June 28, 2023

Self Assessment

I love Personality Assessments, ones that are created with scientific backing, not the “What breed of dog are you?” kind, created for fun and entertainment. 

Knowing, none of the Personality Assessments has a 100% accuracy rate, I do not take any of the assessments as a source of absolute truth, to dictate how I should live my life but as food for thought, both for me in my self-reflection and journey of self-improvement but also people around me, so we can have better personal (and business) relationships. 

Culture Index is one such assessment that is mostly designed for professional settings to assess how people’s predispositions are likely to fit their job duties. There are several organizations I know that have found it very useful, although it’s hard to say how much of it has test value and how much of a “placebo effect” from simply thinking about the importance of personalities to an effective team.

My Culture Index reads like this for My “Natural Traites”. Culture Index also reports Job Traits, which are about how you try to adjust to your work environment.

Cultural Index

In this picture, the Red Vertical Line is the average in the population, and being left or right of the line states how many standard deviations you’re higher or lower than average. This means the distance to the red line for the upper part is more important than the absolute value. I find it puzzling choice to present such information but that is the choice Culture Index creators made.  

Letters A, B, C, and D stand for:

  1. Red “A” Dot – Autonomy
  2. Yellow “B” Dot – Social Ability
  3. Blue “C” Dot – Pace
  4. Green “D” Dot – Conformity

For more information check out this article

The “Enterpriser” is the general Type of personality I’ve been assigned which is typical for such tests. Unfortunately, Culture Index does not make it easy read up on what it means – Googling “Culture Index Enterpriser” does not provide any official information in the open, it all seems to be reserved for subscribers. 

Here is what Traits Reports States for me and my commentary.

An extremely self-assured and driven individual who thrives in crisis. Has a wide-angled perspective that takes in essentials and disregards particulars. Dictates direction and expects obedience. Displays little self-doubt and therefore rarely compromises. Enjoys overcoming obstacles and prefers little assistance in attaining their goals.”

PZ: This sounds about right, and it has been my self-improvement priority for some years to moderate my “intensity” as it can be counterproductive in some environments. 

“This person prefers working with objects and tasks rather than people. They have little interest in working with others or leading anything other than small groups working on specific tasks. Their management style is straightforward and can be abrupt. They expect others to grasp a situation as quickly as they do and when others fail, this person’s lack of empathy can be obvious.”

PZ:  This one is interesting. I’m not a person who does not like dealing with people. I do a lot of public speaking and enjoy it, I love meeting customers and community people. What I do not like is “people’s messes”, which in my opinion are often unreasonable. I indeed prefer working with smaller groups of people who I can get to know, and perhaps what is more important who can get to know me and learn to deal with my sometimes abrasive and volatile personality. This surely contributed to my decision to step down as Percona CEO a few months ago. 

“An eager individual who is restless if they’re not doing something. This person is a first-response type but does not tolerate losing momentum. They want more than one activity on their to-do list, and they don’t want to be involved with repetitive tasks. The constant speed this person lives makes them a juggernaut of activity. They may stop long enough to defy the rule book if it is crimping their style. This person thrives in emergencies, but may procrastinate if they are required to maintain concentration on a single project or if they are asked to wait on others.”

PZ:  This is true too. I’m quite sure if it were a thing in the USSR in my childhood I would be diagnosed with ADD. I love lots of balls in the Air and I’m OK dropping some (which can drive some people crazy). One person said to me at one time “Peter, you like starting things” perhaps meaning it as an insult. How I see it though I should put myself in a situation where my ability to “Start Things” is helpful and partner with others to see them to completion. The fact I prefer different levels of activity than many others means I’m learning to give them a break (sometimes) in my personal and professional life.

“A reserved person who needs time to become comfortable with others. Once familiarity is established, they are open with individuals but may continue to remain quiet in groups. They speak in a factual and direct manner. This individual prefers work of a technical nature.”

PZ: For me, there is quite a difference between “shallow” and “deep” relationships – doing public talks and activities. I’m trying to be a “nice” person – smiling, supporting, encouraging, and welcoming. This drains me though. When it comes to Deep, Close relationships I’m not someone to trust people by default and indeed it takes time for me to become comfortable with people and open up.

“This is a quick-paced individual who wants to handle problems as they arise, even if it means working on more than one issue at a time. Enjoys working in a changing environment and is charged with time-sensitive tasks, pressures, and multiple demands. They are bored by redundant work and are distracting in predictable environments.”

PZ: True. When Percona was just starting, being woken up during the night by the customer having an Emergency and needing to solve the problem as soon as possible was most rewarding for me. Repeated tasks though were always quite challenging for me. My former boss in MySQL AB (and Percona COO for a Long Time – Tom Basil) used to tell me how it was almost impossible to make me write even short Weekly reports.

“Resists structure or monitoring and assumes the ability to prioritize their work day. This person may demand details be finished a certain way but may require someone else to accomplish the task. Potentially stubborn, this person focuses on personal interests and resists things that get in the way of their agenda. Prefers a loosely formed environment and may become restless and disruptive under too much structure. This person does not want to synchronize their work efforts and assignments with others. Tasks of low interest may be ignored in favor of a personal agenda. This person can delegate detail-oriented tasks.”

PZ: A lot of truth here too. My desire to decide what I do and how was probably the leading factor for my decision to become Entrepreneur. I am stubborn and you are much more likely to change my position letting me “sleep on” the facts presented rather than trying to push. Delegating detail-oriented tasks is indeed something I prefer. 

“An average amount of behavioral flexibility, this person may gravitate to positions requiring their specific skills and traits. They are capable of stretching themselves out of character for short periods, but longer periods of behavior modification, especially where multiple stressors are prevalent, may tire this individual.” 

PZ: I agree “going out of character” takes a lot of energy for me. I like to think about myself as an open-minded person, but am I flexible? Might be not so much.

“This individual may favor emotions over logic, but can see the value in using both when problem-solving.”

PZ: This perhaps was the most surprising for me as I always thought about myself as an analytical rather than an emotional person. Thinking deeper about it, I recognized I’m a “fast thinker” in most situations, (type two decisions). I like facts and measurable data yet I tend to process it intuitively rather than systematically in most cases, and this intuition is usually right. For less critical decisions I do value speed over completeness – “analysis paralyzes” is worse for me than taking a wrong decision, especially when another decision can be taken with new facts.   

“Capable of employing imaginative thought to situations, this person is open to new concepts and processes. They should be encouraged in this ability as they may otherwise rely on clichéd or habitual responses. Ingenuity is enhanced by experience and education.”

PZ:  I value creativity a lot and working on developing my skills in this regard. I think as Entrepreneur building a company you rarely can overspend your established competition, rather you need creative solutions to win. 

What do you think? If you know me personally please comment on how you see how well this description matches me. 

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