The Next Step: Going Beyond The Growth Dilemma
Dabbling in the study of partnership compatibility through personality testing maybe the next step.
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Now that the labor of love called The Growth Dilemma is complete, I'm getting questioned by friends, clients and peers about my next step.
The question is usually a variation of this: "So what do you do after your write your first book?"
A lot of people tell me I should write another book - or expand my first offering.
But I'm no Stephen King, although it's not out of the question that another book may be a part of my future.
Before I get there, however, I've been exploring the impact of personality in business partnerships. Yes, that sounds touchy feely in an industry that deals with concrete numbers, but there are some real-life implications for determining whether you and your potential business partners will get along.
You may be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire, which reveals the psychological preferences people have in making decisions and also how they perceive the world around them.
There are 16 different personality types, which are determined through four kinds of questions: Are you inwardly or outwardly focused, how do you prefer to take in information, how do you prefer to make decisions and how do you prefer to live your outer life?
But how does this apply to entrepreneurs?
Using four questions of my own, I've come up with a business version of Myers-Briggs that roughly mirrors the original in terms of frequency in population. Here are the four questions, which you may remember from The Growth Dilemma:
1. If given a $1 million gift, how much would you invest in your business and how much would you place in the bank? Those that would invest less than $700,000 are considered "conservative," while those who invest more get a label of "business."
2. At what stage is your company? If you're company is growing, it gets one score; if your company is in any other state, it gets another.
3. What is your level of risk tolerance, as determined by the five-question test found in The Growth Dilemma? Scores range from five to 25. Those above 19 are considered risk-flexible, while those at 19 or below are risk-averse.
4. What is your growth goal? Those seeking more than 50 percent growth over the next three years are seeking high growth. Those at 50 percent or below expect low growth.
Our preliminary research shows that the most common type of entrepreneurs (17.5 percent) are conservative, have companies in a state other than growth are risk-averse and expect low levels of growth.
That type of entrepreneur actually matches up closely with the most common type of person (13.8 percent) as per Myers-Briggs -- someone who is introverted; is practical-minded and pays attention to concrete facts and details; bases decisions on personal values; and respects rules and deadlines.
Granted, this research is in its infancy, but when tested during presentations, the results seem to support the initial hypothesis. And it's certainly exciting to think about developing a framework that will help budding entrepreneurs choose wisely when it comes to their business partners.
If we can prevent even one bad partnership from forming (or confirming a good potential partnership), it will all be worthwhile.