This is my response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt word  — Insight.

When I first learned of today’s prompt word, I stumbled around in the dark for a while, cursed a bit, thought I had an idea but wasn’t sure; thought I had better do a quick internet search just to reassure myself, and then BINGO!  It came to me.

According to the Google dictionary, an insight is the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something.  In psychiatry, insight is the awareness by a mentally ill person that their mental experiences are not based in external reality.  Well that’s straightforward.  The definition accorded with my own understanding of the term.  What more was there to know?

I don’t want to big note myself, but from time to time, some people have said to me that I can be quite insightful (when I concentrate).  But this is not a job interview, so I’ve got no proof.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.  I’ve always wondered if that was because of my personality type, INFP – the features of which are introversion, intuition, feeling and perception, according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  Again, no proof.  Now my intuition told me that it was baloney that my insight was linked to my personality type.  So I asked my old mate, Google, who told me the MBTI had been discredited.  No kidding!  The MBTI has been replaced by the Big 5 personality traits, otherwise known as the 5-Factor-Model.  Factor analysis is applied to personality survey data to derive five personality descriptors.  It is pretty decent apparently.

Anyway, in all my stumbling round I found that the business world is abuzz with the need for ‘insight’.  It’s all about turning knowledge into insight so that they can sell things to people.  I saw a quote from a CEO.  It said:

“Casual observation and simply having knowledge is not enough. Insight definition takes work; it’s a skill that requires creativity, persistence and deep thinking to craft. The most powerful insights come from rigor and serious analysis to translate large amounts of data into concise and compelling findings. Organizations who want to use insights as the platform for organic growth require a process that is both scalable and repeatable so that it can become routinized within the organization with predictable long-term results. Use written insight statements guided by five key principles to turn research data into actionable insight to inspire new ideas for product and service development.”

At first I thought this was complete rubbish.  But some part of me – I’m not sure whether it was the I, N, F, or P(aranoia) part – said, “Whoa.  That’s deep.”

Can you imagine a future scenario where a couple of business dudes get hold of some Big 5 personality data, and are able to cross reference that against social media data of a much bigger group of people?  Yep, bingo.

The moral of this story is be careful what you like.

If anyone feels up to it, perhaps do an internet search on what-is-insight-definition.  It looks like a WordPress account.

Any resemblance to alternative scenarios is purely coincidental.

29 thoughts on “I Can See Clearly Now

  1. One of the projects I used to have my business communication students write was a group report on the use of personality tests in hiring OR in team building. They had to support the idea, they had to provide evidence and they had to do research to learn how they are actually used in real life. A by-product of that was I learned that business majors are at least 90% extroverted. I learned other things, too, but for me, as their teacher, it was really helpful to understand that when they barked at me, I could bark right back. It’s what they expected and who they were. I taught only one business student who had the same MBTI type as I (INFJ) and he changed his major to ceramics… :p

    I just took a short version of the Big 5. I don’t see it as much different from the MBTI. My results were (completely not surprisingly) the same.

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    1. Another INFJ here. I was at a conference years ago for women in medicine. Most of us were trying to find ways to function within a system that was pretty messed up then, and I worse now. At any rate, one of the presenters was a Myers-Briggs person, used to working with business folks. After we all did the surveys and the results were tabulated, she concluded that the worlds collection of INFJ and INFP were in the room. She was stunned.

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      1. At the international school where I taught for a while, we had a team building exercise led by an MBTI person. Admins, staff and faculty all took the test then, in a luncheon, the results were revealed. Only two of us were INFJ. The leader said, “The guiding characteristic of this type is difficultly identifying the external world.” Rob — the other INFJ who happened to be sitting next to me — looked at me and shrugged.

        Monday morning, they had moved the giant photocopy machine to a different spot in the break room. I walked through the office, got my mail, entered the break room an walked into the copy machine. As it happened, Rob was right behind me and did the same thing. We cracked up and both said, “That must be it, the external world.”

        But it’s true. That’s really been the biggest challenge of my life. It’s been useful knowing, also, that the INFJ type is pretty rare. My bidness students taught me a LOT, but that went two ways. I came to better understand the ones who WILL go out there and run the world. Most of my students were ENTJs.

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  2. When I was working in the railways in Adelaide, South Australia about twenty years ago many of us had to attend training as part of a “World’s Best Practice” program. I was a cleaner at the rail car depot but as a leading hand they decided to send me along with the engineering and admin people. We had to do MBTI and it turned out that we were about 50/50 introvert and extrovert. I was an ISFJ. Well, the training petered out in the end and they restructured the staff and outsourced many of the jobs starting with cleaners so apart from making me feel closer to my fellow introverts I don’t know what it reallly accomplished.

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  3. The MBTI was discredited and replaced. Oh no! I took that test long time ago and now there’s a new test so I don’t know who I am any more!! Oh wait. I’m still myself. That’s good.

    I enjoyed the read and how you brought in different pieces of research. I think you are probably right that someone has already cross-referenced the big5 and social networks and is selling the data as we speak — oh wait! Is that why Facebook guessed by my probably voting behavior? huh

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      1. I have to admit I love psych tests so I liked that you talked about it. So now that I know there’s a new one out there, I’ll probably go out and find it to try it out just out of curiousity. I had this paperback book decades ago with color cards in it and which colors people chose was supposed to show their personaility. I found actually it was probably a mix of mood and personality because I’d choose different ones depending on my mood. After a few times though I couldn’t take it any more as I’d started remembering the color meanings so it would influence the test.

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  4. Is that why Facebook guessed my probable voting behavior? (couldn’t help it, had to fix the grammar typo — sometimes I type too fast and get ahead of my thoughts, lol)

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  5. Oh my things have changed since I was in the business world, 50 years ago!!! Never heard of all these acronyms, sounds a bit intimidating I will have to consult google.

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