I find the origins of the ever-popular DiSC and Myers-Briggs Personality Assessments rather comical.
Dr. William Moulton Marston, a.k.a Charles Marston, creator of the Wonder Woman comic, was a Renaissance man whose DISC model became the basis of the popular personality assessment of the same name.
Marston, an accomplished psychologist, lawyer, inventor and author, developed the theory of human behaviour in 1928, inspired by the ground-breaking research of Dr. Carl Jung. Dr. Marston's goal was to explain how normal human emotions lead to behavioral differences. His DISC model "for emotions and behavior of normal people" was later turned into an assessment test by Bill Bonnstetter.
The Myers-Briggs questionnaire has an equally surprising origin. "Myers-Briggs is not the invention of white coats in laboratories or tweed jackets at universities," said Murad Ahmed of the Financial Times. Katharine Cook Briggs, co-creator of the Myers-Briggs questionnaire, was an American housewife and writer who also read Dr. Jung’s books (in what was then an emerging field of psychology) because she wanted to better understand her future son-in-law. Katharine and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers went on to publish their infamous questionnaire in 1943.
It's fascinating to me these assessments continue to enjoy such a devout following in the business community. Every year, over two million people take these assessment tests with the promise to “improve work productivity, teamwork and communication.”
I took both assessments years ago and enjoyed what I learned from them. But, can they really help employees communicate differently? Do they have longevity in the workplace? Not without the help of a superhero.
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