For nearly 50 years, the Myers Briggs personality test has become the "gold standard of psychological assessments" used in business, however the test still raises some questions. Many are still skeptical when it comes to whether or not it can actually help you find the careers where you're more likely to succeed.
This is particularly interesting when it comes to entrepreneurship. Can the results of the Myers Briggs test determine whether an individual will have entrepreneurial success? Do certain personality types perform better than others? Let's examine.
Examining the Success of a Myers-Briggs Personality Test for Entrepreneurs
According to reports from The Washington Post, more than 10,000 companies, 2,500 colleges and universities and 200 government agencies in the United States use this test, estimating nearly 50 million people have taken the personality test since 1962. In other words, it's the world's most widely used personality test, so it has a lot of people backing up the results. If you're not sure what career you're wired to have for success, this test is supposed to be one option to help.
Nevertheless and as discussed above, this certainly does not mean everyone agrees with the findings. When it comes to entrepreneurship, you'll probably find an array of differing stories about how someone got to the top. There are plenty of exceptions to every rule, and while taking a personality test is sometimes considered an easy route, it's important to know how the test works to determine if you might be an exception.
How the Myers Briggs Theory Works
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test that assumes everyone fits into 16 personality types. There are 4 different sections, or axis, where you can fall, and the test assumes that everyone falls closer to one than the other. The four sections, described in detail on the official Myers Briggs website, include:
- Favorite World. Introversion (I) vs. Extroversion (E). If you prefer to focus on the outer world and are seen as outgoing and comfortable in groups, you are an extrovert. If you prefer to focus on your own inner world, you are an introvert.
- Information. Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N). If you prefer to focus on the basic information that you learn, such as the physical reality of what you can see, hear, touch, etc., you focus on sensing. If you prefer to interpret and add meaning to the information you receive, you rely on intuition.
- Decision. Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F). If you look at logic and consistency when making a decision, you rely on thinking. If you like to look at people, different points-of-view, and special circumstances, you focus more on feeling.
- Structure. Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P). When dealing with the outside world, if you like to get things decided right away then you generally fall into the judging category. If you prefer to keep your mind open to new information and options, you focus more on perception.
When people take the test, they are then given an acronym. For example, if I was an extrovert who liked to act on intuition, and I was a thinker who worked by making judgments, I would be an EITJ. According to the personality test, if you're an ENTP you would be the best suited for entrepreneurship (extrovert working from intuition, and you're a thinker and a perceiver).
Many careers have been assigned preferred personality types that would work best for that career, entrepreneurship being just one of them. When talking about entrepreneurship specifically, an article from Business Insider explained it best when they said that according to the Myers-Briggs test, "Entrepreneurs are focused on actions but prefer to solve their problems by thinking them through at the same time. They also prefer to focus on new ideas, challenge convention and do not limit themselves with a lot of structure."
So this is how it all works and what it means for entrepreneurs, but of course that doesn't mean much to skeptics. You have to ask yourself: Is this actually accurate? Can this test actually predict your success in any certain career?
Well-Known Entrepreneurs and Their Myers-Briggs Profiles
While the logic makes sense, it's tough to say that there is a right or wrong answer to whether or not the test works because again, there are always exceptions. When you look at some of the most well known entrepreneurs of our time, not everyone fits that perfect Myers-Briggs entrepreneurial mold:
Entrepreneurs Who Do Fit the ENTP Mold
- Walt Disney. Co-Founder of The Walt Disney Company
- Steve Wozniak. Co-Founder of Apple
Entrepreneurs Who Don't Fit the ENTP Mold
- Donald Trump. Chairman and President of The Trump Organization
- Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft. ENTJ.
- Steve Jobs. Co-Founder of Apple. ISTP.
- Sam Walton. Founder of Wal-Mart. ESTJ.
- Mark Zuckerberg. Founder of Facebook. INTJ
For many entrepreneurs specifically, the test may seem like just another way to help you make a decision if you're on the fence about whether or not you have what it takes to go down this career path. However, in the end it's tough to say that this test is always accurate based on the information above. Take the test for fun to see where you fit into place, but it doesn't have to discourage you from doing what you feel like you're meant to do. Consider using it to help you better understand your personality. The more you know about yourself and how you think, the better decisions you can make about your business.