites is the limbic model. It suggests there are only three primal instructions in the base brain: dominance, security, and gratification.  (See more on this from Daniel Goleman and Emotional Intelligence.)  Perhaps we will simply avoid the more mystic options such as astrology in this discussion.

Then there is a broad range of more complex psychographic models.  Many will know the Myers-Briggs type indicator that addresses sixteen variables.  At the Barrett Group, we generally use the DISC model with its four categories and the spectrum of intensity within each.  Personally, I’ve also used the HBDI model and a number of others.

Clearly these models can be helpful. 

Let me share one extreme example.  Many years ago, it was my duty to bring two salesforces together. A German team and a diverse team from an acquired company comprised of Italians, Spanish, and French salespeople.  We had determined that a customer business unit organizational approach would be more useful with this relatively concentrated market than a strictly geographic model. So the sales members had to work together cross-border to achieve common purposes with only bad English as our common language.  In the end, it was Myers-Briggs that helped us peel back the differences in culture, age, and experience. And find a common understanding that allowed the team to lower their defenses.   The success was evident. We beat the market in volume and value for the next two years before I moved on.

So clearly, these instruments can be helpful in understanding oneself (not to mention a team of people).  However, they can also be rather theoretical, that’s why we’ve developed the Clarity Program©.

Here’s what one recent Clarity Program© client had to say about the experience:

“I wish I had done this sooner. My clarity coach guided me through a process of instrospection that helped me better frame my goals, but most importantly, my priorities.” [Alejandro Sinisterra, April 2021]

So whether you feel you need help in refining your career targets (for example if you want to change industry, role, or geography) or if you would like some objective advice on your next career step, either way, we can help make sure you are not fooling yourself or missing your full potential.  Visit us at to get started.  Thousands of other executives over the last 30 years have done so and are glad they did.

Peter Irish
The Barrett Group

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