Friday, July 01, 2011

162. MBTI and Organizational Cultures Part 4

Continuing this discussion on MBTI, I would like to make some application to our current community here. One of the books I have run across, that has been extremely helpful in diagnosing the MBTI personality traits of our church has been Companies are People Too (CAP2).

This book basically gives you a brief questionnaire to help you diagnose the "personality type" of your organization and then goes through that types strengths and weaknesses/areas to grow.

From what I can discern, Ikon is an ISFP as a whole. This does not mean we have all ISFP's in our community, it just means that our community, as a whole, tends to look inward and be communal, it notices and focuses on our immediate environment, makes our decisions based on how it will effect other people in the community, and has a certain allergic reaction to structure and organization. Essentially, we are organized chaos, with an emphasis on chaos.

The book has various companies in the biz world that they use as examples to say, your organization functions a lot like, say, IBM, or a community center, or accounting firm etc. Oddly enough, they say in all their research they have not found one single company that aligned or tested out as an ISFP!!!! They actually say in the book "You should be excited, and worried that you are so unique."

I immediately started to wonder what was up with our community!!!! Well, here's whats up. We are unique, and we should celebrate our strengths. However, we do need to own up to the challenges that come along with being an ISFP. For one, as an Introverted organization, we tend to struggle to focus our energies and attention outside of the community on a consistent basis. As most introverts will say, its not hat I don't like people, I just need some time to myself to refuel and recharge.

The Sensing factor means we pay attention to detail and notice our immediate environment. This can translate into efficiency in the here and now, but it does not take into account the big picture. We need the Intuitive factor to generate vision for the future.

The Feeling function means we make decisions based on our values and how it will effect other people. This ensures a pastoral, even prophetic (which is the majority of primary and secondary giftings in our community) impulse is strong in our community, but it also means that we veer away from pressing forward with tough decisions, especially when those decisions make others feel uncomfortable. The Feeling function needs the Thinking function to ensure holistic decisions are being made. 

The perceiving function allows us to be comfortable with chaotic environments, a lack of planning and structure. This can be a real asset when it comes to being adaptive to changing environments, but it poses quite a challenge when it comes to making progress and reaching the finish line on on things we start or "perceive" that need to be addressed. Perceivers' can be highly creative, but easily distracted. Basically, they like things to remain open ended. We need the Judging function to help us craft a plan and bring it to completion. This, if I am honest, has been one of the things that has been the biggest challenges for us as a community. We basically need to open up a can of "J" in our community and bring higher levels of organization to what we are doing.

A word of caution is due here about MBTI and personality types for organizations. Just like on the individual level, MBTI is not determinative. It only reveals preferences. It does not mean a "Feeler" can't function as a "Thinker." Likewise,  a "Perceiver" can operate in a "Judging" manner, they just wont be as efficient or find as much satisfaction in doing it. This non-determinative nature of MBTI is amplified when you go to the organizational level. If the character of an organization happens to be ISFP, they are not doomed to have an ISFP culture. They can activate and design their organization in ways that point them to their auxiliary functions, which means an ISFP can develop practices and habits that live more fully into their extroverted potentials. We are not asking people in the organization to be something they are not, we are just asking them to get out of their comfort zones and engage in things that stretch them and push them to mature into the undeveloped areas of their personalities and preferences.

If you are involved in leading a community whose organizational personality is prone to be more pastoral and prophetic, and not externally focused on evangelism and mission, then you basically find yourself in the role of what I have previously discussed as a Bricoleur.

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