Skip to Main Content
Ninety logoNinety Presents
Two Ninety team members chat over coffee.

Understanding People

Since the 1980s, I have played a lot of roles, including leader, coach, investor, and board member. Over the years, I’ve become fascinated with various frameworks for understanding humans — especially the people we live and work with. 

As an example, I love the TypeCoach® system. TypeCoach is similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, but from an efficacy perspective, I think it’s much more powerful than any other Myers-Briggs tool I have experienced.

I also love Kolbe. Unlike Myers-Briggs, which helps us understand communication preferences, Kolbe helps us understand how we are wired to solve problems. Understanding how people like to innately solve a problem is hugely helpful if you want to understand whether or not someone is likely to succeed in a Seat.

I’m also a huge fan of various versions of the Enneagram tool. Unlike Myers-Briggs, which helps us understand how to better communicate with others, and Kolbe, which helps us better understand whether or not people are going to fit into the particular problem-solving requirements of a particular Seat, the Enneagram helps us understand people's motivations. It also helps us understand that people have lots of different motivations. Like Myers-Briggs and Kolbe, a decent Enneagram platform will also help us understand what happens to each type of “personality” when they get too stressed out.

I’m now wired to enhance my understanding of humans through each of these frameworks (and others that I appreciate, such as The Big Five, The Predictive Index®, Culture Index, DiSC® profile, and more).

As I continuously learn more and more about these frameworks, it’s become clearer and clearer to me that organizations evolve more effectively when they leverage tools that increase awareness of self and others. These frameworks help an organization’s employees better understand one another and work together. Meeting people where they are, in my opinion, is a major part of what the next age of work — the age of understanding — is all about. And it begins with being self-aware and aware of others.

As an example, when I look at people through the lens of TypeCoach, I see four major temperaments:

  • Thinkers/conceptualizers
  • Feelers/idealists
  • Doers/experimenters  
  • Critics/protectors/traditionalists

And in my opinion, we need all four of these temperaments to create anything that is going to stand the test of time.

The more evolved and enlightened we are, the more capable we are of understanding the room and seeing important characteristics like the four temperaments. When we are aware of someone’s temperament, it not only helps us communicate more effectively — it also increases the probability that we can align around an action.

In short, if you want to succeed as a leader or coach in the new age of work, it’s wise to sharpen your ability to understand both yourself and your audience. This may seem like an obvious observation, but my experience suggests that almost every one of us could do better.

But that’s just what I think. What do you think?

Subscribe to my Founder's Framework newsletter to discover how successful founders leverage proven frameworks to build thriving companies they’ll love forever.