Conversation-Starter, Not Conclusion

Today is Lunar New Year and it is now the year of the Pig, according to the Chinese Zodiac. Here are some of the characteristics of folks born between today, February 5, 2019, and January 20, 2020:

Occupying the last position in 12 Chinese Zodiac animals, Pig is mild and a lucky animal representing carefree fun, good fortune and wealth. Personality traits of the people born under the sign of the Pig are happy, easygoing, honest, trusting, educated, sincere and brave. The possible dark sides the Pig people are stubbornness, naive, over-reliant, self-indulgent, easy to anger and materialistic. They are sometimes regarded as being lazy.

via Chinese Astrology

Now, I don’t personally take the Zodiac seriously but I can understand folks who do – it’s another way to simplify our mental and behavioral models of others and ourselves.

In other words, it’s one way to shortcut our ability to understand what we experience from and through other people – and that can be helpful, at times.

via Dilbert

But, it should only be a starting point, not a conclusion; a conversation starter, if you will, and not something that one should rely too heavily on, I’d imagine.

Personality tests, especially when used for qualifying a candidate for work, can be especially dangerous if used improperly (which is more often the case than not). I know this more than most because I actually worked on a behavioral tool for a season and am a pretty firm believer in those sciences which are categorically different than “personality tests”.

You see, every company and organizational context is different and over-indexing on one particular guidepost can be just as bad (if not worse) than any other recruiting and hiring rubric.

And every time you add someone new it’s not just about how that one person interacts with the whole (i.e. team) but rather how that person interacts with each individual member of the team and how that changes the interpersonal relationships, flow, and culture.

And we should use any and every possible tool at our disposal, even if one doesn’t believe as strongly as others do about them. We should, at the very least, be open to trying new ways of understanding who others are and who we are, ourselves.

Being close-minded about these things is exactly the wrong direction one can head. Remember, changing one’s mind about things is a positive, not a negative: