Thursday, August 9, 2007

New Personality Test

Today I spent seven hours with the board members of our creative arts council plus the board members of our umbrella organization. The first activity we did was the DiSC Personnel Test, a test our director paid for so we could better analyze the personalities and gifts of our board members. "D" stands for Dominance; "I" for Influence; "S" for Steadiness; "C" for Conscientiousness.

Now, I've done a BUNCH of personality-type tests. I'm an ISFJ (Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging) on the Meyers-Briggs test. On the Personality DNA test below I ended up as a Creative Dreamer. And now on the DiSC, I ended up as Steadiness, with Conscientiousness being one point behind. My overall profile ended up being Perfectionist/Specialist.

The interesting dynamic of the nine of us is that six ended up being "I" (Influence) and the other three of us (the Treasurer and his wife, along with myself, the Secretary) were "S." Both of our directors, though, have "D" as their next most dominant and they find that they can easily step into the Dominance role. I was the only one who was borderline "C" (Conscientious).

An ideal corporate board (which is what each of our councils are) would have at least one of each personality type. The other art board, our umbrella corporation (Southern California Center for Youth, Nature, and the Arts), is made up of ALL "I" personality types which is not the best mix -- lots of creative ideas but no one to do the grunt work to actually make it happen. Our board, Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council, is much more balanced with our director and associate directors being of the "I" type, and the other board members being "S" (any myself one point from a tie with "C") which gives us a pretty good balance of ideas and follow-through.

For the "S" personality type, tendencies include: performing in a consistent, predictable manner, demonstrating patience, developing specialized skills, helping others, showing loyalty, being a good listener, calming excited people, and creating a stable and harmonious work environment. "C" tendencies include: adhering to key standards, concentrating on key details, thinking analytically, weighing pros and cons, being diplomatic with people, using subtle or indirect appraoches to conflict, checking for accuracy, analyzing performance critically, and using a systematic approach to situations or activities. Both of these describe me very closely.

When I added up all my "D" (dominance) answers, I ended up with -21 (yup, that's a negative 21), "I" (influence) -3, "S" (steadiness) +12, and "C" (conscientious) +11. My numbers put me in the Perfectionist Pattern: "Perfectionists are systematic, precise thinkers and workers who follow procedure in both their personal and work lives. Extremely conscientious, they are diligent in work that requires attention to detail and accuracy...." My graph, however, looked more like the Specialist Pattern: "With their controlled stance and modest manner, Specialists are able to work well with a number of behavioral styles. They are considerate, patient, and always willing to help those they consider friends. Most effective in specialized areas, Specialists plan their work along directed channels and acheive remarkably consistent performance. Appreciation from others help to maintain that level of consistency...." Again, I think that both of these Patterns describe me well.

Overall, I thought that the DiSC Profile was very helpful in defining each board member's personality and will be an important tool for our director to use as we build the board slowly over the next few years. It will also help her to be able to delegate the jobs to the people best suited to excel in those areas. We also spent time brainstorming ideas, both organizational and program-oriented, using a tree analogy: we talked about the roots, trunk, branches, leaves, and fruit of our art organizations and how we can consider new ideas for each area.

Although the art classes this summer went very well, we need to include more of the community in our activities which isn't easy in the spread-out areas of the backcountry region in which we live. Transportation and poverty are both problems as is community unity and spirit. But we hope that we can spread the love of art among our children as well as encourage established artists here in the backcountry who are willing to look beyond themselves and be willing to invest in the community with their creativity and expertise. We shall see how this day of patterning and planning will affect the longevity and creativity of our arts council.

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